Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wheeling and Dealing

At my local gym I go to they have posters up as kind of a promotional affair with peoples before and after stories. Last week I offered to do one of their posters and be a poster child if they hooked my wife up with a free membership along with mine and the owner went for it.

So I wrote my before and after story this morning:

Every journey starts with a single step, in January of 2009 I got tired of being overweight and I took that first step. With a new baby on the way it was about time I started as I had not always been overweight, I had put on 10-20 pounds every year over a decade. So I could remember a time when I was relatively fit and healthy and I wanted to get back to that. I applied for the biggest loser and figured I could work out while I waited to see if I made the television show (I even attended a boot camp held by former biggest loser contestants). I began slow mostly walking and some minor cardio with squat thrusts and using the wii at home. As time went by and I got stronger and more healthy I used Rezults to add in weight training and to better my overall fitness. At one time I used to get such bad shin splints from walking 1.6 miles that it would incapacitate me for a half hour after words, now I run a 5k (3.1 miles) almost everyday followed by a half hour of weight training. I have lost 165 pounds in eighteen months and still have around 40-50 more to go and with the help of Rezults I will get there.

and I haven't decided on my before and after pictures yet, I thought of using my pictures with Sionne from the two times I met him (but I was down almost 40 pounds when the before picture was taken).

I also thought of taking a new photo for my after as I have lost a little weight since that photo was taken in May, I guess I will just have to decide later. But wheeling and dealing pays dividends.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer Heat and Limits

I have been contemplating what it would be like to be on the biggest loser at this very moment. Currently they are shooting season 10 somewhere in California that will air sometime this September and as I struggled this week I wondered how if they are struggling there too. This week has been one of the single hardest weeks working out for me during the last eighteen months. Its been hot and our Air Conditioner was on the fritz for four days this week meaning I have been hot and miserable all week and lacking in energy. I have had to force myself to work out every single this day and everyday when I got the gym it was so hard to press that start button. So I wondered how those Biggest Loser contestants fought the heat, fought through their own personal walls and what Bob and Jillian do to combat the heat and those days when your energy level is oh so very low. I like to swim but I have a gym membership right now and haven't renewed my pool membership meaning it costs me $4 every time I got to the pool that's in addition to the money I already pay for a gym membership. I have hit the pool the last two Saturday's and lost 2 pounds both days, I think my body reacts well to a change in routine and using different muscle groups (I am thinking of going to the pool again tomorrow).

Which brings me to limits its very interesting to see Jillian yell and scream someone past their limits and I wonder where I am on that front. I know I am not taking it easy my workouts are very intense and they have got more and more difficult as time has gone by. I think that is what part of my problem is this summer is the fact that my workouts are so much more intense now then they were a year ago I just don't know how far past my limits I am pushing myself. I have never had a personal trainer or anyone yelling at me to push it harder or just a little further it has all been on my soldiers. I think I am doing a good job as it would be easy for me to just set the treadmill at a 4.0 and walk my 5k everyday but instead I force myself to run as far as I can go everyday and always to try and improve my best time. There was a time when walking 1.5 miles used to give me such bad shin splints that I was incapacitated for a half hour afterwords now I can run an 8 minute mile and run 3.1 miles in just a little over what it took me to do 2.0 miles just 8 months ago. So I know I am pushing myself but I wonder what it would be like to have Jillian yelling behind me could I push it just a little further just a little faster.

I wonder if those who have personal trainers do push themselves a little further, I wonder what campus life is like on the Biggest Loser but I still keep plugging even when it takes every ounce of my will power to force myself to go to the gym.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Clothes Shopping

For anyone who has been bigger they will testify that clothes shopping is not very fun. I live on a town that is only 75,000 people big which means there are no big and tall stores and the only store to offer Big and tall sizes is JC Penny and trust me there selection is so minimalistic (like one rack maybe two) that if you actually find something that fits and looks nice at the same time you should just dance a jig right there in the store. That means if you want clothes you have to drive to get them or order them from a catalog. The drive is four hours each way (Las Vegas is closer but we almost always went to Salt Lake instead because we have family up there) so getting clothes is a once a year event and very pricey. Pricey for several reasons the first being that they charge twice to three times if not more as much for bigger clothes coupled with the fact that you have to fill your car up three times and leave town for an entire 2-3 days to get them.

So clothes shopping when your 415 pounds is an absolute nightmare and something that happens ohhh so very rarely. If you find something you like and that fits you wear that sucker tell it has as many holes as swiss cheese, screw one hole, holes can be ignored until the shirt is falling apart at the seams. There is so little that fits and looks good too, I had a couple shirts I really like but that barely fit so much I popped the bottom button many times on them as they strained against my stomach but you have so little that fits that you can't just give up on them.

This weekend had to be my best clothing weekend ever though. On Friday I boxed up all my fat people clothes hopefully forever. Oh what a feeling that was to try on clothes that used to barely fit and that I had popped off buttons before straining to stay in them and now to have them as big as circus tents on me. To take that shirt that barely fit and now is three sizes too big and throw it in a box and say begone with you was so very wonderful. I have heard some people say I should throw them away or give them to good will but I just can't do it. All the pain and effort that it took to get those clothes and all the money spent I just can't part with them. Plus there is always that part of your mind that screams what if you gain the weight back you may need these again someday. I doubt I will ever put the weight back on (I gained it 10-20 pounds over ten years so at least it would take awhile right) as I now know what I have to do to keep it off and lose it but still there is that part of me that won't part with them. Just like that part that still buys clothes too big (yes I bought a tshirt in February that is too big because I bought it one size bigger than I should have) because you want clothes that are comfortable and it was so hard to find clothing like that. So for now the box rests at the bottom of closet lurking for a day that I hope never comes again.

Then on Sunday my wife took me out clothes shopping as part of my fathers day gift as I needed a new dress shirt and wanted a new pair of shorts or pants that fit (I bought two pairs of pants in February that are also too big now). And for the first time in I don't even know how long (8 years maybe) we shopped in the normal stores and bought normal sized clothes. That didn't stop me from heading to the big and tall section when we went to JC Penny though until it donned on me that I could actually shop in the rest of the men's section and not in that tiny little portion reserved for the fat. Oh the wonders of shopping in the normal people sections, more options and ohhh so much cheaper too. I managed to get three new shirts and a pair of shorts for $40 which is what a nice shirt would have cost me by itself in the days of 6x shirts.

What a great weekend, clothes shopping is no longer the nightmare it used it be.

The Magic Pill

If tomorrow they came out with a magic pill that would instantly let you lose weight with zero effort the lines would be around the block at the pharmacy. But the problem is there is no magic pill. There is no secret. There is no magic diet. There is only shortcuts and the right way. The problem with diets, and the shortcuts is that they don't work forever because you are not finding the right way to not only lose the weight but keep the weight off forever. Sure you can go get on that HCG diet and eat only 500 calories a day while injecting yourself with steroids since you just became anorexic and the weight will just fly off just like the money will fly out of your wallet too. But the moment you come off that diet the weight will come home again as all you did was send it on an expensive vacation. You can go spend thousands of dollars and get numerous crazy surgeries lap band, gastric bypass and even liposuction but you are no healthier after than you were before. You won't be able to run that mile or even do a sit-up better than you could before.

So then what is the right way, how do I find that weight loss without having to take a shortcut or cheat. The answer is so simple that your probably already knew it, burn more calories than you are eating. And the great part about that is that it is so simple that you can do it your own way and customize it to work for you. Say your like me and you love food and the thought of a diet seems likes death well no problem I will just workout harder at the gym, I will run that extra mile on the treadmill and burn that extra 200 calories. Or maybe you just don't have as much time for the gym as you would like well no problem maybe you will only eat half a portion of that yummy meal and skip that extra mile on the treadmill. The trick is too put the effort you want into it to gain the results you so desperately want. If you eat whatever you want and never work out or put some effort into losing or maintaining the weight you will always be looking for that magic pill or that awesome diet that is so going to work this time around.

I have lost 164 pounds in eighteen months and I am constantly asked how did it I do it, well simple I burned more calories than I was eating. I made small but manageable changes to my diet and work my butt off in the gym. But I will give a few tips here, a few things that might work for you on your journey.

#1 If you can give up empty calories, soda pop, coffee, tea basically anything you drink that has no nutritional value to you. Water is better for you, so much better for you and you are not wasting 100-200 calories on something you drink you can save those calories for the food you eat. And after awhile you won't even miss it. I was addicted to Dr Pepper it was my drug of choice and yet I haven't had one in eighteen months and I don't even miss it. Take your body weight divide it by two and that is how many ounces of water everyday you should be drinking so if you weigh 300 pounds you should be drinking 150 ounces of water every single day. Does that mean you have to give up soda forever, no, if you can great if not reduce it as much as you can. When you got to dinner order a soda and a water that way your less tempted to get a refill on the soda as you can drink the water too.

#2 Snacking, oh how we all love to snack 4pm, 10pm, midnight, whenever. Snacking is where we gain a lot of our weight and something that is easy to change. You don't want to not snack what you want to do is snack better that way you still get your snack and aren't as hungry at dinner time. Carrots, grapes, apples, oranges, nuts, yogurt all make great snacks as they are easy and quick and so much better for you. Snacking is a great way to get in your fruits and vegetables for the day and then you don't have to sacrifice your dinner on calories wasted snacking.

#3 Find alternatives. Love potato chips (I sure do) why not try the baked chips, love ranch dressing buy the light kind. Small things like that add up your not giving up what you like just finding alternatives. Like tostinos pizzas flip the box over and look at the fat content. Say the pizza has 300 calories but 150 calories from fat that's not a good thing but there is another flavor you like and it has 320 calories but only 100 calories are from fat go with that kind even though it has the higher calories its got a lot less calories by fat. The lower the fat content percentage the better off you are and its such a simple thing to look for.

#4 Workout, notice I didn't say go to the gym because you don't need a gym membership to lose weight all you need is some hard work and effort. I lost my first 105 pounds without ever stepping foot in a gym and doing it all at home, I only joined a gym because I needed the weights to do toning for the excess skin and once I am done toning the gym will likely go away again. If you have to drive a half hour to the gym then work out then drive the half hour back home that is an hour you wasted that could have been spent more productively. If the gym is more than a 5 minute drive you are better off spending that time at home working out rather than driving. Go for a walk, or a run, do sit-ups, I love the Wii and the EA Active and the Cardio boxing I did that for six months, do jumping jacks or my favorite squat thrusts. Buy your self a pair of 5 pound weights squat to the floor with them, then bring them back up to a bicep curl then thrust them over your head, rinse and repeat over and over. Its a great workout that can be done from your living room while watching TV and works multiple muscle groups and all it will cost you is less than $20 for the two weights.

#5 Push yourself and make goals. You don't need a Jillian Michael's yelling at you to accomplish something all you need is to find away to push yourself and goals are a great way to do that. My goal was at first to run a mile under 11 minutes, then under 10, then under 9 and now I want to run one under 8. Notice how I didn't start with saying I want to run a mile under 8 minutes now I started realistically saying I want one under 11 snd then worked myself to the point where I could run an 8 minute mile. Make your goals something that is hard but not too hard that you give up on them and then just keep making new goals. My new goal is I want to run a 5k in under 30 minutes, I can run an 8 minute mile but I can't keep it up for 3.1 miles so my goal is to turn that 8 minutes into maintaining it for an entire 5k.

Know where you want to go and find a way to get there. And just keep sweating it off.