72.9 Pounds Later

Lets get the obvious out of the way. I am in no way, shape, or form an expert on losing weight. I'm sure the way I did it is full of problems and it could have been done so much easier, and significantly faster, with some modifications. I'm not saying what worked for me would work for anyone else. For good or for bad, this is simply what I did. 

When I started getting some results with my weight loss I had told Jennifer and a couple close friends who knew that I wasn't going to post on facebook about it. Since then I've had a fair amount of success and have been asked quite a few times what I have done, so I've changed my mind about posting it. 

On July 22, 2013 I weighed myself and came in at 271.9 pounds. According to the Body Mass Index scale I was classified as obese with a rating of 37.13. Yes, I know BMI is far from a perfect measurement of health but it's still a general guideline that I've looked at. 30 is the threshold between overweight and obese. 

My sister had asked me to join her in doing the Focus T25 workout program. This is from Beachbody, the same company that does P90X and Insanity (though, with the exception of a few individual days, I haven't done those programs.) I had previously tried some running programs and had some success. I had gone from 280.1 pounds to a low point of 243.6 pounds (this becomes a milestone for me later.) However, I hit a plateau, got discouraged, and stopped running. I did not change any eating habits, and I had hit the point where the running wasn't making up for the eating. I gained almost all of it back. I had always thought when Jennifer got pregnant, or had given birth, it would be the kick in the butt I needed to get in better shape, and for awhile that worked. But it clearly didn't hold and I gained most of it back as soon as I stopped running. 

So, my sister asked me to join her in the program and I was pretty hesitant (you know, because I liked being lazy) but ultimately I agreed. Focus T25 is based on 25 minute workouts and were pretty difficult for me. They do have someone in them that is the "Modifier" and does slightly easier versions of the various moves. I relied on her a lot early on. Keeping in mind that I still ate terribly, I lost just shy of 5 pounds in the first month. I was pretty happy with this result and on September 1, 2013 I decided to try Shakeology, a meal replacement shake, sold by Beachbody. Back in the running days I had tried Green Smoothies, but considering, I hated everything in them, those were doomed from the start. Shakeology has a few flavors but I went with chocolate. I wouldn't say I liked it, but I didn't dislike it either. I had mixed it with unsweetened almond milk and later with a cookies 'n' cream flavored protein powder that I found at Costco. Adding the protein powder had two big benefits; it made the shake taste better and it was more filling. I began with just having shakes everyday for breakfast, but eventually (I don't know when exactly) I started doing shake days on Sundays when I would have them for all three meals (and other food too, otherwise I would have beens starving). I chose Sundays because Monday mornings were when I did my weekly weigh in.

The shakes and workouts lead to moderate success. By September, 2014 I was down 25.4 pounds. Sure, not that much compared to the amount of time (over a year) but with the way I like bad food and dislike/hate healthy food I was fairly pleased. But on September 18, 2014  I started the thing that I credit the most with my success, the food diary app called My Fitness Pal. I had looked at it before but thought it would be too annoying to actually do. This time though I decided to give it a fair shot. There are other food diary apps available for iPhones but this one had great ratings and was free; that's a pretty strong combination. It also, thankfully, is very light on advertisements. You put in some basic information, like your current height, weight, and estimated activity levels and then after picking a goal (mine was to lose 1 pound per week) it suggests a calorie goal. Almost every food you can think of is in their database, and if something isn't in there you can add it. You can also set it to add back exercise calories if you want (which is what I have it set at.) When I started using it, I really started dropping weight. Sure, I've had mini-plateaus and weeks where I have gained, but all told it's pretty clear it was working for me. No matter how bad a day I'm having calorie wise I still log it. It's important to note that it's more of a guide than an exact science. You can probably tell on this graph, without looking at the dates, when I started MFP.

weight loss graph

In January I set a goal of getting to below 200 pounds by my daughter's birthday in June. According to the rate I was going, or even at half that rate, I should have had no problems achieving that goal. I also looked up what weight my BMI would be considered normal, which is 183.00. I don't know if I will continue and go for that far or not. I am still doing the Focus T25 work outs about 5 days a week, and the last month or so have incorporated fairly long walks around the neighborhood (which is really just an excuse to listen to the various podcasts I subscribe too). The plan has been to get to 199.9 and then consult with my doctor.  I will say these last few pounds have been difficult but I'm still moving the right way.

Some random thoughts and milestones. 

  • On May 26. 2014 I weighed 242.4, which was the first time I had weighed in lower than 243.6 (that low point from when I was running.)  Real or imagined that was a wall I wanted to get past.
  • January 5, 2015 I weighed in and my BMI was 29.99. So for the first time, in who knows how many years, I was "overweight" and not "obese" by BMI standards.  Sure, it was just barely, but that counts as far as I'm concerned. I proudly texted a couple friends and said "Guess what? I'm overweight!" (then I had to explain as my being overweight wasn't exactly news to them.)
  • Eventually I came to believe Jennifer when she would tell me that I needed to wear size large shirts, instead of XL shirts. We went to Target specifically to re-purchase some of my comic shirts in a large. Dorky? Sure. But I'm a geek and need my comic shirts. 
  • I don't remember exact dates but somewhere during the last few years I was tested for sleep apnea, and was on the edge of needing a CPAP.  The doctor wanted me to try one but I hated it and didn't continue with it past a couple days.  However, losing weight has dramatically improved those symptoms, especially the snoring (according to Jennifer.)
  • In general, I have far more energy, which is great since my daughter loves going to the park and we are lucky enough to have a nice one close to home.

On Monday, April 27th I weighed in at 199 pounds. I have lost 72.9 pounds.

Throughout this entire process I've had tons of support from Jennifer (who has had a lot of nights where I just wanted a shake for dinner so she was effectively on her own) and the rest of my friends and family and I would never have stuck with it this long without their support.

 Left: November 11, 2009. No clue what I weighed and thats probably for the best. It is, in my opinion, the worst picture I have of myself, and that's kind of the point.   Right: A couple weeks ago at the park. I swear the shirt is a coincidence. I told you I was a comic geek.  Lets move past that.

Left: November 11, 2009. No clue what I weighed and thats probably for the best. It is, in my opinion, the worst picture I have of myself, and that's kind of the point. 

Right: A couple weeks ago at the park. I swear the shirt is a coincidence. I told you I was a comic geek.  Lets move past that.


***For full disclosure, I am a Beachbody "Coach" and if you purchase any of their products through the above links I will receive a commission. That said, I am a "Coach" because it saves me money on my monthly Shakeology orders. I have sold exactly 2 bags of Shakeology, and 1 workout program.  If you decide you want to sign up through me you can do so here, but you're not going to see my constantly harping that idea. It's not exactly my priority.

 Update: After having a few people ask me about Beachbody and Shakeology specifically I decided to finally set up a coach page. I still don't plan to aggressively promote it but if you're interested then go here