From 589 pounds to 220 pounds. This is my journey. Welcome to the countdown.

Archive for January, 2014

THE COUNTDOWN 1/27/14

Last Week: 332

This Week: 330 (Goal was 327)

Next week’s goal: 325

Magic Number to 220: 110 lbs.

Lost since Nov 2012: 213 lbs

Lost Since Nov 2011: 231 lbs

Highest ever weight recorded/known: 589 (difference of 259 lbs)

Let the speculation and frustration begin. I stepped it up a notch this week in terms of activity. I did 73,695 steps from Monday through Sunday. That’s an average of 10,527.86 steps a day. That comes out to 33.86 miles plus 72 flights of stairs. That doesn’t take into account 3 pool workouts ranging from 20 to 50 minutes, an hour of pilates, and a 1/2 of yoga.

But Monday night I had a meltdown of sorts. After trying not to eat chicken tenders at Lifetime, I found myself at a McDonalds drive thru not once but twice in one evening. The numbers on the calories weren’t horrible but I should never been there. I also did breakfast there that day. So 3 trips to the golden arches in one day–ugh.

Still, when I weight Tuesday, I was still at the same weight. I kept things pretty clean most of the week but didn’t seem to lose. There has been an uptick of cheese and carbs of late. Nothing people would call huge but enough that it could be the difference. Yesterday, I made the error of not eating something with substance after my workout. Partially because I knew there’d be samples at the grocery store.

Mistake.

Ended up grabbing to Taco Bell fresco style tacos. In fairness, it was going to be 2 pieces of grilled KFC chicken but they were out and it was going to take 10 minutes. I wasn’t willing to wait 10 minutes. But I should have. The result was Taco Bell.

That might not been so bad but I was gaming with friends that evening and ran out of fruit. This meant the only thing left to munch on was…potato chips. I thought I could keep it under control. I though wrong. Rather than one or two, it turned into…well, I can’t count the handfuls.

Had a feeling yesterday of not being satisfied with the food I had at times. I’ve also noticed when I’m not in the mood to drink water and try to force myself stuff like this can happen sometimes. Hence my taco bell trip as well. Running out of fruit didn’t help either. Usually I overbuy. This time I didn’t and I paid for it.

So I lost but that’s two weeks in a row I missed goal. In fairness, since 1/1/14, I’ve dropped 19 pounds. But since in November I was at 342, it seems like I’ve been struggling. The exercise went up but the nutrition needs to be cleaner. It’s also become clear that things I used to get away with at a higher weight may not work now.

And that’s where the frustration sets in. I’m going to have either step up the exercise even more or get even cleaner. I think its the latter and that will not be easy. The level of carbs and cheese right now isn’t high but it’s going to need to be less. And while I’ve done it before, it will not be easy. 14 months into this I’m beginning to want a few things back and get tired of the same stuff every morning. Still, I’m 110 pounds from my end goal. If I could keep it clean the next two weigh-ins then I could be in double digits to goal and that would be something.

Next week is 325 and I get an extra day as Matt’s going to China. That means an 8 day week followed by a 6 day week. So 10 pounds in 14 days. Not so easy.

Who the hell is this guy???

As we’re quite a few posts in, I can’t help thinking some might be asking…

who the hell is this guy?

I’m Jeffrey L. Stein. Born and raised in Chicago’s suburbs. I’m 41, headed for 42–yuck!  

I’m a graduate of Niles North High School. I spent a year at Landmark College before heading to the University of Indianapolis. Had one year at Oakton Community College but finished at UINDY  with a degree in Communications in Business with a minor in Radio/Television.

I spent 12 years in broadcast radio. I bounced around a whole bunch of stations most have never heard of. Unless you were listening to something in a language other than English.

If you did, you’d heard a guy doing a sports talk show called Double Overtime. The greatest little show NOBODY has ever heard of. Mostly because it was radio station nobody ever heard of between the Albanian Hour and the Radio Rosary. Not exactly prime time. But when you’re just out of college looking to make a break for yourself…it’s awesome. Especially when you get credentials for almost every game in town.

If you know your sports in Chicago, I was in the sox locker room the day Jay Marriott and Tony Phillips had there altercation. I’m the only one who apparently felt it was wrong to tape it.  I also got to attend 3 NHL all-star games as working press including the Great One’s last. I had the late great NBA superscout Marty Blake on my show only hours before the Bulls drafted Elton Brand. Got to interview guys like Paul Molitor, Ray Meyer, Gene Keady, and Ernie Harwell.

When I wasn’t doing my show, I was helping anybody from Russians to Albanians to good going church folk to polka all-stars with their programming on stations. Later in my career also created a Public Affairs show for called Outreach for Newsweb. My final stop was as a master control operator for Sporting News Radio (currently the yahoo radio network).

Radio was fun and where I wanted to be but it didn’t pay the bills. So my dream of sports talk radio or the next Howard Stern died in Spring of 2007.  Now I’m with Promodealer.com creating cool promo products with company logos. Recently just completed flash drives for the NY/NJ Super Bowl.

When I’m not doing that, I seem to spend far too much time on Toastmasters. My goal was to use it to become a professional speaker but this year I’m a district officer and my club’s President. Oh and I sort would like to be World Champion of Public Speaking.

I’m an old school gamer. Stuff like board games, card games, and roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons. I’m a big Star Wars guy. I’ve actually written modules for a Star Wars RPG played nationally.

So that is the basics of me. Over time you’ll get far more.

Cause That’s What I Do!

WWE wrestler Mark Henry’s catchphrase seemed like the right title for this posting. I’ve been asked often about what I do and how I do it. In the small feedback I’ve received, it’s been the most common suggestion. Mostly it’s been about what I eat, how I eat, and when I eat. That will come. But for now, we’ll tackle a different realm: exercise.

The following is currently what my workouts look like:

Monday AM:

The Monday morning workout is in the Lifetime Pool with Matt. I’ll do sprints, use the pool weights, and weights with sprints. This is a 40-50 minute workout. Nice part about the pool is I don’t get tired as quickly because the water hydrates. It also allows me to move my body in ways that might not be so comfortable or easy on land.

Monday PM:

I try not to miss the 6:15pm WERQ class. It’s a dance class that mixes pop, rap, and hip hop. Love it far more than Zumba. It’s a 45 minute class.  You can read more on it here: http://werqfitness.com/

Afterwards, I’ll hit the treadmill and watch WWE Monday Raw to the 1st commercial break. Then its off to get dinner and hit the dry sauna.

Tuesday: Miranda. Miranda’s mostly nutrition so we’ll walk the gym usually for an hour. I’ll average about 5000-6000 steps. We’ve been doing agility drills and I’ll do some sprints but after Sunday and Monday this is usually a down day. Unless Miranda’s mad then I could be in a lot of trouble. There’s a new dance class on Tuesday night. Did it last night but I think my odds of doing it every week are slim.

Wednesday: Zone workout with Matt. We target based on my heart rate zones. Usually 12-15 minutes on a treadmill. At that point it could be anything. Today included TRX, Battle Ropes, squats, and catch with a giant medicine ball. Usually ends with sprints for about 10 minutes or so. Total time is about 50 minutes.  If I’m feeling up to it, WERQ is in the evening but I rarely do it on Wednesday night.

Thursday: More Miranda. A lot like Tuesday only with a weigh-in (ick).

Friday: The weekend starts my efforts. Friday morning is 40 minutes walking the gym. It’s followed by 10-20 minutes in the pool and 10-20 minutes in the dry sauna. If I’m feeling up to it or nothing better to do, I’ll either head back to gym hit the treadmill or take the Zumba class that evening and do some more dry sauna.

Saturday: When it was nice outside, I’d go walk the park in the Glen. Now its either treadmill or Zumba. 99% of the time…treadmill–for an hour. I’ll change speeds and inclines. If I’m ambitious it’s out to Woodfield Mall for the 1pm Latin Fusion dance class. Sometimes is two trips in one day and will include 1-2 dry sauna trips. The goal is to be over 10K steps today–or maybe more.

Sunday: Welcome to my busy day.

8am–Pilates–a must. If could afford it more it would be twice a week.

9:30am–WERQ. This might be one of the most popular classes all week. After this I’m usually over 6000 steps easy.

10:30am–12:25pm: Treadmill (get to 10K steps), breakfast, and dry sauna in no particular order there. Just try to get it all done.

12:30–Yoga. Just started. It’s a one on one session. Still working to get it down and better.

If I feel like it I’ll hit the treadmill, walk in the gym, and/or dry sauna. Usually just dry sauna.

My daily step goal is at least 5000 and more like 7000 or better. 10,000 is really the daily goal. I usually hit it on weekends for sure. I use a fitbit to track what I do. You can see about that here: http://www.fitbit.com/home

So that’s my exercise…Cause That’s What I Do!

Shopping–AGAIN!!!

It was time.

I’d been trying to hold off. Thought maybe I could get another month or two.

Nope.

It’s time to shop…again.

Ever since about June, every two months I need to shop. Because…

Because I don’t fit in my clothes any more.

Yes, it’s a problem I want but imagine if you had to buy something you will only be wearing two months. Ask yourself how much you’re willing to buy or pay for. How expensive considering they won’t last.

I had a rotation of 5 dress shirts and two pairs of pants. Thankfully the shirts have been lasting.

Pants and belts…ugh.

I’m really burying the lead here.

Last year I wore a 6-7x t-shirt. Yesterday…

2X

Yeah, that 4-5 sizes in 14 months.

Pants were a 74 at my biggest. Yesterday…

52

22 sizes in 14 months!!! Talk about crazy!

And yet, I’m complaining. Hey, it costs money to look good! But hey…

I look good.

And that’s all that matters…until I have to go shopping again. Ugh.

The Countdown 1/20/2014

Last Week: 334

This Week: 332 (Goal was 329)

Next week’s goal: 327

Magic Number to 220: 112 lbs.

Lost since Nov 2012: 211 lbs

Lost Since Nov 2011: 229 lbs

Highest ever weight recorded/known: 589 (difference of 257 lbs)

I think the past week was some elation and celebration for finally breaking the 340 mark. And of course I celebrated with food. Perhaps the Panda Express for lunch that Monday wouldn’t have been a problem if later AFTER eating dinner I had chicken wings AND mac and cheese. Perhaps I didn’t need Wendy’s hash browns on Tuesday morning. Or maybe I didn’t need to add sugar to my protein shake to give it more flavor that evening.

Or the two days in a row with an ice cream cone from McDonalds. Or TGI Friday’s on Friday night. Certainly not the Dunkin Donuts breakfast with hash browns on Saturday morning. Is it any wonder I even lost two pounds with all that? Even when I pulled two a days of exercise on Monday and Wednesday.

While 2 pounds is nothing to sneeze it, it’s clear I need to be far cleaner if I’m going to lose 5 a week and get to 300 any time soon. I’d hoped with pounds just melting off last week I could be more lax.

I was wrong.

It takes a ton of mental energy to always make the right choice. Especially when it’s clear one wrong food choice a day can cost you. I will either need to be cleaner or exercise more and/or harder. I’d almost rather the latter but that means making even more time. It’d probably mean morning and night sessions.

Stress has also been a factor. It’s easy to stop binge/stress eating when you have money to spend on other things to keep you occupied. Well the result is I’m taking some financial hits which means I need to tone down the insane spending. Not easy and even more stressful. Combine that with sluggish sales at work and you can imagine stress has been raised.

And when stress is raised and I can’t find means to compensate then my mind starts to wander. It looks towards food for comfort. Things like carbs, peanut butter, and ice cream. That last one explains the two ice cream cones this week.

Next week the goal is 327. It’s clear if I’m going to make it, I’m going to need to figure this out.

The Biggest Loser

After completing and winning my club’s 90 day fitness challenge, I joking flirted with idea of trying out for the Biggest Loser. In fairness, I always hated this show. Watching trainers brow beat out of shape and overweight people until they collapse and cry seems mean and cruel. And how realistic was what would come later? Sure they took it off at the ranch–but how about at home? Home where it’s you and only you?

So I had no love for the biggest loser–seeing Jillian Michaels up close in spandex–yes but otherwise–no.

So how exactly did I end up at the Chicago tryouts for the biggest loser last spring?

Greed, fame, and money.

I’d lost over 100 pounds by then and was getting in good shape. Good enough shape that I could take anything those trainers–even Jillian Michaels–could throw at me. By that point, I also knew I’d be hungrier than most. I’d been to Structure House and seen what being closed off and away from everything could do. Only this time I knew even more than I did back then. I also knew I was still bigger than most they’ve had on the show. People like me and with my communications/broadcasting background, I knew what they were looking for. I had a decent story and that’s what they look for.

When I showed up, I expected I’d be done in a few hours.

Try five and half.

800 people showed up that day in Chicago. I thank god I was smart enough to bring a folding chair. At least it was about 60 degrees out and sunny. Sunny enough that I ended up sun burned that day. There was a subway vendor there–as you’d expect since it’s the show’s sponsor. Then there’s the people.

People who turned up were interesting. I wonder how many of them were truly there because they needed to lose weight or because of the money. Some talked of how they’d become famous cake makers or use it to launch their rap career. Some I even wondered why they were even in line. They didn’t look like they needed to lose anything! Some brought their families and friends. Some brought guitars and sang in line.

Most telling was what people ate. I saw people in line scarfing down bags of chips, cakes, and cookies while waiting. Downing 72 oz sodas–not diet either. I could go on for a while here. People in line looking for “help” and yet eating themselves to even larger weights in the process. Made me remember I used to be one of them. That I was exactly like these people.

The 5 and half hour wait was followed by 5 minutes waiting, and then 10 of us escorted to a table. There were 3 casting directors seeing everyone. Only 12 people would get call backs. Or a 1.5% chance. Each one of us was to give our name, age, and what we wanted to lose. I said all of it. Then it was elevator pitch time. One minute and make it good.

I’ve not talked much about my background in this blog. I worked in media for a dozen years. I’ve been in Toastmasters for 5 plus years. I’ve won awards for speaking in college. I work sales for a living.

I know what an elevator pitch is. And I knew I needed to hit this one out of the park.

In fairness, I think I hit it out of the park. I think the casting director was impressed. I know I had 3-5 people at the table who walked up to me afterwards. But I also think already being on my journey hurt my chances. I’d had a better shot as depressed, miserable, 500+, me than the me at that time.

It didn’t help one of the people at my table was a single mother of three tending to her brother who was a war vet and missing a leg. I worked in media. 400+ pound guy with confidence doesn’t trump single mom helping wounded vet brother.

This entire process took 10 minutes. That’s right, I waited 5+ hours for 10 minutes with 1.5% chance of a callback.

Since you never saw me on TV, you can guess I never got a return call. Apparently there were two chosen from Chicago. I don’t recognize either of them from my time in line. Not sure their stories would been better than mine but then that’s not the issue is it?

The truth is they needed it…and I didn’t. Yes, a couple year’s back I needed an intervention like this. This kind of help. This kind of support. This level of a kick in the ass.

But not now.

Sure it’d been nice to be on TV, win the money, meet Allison Sweeney, drool over Jillian Michaels, and hang out with Bob but I’m doing it without them. I’m doing it way on my terms and it’s been rewarding.

I’ll never be the biggest loser. Instead I’ll be happy counting down to 220. There will be no losers–only winners here.

PS Here’s me at the front of the line:Image

The Mayor of Lifetime Fitness?

“Hey, I was just wondering, how much have you lost?”

Every time I walk into the Lifetime Fitness at Old Orchard, this question or a question similar is asked to me almost daily–sometimes multiple times a day. The days I don’t get asked are more of a shock than when I do. I’m told by both Matt and Miranda that they’re often asked about me even when I’m not even in the Lifetime Fitness building. Matt jokes I’m there so often and well enough known that I’m the Mayor of Lifetime Fitness.

He might not be wrong. But when you drop 200 pounds in a year’s time, people notice. They notice a lot.

It wasn’t always like this. When the countdown really first began, it was on the day I weighed 543 pounds. When you weigh 543 pounds and you walk into an upscale health club–one filled with young, urban families, beautiful people, and regular patrons–well, you sort of stick out–and not in a good way. So IMHO, there was a little bit of a carnival act mentality. Come see the 500+ pound and see if he can will indeed get smaller or end up quitting. I was an oddity.

If you read “Four Guys on a bench”, you know who my first “fans” were. Right there with them were those who were taking the aqua fitness classes on the weekend mornings. The ones who’d see me show up at 7:45am, take class, then work for another 30-40 minutes in the pool on my own. Most of the trainers were next. They saw I was determined, never gave up, and see me sitting on the couch half dead to the world.

To be honest, I’m not exactly sure when I went from oddity to inspirational. When the gawking became thumbs up, the questions began, and people stopping me became routine. At first I wasn’t sure how to take it. I was no where close to goal. How could I be inspirational? And how was I inspirational? Policemen, firefighters, people who cure cancer–those people are inspirational. I’m just a guy who needed to lose 300+ pounds.

Then there’s the days I don’t make goal or a week where things aren’t going well. What do you say to someone who says “great job” when you gained 7 pounds because you ate taco bell and pizza this week and missed goal? Monday is the worst. If I don’t make goal, I’m usually in a pretty shitty mood. It’s the worst time for someone to approach me like this. It’s gotten to where Matt has run interference sometimes.

But sometimes those comments come at just the right moment. If you read my Georgette post, I can only tell you that’s one of many moments like that. During my 340s period, a man named Bob approached me. He’d noticed I’d been frustrated lately and wanted me to keep up the good work. What’s amusing is I didn’t know Bob so how he knew I’d been struggling lately is beyond me. Or maybe it’s one of those moments where I don’t want to get back on the treadmill and Steve, who again I don’t know, says some nice words and I feel motivated to get those last steps in to reach 10,000 that day.

That’s when I realized, even when I didn’t need it or deserve it, it was important to say thank you, introduce myself, and get their name. Because it’s not often in this world people go out of their way for anyone or anything. And everyday I someone does that for me when they didn’t have to. It’s also when I knew I needed to return that to others. When there’s somebody who looks like me in the building and I see them, I make sure I introduce myself. I also try to help and talk with those who ask because it’s important.

Because it’s kind of who I am now. After all, I’m the Mayor right?

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