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

Posts tagged ‘Fast food’

The Countdown 2/17/14

Last Week: 325

This Week: 323

Next week’s goal: 318

Magic Number to 220: 103 lbs.

Lost since Nov 2012: 220 lbs

Lost Since Nov 2011: 238 lbs

Highest ever weight recorded/known: 589 (difference of 266 lbs)

Steps for the week: 78,011

Average Steps per Day: 11,144

This was a crazy week. One of my vendors came in–and brought snacks. And while others ate some, I ate more. I’ve been having trouble with the community food in the kitchen. I didn’t used to but of late it’s been an issue. I’d be one thing if it was just a taste but usually it’s more than that.

There was a box of chocolate covered english butter toffee that I’m positive I ate the majority of. Then there were the 3-6 oreos with cookie dough filled I just had to try. Even tried bigger breakfasts to compensate but alias no–not working. Still, no fast food again this week. Two weeks in a row. I had two dinners out this weekend. One was a date and the other my Mom and Aunt.

And with all this, I’d lost a pound.

I might made this week except…I planned poorly. Saturday I had my Toastmasters club’s anniversary party. I should ate more before I went but I also knew I’d eat while there. So I tired to push through. I did it after treadmill and Zumba.

There was pizza.

Crappy Little Casears Pizza.

I had 1 slice….then 2…then 2-3 more. And of course as club president , I felt obligated to eat the cake that was made.

Sunday morning…up a pound.

If not for my error, I’d been close this week. Instead–2 pounds. I know I shouldn’t complain but damn it I really wanted to be further along before Vegas. Normally I’d be more annoyed but things have been great. Had an amazing date Friday night and I’m headed for Vegas on Thursday.

As I mentioned, it’s the first time I’ve flown in 20 years. My schedule for Saturday and Sunday is pretty packed too. It’ll be nice to get out of the cold for a few days too. This weather is absolutely driving me nuts. As I write this the snow falls…AGAIN! It’s just maddening how much cold and snow there’s been this year.

The real trick will be finding the time to get in a workout and keeping the eating healthy. It’s Vegas, I’m positive I can get what I need. The question becomes will I have time or what will I need to do in order to make it all work? If anything, I’m worried more about the drinking. It’s Vegas and free drinks. I could gain and not have eaten anything.

The sorta good news? Looks like I don’t weigh in until Wednesday next week. It screws up the next week but depending on how Vegas goes, it could be interesting.

So next week is 318. 18 pounds from 300 and 98 pounds from 220–the goal. A fun and challenging week lies ahead. Vegas baby!


The Countdown–2/10/2014

Last Week: 331

This Week: 325

Next week’s goal: 320

Magic Number to 220: 105 lbs.

Lost since Nov 2012: 218 lbs

Lost Since Nov 2011: 236 lbs

Highest ever weight recorded/known: 589 (difference of 264 lbs)

I REALLY didn’t think I’d make it this week.

Given trends the last few weigh-ins and how the week was going, I thought I’d lose something but not 6 pounds. Yes it was a week with no trips to fast food however it was extremely carb and cheese filled–two things which will result in weight gain for me when too much is consumed. I also know I was pretty nut crazy this week again as well. I also know that on Thursday morning I was at 331-332.

Due to other life aspects, I didn’t get a chance to weigh on Friday or Saturday. So when I stepped on the scale Sunday I had no clue what to expect. I did eat less but some of the things I ate…chocolate covered strawberries or cole slaw are not good ideas. Neither was half of that oversized blueberry muffin I ate either. But I also found healthy options with both The Corner Bakery and Panera–something I can use down the road as well.

Again exercise continues to rise. This week was 78,849 in steps. There was only one day under 8000 and it was by 73 steps. Everything else was 9400 or better including 16,606 on Sunday. It’s a daily average of 11,264 and 36.18 total miles. Fibit also measures what they call active minutes. These would be more than just stepping just to step. The daily goal is 30. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were 15, 12, and 42 respectively.

It is becoming clear that while 10K a day would be awesome (note: national avg is 5000), I’m questioning whether 7000 with 30 active minutes might not be better. That target heart rate zones being hit on a more regular basis might be more effective. Miranda, the nutrition goddess of Lifetime, would tell you do both. I’d tell you I work a desk job in which being on the phone and email is where the dollars come from.

But I’ve really buried the lead here…

Next week’s goal is 320.

Exactly 100 pounds from where this countdown ends…220.

The magic number dropping to double digits is honestly something I’d never thought would come. This entire journey the numbers have been 3 digits long. As much as I’ve accomplished, I was still VERY far away. And now I’m 6 pounds from 99 away. Two digits–not three. Suddenly the never ending road has an off ramp. It’s 105 pounds away but its there.

Amazing how things can change in a week eh?

Next week’s goal. 320–100 away from the countdown’s end of 220.

Can’t wait to get started.

See you next week!

Five Guys Friday

During the summer months, my company does Friday bbq. There’s usually grilled chicken and veggies I can do but it all ends around Labor Day. And then it’s back to everybody doing their own thing. Well, almost everybody.

Last spring a Five Guys opened up near work. Big greasy burgers and home cuts french fries. Instantly popular in the office. So popular the office now has what’s called Five Guys Friday. Every Friday they take orders and bring back Five Guys. And being that my office/desk is around the corner from the kitchen, I smell it all the time. I know when it’s here. The entire office chows down on monster sized burgers and greasy, salty fries.

So how many times have I been a part of Five Guys Friday?

Not a one.

It’s not easy. God, it’s REALLY not easy.

Sometimes I’m having my little healthy meal while I’m surrounded by those a part of the Friday ritual. I look at my chicken, smell the burgers, and mentally sigh. My favorite is when some try to “guilt” this group while I eat my healthy meal. Really it hits me more mentally than any of them. The worse part is I’ve romaticizied Five Guys now. Having fought this long, now look at it like a guilty pleasure that one day I’ll be able to have. I’ve thought about just going there one day and getting it out of my system but resisted so far.

Perhaps the hardest part is the peer pressure. Everybody is having Five Guys Friday but I can’t. It makes me flashback to those days as kid when you weren’t considered social normal. When maybe you got stuck wearing the plaid shirts, Buster Brown shoes, and corduroy pants. Or you had the brace facial gear? Or maybe you were the kid who opened your lunch and had all the uncool food compared to the other kids?

Now nobody is dunking my head in the toliet (note: NOBODY ever did that. I weighed too much. They couldn’t lift me to do it anyway) or laughing at me but when everybody else is eating Five Guys and I’m eating a salad with very little dressing…well, you can imagine how you might flashback to those kid moments. The ones when you didn’t fit in. When you didn’t feel comfortable.

I’m not asking my office to give up Five Guys Friday. It wouldn’t be fair to them. This is my issue, problem, and fight. And while all of them support me and these efforts, they’re free to eat whatever they want. As they should be. Unfortunately it sometimes results in me wondering why I can’t have Five Guys like everybody else.

And there lies the issue.

So often we all want to be “like everybody else” following the social norms or being accepted. Yes we all want to be individuals but we all look to fit in somewhere. And that will happen once more as we get closer to Memorial Day. When Five Guys Friday gives way to BBQ. But until then Friday’s at noon surrounded by Five Guys food is just another obstacle on my countdown.

The Gauntlet

In my quest to reach 220 pounds, there’s a lot of healthy eating and exercise. But there’s also the mental game. When the boss buys lunch, it means you step up and make sure there’s something you can eat instead of pizza or fried chicken. It means when the office get Five Guys on Fridays that you make sure you have that 300 cal detox lunch from Lifetime Fitness.

But probably the hardest part of all might seem like the easiest: Putting my lunch in the fridge in the kitchen.

Sounds easy right?


The kitchen is where people leave communal food. Co-worker made extra brownies? Guess where he brought them? Someone got a food gift from a client? C’mon down! Some just felt like being nice and bringing in bagels and cream cheese? It’s right there for you.

I’m glad my co-workers do this stuff for each other. I think it’s awesome. Unfortunately all I want to do is put my stuff in the fridge. Instead I see the assortment of goodies. Worse, my desk is around the corner from said goodies! So it’s a 2 second walk to the kitchen. And now that I have a water bottle to refill regularly…well, I get to see this again and again.

Now in fairness, sometimes there’s nothing. Other times what’s available…yuck. But those other times…the times with say…the homemade brownies and cookies?


So everyday I walk into work knowing I need to run this “gauntlet”. That I’ve got be mental strong and not give in. Some days that’s indeed what happens.  Sometimes it’s a simple taste and throw away. Or the days where it’s just one. And then there are THOSE days.

The one where it was only supposed to be a taste and suddenly became one. Where one becomes two and two becomes 3, 4, and 5.

Yeah, THOSE days.

Wish I could say I’ve not had them but I have. Even when you’ve taken off 200 pounds in a year there are going to be times where it didn’t go as planned. Where you have those lapses. The question becomes is it a one time lapse? Do you have the resolve to make sure that’s all it is?

The answer is yes. That’s supposed to be the answer. But for the majority of my life I ran the gauntlet right into a fast food drive thru. My guess is given our current obesity problems in this country that I’m not the only one.

I think Dr. Lee Kern of Structure House said it best: it’s not about what you did, it’s about what you do next. Boy is he dead on. In the past I’d look at what I’d consumed, get mad at myself, and as result consumed even more of what the same things which made me get mad in the first place.

So when you walk into your gauntlet–a break room or kitchen–you have to be strong and believe in yourself. If you give in–it happens but it’s more important to break the cycle and fret over it as chances are if you don’t it’ll happen again.

It’s the end of the day. I need to empty my bottle. It means I’ll walk past cookies, brownies, and god knows what else. It’s my gauntlet and I have to walk through it.

The best laid plans…

I had a plan. I was committed. This time was going to be different.

It was different all right.

I expected to have an hour break between events. Events ran long resulting in either not getting in exercise and/or heading out places to make better food choices. I did not account for record cold and snow over the weekend. That resulted on more than a few occasions where I simply didn’t want to leave the building but needed food. And then…well there were just bad choices.

There was a complementary breakfast. Most of the choices were crap. And yet, I felt compelled to eat said crap over going out to get and make a better choice. I also one night had pizza and Panda Express the other.

To give you an idea how bad things went, I went to Panda Express and tried to to make the best possible choices. After I’d ordered and paid, I said to a friend “well, I think I made good choices”. That’s when the nice lady behind the counter tells me she had a nutritional guide and asks if I’d like to see it. While my choices weren’t bad, I could have made better. Had I said something earlier, it’s possible I’d cut some serious calories.

I had ever intention to use this trip and down time to my advantage. To make me strides with the weight goals. Instead it got out of control and turned into a free for all of sorts. I got in 7000 steps or better. It should been 10,000. I started the trip at 344 and by the time I stepped on a scale Wednesday…349.

Not good–especially if the plan was to be at 335 on Monday.

I’ve made a lot of justifications in this post. None of them are good ones. If I’d really wanted it, I could found a way. I could made a few more sacrifices with my time. I could have gotten 3000 more steps and been at 10,000 every day. I could have braved the cold and snow and got the right food. Even with the bad choices, I could have figured out a way to make them okay.

If I once figured out a way to eat healthy at a Dennys, I could do this.

But I didn’t. I was weak, didn’t advocate for myself, and failed as a result. I needed to do what was best for me and I didn’t. I didn’t put my needs before others. I could made more effort to have what I needed but instead wanted to go with the crowd and fit in.

It also made it clear what will be needed the rest of the way: discipline and commitment. This last 120+ may be far harder than the 200 previously lost. Mostly because there’s less room for error and not the margin I used to have. Even the littlest mistakes or lack of commitment could now be the difference between a 5 pound week and 3-4 pound week.

And that is the reason I’ve been at a stand still the last month or so. This last leg of the journey, while rewarding, will be the most difficult and grueling. It’s going to take a lot of focus, discipline, effort, and energy.

I know I need to do it. I also know my mind wasn’t read for that step. That this next step can’t be half assed or just about showing up. It’s going to take more than that.

On Wednesday I was 349. This morning I was already down to 344–back where I started a week ago. I probably won’t get to 335 by Monday but I could be under 340.

It’s a new year and a new time. It’s clear I need to get it together and take that step forward. Because while we all have plans, sometimes it just best to step forward and do it.

Welcome to the “enemy”!

I recently made quite a bit of my team in this journey aware of this blog. That means my thoughts and my sins…the ones I omit, will be on full display in all their glory. And while I’ll get flack, it means my Tuesdays and Thursdays could taken on new dimensions.

Tuesday and Thursday is when I meet with Miranda.

My nutritionist.

Miranda is awesome. She’s helped me a ton and always is in my corner. I’d not be at this point without her. She’s the person who makes sure I make amazing food choices. Before her my four food groups were Fast Food, Jack Daniels, Bar Food, and oh yeah green stuff.  To help me get better at this, I sent her pictures of EVERYTHING I eat.

Have I mentioned what my idea of what four groups were?

So while Miranda is awesome, she’s also…well, the “enemy”. Remember those cartoons as a kid–the ones with the devil and angel on each shoulder? Miranda’s the angel. So when the ENTIRE office is getting Five Guys, guess who’s voice I’m hearing the whole time? Yes, this is a good thing…except when you want something. Something you know is a bad idea. Something that you’re not supposed to touch with a 10 foot pole. Like say…a Big Mac.

(NOTE: Notice I did not say I ate one nor am I planning to. No Big Macs. Not here, not ever. No Big Macs were harmed in the creating of this post.)

Now I’m supposed to take a picture of this. Have you ever had a dog? Have they ever pooped on the carpet? Ever walk the dog over there and put is nose in the poop and asked him what he did?


Yes she means well. Yes, she’s right. Of course she’s right. I shouldn’t be eating that. But damn it, it’s not normal to eat salad without gobs of ranch dressing. It’s goes against the American way of life! So once in a while, Miranda doesn’t get a picture…or three. She’s had guesses here and there but hey, no picture–no proof right?

But now she has access to this blog. The one where I will indeed be confessing things…like when I’ve stopped at the Culver’s Drive Thru.

(NOTE#2: Notice I did not say I went to Culvers. Not here, not ever. No Culvers were involved in the creating of this post. No small carmel cashew sundaes were harmed in writing this post. Honest. I swear.)

I’ve titled her the “enemy” but really it’s only because if I called her an “angel”, I’d never hear the end of it. And now she has access to everything.

Because as much as I hate not getting to eat pizza, I trust her–even when I do something stupid or fail miserably. She’s in my corner.

So I welcome the “enemy” to the countdown. Try not the kill me too much when once in a while you read something here you didn’t see please. 😉

Who I used to be

I was just like everybody else. I didn’t have time to prep food, I wanted it fast, and I wanted it cheap. Here’s what a typical day might look like.

Breakfast–McDonalds: Steak and Egg bagel (minus the egg); Hash Browns x 2; Cinnamon Melt; Vanilla Sugar Free Ice Coffee

Total Calories: 1430

Lunch–Wendy’s: Baconator; Double Stacks x 2; Large Fries; Large All Natural Lemonade

Total for the meal: 2640

Before I even had dinner, I had consumed 4070 calories. One pound is 3500 calories. By lunch time, I was already up one.

This didn’t include something like Gatorade. FYI a 32 oz bottle is 240 calories. I’d consume like 4-5 a day. That’s another 1000-1200 calories. Or snacking between meals–probably at something like Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Burger King–you get the idea. And we’ve not talked about my penchant for margaritas by the pitcher or Jack Daniels. Best guess on average I probably consumed between 5000 and 10,000 calories a day.

And exercise? My idea of exercise was a 12 ounce curl and the walk to and from the bathroom. Strenuous exercise was walking around the supermarket.

Is it any wonder how I ended up at 589 pounds at my worst?

Yes, that was me, Jeff Stein. The man I used to be.

If you’ve read the previous blog postings, you’ll know life is a little different now. I traded a baconator for a turkey burger with no cheese or a bun. Got rid of the fries for grilled asparagus. The “natural” lemonade for smartwater.

You get the idea.

I wish I could tell you the days of fast food and garbage food are over for me. Truth is they’ll never be over. There will always be a part of me that sees an ad on TV and drools. I’ll see some deal of 2 for $5 burger/sandwich and want to run over and buy $10 worth. This will always be a problem and issue. I like food. I like food a lot.  but I know and as GI Joe used to say–knowing is half the battle.

598 pounds.

That used to be me.

But not any more.


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