“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.  I heard it a few weeks ago, and it’s so true in regards to long term goal achievement.  I was at 372 pounds and the math and time needed to lose the weight was daunting, to say the least.

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This quote has been on my mind every day since I heard it recently.  Weight loss is actually FAT loss, not muscle loss, so you have to be patient and execute a plan.  But it all starts with a single step.  For me, I had done so much damage that this will be a 3-4 year process to get where my mind has always envisioned I was supposed to be at for my exercise levels – for you, it might be a 4-8 month journey.  But it starts with a general plan, some guidance, and taking that single step.  You might fail at first.  Re-group.  Understand what you did wrong.  Re-focus.

You have to understand, I have lost weight before.  Many, many times I’ve lost 20-30 pounds.  Once I lost 40, another time was like 70.  I have tried hundreds of times.  I’ve lost, I’ve gained.  But I’ve TRIED!!!!  I know a decent amount of people that have significant activity levels, but they haven’t found the right nutrition intake to make the rest happen.  I know others that eat like garbage, but never work out and look on the thin side – and their organs are dying slowly inside.  Others EAT a LOT but their activity is insane.

But what about the people like me who have tried a bunch of times and now throw their hands up in disgust?  TALK TO ME!!  I’m not selling anything but success 🙂  My total weight loss now is 162 pounds but over the next 2-3 months this is about to be a bunch more with all of my training.  Dialing in the right macros for you could be the key you’ve been missing.  I know for me, that was the big secret to take that first step.  Only later did I try keto, but the first step was taking my carbs from like 70% down to 40%.

 

Weight loss update

This past month, I only lost a pound to get me to 210, but I also reduced my fat % significantly.  I was still holding a lot of water and my fat free mass (FFM) went up.  I had increased my protein a lot.  I’m starting to show a lot of muscles and my vascularity is starting to show – and I still have a lot of weight to go!!

 

 

My “main goal” is to hit 186.  That is half the weight I used to be at 372.  By my math, I’m 24 pounds off of that goal.  However, I feel it should be more.  Anyone that has lost massive amounts of weight, you still have some sort of body dysmorphia, where you still see yourself in the mirror as a lot more weight.  In my case, I know I’m not 372 anymore, but maybe 272 I feel I look.  There’s like a delayed reaction to the weight loss.  So part of me feels like I still have over 100 pounds to go.

24 pounds?  It’s doable.  But the last 2 months I only lost 3 pounds, what’s up with that?

If I looked under the hood, which I did, it appears several months back one of my big loss months had my FFM drop significantly.  I think during that month, I was really low on calories and did a lot of training.  So my last 2 months has been about focusing on training and fueling myself appropriately.  I have continued to lose fat, but I’ve been creeping back up with the FFM that I had lost as well as the water.  Of most importance  to me is I’m getting stronger with training and my wait measurements continue to go down.  I’m doing two waist measurements – one by my belly button and one a little lower.  The belly button one is 37 inches and the lower one is 38.5.  Around January, these numbers were 43 and 44.  So – the scale has gone down, yes, but my body is getting stronger in the process and dropping the fat.

Goal change….

With watching a lot of triathlon athletes lately, I feel my main goal will be changing.  It was to be 186.  I think that may be a great way to “end” the weight loss chapter of my life.  If I can keep my FFM around 160, that will give me a 13.9% bodyfat.

But….

I’m somewhat addicted to triathlon.  People don’t really get it.  I think some of my running friends get it.  You have to do three disciplines somewhat well.  The amount of gear.  The science of the training.  The nutrition.  The discipline.  It’s very attractive to me as someone who lived my life extremely undisciplined without any kind of code.  Most of these triathlon guys at my height are like 154-160 pounds.  I don’t think I can get that low, but I think I could rest somewhere between 165-175 or so.  So I’m going to have  my goal at 186 with an asterisk to it.  That number will slide downward over the next few years.  Why?

My goal is to do Half Ironmans.  That will not happen this year, or next.  However, it’s doable in 2-3 years.

What is a Half Ironman?  Well, they have half ironman distances, and they have Half Ironman events sponsored by Ironman.  It’s 1.2 miles swimming (I think 2000m), 55 miles biking, and then a half marathon at 13.1 miles.  They are called “70.5” due to the distance they cover.  Take a look at WHERE they have these?  The pictures I’ve seen from these locations is phenomenal.  THIS is how I want to travel.  Go to one of these places and see the whole area by swim, bike, and run!  Just take a look at the destinations!

This year I also am thinking about adding a second sprint to my calendar on Sept 29th in Montauk, NY.  This is 1 hour away from my in-laws and it’s 7 weeks after my first sprint.  I’m sketchy on open water swimming in lakes, but I’m more comfortable in the ocean with swimming.  It might be colder water, so looking into a wet suit at some point.

So…this year’s calendar will be:

  1. indoor tri this past February
  2. Sprint tri in August in Lancaster, PA (300m pool swim, 15.8 mi bike through Lancaster, 5k through Lancaster)
  3. Sprint tri in Montauk Sept 29th (750m swim in ocean, 10.8 mi bike on flat land, 5k through flat land).  They have longer distances for this as well.
  4. 5k in November at the Turkey Trot.

Over the winter, I plan on using an indoor trainer to train with some power and use my treadmill to use some hills and intervals to keep up with my fitness.

Next year – I’m looking at 2 sprints, and an Olympic later in the season.   Montauk.

Two years out, looking at 3 Olympics and a half ironman distance, at Montauk.

Three years out.  This is where I can have fun.  Half Ironman events are at some really cool ass locations.  How does this work?

At these events, you are there breathing the same air as pros.  They start first.  Then, you have “age groupers” go in waves.  You are judged against your age group.  So – amateurs can do the exact same courses as the pros.  And…if you do good enough and place high in your age group, you can get an invitation to either Half Ironman world’s or Ironman worlds in Kona, Hawaii.

Another asterisk here.  Not sure I could ever do a full ironman.  Right now, here are the longest distances I’ve ever gone:

  • Swim 1 mile and maybe 100 meters (1700m)
  • Bike 34 miles
  • Run 7 miles

An Olympic distance is 1500m swimming, 24 miles biking, 6.4 miles running.  So – TODAY I could complete an Olympic distance triathlon, but I wouldn’t be competitive.

With training – I potentially have another 35 pounds to carve off.  As my endurance is getting better and better, my speed work is also improving.  And – this will only get better and better as I take off more weight.  Of interest – the really skinny guys are great at the sprint distances, but the guys with more muscle and power at maybe 170 are better with the longer distance races that rely more on power and endurance than speed.  THAT is a sweet spot I may be able to hit.

My challenge now is….getting all the gear I need to do this and prevent a divorce in the process lol.  I have a decent bike kit, but need a tri suit now.  Looking to do the wahoo kicker in the fall.  I got some cheap tri bars for my bike, but it’s a gravel bike and not a world class tri bike.  I think late next year before my first Olympic I will be shopping for a used tri bike.  Additionally, I’ll be buying a tri suit at XL, and my guess is by this time next year, I will be in a large or medium.  So – that also begs the question of getting a wet suit.  Maybe I can rent one for an event in Montauk so I don’t spend on gear that 8 months later might be too big?

Fueling….

One thing with keto is that I’m well suited for long distance activity with it.  However, I am going to have to start relying on carb nutrition right before races and during.  This is a whole science and discipline within itself.  I’d like to get to 186 before I go down this rabbit hole due to the added carbs.  Ideally, you are burning off these carbs during your activity.

However – when I hit my goal of 186, I’ll be using keto at times, but will either be doing a form of carb cycling or primal.  Both of these will have me taking my carbs to 100-150 a day.  Maybe for the month of January every year I do keto for a month to dial back some excess.

One thing of interest, is over time, I’ve really re-programmed my body to crave different things.  I remember the anxiety when I first started my journey.  “Oh my god, I can never have peanut butter eggs again!!”.  The truth is, when you first take that first step, you MUST build a safety net in.

Today, THIS is what I crave for dinner.  Not pictured here is avocados in it, this was a vacation salad and I had pre-packed some frozen chicken I had made up.  You don’t have to eat crap food around you, you know!!  Bring your own!!

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How can your journey of a thousand miles start with a single step?  Here’s a 50,000 ft plan

  1. Research.  YouTube is now filled with tons of meal prep, cooking, and diet information.  Find a plan that works well for you and your lifestyle.
  2. Remove.  Dieting isn’t so much as eating tofu and sprouts as it is cleaning up your diet and removing processed shit, refined carbs, and candy/cakes.
  3. Add.  Add whole foods, water, vegetables, better quality ingredients.
  4. Plan. Have an idea of what you want to eat for the week.  Buy it, plan to eat it.  Commit to it.  Prep when needed.
  5. Live.  When I first started, I was eating 3 meals a day, for 21 meals a week.  For 3 of those meals, I could eat bad shit.  For example, every Saturday night I was eating 2 slices of pizza and French fries.  I was sticking closely with my calories.  Over time, this became 2 meals a week, then 1.  Then…one every 2 weeks, etc.  Now, once every month or two I might eat a bad meal.  If you are out at an event like a wedding, have a cupcake.  Don’t eat a GIANT piece of cake.  Have a bite of the cheesecake, don’t eat a giant piece.
  6. Adjust.  So you had 4,000 calories yesterday.  Dust yourself off and do better today.  Reduce your carbs…or increase your fats and proteins.  Experiment with your diet to find what works for YOU.
  7. Measure.  People are OBSESSED with weight.  I get it.  So was I.  But you should also measure your waist and take some other measurements.  There will be months where the scale doesn’t move.  What you might not be seeing was a 6 pound fat loss, a 3 pound LBM gain, and a 3 pound water gain.  Perhaps your water is because you just ran 3 miles yesterday and had a lot of soluble fiber which drew in water.  If you are measuring your waist, you would have seen the waist number go down.  So many of you I’ve talked to had initial weight loss, but you lost patience during a 3 week plateau and pulled the rip cord.  “It doesn’t work”.

This is what happens when you plod through your plateaus and measure.  And take that first step.  And the next.  And the next.  And dust yourself off after a fall.  You get up and take another step.

The only person stopping you….is you.  You have told yourself  that it’s too hard.  You can’t do it.  It doesn’t work for you.  I’ll start next week.  I’m too stressed right now.

Bullshit.  You just stopped you from achieving a goal.  No one else did that.  You did that.  No one can force you.  You have to look deep within you as to how you want to live your life.