100 pounds lost: A retrospective (Part 2)


OK, this took me a bit longer to get back to than I realized it would!

I am so very close to my 100 lb. mark, but I just keeping losing a bit at a time.  I think it is because I am adding muscle at the same time that I am losing fat.  This is a good thing.

In this installment, I want to talk about another aspect of my journey to become lean: exercise.

I have alluded to this before, and this part of my plan is just as important as diet in getting the weight off and keeping it off.  Don’t get me wrong, diet is EXTREMELY important!  If you don’t eat right you won’t lose weight, and you won’t be able to power yourself through a workout.

I also mentioned before that you have to find an exercise that you enjoy, otherwise you might not stick with it.  This is important, but I don’t think you should box yourself in!  I know many people who LOVE running, but hate lifting.  I also know many who are the opposite, myself included.

For the first part of my weight loss plan, I started walking on a treadmill and using weight machines.  This started the ball rolling for me, but it wasn’t really giving me much noticeable change.

In what I will call my second phase, I stuck with the weight machines and switched to a stationary bike.  Once again, I was still losing weight, but not at the rate that I really wanted.  I could tell i was getting in better shape, but my body wasn’t changing too much.

In the third phase, which I began in November of last year, I actually completely (*gasp!*) quit doing cardio almost completely (besides walking to and from the bus and a little here and there)!  I switched to lifting with free weights (not machines), doing the “Big Three” (Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press) along with the Overhead Press.  I think that this moment was the best move of my fitness journey.  Since that time, I have added a LOT of strength and muscle mass.  I think that this lifting has boosted my metabolism so much that the weight began to fall off.

Here is an illustration of what that shift has accomplished for me:

From March of 2011 when I weighed my heaviest at 334.5 pounds, until November 4 of 2011 I lost a total of 31.9 pounds.  That means I was losing roughly 1 pound per week.  Pretty slow loss, huh?  Of course, any loss is good!

Now let me examine the most current period from November of 2011 until the present.  During this period (which is just about 10 months) I went from 302.6 pounds down to my current weight which is 235 pounds.  That is a total loss of 67.6 pounds.  that is a rate of about 1.69 pounds per week.  Pretty good progress!

Of course, as time has progressed, so have my diet and eating techniques.  I cannot discount those changes as well.  All I know now is that I have lost 10 inches in my waist since I started, and I can now wear a men’s Large shirt, but I still weigh over 230 pounds.  I am pretty sure that I have gained a LOT of muscle during this period as well.

Now, I am not discounting cardio completely.  In fact, I will most likely start to run when I feel like it won’t damage my joints or interfere with my lifting/weight loss.  I believe that both are an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but I also believe in slowly making changes.

I actually consider most of my lifting sessions to be cardio, because of the elevation in heart rate and breathing.  You try doing 11 sets of squats or deadlifts without sweating and your heart beating super fast 😉

 

In my next installment, I will outline some of the dietary changes that have evolved over this weight loss journey as well.  They might assist you with some ideas on what to eat and what not to eat.  Specifically, I will discuss my current strategy of Leangains-style Intermittent Fasting.

Stay tuned, and feel free to contact me if you want to ask a question!

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Writing more soon, I promise!


Hello everyone!  I will be writing part 2 of my retrospective on my 100 lb. (and counting) loss VERY soon!

My training and diet are still going great, and I have a lot of things to tell you, so stay tuned! 🙂

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100 pounds lost: A retrospective (Part 1)


Well, everyone, that moment is almost here.

The moment where I can officially say that I have lost 100 pounds!  I really never thought that I would see this day.  I had imagined losing that much weight before, but never actually thought I could do it.

So, today I decided to look back over the past year and five months to see what I have done in that time.  I decided to split this up into at least two parts, for easier reading.

Here’s Part 1:

On March 9, 2011 I weighed in at a staggering 334.5 lbs.  I had never been that heavy before.  My body fat % was 44.7%.  Almost half of my body was FAT!!!

I had just started a new job, and they had a free gym, so I decided to go and check it out.  I liked it, and got a fitness consultation to see how bad it was.

It was pretty bad.  My blood pressure was high, my pulse elevated, my flexibility was horrible.  Generally, I was in REALLY bad shape.

The trainer recommended that I just start out on the treadmill with walking and some resistance training and stretching.

I started exercising, slowly at first, just doing mostly walking on the treadmill and a few machine resistance exercises here and there.  I started making progress, and by November of 2011 I had lost 30 pounds, and my body fat % was now 34.7%  that is pretty darn good progress.

At that point, I went “rogue” and decided that I was getting tired of cardio, and that I wanted to REALLY start lifting weights.  I had never really touched a barbell before, so I knew I had to start somewhere.  I began to read that lifting with free weights was so much better for you than doing it on machines.  It involves so many more stabilizer muscles, etc.

I discovered a website called “StrongLifts”, and I read the “free report” PDF that was sent to me.  It was simple, to the point and just made sense.  It basically told to learn the form of the “Big Three” (Squat, Deadlift and Bench) to start with just the 45 lb. Olympic bar.  Who cares if people look at you funny?  Then progressively add 5 lbs. every time you do that exercise.  Oh, and do squats three times a week.

So, I did just that.  I started to squat three times a week.  In no time, I was adding weight to the bar.  Sure, it was hard and first (oh, the soreness!!!).  After a bit, I got used to it, and it began to get a bit easier.

I picked up Mark Rippetoe’s book “Starting Strength” and read up on form.

I realized that I LOVE to lift weights!  I absolutely despise cardio, but I love lifting.  I started reading material that talked about losing weight exclusively through weight training.  So, that is what I have done so far.  I have been losing weight by going against popular opinion.  Since I picked up the bar back in November of 2011, I have not looked back!

Since that day, I have lost 67 pounds of my total lost almost exclusively through weight training.

My point is this:  Find an exercise that you LOVE and do it!  If something looks interesting to you, try it!  You HAVE to find something that you enjoy and that will motivate you to go to the next level!  If you don’t so that, you will most likely never lose weight!

I started with the bar on all of my lifting exercises, and I am still considered a novice (less than one year lifting), but I am already getting stronger 🙂

As of this writing, my 1RM for each exercise is below:

Bench: 185

Squat: This one is kinda up in the air at the moment.  My last cycle of lifting it was about 275.

Overhead press: 136

Deadlift: 325

In the next part of this series, I will discuss how diet plays an even bigger part in your success than your exercise!  I will also discuss a method of eating that basically doubled my amount of weight loss in the same time.  It involves caloric restriction, but other things as well.

Until next time, find something to get you moving and DO it!

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Dietary intake and weight loss


Hello all, and welcome to the next installment of my blog.

I have been watching my poll, and have seen that most people are most interested in dietary concerns.

So, with that in mind I decided to go ahead and make a post dedicated to that.

First of all, you will need this basic understanding: 1 pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. If you remember nothing else from this post, remember that!

Losing fat is really as simple as creating a deficit equal to the number of pounds that you want to lose each week! This deficit can be created through dietary restriction, exercise or a combination of both.

For example: I want to lose somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 lbs. per week. This means that in a seven day period, I will need to create a 7,000 calorie deficit. See, isn’t that easy?

In order to do this, though, you will need to make an estimate of how many calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight. This is known as your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), and there are many different calculators online to provide an easy way to figure this out.

I prefer the calculators that use the Katch-McCardle equation, as this takes into account your LBM (Lean Body Mass). The fact that this equation takes LBM into account makes it more accurate, in my opinion. I will add some links at the end of this, as well as add them to the Resources page.

You will also need to take into account an activity modifier. If you have a desk job, like a lot of Americans, I would use the modifier of 1.2. That means that you will take the caloric intake derived from the equation above and multiply it by 1.2. This result is the amount of calories you need every day simply to exist at your current weight. I will recommend that you use a lower activity modifier, as people tend to overestimate their activity level.

Even though I lift weights for an hour three times a week, I still use the “sedentary” modifier for my caloric intake.

Of course, in order to properly perform this calculation you will need to calculate your body fat percentage. This can be estimated from measurements of various body parts, or you can get a body fat reading from a gold standard technique like hydrostatic weighing or a BodPod. I have access to an NIR body fat analyzer at my gym. It is not the most accurate reading, but it at least gives me an idea of where I am.

Once you have that estimate, you can calculate your LBM by taking your weight and multiplying it by the body fat percentage. This will give you your fat mass. Subtract this number from your weight, and this will give you your LBM.

Now you are ready to figure out how many calories you need to lose weight at the rate that you want to lose it! Simply take the number of pounds per week that you want to lose and multiply that by 3,500. This is how many calories you need to restrict in order to lose that amount per week. Divide it by seven and you have a simple amount each day to subtract from your caloric intake!

I would recommend no more than 2 pounds of weight loss per week. This will allow your body to become accustomed to the lower caloric intake and adjust to the lower body weight more easily as well.

Of course you have to keep accurate track of your caloric intake each day to make sure that you are meeting your goals. Also, you may have to adjust your caloric intake if you are losing more or less than you want. I prefer My Fitness Pal, which is easy to use on a computer and smartphone. More on this in a later post.

If any of this is confusing to you, I would be glad to help you out. Here are some links to get you started:

Katch-McCardle calculator:

http://www.calculatorpro.com/calculator/katch-mcardle-bmr-calculator/

Body fat estimation:

http://www.active.com/fitness/calculators/bodyfat.htm

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Poll time :)


I really want to know specifically what you, the reader, wants to know about.

So, I created this poll to let me know who is interested in what 🙂

Please share and vote.  Oh, I have also enabled comments and ratings now!  Sorry, I’m just a bit new to this whole blog thing!

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My thoughts on “dieting”….


I have basically gone over what I have accomplished so far in regards to weight loss.

I have also addressed the key (in my opinion) aspect of motivation to success in this endeavor.

Now, I am going to get to the part of this blog where I discuss what I have been doing to achieve this weight loss.  I’m sure you were waiting for this.

First of all, it is not EASY.  It is not FAST.  It takes really hard work and dedication to a new lifestyle.  People have said this before, and I will say it again….. I hate the concept of a “DIET”!!!

To me this word implies a temporary and unsustainable way of eating solely to lose a little weight.  Then, of course, you stop the “diet” and gain it all back (and maybe a bit more while you’re at it)!  To achieve permanent weight loss (which will always take work) you have to incorporate it into your lifestyle.

So, what I did with my eating habits was pretty simple.  Simple but not necessarily easy….

I cut out sodas, even “diet” ones.  Sure, I occasionally have a low or “zero” carb energy drink from time to time, even a beer here and there.  I drink a cup or two of coffee (with Splenda and a little creamer) as well.  However, 95% or more of my liquid intake per day is simply water.  I drink almost two gallons a day of the stuff.

I am not sure how many calories this has saved me over the past almost year and a half of weight loss, but I am SURE it is NOT insubstantial.  It wasn’t easy, but it had to be done.  One of my new mottoes is “don’t drink your calories”.  This also includes fruit juice, sweet tea, etc.  Fruit juice might seem innocuous, but take a look at a label sometime and actually register how much sugar is in a serving.  Eat the fruit instead!

Another pro tip: Water makes you feel more full 🙂

Next post:  I will discuss some strategies for changing your eating habits.

Thanks for reading, and if it is any good at all please share!

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Motivation, the most important part


Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to this.

I forgot to give you some basic stats about me when I started this.  I told you that my weight was originally 334.5 lbs last March.  I didn’t tell you the rest of the story.  So here goes:

This morning I weighed in at 241 lbs.  That makes my total weight lost 93.5 lbs.  I am slowly edging up to the 100 lbs lost mark.  That is so insane to me!

Which leads me to the reason for this post.  I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about the most important part of my weight loss story that I want to share with other people.  There are SO MANY things!  Exercise, food choices, caloric calculation, etc.  As I was thinking about what to write next, I could never quite narrow it down.

After my workout this morning, it hit me.  In my opinion, the single most important thing that has kept me going is the correct motivation.

For me, that motivation takes the form of my son.  I want to be there to see him grow up.  Most importantly, I don’t want to be a spectator.  I want to be an active participant in the shaping of his life.  I want to be healthy enough to play active games with him.  Play frisbee, ride a bike, whatever he wants to do.

That is my motivation.

If you are reading this blog, it is most likely because you want to lose weight.  That is awesome, but is that simple idea enough to motivate you and keep you going when you plateau?  I want you to find a compelling reason to lose that weight.  A reason to push yourself.

Because when the going gets tough, and it WILL, you need a strong motivator.

This blog is just beginning, and I hope to share many more things with you.  But first you have to have a reason.  I want you to look within yourself, find that reason, and make it a burning thought in your mind.  Hold onto that reason when you don;t feel like working out, when you feel like giving up.  Hold onto that reason, suck it up and DO IT!

 

Until next time….

 

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