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

Posts tagged ‘Pound (mass)’

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 2/4/2014

Last Week: 330

This Week: 331 (Goal was 325)

Next week’s goal: 325

Magic Number to 220: 111 lbs.

Lost since Nov 2012: 212 lbs

Lost Since Nov 2011: 230 lbs

Highest ever weight recorded/known: 589 (difference of 258 lbs)

To say I’m annoyed is an understatement. Eight days and I can’t seem to lose one pound? It’s one thing when it’s a vacation or something crazy but your basic standard week? When on Sunday I was at 329? When I did 78,000 steps averaging 11,148 steps a day and 5.12 mile average?

I’m more active than I’ve ever been and yet…struggling. I got to 342 in mid November and since then it’s been a total of 13 pounds. Yes there were gains. Yes, it was the holidays. Yes, I started on 1/1/14 at 349 and lost 18 pounds this month. But really, I’ve been running in place for 2+ months now.

Last week included 2 trips to McDonalds for ice cream cones, a trip to KFC for Grilled Chicken, “sampling” at Whole Foods, eating the nice treats in the kitchen, and a the small piece of pie during the Super Bowl. And yet a 78K+ week couldn’t offset apparently any of this! Truly ironic that I simply can’t step myself out of this. On Sunday, I did pilates, and dance class, yoga, and another 11,000 steps to boot!

No effect.

No, it’s all about the nutrition. Which for me is easier said than done. Every time I pick up something to eat, there’s at least 2-3 thoughts that fly into my head. And while that’s great the constant watching and mindfulness is beginning to take it’s toll. It gets mentally tiring which adds stress which results in even worse choices.

Of late Miranda, my dietian, wants good quality choices which flies in the face of everything I know. Because there are days where I look at a food option which is better quality and know something from McDonalds has less calories or lower fat content.

The result?

McDs–of course. Shoot, I see Big Macs are 2 for $5 and I want’em. You’d think I know better and I do but yet there I am drooling at the idea of eating 2 Big Macs. So instead I have a McDonalds ice cream cone. Better than Big Macs but not going to help to hit goal. Still not getting me anywhere near 220.

Hell, after stepping off the scale this morning all I wanted to do was eat something. Not what would be “the right correct choice” either. Something with chocolate, bacon, and peanut butter with a side of steak and some sort of fried potatoes smothered in cheese and ketchup. Oh and ice cream–for sure ice cream. Maybe some fudge too while I’m at it. Oh and doritos or fritos too.

Relax, I touched none of that. Well except the peanut butter but the rest…?


So now comes the fun. My week starts today on Tuesday but yet I will weigh in on Monday. And I have 6 pounds to lose. And it appears I could run a marathon and sleep in the dry sauna with no real effect. No, I’m going to need to get clean again. REALLY clean. Squeaky clean. Clean like I can eat off the floor without a 5 second rule clean.


Jeez, why has this gotten so damn hard? I feel like they should just feed me with an IV or something so it’d be easier.

Because I like food. I like food a lot. Because right now when I say “okay, just one taste” it turns into 1-3 pieces. Because I keep finding myself in a drive thru way too often lately. Because TV is filled with food porn.

Because…I’m tired of making sacrifices…and I need to keep making them.

I lost this weight because I was willing to do what it takes. And right now that’s not happening. I could work harder. I could be cleaner.

I know it.

I’m also tired of making sacrifices. The hard ones. The ones that will get me to the goal.

It was one thing when I’d lose but not hit goal but gaining…ouch.

There are times this process has been ugly. Just never this ugly.

It’s going to be a long week…

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:

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:

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

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?

The Countdown 1/13/14

Last Week: 339


Magic Number to 220: 114 lbs.

Lost since Nov 2012: 209 lbs

Lost Since Nov 2011: 227 lbs

Highest ever weight recorded/known: 589 (difference of 255 lbs)

Looking back on last week: On 1/1/14, I was 349. In 13 days, I’ve lost 15 pounds. With the holidays over, I felt like things got a back to normal and more of a regular schedule.

The weather did play some havoc on the week. I’d planned to take a dance class Monday night only to find the club closed due to a power loss. The result was a 3800 step day–my worst in what has to be a year’s time. Step numbers seemed to be a little lower than I’d like. In addition, Miranda had the flu so Tuesday and Thursday were quiet days walking around the gym.

I’ll get slightly depressed during these cold winter months. It’s made worse when it’s a foot of snow followed by negative degree weather followed by even more snow. So a little more stress filled this past week.

I did dry sauna a little more than usual this week. This was also the first week I used my new compression socks for all 5 week days and I’ve been taking my Vitamin D more regularly. 

I still had flaws in nutrition. There were one or two occasions I walked into the kitchen and didn’t win the willpower battle. Wednesday, I knew I had an event in the evening and Lifetime Fitness was out of extra detox meals. I’ll usually do KFC Grilled Chicken. However eating 70% of the biscuit, a small portion of mac and cheese, and cole slaw wasn’t smart.

The weekend–ugh. Had a work dinner on Friday night and had two drinks. They had appetizers–all fried. I didn’t go overboard but I could been more in control. Saturday I had Lou Malnati’s pizza. One slice would been fine but the 2nd sliver slice–never should have happened. Went to Seasons 52 for dinner. The Filet was a good choice and I didn’t go overboard with appetizers as we shared but two desserts–good but a total mistake.

On Saturday, I was 332 in the morning. By Sunday morning I was 335. But I also did 11,000+ steps both Saturday and Sunday with a good number of them hitting zone 1 or better.

Thoughts: Friday night and Saturday can’t be repeated. Being ahead of the curve certainly helped. While I felt like I got in the usual amount of exercise, my step numbers seemed lower. But it’s the 1st time I’ve hit goal in a month so I can’t complain. We’re 114 pounds from goal–6 pounds better than where we were a week or so ago.  It annoys me I still can’t fit in a booth at a restaurant.

Next week: The goal is 329. I seriously can’t remember the last time I was that low.

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.

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