I’m going to publicly announce my weight – for the first time.

299.4.  Ripped off the Band-Aid.  This time last year, I had hit 372.2.  So I’m rounding to 73 pounds currently.

For those who aren’t following, my first 2 months I dropped 24 pounds through running my face off.  2-3 miles 3-4 times a week.  Dropped calories to 1200-1600, sometimes hitting 1800.  Something then happened – I hurt my left foot, but I continued to walk 4-5 miles a day.  Eventually, my back gave out with spasms and I sought professional help with training.  It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made with my life, as a trainer not only trains you, but is a coach, someone that holds you accountable, and someone who advises you not to do dumb things to hurt yourself.

Here is a “before” and “during” pic.  I say “during” because I’m NOWHERE near done yet.  I also didn’t do the fancy before pics because like many of you, I dodge the cameras at all costs.


Hack – cheesesteak!!

I’m from an hour west of Philly, so cheesesteaks are a religion to my people.  And no, a “Philly” cheesesteak does NOT have green peppers and mushrooms, despite what national advertising tries to tell you.  What a joke.  Anyway – you have the Philly cheesesteaks which are simply shaved steak, cheese whiz, and perhaps fried onions.  The suburbs of Philly use white American or provolone and add tomato sauce.  This is what I grew up on.

At home, I used to make a pretty banging cheesesteak – I’d get the Philly  steaks, fry them up, add onions, etc.  The big issue is that these are ridiculously high in calories due to the fat in the steaks and cheese.  While all fat is not bad, I’m trying to increase the fats from olive oil, salmon, peanut butter nuts, avocado – and reducing it in red meats and dairy.  These cheesesteaks would really clock in with calories I’d be ashamed of.  I’d count it as my cheat meal for the week and might go over 200-400 calories for the day.

But then I hacked it.

What you see above is the following:

  1. Flatbread.  Reduces the carbs whilst still delivering cheesesteak goodness
  2. Shaved steak.  At Giant, I saw this near the chicken.  Looked at the calories, and the entire 14oz package was 700 calories.  Compare this to “steak ums” where the 14 oz package is 1400 calories.  This was far leaner and I jumped on it!!
  3. Low fat provolone.  Wanted to reduce calories with this.
  4. Tomato sauce.  Used a few tablespoons, and add a few pickles.
  5. Fried onions.  Yummy!!

This comes out to 922 calories, 63.5g carbs, 41.8 g fat, 71.4g protein (for both).  This is a LOT of food.  I would compare this with a large cheesesteak from your local sub shop coming in at 1600-2000 calories.

So – if you want a lower fat, great tasting, and easy cheesesteak hack – try this!  The calories are a little high, but I also counted the olive oil, onions, sauce – everything.

A “fail”

I love my zoodles.  I love my avocado pasta.  Let’s try to make zoodles with avocado!

Well, zoodles don’t exactly absorb any of the avocado.  So, where pasta was able to mix in with it well, the zoodles did not.  Maybe if I made a smaller avocado portion to mix…the FLAVOR was amazing, but the consistency wasn’t my favorite.  I mix up 2 avocados with garlic, basil, olive oil, salt, and lemon juice – makes a great pasta sauce!

My plan

I had a heart to heart with the trainer yesterday.  I had hurt myself last year by running my face off in the fall to lose some weight.  But I’m also 73 pounds less this year.  Believe this or not, but I LOOOOOOVVVVVVEEE running.  Many people find it torture.  Well, when you know how to do it, and you’ve been doing it for years, you know how good it makes you feel to do it.  Perhaps it’s the runners high?  Perhaps it’s how “trim” I feel afterwards and the next morning?  Perhaps  it’s just getting out…hearing my tunes…getting into my breathing rhythm, and just emptying my mind?

As I’ve mentioned in some earlier posts, my high school won the Pennsylvania Cross Country state title 5 out of 7 years during the early to mid 90s when I was there.  Most of them went off to Division 1 running.  Some of my closest friends ran cross country.  I’d be hitting homers at baseball at practice and see them running what seemed to be 10 miles a day.  Then, we’d go out to eat and these skinny guys at me under the table.  I saw some small dudes put down 7 trays of hot wings like it was their job.  I went on a mini vacation with them once to ocean city NJ and ran with them.  Well, they ran with each other, I trailed very far behind!!

To me, that was the fitness level I wanted.  I never cared to be the guy that could bench press a Toyota.  But to get to the runner’s physique…I may have to have a middle stage where I have a lot of muscle on me.

I would encourage anyone who wants to lose weight to NOT think of this as a quick fix.  That was my downfall.  Every.  Goddamn.  Time.  This time, I said “it took 40 years to get this way, I want to take 3 years to right the ship to then live another 40-50 years”.  So…this was my plan.

Phase 1 – Save my life.  Reduce bulk while building muscle.  1 year.

I was hoping that I’d hit 100 pounds in a year, or 8.5 pounds a month, or 2.12 pounds per week.  That is a 7000 or so calorie deficit, or about 1000 deficit, per day.  I had figured if I took in 1800 and expended 2800+, that could work.  Well….all good plans need an adjustment.

I did lose 24 pounds the first 2 months, but as explained above, I hurt myself.  I also risked going back into weight gain territory until I consulted a trainer.  What I’ve found with my fancy scales is that I’m at roughly 49 pounds weight loss with the trainer, but the scales are saying I lost like 67 pounds of fat and gained 20 pounds of muscle.  Meaning…in the last year, I probably have taken off close to 100 pounds of FAT..but put on significant muscle and water weight.

My calories, per my trainer, started at 2800, then went down to 2400, now we’re at 2300.  My weight loss has slowed down, but it’s been a consistent 5 pounds per month or so.  But those numbers are somewhat skewed, as this always has me losing like 8-9 pounds of fat, adding 1-2 pounds muscle, and adding water.

I also quit smoking, permanently, this time last year.  Not one puff since, will never go back.  This also then had me never needing antacids anymore, and since then, I also believe I’m not in a magnesium deficient state and am a lot more calm.

My food prep has also been a big part of this.  Understanding how to eat daily…understand how to do a “cheat meal” and not a cheat day, etc.

My fitness level is the best it’s ever been in my life – and as a young adult, I was 225-235 pounds – and nowhere near as good of shape as I’m in now with cardio.  I could bench/squat more then, but so what?

Phase 2- increase the cardio.  My “fat free mass” is 169 pounds.  So 20% fat would put me somewhere at 204 pounds.  Maybe over the next year, I add 5-8 pounds of muscle to put me at 210-215 with 20% body fat.  What I want to do is…

  1. gently increase the cardio to create a little more of a deficit.
  2. prevent muscle loss by closely monitoring my numbers on the fancy scale.  I do NOT want to drop 10-20 pounds in muscle mass as this is my calorie burning machine.
  3. Get in shape to run a 5k and not finish last.  While I can run a 5k this second, it’s at the outer limits of my range for distance.  My time would be around 40 minutes.  My cardio is there.  My form is there.  My breathing is there.  I’m just carrying around a lot of weight.  I’d like to get to a 30-34 minute time before I sign up for a race.
  4. Increase my “good fats” with Omega 3s.  I need to go after my “visceral” fat and this will be done with adding good fats, reducing estrogen-related foods, and adding more cruciferous veggies to my dinner plate to increase my testosterone/estrogen balances.  I have given up milk and now drink Silk almond milk – AWESOME with my whey proteins.  I stay away from Soy at all costs.
  5. Continue to bike/run through mid November.  This is around the time I have to hang it all up.  I have used my treadmill a lot downstairs.  I’ve recently started hiking, and got new hiking shoes.  I believe I’ll be able to do this all November, December, etc until snow/ice hits.  This is a GREAT workout.

Phase 2 I’m hoping will take me to 210.  89 pounds away.   Hoping this is 12-18 months out.   I just bought a 2x for the first time in 21 years, so I’m now having problems with my wardrobe.

When I hit 285, everything I own will have to be a 2x.  I’m at the cusp now between sizes, where I was 285-290 before I could wear 2x last time.   I’m now 299 and 2x now fits.  So, I have a lot more muscle mass than before!!

Phase 3 – racing and cutting

I’m taking particular care to not get “loose skin”.  This is your visceral fat.  So, I need to take care with my diet and ensure I get proper omega 3 fats and produce testosterone to offset the estrogen-related foods that can keep this fat on.  Many people you see online lose 100-150 pounds in like 6 months and skin is flapping in the wind.   Nope.  Even if I have some, so be it.

So at this point, the plan is to be 200-220 with 20% body fat.  The GOAL for Phase 3 is to gently, over time, take me to 177-190 and 12-15% body fat.  I don’t want to just run my face off because I may start to take off tons of muscle and not the visceral fat/fat that is there.  I will have to do this over 1-2 years.  Proper nutrition, weight training, and cardio in balance should help this out.  At this point, I might have to understand more of carb loading for long runs, etc.

So, there it is.

The below is a picture of me at 227.  What you don’t see in that picture?  Just a few months before I was 295.  In my junior year, I broke my foot in wrestling.  I blew up to 295.  February of my senior year, I started running around the school after school every day.  I lost 70 pounds in 2.5 months.  I wasn’t eating a ton, but you get the idea on how determined I can be when I put my mind to it.  The problem then came into play where I didn’t make the baseball team in college, and I started boozing/eating like crazy.  I took up smoking.  I gained 113 pounds in college.


What you also don’t see in the picture?  My self image had me feeling like 400 pounds.  I could go out there and play tennis for 4 hours in brutal heat.  Play baseball all summer in 100 degree heat.  I could run my face off, and I LOVED it.  I went to college around 230 and felt like the fattest person on the entire campus.

As 299 now, I FEEL like the person in the above picture.  I’m going to up my cardio a little for September.  One reason is I want to hit that 285/290 to then switch over my entire wardrobe for the fall.  Come sometime around late April/May, I’m hoping to then buy 1x summer clothing.  I don’t want to buy 2x summer clothing, then halfway through summer have to buy 1x clothing.  Fall 2018?  1x or large for fall.

Self image can do a lot to get you moving.  As I’ve said a million times, “take care of your dinner plate, and it will take care of you”.

Good luck to anyone on their own journey.  Have a plan.  Adjust.  See where you want to be.  Understand why you want to lose weight.  Do it for the right reasons.