Monday, March 22, 2010

New Pant Size!

I'm a legit 38 waist! I've gone from a size 48 to a size 38, and a size 3XL shirt to an XL-tall size...

New post coming soon: What I learned from Ultra Metabolism by Mark Hyman

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Breaking the Plateau

Today's weight:  269.6 lbs. 114 lbs lost, 29.6 to go!

Dropping over 30 lbs. in the first few months of 2007 was really an incredible encouragement.  I was working hard, and seeing results; nothing is more motivating than seeing products of what you're doing!  I had friends who were helping me make progress, and life was good, I could see myself getting healthier from week to week...

However, that's where it stopped.  I hovered around 350 lbs. from the summer of 2007 to about May 2009.  It was frustrating, mostly because I couldn't figure out why I couldn't lose any more weight.  Though I wasn't exercising as consistently as I did when I was losing weight, I was significantly more active, and I hadn't changed my eating habits at all from what I was eating when I was having success.

The summer of 2009 was where it all changed.  On a 20-hour, two-day drive from Nebraska to the Adirondacks of New York to start my summer job, I listened to a book-on-tape which changed the way I look at food and exercise forever.  Mark Hyman's "Ultra-Metabolism" was an entirely educational experience for me.  The book explained to me the importance of exercising to build muscle cells which increase your metabolism and burn fat, the function of food, what each food group does for your body from a purely nutritional standpoint, and which foods do nothing for you (and why).

My fiancĂ©e and I purchased gym memberships in late June in the small town where we spent our summer working, and over the next nine weeks, we spent at least an hour at the gym, 6 days per week.  Working at a resort, I had the added benefit of being able to schedule my eating precisely, as the food schedule was the same from week-to-week.  I went into each meal having planned out exactly what I was going to eat, how much, and I did this for every meal of every week.

The results?  From May through August 2009, I went from 353 lbs. to 308 lbs, dropping my BMI from 40.8 to 35.6!  My organized process of weight loss was working!  I weighed myself daily, and I was able to extract knowledge about the food I was eating from any sudden spikes in my weight, and eventually eliminate the spikes by realizing that "oh, the weekly two slices of pizza the staff eats makes me spike due to the amount of fat and sodium that my body isn't used to"...

Since August, I have lost almost 40 more pounds, being consistent with the foods I eat, though I can't exercise as much, due to a more rigorous schedule.  I find myself now under 30 pounds away from reaching the goal I set in 2007, and this striking distance is somewhere that once upon a time I could only dream it is in my sights.

Now, let me make something clear: from time to time, yes, I do give in to temptations...I love Italian foods with a passion, it's delicious every once in a while to enjoy a heavy dish with plenty of cheese, or a deep dish pizza, and I have the occasional fast food.

The point is, I have, with God's help, and discipline, GAINED CONTROL over my eating.  I have the will power to say no, and I have the discipline to eat suitable portions and cook myself healthy food.

Next post:  What I learned from Ultra-Metabolism about food, and how certain kinds of food affect my body, what to eat and what to avoid.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Breaking Point

Today's weight: 271.4 lbs, 112.4 lbs. lost total, 31.4 to go!

 Photo collage explanation:  Made this several months ago, picture on the left is at roughly 355 lbs, top center is around 380 lbs, bottom center is 316 lbs this past summer, on the right is about 290 lbs...eventually, I'll put together a final Before/After...

It was a tough day, when I stepped on the scale and 383.8 lbs. popped up.  It was a shock, yes, since I hadn't weighed myself in over a year, and the number was way higher than I was ready for, but after the initial surprise wore off and I had a chance to think about it, it made sense.  I could then admit what I knew all along, which was that I ate too much, I ate the wrong things and I wasn't enough exercise to keep up with my terrible eating habits.

That night, January 5th, 2007, I made the decision that has changed my life.  I decided that maintaining the lifestyle I was living was not going to be an option, and that I had to turn things around, undoing all the habits I had built up from my childhood until that point.  I was fortunate enough to have a friend with me at the time who help lessen the blow, encouraging me by telling me I could get the weight off, and he ended up working out with me 5-6 days per week for the first three or four months after that day.

The progress I made in the few months after that night was wonderful, by the end of the school year in April, I had lost 30 pounds, and by the end of that summer, I was below 350 lbs.

I had made great progress, and I felt for the first time that I was on the right track, but there was still a long way to go, and understandably, I think, after living the previous 10-12 years of my life quite overweight,  there  was some doubt..."can I really do this, is this possible?"

I was on the right track, but I made some crucial errors even while my heart was in the right place.  Essentially a two-year plateau happened between 2007-2009 because I still didn't understand how food affected my body.  I had finally grasped exactly why I needed to be exercising, and that had been paying dividends, but my progress had stopped by the fall of 2007.

Next post:  I'll explain why I could only maintain my weight from 2007-2009, even gaining a few pounds, and what I did to get through that barrier...also, I'll finish the background story, bringing us to the present, and how I've lost 82 pounds in the last 10 months!