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

You’re doing great!

This morning, I got on the scale.


Not bad since I had pecan pie and a 7 oz fillet last night.

(Note to all the food police: Yes, I should not be eating pecan pie. So noted and stipulated. Thank you.)

As I thanked god and creation, I got off the scale in the locker room. That’s when someone said it:

“You’re doing great! Keep going!”

Ever since the winter of 2013, this is a regular happening at Lifetime Fitness Old Orchard. As I’ve mentioned previously, I went from sideshow to rock star. There were days when I couldn’t get through a workout without being stopped. My trainers get asked about me when I’m not in the building.

As Ron Burgundy once said, I’m kind of a big deal. People know me. And for the most part, I enjoy it.  It’s nice to walk in the building like I’m Norm from Cheers. Especially when most of my life I dreaded going to the gym–a place of the pretty and buff–two things I’m not.

Now when someone wishes to compliment me and things are going well, it’s a polite thank you and try to be humble (somewhere my true friends are laughing at that). Usually that includes a comment like…”well, I appreciate that but I’m not finished yet”. And I’m not. I’m 133 pounds away as of this morning.

But on the days when the scale isn’t my friend…well, it’s a lot heard feel good about those words.  Especially when you know if you didn’t stop at Culver’s for a Concrete Mixer frozen custard with cookie dough, peanut butter cups, and peanut butter syrup things would gone much better.  So when a well meaning person says those nice words, my inner loser knows better and get squirely.

Now in the past, I was losing more. That meant this wasn’t an issue. But as I mentioned previously, in April of 2014 I was at 307. I was closing in on 300. I was 87 pounds from goal.

After Thanksgiving I was at 360. For those not wanting to do the math, that’s a gain of 53 pounds since then. So when well meaning individuals would walk up to me these last few months and say…

“Hey, you’re doing great!”



That’s what I want to say. What do I usually say?

“Thank you.”

And then the worst feel in the world happens. The one where I look at myself in the mirror and my mind is thinking only one thing.


Yes, I should look at the big picture but when 1 pound becomes 5 and 5 becomes 15…well, it’s not so easy.  You know that right now, a pat on the back or high five is the last thing in the world you deserve. Then comes the fun part. You feel guilt. In my case guilt leads to stress. What do I do when I’m stressed?

You guessed it–I eat.

All because someone tried to be nice and my mind twisted it into something else entirely. The last few months, I’ve allowed myself to say and think horrible things about myself. But I also know this. I don’t want to go back to who and what I used to be either.

There is no question I am my own worst enemy. Everyday I’ll need to remember to stay positive and not give up. That when somebody says “you’re doing great” it’s a reason smile and stand proud even if the night before you had too many carbs and the scale says your up.

I may feel like a fraud at times but the truth is I’m stronger, faster, and healthier than any point in my life. If I just continue to believe in myself, I will figure it out. I will lose the weight. I will reach my goal.

He was right: I am doing great.


One of the first posts, I ever wrote was about 4 guys on a bench. If I was tech savvy, I’d have a way to link it to this post. but I’m not so please feel free to search it out.

Many of my regular workouts the past couple years happen in the gym.  I would see these four men and other racquetball players most mornings. The Lifetime Fitness used to have it’s cycle room, rock wall, and racquetball courts next to it’s basketball courts.

Notice I said use to.

At the end of May, Lifetime Fitness Old Orchard decided to make a brand new yoga studio (yay!)–right where the racquetball courts were (boo!). While I’m happy there’s a new yoga studio, I was disappointed it would mean these people–the people who’d watch me melt away, would no longer have their place to play.

So in mid June of 2014, the courts were closed, the benches removed, and my biggest fans were now gone. After the yoga studios opened, the gym was a lot more quiet. There’s an occasional basketball player but otherwise…quiet.

Before they left, I got the email for one of them. They’ve been bouncing around between LA Fitness locations. In the first email, I sent him the post I’d wrote about Four Guys On a Bench. I told him how much I appreciated him that day and how that made a difference.

At the time I sent him the link, I wasn’t writing any more. A few weeks later, I got a note about a comment posted. It was one of the wives of those players. She’d been inspired by my post and was going to work towards weight loss.

I recently was emailing with them and asked them what they were thinking that day. His response?

When I saw you working out the first time I knew you had an uphill battle that wasn’t going to be easy. I knew that you needed all the encouragement you could get. I think the average guy would say keep trying and that was the end of it.

 I think I told you I had a lot of ups and downs in my lifetime and these guys I hang with are terrific. They can make you laugh at the drop of a hat. Laughter is the best medicine I know. We started teasing you in hopes you would take it the right way and you obviously did.  It’s an easy way to break the ice and laughter can be contagious. I know we had Miranda & Matt laughing a lot with all of us.  

 You take care of yourself and keep plugging away. We’ll get together when you reach your goal next year.”

He was right. At that moment I was tired, exhausted, and seconds from giving up. Seconds from throwing it all away.

Two years later, when the scale keeps going up and I get frustrated, I think back to that moment at the gym. That’s when I remember the most important thing I’ve learned:


We will all have our ups and downs. Our successes and failures, it’s where we go next that determines our course in life.

239 days ago, I was at 307 pounds. Today…355. But I know I get back there. I know because even when the numbers on the scale go up, I know I can do it. I won’t give up. It may take weeks, months, or years but I will get there. I will lose 135 pounds. I will get to 220 pounds.

Because I know I can.

Time’s passed and sometimes I wonder if anyone remembers there used to be racquetball courts or the players who’d come in the early morning to use them. Then I remember it does matter because I do.

I remember.

And that’s all that matters.

Can’t wait to see them next year when I reach my goal.

Hey Remember me?

Forgive me father have sinned.

It’s been 239 days since my last posting. The last time y’all heard from me I was closing in on a milestone–being under 300 pounds.

I’d love to tell you I made my goal and I’m at 220 pounds. That I just got busy and lacked time to post is all.

This morning I tipped the scales at 355 or 48 pounds heavier than my last posting here. A lot has happened since my last post. In the first year I was able to shut a lot of the demons and issues out. But they were still there. They found new ways to manifest.

I also began to deal with identity issues. I’d have people walk up telling me “how they feared for me” or things they’d noticed.

Things they never bothered to tell me….until now. The line that killed me the most: “your life must be so much better now!”

It made me ask the following question–what was wrong with the old me? I was a pretty good guy–I think. Did everyone I know around me perceive me as some giant, fat, ass loser ticking time bomb?

Another hurdle has been that 300 number. Twice I’ve pushed forward gotten close only to end up 20 or more pounds away within 7-14 days. The first time it happened, I shook it off. The 2nd time, it lingered. Recently I came back from Structure House in October at 339 and poised to make a run at 300. I’m now 16 pounds heavier.

And while I appreciated all the concern and support from friends, family, co-workers, trainers, and all those in my corner; I needed to sort this out and find answers…on my own. I shut out a lot of people and still am at points.

But one of the bigger mistakes I made was not continuing to write. It’s so easy to write when things are going well. But I promised myself even when times were tough I’d continue to write.

I didn’t.

And the person I hurt most doing so was myself. If I’d done so, I might be in a better place. I also might been able to help others who like me were struggling.

There’s a lot more to write about the past 239 days. I’m not sure when or how much I’ll talk about. I also don’t know when I’ll write again. But I do know this:

I will write again. I also know the countdown isn’t over. I’m 135 pounds from my 220 goal and I will get there. It might not be tomorrow, next week, or next year but I will reach my goal.

I write soon and not in another 239 days.

Last Week: 312

This Week: 307 (GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!!!)

Next week’s goal: 307

Magic Number to 220: 87 lbs.

Lost since Nov 2012 (543 lbs): 236 lbs

Lost Since Nov 2011 (561.8 lbs): 254.8 lbs

Highest ever weight recorded/known: 589 (difference of 282 lbs)


Strange week. 

On Friday I had hit goal. And yet on Monday I needed a brisk 10 minute walk and 10 minutes of sauna time to make goal. I had two dates over the weekend. Did Cheesecake Factory and Wildfire. The stuff I stuck to would make y’all proud.

And yet…


I suppose being sick a portion of last week helped. As discussed before, sick equals Jeff loses weight. But usually I’d lose a lot more than what I did. My activity level is down. Mostly as it’s been a bad work month and not felt comfortable going and walking in the warehouse lately as a result.

Miranda thinks it’s me not taking vitamins. Have to admit I start feeling much, much older when I hear I need fish oil and to take my vitamins. Yeah, I should take’em but I’d rather act my shoe size than age. Probably because in two weeks time I turn 42.



Really, 42?  

Crap I’m getting old. I swear I was 38 two seconds ago and now I’m 4 years past it???

Okay, focus. 

So looks like need to walk more, take vitamins, and….eat less? 

Miranda, my nutritional goddess, say no just add more veggies. But I’m beginning to wonder. Her take is if I’m eating natural organic foods in the oz/grams accounted for then I should be fine. My headache is usually salad equals dressing at which point I might as well have eaten a piece of chicken. Usually I’ll grill some onions, peppers, and whatever’s in the fridge with a pat of organic butter, garlic, and some salt.  

It could be water. I really don’t drink enough. I probably am getting 40-60oz a day. Really you’re supposed to drink half your body weight. At 307…

153.5 oz!!!

That’s over 19 glasses of water with an 8 oz glass! I’d be in the bathroom every 15 minutes. But hey, I’d get steps in. 

I just need to get on some of this stuff. 

And fast too. 

Passover was last night and of course I’m up.

310.5 no less.

Now I need to be down _8_ pounds next week.

Good news is it’s stuff that can come off easy but I’ll need to work a little extra this week. 

On the positive side, we’re getting closer and closer to leaving the 300s behind. If I indeed make it to 302, the next weigh-in would be 297. That’d put me 3 pounds under and 77 pounds from goal. It also means revisiting the 5 pound goal finally. 

8 pounds by Monday…maybe the tax man can come and take that from me instead? 😉

The Countdown–4/7/14

Last Week: 313

This Week: 312 

Next week’s goal: 307

Magic Number to 220: 92 lbs.

Lost since Nov 2012 (543 lbs): 231 lbs

Lost Since Nov 2011 (561.8 lbs): 249.8 lbs

Highest ever weight recorded/known: 589 (difference of 277 lbs)


Apologize for the delay. I got hit with a viral bug late in the weekend. Been laid up until today and the first chance I’ve had to write.

Last week was weird. I eeked out 313 last week. In doing so, I should have known this past week was going to be rough. I did myself no favors early in the week didn’t help. A little to many dark chocolate almonds, putting quite a bit of sugar on some strawberries, adding quite a few carbs on Monday. 

The scale crept back up to 316 by Wednesday. I got a little more serious and yet by Friday I was at 317. 

9 pounds away.


Now comes the eery part. I went to an event on Friday night. I ate and binged like crazy. Honey Roasted Peanuts, crackers, cheese, salami, a few pieces of sandwich. Saturday, at another event, I must have eaten at least 1/2 dozen peanut butter cookies. The big soft kind–lots of calories. Sunday I was at a friend’s house for Wrestlemania. I ate far too many chips and one piece of pizza.

I get on the scale on Monday…



Are you kidding me? Is this some sort of sick joke?

I lost 5 pounds???

I eat right most of the week and go up. I eat horribly all weekend and I go down? 

Given how the week started and where it ended, this should been a total train wreck. I should been close to 320–or more. How I’m not is a giant mystery that I don’t even think the Scooby Gang could figure out. 

I’d write more but honestly…I’m wiped. I really should not tried to coming back to work today. I feel like a zombie in the walking dead or something. Goal is 307 and it’ll be interesting.

I’ve not had a great step count this week. Then again Jeff sick = Jeff loses like 5+–usually 10+ pounds. We’ll see how it all falls out. Ironically I’m supposed to have two dates this weekend. Given how I feel right now I might have to cancel both. 

So next week 307. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to find tissues, cough syrup, and headache medicine.


Hello CNN!

I recently received an email that CNN was looking for weight loss stories. They asked for “ah ha” weight loss moments.

So I submitted mine:

So if you’ve come over from CNN-welcome to the Countdown to 220 blog.

In fairness, there were a few pieces I shared in my CNN piece I’d not shared with y’all. I will indeed be doing that. But not in this particular post. But I will get to them. Maybe the next time I’m stuck in the dry sauna or something. 

But for now, please pass on this story on CNN. And for those visiting from it–thank you.

Last Week: 317

This Week: 313 (GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!!!)

Next week’s goal: 308

Magic Number to 220: 93 lbs.

Lost since Nov 2012 (543 lbs): 230 lbs

Lost Since Nov 2011 (561.8 lbs): 248.8 lbs

Highest ever weight recorded/known: 589 (difference of 276 lbs)


I honestly didn’t think I’d make this one. Seriously, the last minute heroics needed of late have been nuts!

On Sunday I was at 316–3 pounds from goal.

Sunday turned into the following:

8am — Water Fitness Class

9am: 30 minutes in the dry sauna

9:45: Protein Shake

10am: WERQ class for an hour

11am:  Protein Shake and bottle of smart water

Noon: Dry Sauna

 12:45: 2.75 miles on the treadmill–heart rate zones 1 and 2.

2PM: Dry Sauna

3PM: Walked in the park for an hour. 

4PM: Piece of Chicken and Kale Salad from Whole Foods

5PM: Meeting friends

6PM: cup of turkey chili, spinach power salad, and apple

Almost 22K in steps and 1500-1700 calories for the day. Oh and Monday morning before weigh-in I did a 10 minute walk and 13 minutes in the dry sauna. Honestly most of the week I felt I kept things pretty clean. A few missteps but nothing where I’d not Sunday heroics. 

I did cut my step count back. I still question the need versus a real workout but I may have to rethink it. It’s also clear I have little margin for error now. Things I used to look at as minor and now major. I cleaned up quite a bit the last few weeks on cheese and bread. Hell, went to TGI Fridays and ordered a grilled chicken breast and salad with balsamic–no cheese or croutons either!

My error?

We got comp’ed chips and salsa. I lost count after 10 chips. But still, not like I don’t lose or a gain a pound kind of eating there. My crutch in the morning has been a small cup of peanut butter. And when I say small I mean like 2-4 table spoons worth. But honestly if I gave that up I’m not sure how long I’d last. No bread, cheese, or peanut butter and I’ll suddenly want things like oh…pasta, Chinese food, Chicken Parm, and a Big Mac.

No, peanut butter and Lifetime Fitness Baked Chicken Fingers are about my guilty pleasures now because otherwise it could be a lot worse. 

As I’ve mentioned before, the countdown will now be different. Lauren will now play the part of Matt. Okay the mental image of Matt with boobs is creeping me out. Or is it Lauren looking far more buff that makes me cringe? Yes, I will miss Matt–I already do. But I know Lauren and she’ll be great. Be interesting to see how things will work and be different now. 

It’s been two weeks straight of making goal. Been a long time since that’s happened. It pushes me closer to the next milestone:


Jeez, I can’t remember the last time I was under 300 pounds. I think it was junior high. If I make the next 3 weigh-ins it puts me at 298. But next week is going to be rough. I have a function late Saturday afternoon which will have goodies. I also know people will want to go out afterward. Sunday night is Wrestlemania and I’ve been invited over. I’ll pack accordingly but there’s no way I could pull off the last two Sunday’s this week while being out with “the guys”. 

Still, unless I screw up–which I’m prone to do, I should be under 300 pounds possible by my birthday later this month. Won’t that be one hell of a present! 

That’s all I got for this week. Be back here next week as get closer to 299 and ever so closer to 220lbs.




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