I feel like a lot of my health updates center around dissatisfaction with the fitness industry. Well, nothing but positive this time.
Between April and June I’ve gone from an extreme of 298 pounds to 262 pounds. I lost 20 pounds in my last five week cycle. I finished lifting upper body with 2 sets of 6 at 195 pounds and one set of 5 at 205 pounds on bench. I managed three sets of six on military press with 50 pound dumbbells. I’m currently curling 3 sets of eight with a 50 pound bar.
Body-wise I’ve lost 4 inches around the stomach. I’m down to a 44 inch belt. I heard the number but didn’t really appreciate the result until I tried on an old 46 inch Galco sporting gun belt and had to tighten it to the next to smallest hole. Most of my other measurements are down at least an inch as well. My old Wilderness instructor belt is down to its smallest setting. My one pair of 50 inch jeans are too big. I’m avoiding buying new clothes because I don’t want to have to spend money on something I’ll just size out of in a couple months anyway.
The specifics from my last training cycle:
May 19th, 2015
Body Fat Percentage- 36.9
Body Mass Index- 44.2
Arm Circumference- 16 inches
Chest Circumference- 49 inches
Waist circumference- 47.5 inches
Abdomen circumference- 52.5 inches
Butt Circumference- 50.3 inches
Thigh circumference- 25.75 inches
June 25th, 2015
Body Fat Percentage- 35.1
Body Mass Index- 41.1
Arm Circumference- 15.2 inches
Chest Circumference- 46.3 inches
Waist circumference- 44.5 inches
Abdomen circumference- 48.8 inches
Butt Circumference- 48.5 inches
Thigh circumference- 26.0 inches
The biggest part of those wins came from my twice weekly training session. I can push myself hard, but to really test my limits I need someone else to get me past my mental barriers. You wouldn’t think an extra 60 minutes a week would make that much of a difference; but the combination of social expectation, a good trainer, and positive reinforcement made a huge difference—especially when I went home and had to think about what choices I wanted to make. Knowing that someone would be looking at that number once a week made me question choices when I would have otherwise have let things slide.
A less obvious contributor has been my shrunken appetite. Regular readers will remember a couple posts I wrote about running caloric deficits to facilitate weight loss. I’ve cut my daily intake down a good bit. My normal breakfast is a single banana. My usual work lunch is a 100 calorie Greek yogurt. I looked at my daily intake and found that during the work week I only cared about eating a decent sized dinner. Since the research I’ve read says that when you eat is less important than your total daily intake, I started cutting back in the mornings and afternoon. The result has been that while I’m still hungry during the day I’m not “hangry” any more. I still want to eat, but it takes less to satisfy me. This combined with a much healthier menu means I’m eating better and eating less. I hope this means my stomach’s capacity is shrinking too.
Several people have commented that I look like I’m losing weight. This is hugely flattering. Most of those comments lead to a discussion about what I’m doing differently. This is one of those questions that’s hard to answer. On the face of it, I’m exercising more and eating less; but that’s not really what people want to hear. The truth is that getting to this point has been an eight year ordeal involving working on all aspects of my life. Granted, I started seriously looking at getting physically healthy back in May of 2013. There have certainly been some ups and downs since then. The thing is, I think what people are asking is really what did you change a couple months ago that let you lose the weight…but I’ve been changing things for years in order to get to this point. In no particular order:
• Quit drinking energy drinks and soda.
• Got our finances straightened out.
• Started using a sleep machine
• Transitioned to a job with less stress, better hours, and more rewarding work.
• Built up enough working muscle to let me actually do serious exercise.
• Stopped ordering out.
• Started cooking our meals.
• Started cooking healthier meals.
• Started bringing my lunch to work every day.
• Cut my alcoholic intake.
• Started weighing myself daily.
• Started using the fitbit.
• Stopped getting my breakfast and lunch from the company café.
• Started using the Indian steel clubs.
• Made going to the gym an unbreakable part of my schedule.
• Joined a boxing class.
• Stopped drinking coffee.
• Cut down my total daily caloric intake.
• Started working with a personal trainer’s fitness class.
• Started using the dehydrator to make my own healthier snacks.
• Began making multiple smaller trips to the grocery store in order to cover more distance.
• And probably some other stuff I can’t recall.
It is difficult to put all of that in a succinct explanation—one that fits into small-talk anyway. The best I can say is that I started fixing small things and after a while all those small things added up to big things. It feels good. The recognition is nice. The lost pounds are nice too. The best thing though is that I’m going through classes and pushing myself harder and harder. No breaks, no rests, just full-on physical effort for thirty plus minutes. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I can get there. I feel good about myself and my ability to do the things I need to do.