Tuesday, December 28, 2010

22 Months of Change

It has been a while since I posted some pictures so here are some from today showing how far I have come in the last 22 months! The before pictures were size 56 pants and 4X shirts - in the picture is my newest outfit - size 36 pants and a size Large shirt! No more "Extra" in my size!!

I haven't been this small size wise since the 7th grade! All done one step at a time - roughly as outlined in my beginning weight-loss journey guide.

and for good measure a picture of my new five fingers I bought as a treat! I am uber excited to have found them available locally:

I hope there is some inspiration for others in the before and durings - I am still a work in progress, but am already living a new life!

Happy Holidays!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

A quick note to say Merry Christmas! I am still in the groove as it is - eating whole foods and doing body weight exercises twice a week.

I can now do a set of 10 pull-ups without rest and 10 chin-ups without rest! I have added dips and hanging leg raises to my workouts for more variety as well. I have also added clapping push-ups fro some plyometric stimulation.

Eating wise I went from alternate day fasting regimen to daily Intermittent Fasting using an eating window from 4-10pm. I enjoy this regimen more as it allows for more eating - and works out well with all of the holiday parties. It also saves from having to bring any food to work :)

Weight wise I have seemed to stabilize - bouncing between 235-245 (240 this morning). Based on my clothes still getting looser and the number of repetitions increasing in workouts I think I am actually adding muscle and still reducing body fat. I don't have calipers - but I also have noticed vascularity in places I have never had it.

I am going to continue my routing through the new year and see where to go . I am not completely sure where my weight should end up. Originally I had targeted 195 - but maybe it will be something higher? This is uncharted territory for me - transitioning from almost two years of fairly rapid weight loss to nearing a balance is interesting.

For all of the holiday celebrations and stress I am definitely happy with stability! In most years passed I probably added 10-15 pounds every holiday season!!

Happy Holidays


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Post Thanksgiving Musings - A "Normal" Holiday

Had an awesome Thanksgiving - filled the house with family and enjoyed every minute of it. Company started arriving Wednesday and the last left yesterday afternoon. The house seems a little quiet today as we are all winding down and getting ready to head back to work tomorrow.

So how did the holiday go food/exercise wise? It went exactly as planned - as a normal part of life. This is my second Thanksgiving since changing my life and at this point after 19 months everything seemed normal to me. I ate primal/lowcarb the whole time - smoked turkey, ham, roast cauliflower, butter, fage, cream, awesome pecan pie bites, apple chutney, etc.... it was downright luxurious and I never felt one iota of longing for any of my "old" treats.

It is very liberating to feel normal again - I am reminded of it everyday as life goes on everything that I changed to lose all of the weight has become normal. It is not a burden or some overly complicated routine of measuring, counting, timing....It is not angst and hand wringing every time I go out to eat or have a work function. If I go out - there is always something on the menu that I can fit in with my primal diet. If I go to a work function there is usually something I can snack on or worst case I do an impromptu IF.

I always thought the whole room would notice, that someone not eating the bread would be the three headed gorilla in the room....nope as is the case with myself people are generally most interested in what they are doing/eating and not what others are. Reading the message boards I see the angst and trepidation a lot of newcomers have about how in the world will they survive "going out", "a family function", "Thanksgiving", etc....my answer is you don't "survive" these events! Rather learn to incorporate them into a normal lifestyle.

This doesn't mean foregoing your dietary goals and plan, but rather adapting to the situation and realizing that 99.9% of the time you should be able to enjoy the event whether it be eating some portion of the food, requesting small modifications if you order, or even skipping the food every now and then as part of an IF. Absolute worst case - a small surrender will not derail all of your progress - however in 19 months and almost two complete set of holidays, business lunches, birthdays, funerals, weddings,etc.. I have not found this to be necessary even once!

I wish I knew now what I didn't know then as I was packing that extra 180 pounds of weight or suffering with it for all those years dragging on my existence. If I knew I could live happily, enjoy life including food and activity, and be fit without it being a constant burden maybe I would have started sooner and I would now have a couple extra years of happy memories.

Hindsight is 20/20 - hopefully for those out there waiting to get started or even along the way you can incorporate this advice: whatever you are doing to change your life - remember you need to make it your new normal. Do this and hopefully like I have experienced - staying fit and healthy will become almost effortless in your mind regardless of the difference in effort between the old you and the new you.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Still Going

Been super busy the last few weeks and had boys weekend this weekend. Just a quick note to say I'm still here and on track.

I was getting a little obsessed with weighing myself so I have decided to take a break and wait a few weeks or longer until I check. At some point I need to not obsess so much with the number but also being and feeling healthy. I did do 7 chin-ups and 3 pull-ups this week though as a gauge of continued progress!

I still am getting a flood of congratulations and comments at work since I switched to clothes that are not three sizes too big. Makes me wonder if I had some bigger clothes for a few more weeks and then went back again if it would garner the same reaction?

Still looking to share success and help others - I will hopefully get some new pics up soon. I tend to be tweeting more now than blogging as life has gotten busy. You can always check them out here in the sidebar.

Sorry so short!


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Results Oriented: -181 Pounds!!! Arriving at a Destination...

New weight as of 6:30am this morning is 234.0 for a total loss of 181 pounds so far.

I also completed 6 full chin-ups and 2 full pull-ups at this weight!

Here is my updated weight chart as of today 10/30/2010:

 Less than 31 pounds now until I am no longer officially obese and only 21 pounds until I am half the man I used to be!

Even better than where my weight is at - I am not scared to death of what will happen when I get to where I originally set out. I have completely changed my lifestyle and where I am at is the new "normal" - I am not "dieting" for a period of time or until I reach some specific goal. I have been through social situations, work, family events, road trips, cruises, vacations, and even Italian restaurants while being comfortable with my choices - and I have the pleasure of those choices being what I feel is luxuriously.

I'm still on a journey but I have already made my destination - if that makes sense...


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Gratuitous Meat Pictures!!

I mentioned in my last post how I smoked my meat for last week so I figured I would throw up some pictures of the finished product - 20 pounds of brisket from my local butcher!

Everyone loves good meat pictures:

Right off the smoker!     

After slicing the flats and pulling the points:

Turning down the volume...of food. Finding my eating Zen.

I discussed a few weeks ago how, in my opinion, at some point calories do count for something. As I was sitting down last night in a local steakhouse and choosing a nice 10 oz. ribeye (rare with steamed broccoli and salad....yum) - I thought about how far I have come from my pre-change state. It was actually  pretty powerful to think about what and how I used to eat versus what I currently had on my plate.

Not just at a steakhouse - but at any restaurant I was always concerned with how much (volume wise) I could get, always worried about feeling full, and always had an insatiable appetite. For example in this steakhouse the typical meal used to always include a starchy appetizer just for me (nachos/loaded fires), the biggest steak 18oz+, two sides usually processed/starchy (mac and cheese/fries), and then a nice sweet desert. So roughly three full size plates of food altogether - without even looking at the macro levels of carbs/proteins/fats it was a holy cow thought!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

On Excercise - Less is My More

I don't know exactly how many times now I have been told to keep up the "hard work" and other similar comments implying that I am struggling Biggest Loser style hours a night to lose all of the weight. However I do know that I have heard it enough to come to the conclusion that general public is convinced staying physically fit requires herculean effort and huge amounts of time...

I generally just nod and smile and take the encouragement. Every once in a while though I will decide to have some fun and say something along the line of "thanks, but I don't really work out all that much - maybe an hour a week total". Generally the person looks a little confused and nods politely - I haven't figured out if they just don't believe me or are straight up confused how I could lose almost 180 pounds now and not spend 24 hours a day in the gym. 

For a while I was also convinced of the necessity of logging as much gym time as possible - I went through at least a 3 month period of working out at least an hour a night for six days a week with free-weights in my basement. Then I re-evaluated my approach and gradually phased down to my current ~ 1 hour a week spread over 2-3 days. That hour is typically one short sprint session of ~5 minutes and two body weight workouts running 20-30 minutes each. My rate of weight loss has actually increased since going to short periodic body weight episodes and my strength still improves every week (I can actually do a pull-up now for the first time in 33 years).

Results Oriented: -177.6 Pounds, -4 Shirt Sizes, -9 Pant Sizes

New weight as of 6:30am this morning is 237.4 for a total loss of 177.6 pounds so far.
I also completed 5 full chin-ups and 1 full pull-up at this weight!

I have gone from 56 pant size to a very loose 38 (although I can squeeze size 36 now  I am not counting it yet) - that is 9 pants sizes.

I had gone from 4XL shirts to XL - this week I am starting to wear some plain old Large - that's 4 shirt sizes!!

Here is my updated weight chart as of today 10/16/2010:

Thanks for stopping to share in my success! It can be done - step by step!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Beautiful Graph

My updated weight trend from 9/2001 to today:

Ditch the Standard American Diet (SAD) - I did and that decision is saving my life!


Results Oriented: -173.4 Pounds, +4 Pull-ups

Quick update on the Saturday weigh-in. Current weight now stands at 241.6 for a total loss to date of -173.4 pounds since February 14, 2009. Also completed 4 pull-ups this week!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

My Calorie Manifesto

I frequent a lot of lowcarb, paleo, and fitness websites and blogs and it seems there is a persistent "discussion" regarding whether one needs to count calories when low carbing and/or eating primally. Some folks insist they can eat whatever they want as long as they eat under X grams of carbs. While others insist anything over 1500 calories per day and they stop losing weight and gain.

So I would like to join the discussion by saying yes and no!

Let me explain....

No they don't count:

If you have a lot of weight to lose, have been eating a high sugar, and refined/processed diet - than initially calories aren't nearly as important as reducing the carbs and normalizing your insulin levels. This was me the first year or so - I lost over a 100 lbs. without watching my calories only the carbs.

I will not say that I ate huge calories over the whole time though because as the weight dropped and insulin response improved I ate less calories (how much I don't know and don't care). So this is where the calorie side of the argument says see it's just the calories and that they do count.

It is six, half dozen, one or the other..... the whole argument to me is stupid. For the person losing the weight initially what matters PRACTICALLY is that if they can start by reducing the amount of carbohydrate than they will lose weight.  Why burden them with counting calories on top of everything - with the obesity crisis in full swing we need to start people down the right road as soon as possible with the best chance of them sticking to it.

If we could only get people to reduce carbs and go to whole foods without ever mentioning calories - what a HUGE monstrous impact we would have on the obesity problem.

With that said....

Yes they do count:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Results Oriented: -170.2 Pounds, +3 Pull-ups

Quick update on the Saturday weigh-in. Current weight now stands at 244.8 for a total loss to date of -170.2 pounds since February 14, 2009. Also completed 3 pull-ups this week!

I know I am still heavier than most folks weigh - but it is a huge difference for me! I now have less than 50 pounds to my estimated goal of 195 pounds!

Enjoy your Saturday - I am off to the local apple festival with my family....they have smoked turkey legs, a favorite primal treat of mine :)


Strange Side Effect

Busy with company and the local apple festival this weekend so not too  much time this weekend to write. I did have one interesting occurrence this week I wanted to mention.

I haven't updated my glasses in a little over two years - so before the beginning of my change to paleo/primal/lowcarb. I was eligible for new glasses and felt like a change so I went this week to get an updated eye exam and a new set of glasses. I have worn glasses since the second grade and as far back as I can remember my eyes have been weaker each time and my prescription stronger.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Finding and Keeping Motivation

I have been at this now for 19 months and wanted to share a little on some of the things I have done to keep me motivated.

Initially it was pretty straight forward - I was killing myself. Weighing as much as I did and eating as much as I did there was no other way to look at it. I don't know if it was one particular moment or the culmination of a few strung together events (having to buy two seats on an airplane for instance) that led to that conclusion, but it was in my head as I started. It wasn't fair to my wife, my kids, the rest of my family, or myself.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Results Oriented: -167.8 Pounds, +2 Pull-ups, -9 Pants Sizes, and- 3 Shirt Sizes

New weight as of 6:30am this morning is 247.2 for a total loss of 167.8 pounds so far.

So about 5 pounds or so in the last month which is slightly slower than the previous, but that month included a week long vacation with luxurious heapings of primal food and a wedding where I had quite the good time and numerous servings of lovely red wine.

It's an amazing number as it seems I have lost about what an average person weighs. I haven't weighted anywhere near this since I was dating my wife so at least 10 years if not 11. I have gone from approaching a quarter ton to less than an eighth of one :)

And oh by the way since I am so proud of it - I am going to mention again that I can now do exactly two pull-ups at that weight!

And oh one more thing since I am proud of this as well I have gone from 56 pant size to a very loose 38 - that is 9 pants sizes.

And one last thing I have also gone from 4XL shirts to XL that's 3 shirt sizes.

Posted this the other day, but here it is for good measure:

Highest Weight to Current 9/2010

Here is my updated weight chart:

So for all those who are afraid less carbs and some IF will make you shrivel and waste away - I am gaining strength and maintaining muscle mass while losing inches and fat!

Paleo/Primal, and Lowcarb saving my life one day at a time.

Previewing this it seems a little like bragging. Did I post all these new stats to brag? A little - but mostly to say to those out there depressed and trapped that there is hope and you can do it too. Just get started with little steps.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Be Careful Too Much Paleo Can Do this to Your Face!!!

19 months of chronic exposure to wholesome food and moderate activity:

One regular pull-up for most - a huge feat for me!

As I detailed in my last post I could almost taste my first ever in 33 years pull-up. I am ecstatic to report that as of Monday the 13th of September in the year 2010 I Logical Loser completed my first ever pull-up!!!!

Impossible to explain how awesome that was - for most people not too great of a physical feat, but for me it is a world away from 19 months ago. To top it off I did two pull-ups tonight so watch out professional pull-up world - I may do three next time!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Closing in on a first!

I have never in my life been able to do a pull-up.

Thinking all the way back to grade school - I have never done one. I was pretty much overweight from as far back as I could remember and definitely had no real muscle mass. Too much fat and too little muscle = no pull ups.

Doing my body weight workout last night - I was soooo close to completing a pull-up I could taste it...but even after kicking in the afterburners I fell a little short at the top. Was I disappointed - hell no! That is so much closer to a pull-up than ever before and it gives me hope that within the next 2-3 weeks I will complete that elusive first pull-up.

If someone had seen me 19 months ago and I said in less than 2 years I will do a pull-up they would have thought I was delusional. I would have thought the same - at 415 pounds it is hard to be optimistic and in reality when I set out the thought of pull-ups or any other physical accomplishment was far from my mind.

When I started out I wanted the basic things:

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Page - Weight Loss guide

I have added a summary of the last few posts on how I went about my weight loss journey here. I hope it boils my philosophy down clearly enough for everyone to follow.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

How Does a Super-Super Obese Man Exercise?

Simple - I didn't.......at first.

As I outlined in "Throwing Out the Standard Approach" Part 1 and Part 2 I think starting off with the full on diet and exercise onslaught at the same time dooms many weight loss efforts. I also feel it contributes to the "failure penalty" people impose after each unsuccessful attempt which leads to an upward spiral in weight and downward spiral in both physical and mental health.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Back from Vacation and Into a Fast

Back from vacation and busy catching up with work and the yard work, etc...as well as full primal mode.

I typically fast a couple times per week on an Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) type schedule (24-36 hours on/24-36 hours off) which for me has been the capstone to my primal transition. While on vacation with all of the nice fresh seafood and some awesome steaks - I ate the typical three a day (all pretty much primal) and by the end of the week I felt rather sluggish and slightly bloated which reminded me of why I love both ADF and Intermittent Fasting (IF).

They allow for the body to have some down time periodically to take a break from the work of digesting food and crank up some of the built in survival mechanisms in the body including increased immune function and GH release. I never realized before how the constant stuffing of my digestive system really dragged on my energy levels. After a decent 24 hour break from eating everything is empty and cranked up to efficiently receive the next round of food.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Primal Vacation Food

Just a quick note on the awesome food we have been having here in Florida - eating primally has been so effortless here. I took pictures but they are trapped on my phone which has stubbornly decided to stop talking to our laptop....

Anyhow some of my favorites have been plump shrimp cocktail, seared Ahi tuna, crab cakes (no fillers- just crab), a nice fatty steak, and a wide array of veggies and leafy greens. Last night dinner came with sides of green beans, cooked cabbage, and spinach....can't beat that - so yummy!

It's funny people always tell me how much will power it must take to lose all that weight -I laugh a little to myself as I find everything I eat luxurious and wholesome.

I try to explain sometimes how much sweeter everything tastes now, broccoli is sweet on my palate, berries sans sugar are almost too sweet, and I absolutely savor any kind of nice juicy fatty meat (ribeye is my favorite)!

Anyhow - off to grandma's place down the coast where I may be without internet access for a day or two.  See everyone on the other side of the weekend!


Friday, August 27, 2010

Standard Life verse Primal Life Plane Ride!

Wanted to share a quick note in one of the joys my low carb/primal transition has brought to me.

The last time I flew was to Europe on business at or near my high weight of 415 with a waist size of 56 inches. At the time I knew I was not going to fit into one seat and decided to purchase a second - one of the most embarrassing things in my life at the time was asking the administrative assistant to add a seat and informing my wife I had to spend our money on an empty seat to accommodate my girth. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Logical Dietary Goals

After a lot of reading and researching it was apparent that a diet low in sugar (i.e. carbs), high in saturated fat, and moderate protein made the most logical sense. I am not going into details here but a couple quick simple logical arguments/thoughts that support these for those repulsed by the idea of "low-carb/primal" diets:

1. We evolved without abundant sugar and carbs over tens of thousands of years - does it really make sense to make carbs the main component of our diet? Nothing evolves that fast.
2. Our body fat is saturated, our brain is approximately 2/3 saturated fat, and cholesterol is essential for cell structure and repair - why avoid these if the body runs on them (and if you critically review the studies they really do not increase heat disease/deaths)?
3. Your body can make carbs from protein - but not protein from carbs - which is essential?
4. If you were surviving in a forest or any other wild area and could only eat what grew naturally or what you could kill - what would your diet look like? Have you ever seen any overweight true hunter gatherer's?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Throwing out the standard approach to diet and excercise Part 2.

Part 1 of this post covered what I think almost all approaches overlook/do poorly - how to implement change regardless of what the change to should be. A lot of research on what type of diet is better, which macro nutrients, which exercises, etc... but in the end if you can't change permanently or effectively the right "formula" is pretty much useless or in my theory detrimental for certain people susceptible to the "failure penalty" spiral I have outlined.

After this initial analysis I needed a direction - something different from the standard approach. So I took a step back and looked at my profession - a professional change agent (continuous improvement engineer/six sigma black belt). I was responsible for making changes and transforming an entire organization - I was effective at this why not use some of the same principles on myself? Why not apply principles I had proven worked in other areas of my life?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Throwing out the standard approach to diet and excercise Part 1.

Diet and exercise, diet and exercise, diet and exercise...

That is all I can remember growing up as an obese kid and then into adulthood and still hear it today. Before even venturing into the subject of what the diet and exercise regimen should be (low fat/high fat, high carb/low carb, processed/organic, free weights/machines, cardio/strength, ad infinitum......) I believe from my experience and reading/observing  others there is a fundamental problem with the way almost all of the regimens are administered.

It came to me as I was examining how I got to my super-super obese state. I had a history of repeated attempts at diet and exercise (of differing varieties) with the same result time after time. An all out effort on the diet and exercise front with clean eating and regular exercise for some period of time - a real commitment because this time "had to be the last". The initial results and consistency were outstanding!

But you can only burn a candle so brightly for so long and eventually there would be a burn out - a special occasion that would lead to a poor food choice, or a business trip that precluded the normal workout, then after such intense effort up to that point it was the almost an immediate reaction to punish myself for throwing away the prior efforts I had so diligently exerted.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Losing it logically.....

Eat right and exercise - that's how you lose weight.

Simple, logical, and straight forward - add in the food pyramid, a 1500 calorie per day limit, the number of minutes to exercise, and the number of days and you have exactly what an engineer like myself loves.  A straight forward specification to follow.

Being an engineer I believed in this specification, backed by "science" and recommended by our well respected medical establishment and struggled to follow it for many years. Being an engineer graphs and charts are sometimes how I speak so below are the results of trying to follow this specification with weights taken from the 2001 through January 2009:

Obviously I gained weight pretty steadily until I found myself at 415 lbs in size 56 pants and 4XL shirts. I felt miserable and lost without a direction - my life should have been great, wife, kids, and job all the components of the American dream. Instead I was a physical mess with no end to the spiral in sight.