Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Movin' on Down . . .!?! Losing it.

John (reality TV show interview cut-away): After I left Omniture, I worked for a small startup company that had me working long hours with barely any time for myself. They also had a snack room with tasty treats that I loved such as hot tomales, Reese's Pieces, Red Vines, and more. Consequently, I put on 5-7 extra pounds in a short 3 month period.

Meet Fat John. Fat John was tired, cranky (ask Dana), out of shape, and unhappy. He was the heaviest he had ever been . . . ever! 190.6 lbs to be exact.

In April, Fat John decided to make a change for a job with a little more stability and a better work/life balance. Along with employment at iBAHN, he was given a free membership to Dana's gym - Lifetime Fitness. It was the first day on the job at iBAHN, April 19th, that Fat John decided that his "shape" was a little out of whack and decided to set a goal to get to his pre-marriage, pre-mission weight - 172.

18+ pounds was not a ton to lose, but he wanted to make it a lifestyle change. It was convenient that Fat John's wife is a group fitness instructor and had many tips to help him in the process. She told him that if he lost it through exercise and watching his caloric intake, that he would be successful.

John (reality TV show interview cut-away): "When I was in the Philippines, I remember my mission president, President Evans, telling me that I could do anything I wanted and make something a habit if I put my mind to it and to stick with it for 21 days. After 21 days, he said, the task would become second nature and a habit. I took that advice to heart and decided to hit the gym for 5-6 times per week."

Starting out, it was difficult for Fat John to maintain any exercise for 45 straight minutes. Fat John got bored, sore, tired, lazy, etc during the first 21 days. He had shin splints, a hamstring and calves that were always tight, thoughts of quitting ran through his head daily. He wondered if he would ever make his goal. A goal! Fat John knew that if he were to have a goal, that he would need to have a reward. He always wanted a PS3 with NCAA Football to play (to also use for Blue Ray disks on his 47" Sony LCD). That, he decided would be the reward for meeting the goal.

Here was his game plan:

1. Exercise 5-6 times per week. Starting out with easier exercises - eliptical machine, lifting weights, slower treadmill jogging (9:00+ minute miles). These would later build up to more difficult exercises (running sub 8:00 minute miles, heavier lifting, and riding his road bike).

2. Healthier eating: smaller portions, 5-6 times per day. Breakfast? Oatmeal. PACK A LUNCH. Dinner - smaller portions (use smaller plates and slow down, stopping before you think you are full). Drink a lot of water.

Look for ways to cut calories:

(a) Sugar-free syrup on whole wheat pancakes (instead of sugary syrup on regular pancakes). Trust me, the syrup tastes good.

(b) Sugar free popsicles in the evening when feeling "snacky".

(c) Protein shakes right after a workout. They don't taste like a frosty, but get over it. They taste a lot better with ice.

(d) Almond butter: a good source of protein and healthier than peanut butter. Goes great with sugar free jam, regular jam (berry of course), or bananas.

(e) Oatmeal for breakfast: 1 packet of low sugar oatmeal mixed 50-50 with plain oatmeal. Healthy filler with a good taste. Don't make it too thick - it's like eating paste.

(f) Whole wheat bread, pasta, etc. It tastes better. Avoid bleached, enriched flour at all costs.

(g) NO SODA / POP / WHATEVER YOU CALL IT: not even diet . . . and for heaven sakes no sugared soda. Cheat every once in a while, but drink cold water when thirsty.

(h) During the day, snack on fruit, carrots, granola bars (healthy types).

(i) Eating out: Make a healthier choice, share, eat rabbit food (lettuce) and taste the more unhealthy choice made by your spouse (thanks Dana). Don't eat the whole meal if it is HUGE. Take the rest home.

3. Tracking towards the goal: weigh in every 5-7 days (not daily) at the same time of day. Mornings will be lighter and afternoons will be heavier. Daily fluctuations do not matter. Even small weekly gains are OK as long as the trend over 2-3 weeks is still downward. Keep track of the weigh ins and only report if the weight is down from the prior weigh in. Log weights in a spreadsheet and show progress on a chart in Microsoft Excel(Fat John . . . ok, John {fat or skinny} is a nerd).

4. Reporting: when progress is made, tell someone. Tell Dana, a co worker, mom, siblings when you hit certain milestones. Celebrate in the moment, then look forward to the next milestone by working even harder the next workout.

5. Have smaller goals along the way:
(a) Run a 5K, 10K (I wanted to run the freedom festival 5K 2+ minutes faster). I ended up running it 3.5 minutes faster.
(b) when your workouts become more difficult, and you are able to handle it, treat it as an accomplishment (i.e. running 3.2 miles at a 7:00 minute pace - great job self!).

6. Allow yourself to cheat a little: don't worry if you have to miss a day of exercise. Be flexible. Go out for ice cream, a treat, etc, but remember to eat a smaller portion.

Here is how the journey went (graphically):

Notice how there were plateaus - at those times I had to pick up the pace or change to a different exercise.

On Tuesday, August 11th, 2010, Fat John hibernated (and will hopefully never come back) and "goal reached" John finally emerged. 190.6 to 172 happened. It was very difficult. It took me nearly 4 months. It was not easy for me. There was no miracle, no pill, no secret diet, no HCG shots . . . only sweat, blisters, chaffing (TMI, I know), disappointment, perserverance, and victory!

In the mean time, I learned a lot and hope anyone reading that wants to lose a few or a lot more can use what I learned to get started. I found out a lot about myself and my limits.

The journey is not over. I think 172 is a good base, but now I want to continue to reduce my body fat percentage and get stronger, more flexible, and have some 6-pack abs for once in my life.

PS - I just went 10-2 in my first season with BYU on my PS3 . . .


Bob Stanke said...

That is an awesome story of success John! Congrats on the progress so far and also on your winning season on NCAA Football!!! (I am also a big video game guy!)

Bob Stanke
Community Manager
Life Time Fitness

Brooke said...

Way to go Idaho!