How I lost 60 pounds

How I lost 60 pounds

Note: This is a mammoth post of about 6,100 words. If you want to dig in that’s great. If you prefer to process information like this in smaller doses I have re-organized this post  and broken it up into 6 separate sections topic by topic which you can access here. The post by post version is actually longer by a few thousand words, so if you read this first and then want to dig in even more, check out the 6 part series. (Update as of April 17, 2017: I’ve now lost 70 pounds and am no longer trying to lose weight, just trying to get fitter and stronger).

I’ve lost 60 pounds.

I feel amazing. Everything is easier. Long car rides are more comfortable. Plane seats feel bigger (although still small for my 6’4″ frame). I have more energy for playing with my kids. I’m cycling and skiing better. I feel confident and it is nice to have people who haven’t seen me in a while to say, “Wow, you look good.” When I set out on this journey, I didn’t want people to think, “Wait… has he lost weight?” I wanted them to say to me, “What the !%&$ have you been doing?”

“Diet and exercise,” I say with a laugh. But it’s not really that simple, and for anyone who’s struggled with their weight it can feel defeating to hear such a simple answer.

Note: I like to train. I talk a lot about epic runs and bike rides. But if that’s not your thing, don’t get discouraged. I think getting into shape is more about diet and nutrition than it is crazy workouts. And diet and nutrition is about more than counting calories. You need to learn about food.

A year ago I was feeling pretty depressed about my body. I had an injury that had set me back, but the huge plates of nachos my wife and I were making as a late night snack a few days a week weren’t helping either.

I wanted to get back in shape. Started waking up every morning and doing push-ups and sit-ups and stretching. I wasn’t serious, but I was doing something. Then I was laying in bed one morning and realized I had no excuse. I wrote this blog post then about my goal to achieve phenomenal shape. I always wanted to be in shape. I don’t know what made that morning different, but it was different. It was more than a want or a wish.

Me with my daughters in a boat on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Lot of Clark.

Winter 2016. All dressed up and feeling fat.

Here’s the #1 thing I would tell anyone who seriously asks me about getting in shape.

  1. We become what we think about most of the time.

This is true with everything in life. I have seen this principle come true in my life on countless occasions. Everything I have ever achieved in my life I have achieved because I have fixed that thing in my mind and thought about it constantly. If I wanted to be fit, if I wanted to lose 50 or 60 pounds, if I wanted to achieve phenomenal physical conditioning, I needed to spend a proportionate amount of time thinking about my health and wellness. I needed to think about it all the time.

If you want to lose weight, maybe this isn’t what you wanted to hear. Maybe you wanted me to recommend a diet or a pill (although I do have some things to say about that below). But let me tell you, losing 60 pounds isn’t a casual endeavor. I obsessed over this. Obsessed. I became finicky about my diet. I weighed myself every day, sometimes two or three or four times a day. I became fanatical.

If I were to suddenly get into cars, I’d start reading books and blogs about cars. I’d join Facebook groups where people talk about cars. I’d find a friend who was into cars and start talking cars with him. I did that in relation to my body. I found a friend to talk diet and nutrition and health and wellness with. I ordered Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Body. I found myself drawn to magazines and blogs about health. I read, experimented, and measured results.

Let’s talk diet.
My starting point was the Slow Carb Diet prescribed by Tim Ferriss in 4-Hour Body. It’s very simple, and the basic rules are:

  1. Avoid “white” carbs (or anything that can be white).
  2. Eat the same few meals over and over again.
  3. Don’t drink calories.
  4. Don’t eat fruit.
  5. Take one day off a week and go nuts.

On the Slow Carb Diet I was eating a lot of legumes. The idea with the Slow Carb diet is that you’re eating good carbs that are “slowly” releasing in your body, giving you sustained energy and keeping your body from going into shock mode.

For about two months, every day I ate one egg in the morning with some lentils and spiced it with a little Tapatio. For lunch I had a few standard meals. A cup of bean soup was one (more on bean soup later). I had my version of a “rice bowl,” but instead of rice I had lentils or beans, some chicken or beef, and some peppers or snap peas, salsa etc.

For dinner I’d have a little beef or chicken and all the veggies I wanted.

I did this very rigidly for about two months before I started experimenting with other things and making the diet my own. Many of the lessons I learned about food in those two months I still use as the foundation for my diet and approach to food.

In those two months, with minimal changes in the amount of exercise, I lost about 30 pounds. Tim Ferriss will say don’t exercise at all, or make zero changes to the amount of exercise you are doing. You want to keep your body from going into panic mode. I think he does that because some people literally do not want to exercise. But I love being outside and being active, so if anything at this point, I was holding myself back in terms of how much I was doing.

This diet worked for me for a few reasons.

  1. The basic foods I was eating I actually liked.
  2. You’re allowed to have two glasses of red wine every night.
  3. I felt like I wasn’t giving up anything because of my Cheat Day.

Six days a week I was very rigid, but on my cheat day I went hog wild. I could eat whatever I wanted. Go have a few beers. So I didn’t feel like I was giving anything up, I was just deferring, just waiting till later. It wasn’t “no,” it was “later.”

Over time, as my diet and tastes changed, the “damage” on my Cheat Days was far less.

After two months I made two modifications to the Slow Carb Diet prescribed by TF.

  1. I stopped eating breakfast at all.
  2. I extended my Cheat Day to Cheat Weekend, beginning Friday night and going through Sunday lunch.

Regarding breakfast: I had never in my life eaten breakfast. Only time I ever eat breakfast is if I am going out with other people. But I have never in my adult life eaten breakfast at home. Black coffee is all I need. So if I am trying to lose weight, why am I introducing a new meal into my life?

The short answer is getting that bit of protein in the AM to keep your body happy. But I felt I didn’t need it.

Regarding Cheat Day: Extending Cheat Day is a cardinal sin among 4-Hour Body devotees. I found, though, that by extending my Cheat Day to Cheat Weekend, I felt less a sense of urgency to fill my body with all the things I said no to during the week. I could have pizza and a few beers on Friday night, but then skip breakfast and maybe even lunch on Saturday. Maybe pig out on Saturday night. Go out with friends for lunch on Sunday afternoon. I just felt like I had more control, and that I could eat when I wanted to instead of having this one arbitrary day every week.

I stayed on the Slow Carb Diet for about five months. It’s hard to call my diet now a “Slow Carb Diet.” When I re-read the two chapters on the Slow Carb Diet in 4-Hour Body, I realize I’m not doing “that.” But as I said above, I’ve carried the principles with me. I believe in the principles of the Slow Carb diet and use those principles every day. They are my foundation. Think of a pyramid. The bottom third and vegetables, middle third is legumes, top third is meat. If you are serious about losing weight don’t stop at this blog post. Go buy 4-Hour Body and really become an expert on the Slow Carb Diet.

Go to Foods
Bean soup has always been a staple in our house. It’s a cheap meal that my wife would make about once a month. Basically, it’s just cans of beans and a few cans of diced tomatoes all thrown into a big pot. Now I always want bean soup in the house. It’s food I can eat and never feel bad for eating. I can take it different directions, too. One day I’ll throw in some cilantro. Another day curry powder. Another day it’s Worcester sauce. Another day it’s whole cloves of garlic. I’ve put dozens or hundreds of different combinations of herbs and spices and sauces in my bean soup. I’ll have a cup or a cup and a half for lunch or a late night snack a few times a week.

I usually eat 3-4 avocados a week. There’s a lot I like about avocados. As I have gotten more into strenuous exercise and work-outs (more on that later), avocados are a great source of potassium (more than a banana!). They’re also loaded with fiber. An avocado has about 230 calories, and you even get 3 grams of protein. I’ll cut an avocado, take the pit out, and then fill the two halves with a little salsa, preferably my wife’s homemade salsa with a recipe we got from our friends the in Guatemala.

Greek Yogurt is a total diversion from the Slow Carb Diet. (No dairy on the Slow Carb Diet) but it works for me. It’s good for my digestive track (loads of probiotics) and packs about 25 grams of protein per cup. Greek yogurt is a favorite snack a few hours after dinner if I am hungry. I have also substituted Greek Yogurt wherever I used to put sour cream. This is basically the best substitution in the history of food. I should add, thanks to my friend Bryan, that I recommend Low-Fat Greek Yogurt. Low-Fat Greek Yogurt gives me what I want (something in my belly, probiotics, protein)  while limiting the amount of fat and calories I am taking in. Not that all fat is bad, I’d just prefer to get it somewhere other than my Greek Yogurt. My friend Leila hates the way low-fat yogurts taste and only eats high fat yogurts. That means she has to make an adjustment  somewhere else, which I am sure she does because she’s in great shape. So if you hate the way low-fat yogurt tastes, you can have high fat yogurt but you’ll have to make up for it somewhere else.

Quest Bars. I don’t eat many Quest Bars. I just enjoy food too much, and to me, Quest Bars are a full-on utilitarian approach to nutrition. But these are good to have around to keep you from eating complete junk when you really need fuel for your body.

Eggs. If I am going to have breakfast, I’ll have an egg or two. My son eats eggs for breakfast everyday so they’re always around and I don’t feel bad for having some with him if I wake up especially hungry or I am about to leave the house for a big day and may not have easy access to good food.

Good foods, to me, are foods that have….
As much protein as possible, with as much fiber as possible, with as few calories as possible, and as few carbs as possible, preferably slow carbs.

Becoming a Food Valuist…
As I said, I’ve become finicky with my food, but I still eat some junk. I just have to really care about it. Certain things, I’ll never eat again. I’ll never eat RiceARoni again. It’s not good nutritionally and I don’t like it that much. Now, if I loved RiceARoni, maybe I could justify eating it, but “bad” foods that I eat have to be desirable enough for me to justify eating them. I can justify a few beers a week. I can justify some enchiladas. But I can’t justify RiceARoni. Maybe you love RiceARoni. Have at it, but you better figure out something else to cut out.

I’ve almost entirely eliminated potatoes from my diet. On Thanksgiving I made a plate of food basically on a bed of mashed potatoes and then covered the whole thing with a bucket of gravy. But I think other than Thanksgiving, I’ve had potatoes maybe two or three times in the past eight months. One exception would be French Fries, which I do have on occasion.

Here’s something I face occasionally. I’ve had three or four consecutive days where I have been very careful with my diet. It’s Friday afternoon and I am starting to think about dinner. I want to have a good dinner. I want to let loose. I don’t know if it’s my will power finally breaking down or my body speaking to me and saying it’s time to really eat. Maybe a little of both. But I’ll get there after three or four careful days of eating. When we’re in Santa Barbara with my wife’s parents, on Friday night we often go out to one of our favorite restaurants together. What a great way to let loose! But sometimes I get to that point where I’m ready to eat and I hear what we’re doing for dinner and it’s not food that I really like. There’s no way I’m eating that! If I’m ready to really eat, I am going to eat food that I love. The other night, this meant getting the whole family fed and leaving the kids with grandma and grandpa while Monica and I went out to a quick service restaurant and I got a delicious bowl of ramen.

I’ve eaten a lot more salad…
If I’m out to lunch I’ll order a salad instead of a cheeseburger or the fish ‘n chips. I had a cheeseburger a few days ago and it tasted amazing. Don’t eat as many cheeseburgers as I used to.

In general, my whole scale has changed. What I now consider a “bad day” of eating, at one time, I would have called that a “good day.” My standards are different. My mother-in-law makes a very basic salad with lettuce and carrots, Italian dressing and blue cheese. I’ll often just eat the salad for dinner so I am still at the table and able to be social. About that blue cheese….

Cheese is an indulgence….
I love cheese! If I were making something for myself at home what I would probably do is slice some cucumbers and tomatoes and douse it with some concoction of spices. But I do love this very simple salad my mother-in-law makes with blue cheese.

I do eat cheese, but I have to limit the amount of cheese I eat. Cheddar or American cheese on my eggs in the morning. Sounds good, but it’s not the way I want to eat my cheese. I can sprinkle some herbs or spices, Chalua or Tapatio on my eggs and be just as happy. I need to be selective about when I eat cheese.

I like nighttime snacks…
I’ve also learned that I like having a nighttime snack! Even if I have a huge dinner at 6 o’clock, I still want a snack at 9 o’clock. Rather than trying to change this about myself, I’ve just admitted it. So I have to make sure I eat a modest dinner so I save some calories for my snack later in the evening, and I have to make sure I have good food to eat for my snack.

Intermittent Fasting
You know what I want to do on Tuesday nights? Every Tuesday we have a cleaning lady at our house so we don’t want to make dinner at home. We go to Pepe’s, an amazing Mexican restaurant in Old Town Goleta. They have an all you can eat buffet that’s AH-mazing. I want to gorge myself. If you were to watch me at Pepe’s on Tuesday nights, you may think I have a problem. I start with a BIG plate of food. Rice and beans on half of my plate covered with chile pork verde. The other half of my plate is devoted to cheese enchiladas. Then I go back and cover the whole thing with enchilada sauce. And then a big scoop of sour cream. (They have not taken my suggestion on subbing in Greek Yogurt). I go back for seconds. It’s ridiculous.

But I don’t eat all day on Tuesday. When I go to Pepe’s on Tuesday night, it’s literally the first food I’ve put in my body that day. Then, I don’t eat at all on Wednesday until I have a very healthy, intentional dinner. Suddenly, my total indulgence on Tuesday night does not look that extreme. There’s a lot of feast and famine on my diet, and I think this diet is great for people who love food and love pigging out. Over time, I think you become more in-tune with your body and there’s a reaction to pigging out. “Wow, I just pigged out. I don’t think I want to eat tomorrow….” I used to follow-up pigging out at Pepe’s with going out for a big breakfast the next morning.

So much of diet and health and wellness is about becoming in-tune with your body.

I just ate a big meal and now I am running…. am I becoming too obsessive?…
I’ve followed up some binges with epic workouts. I’ll eat a big meal and two hours later I run 8 miles. Am I running out of guilt? Is this not good psychologically? No, I think it’s fine. I want to run because my body has energy. More on this in a minute, but this is like the best thing about getting in-tune with your body. You get to eat tons of really good food and drink good beer because you just rode 30 miles on your bike. And then after eating all that food and drinking all that beer, all you want to do is run 5 miles.

Have different types of goals….
One thing that helped sustain me throughout this process was that I had lots of different types of goals. My goal wasn’t just to lose X number of pounds. Here are some other things I’ve had in mind, goals I’ve set, or measurements I’ve looked at:

  1. Belt loop. I’m on the last (smallest) loop on a belt that I literally could not wear when I started this process. Each time I’d go down a belt loop was like a celebration.
  2. Touch my toes. Couldn’t touch my toes when I started out. I wanted to lose weight, but remember, the goal was not simply to lose weight. Goal was/is “phenomenal shape.” Being flexible and being able to touch my toes is, I am pretty sure, included in that. So everyday I’d stretch and try to touch my toes and see myself getting closer and closer. Finally, I could touch my toes. Then it became about holding my toes. Holding them longer, etc.
  3. Pants size. I’d go into a store and try on a pair of Levi’s to see how close I was to going down another size.
  4. Clothes I used to not be able to wear. My wife got me this shirt a few years ago that I never wore because it was too small. I actually loved the shirt and kept it thinking, “someday.” Now I wear the shirt all the time. I have a suit that I love that I haven’t worn in years. I was excited to get back into that suit, and to now have to take it in because it’s too small!
  5. The After Shower Towl. I used to not be able to tie a towel around myself after a shower. Now, I can put on some music and dance around the house in my towel. Tickets not available. 😉

I know I’ve emphasized my performance in outdoor activities as a motivating factor for me to get back into shape. Let me bring this even closer to home. I wanted to run around with my kids. I noticed myself getting winded and running out of energy very quickly when we were playing together. I wanted to have more energy for playing with my kids. Eventually, over a lifetime of healthy living, I want to age better and be a better grandparent. I want to generally be healthier. Better numbers with blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc.

With any goals, it’s good to have short-term and long-term goals. Having good, numbers on my blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar so that I can age well and be a better grandparent is a far-off goal. The goal is so far off that it’s hard to be motivated to do anything about it right now. So it’s good to keep that long-term goal in mind now while working on short term goals, like getting into that suit I haven’t worn in years.

With my son in early December 2016 when I was down about 45 pound and starting to feel pretty darn good.

The more I exercise the more I can eat….
I actually LOVE food. Sometimes I say the best part of a big bike ride is the beer at the end. If I want to go out for pizza, I go on a run. If I pig out and have a big meal, a few hours later I’ll go on a run.

I didn’t want to lose weight just to look better. I wanted to ski better and ride my bike further and faster.

Physical Goals have been a big part of helping me reach my weight loss and fitness goals. I love both cycling and skiing. I’m living in Santa Barbara now, instead of the mountains, so I am cycling more and skiing less.

Last winter I noticed myself getting winded a lot while I was skiing. If I was in powder, I’d have to stop every few minutes. I held back a lot and was hesitant to go into certain terrain. My first day on the mountain this year I totally went for it! On my first day of the season I was skiing better than I was on the last day of last season. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this; I weighed 50 pounds less than I did at the end of last season!

I have a few regular routes I ride on my bike. I love a long Saturday ride where I’m on my bike for three or four hours and covering 30 or 40 or 50 miles. But I wanted to add in a ride I could do in an hour so I set up a challenge for myself. There’s a ride I can do up an old mountain pass near where we live in Santa Barbara. I set a goal to do the whole ride in an hour. To leave my house, get to the road where the climbing commences, get all the way to the top (about a 1,000 foot climb) and get back home — all within an hour. I haven’t done it yet, but I am getting closer.

I’ve also used big physical quests to help me cross thresholds with my weight loss. I was having a hard time getting from -35 to -40. So I went on a three day hike on the Appalachian Trail and that got me to -40. I went on a two day bike ride covering about 140 miles from San Luis Obispo to Monterey. That helped me get from -40 to -45.

In May I am planning to ride my bike 500 miles from Stockholm, Sweden to Copenhagen, Denmark. It’s good to have that goal in mind for a few months down the road. I have to stay in shape if I am going to do that ride. May also marks one-year since I really began this quest in earnest — that morning laying in bed when I realized I had no excuse. Right now I am running 2-5 miles at least 4 or 5 times a week because I am getting ready to run a half-marathon. I added a trail run that’s 5 miles long, the first two and a half miles up 1,000 feet in elevation, and then two and a half miles back down. Former presidential candidate Gary Johnson has an impressive athletic resume and has climbed the tallest mountain on every continent in the world. He says his goal is that he constantly maintains physical conditioning to the point that he could, theoretically, climb a mountain tomorrow.

By the way, I should add that on Thanksgiving, before I loaded up my plate with mashed potatoes and gravy, I started that day by running 11 miles.

Sometimes it’s easier to ride 20 miles than to eat nothing….
I really like food! This past Sunday it was easier for me to ride 30 miles on my bike so I could eat whatever I wanted the rest of the day than it was for me to sit at home and keep myself from eating. Hey, I also love riding my bike, skiing, running, and being active. I hate starving myself. So if I am able to spend time being really physically active so that I can be lax with what I eat later, that’s two really great things. If I am sitting at home and doing nothing and starving myself, that’s two bad things. I’ll take two good things over two bad things.

I don’t always have time for long, extended workouts. When I don’t, I have to fall back on what I have learned about diet and exercise.

Vitamins, Supplements, Essential Oils
There are a few that have been a part of my regiment, mostly from doTerra. [Disclosure:  My wife is a wellness advocate for doTerra and the link is to her store. We fell in love with doTerra essential oils and supplements as a way to stay healthy while traveling and they are now a part of our life everyday. I use several oils on a daily or weekly basis that are not mentioned here].

At times I am starving myself. I mean really, I do starve myself sometimes. I’m okay with that because sometimes I eat like a pig. But when I am starving myself, there’s a few vitamins and supplements which I think have helped keep my body happy and entering starvation mode. The first is TerraGreens,  a blend of whole food fruits and vegetables combined with superfruits and CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils. It’s a powder that I add to an 8 ounce glass of water, and I prefer the powder because I always prefer powder to pill form whenever possible.

During times of “regular” eating, I regularly will drink a glass of water with Slim&Sassy Metabolic Blend  essential oils which is designed to help manage appetite between meals. I’ll also add a little Grapefruit essential oils to a glass of water to boost my metabolism before I am about to eat a big meal or break a fast. Careful with these essential oils. They are potent. Also, don’t think you’re going to use the Grapefruit essential oils to boost your metabolism and not eat, as some extreme push toward losing weight. It will wreck your stomach. (You may have picked up from this post that I am a person given toward extremes and I speak from experience). I also use the Alpha CRS supplement (in pill form). dōTERRA Alpha CRS+ Cellular Vitality Complex is a formula combining potent levels of natural botanical extracts that support healthy cell function with important metabolic factors of cellular energy. Microplex VMz is a food supplement in pill form that I take with me when I am traveling and may find the TerraGreens powder difficult to fuss with.

I also take Pine Pollen Powder from Vitajing Herbs, which I order from Amazon. Again, I prefer this in powder instead of pill form as I think it’s absorbed into the body more effectively. Pine Pollen Powder boosts testosterone, physical and mental energy, your immune system, and is a general “anti-aging” tonic.

5 and 10 pounds at a time…
I started out this journey at 290 pounds. That’s the official number I’ve always used. (So, when I say I’ve lost 60 pounds, that means I weigh 230). In truth, I was 295. But with my little adjustment I can always, even if I am up 2 or 3 pounds, I can honestly say I am down X much. So if I weigh in today at 270, I can start telling people I’ve lost 20 pounds. If I go back up to 272 tomorrow, I don’t have to start telling people I’ve lost 18 pounds.

So my first threshold was 280. Once I got to 280 you know what I really wanted to do? Get to 279. And once I got to 279, I never wanted to see 280 again. Never. So when I would get to 279, or 269, or 259…. When I would get to that point, I would go hard-core. I’d be extremely meticulous about what I was eating and I would really go at it in my work-outs. I wanted to get down to 275, or 265, or 255. Once I would get to that point, I’d feel like I was safely in the 70’s, 60’s, or 50’s. I could put on a few pounds, even if it was just two pounds of water weight, and not go back up to the next set of 10.

Once I got to XX5, I would relax for a while. I got good at maintaining my weight over the past eight months. I could go for a few weeks at a time without being “hard-core” and maintain my weight at 2X4, 2X5, 2X6. Then, I’d make a push to get down to the next threshold, to cross over to 249 and 239.

With my two daughters. A few months ago I celebrated “losing an Abby,” my younger daughter, who weighed 45 pounds at the time. In this photo I was celebrating “losing an Emery,” my older daughter, who weighed 59 pounds. I was officially at -60.

Three apps I use daily or at least a few times a week.

  1. Google Fit. This is as basic as it gets. I have a goal set to walk 12,000 steps everyday. That’s like a minimum acceptable level of physical activity. I don’t even use Google to track my workouts at the gym or other workouts that I do. I look at Google Fit every single day.
  2. Strava. I have my friend Bryan to thank for introducing me to Strava. Strava is great for my competitive nature as an athlete and pushing myself to go further, faster. Originally I liked it as a way of simply knowing how far I had ridden my bike or how far I had run. Using GPS it tracks all of that and will tell me I ran, today, for example, 2 miles, with 35 feet in elevation gain, at an average page of 9:08 minute/mile, and that based upon other data I have entered into my Strava profile, it tells me I burned 444 calories on this workout. But one more thing I really like about Strava is how it breakdowns workouts I do on a regular basis. There are a few bike rides I do regularly, and it will tell me how I did on one particular segment today vs. other days, and it breaks this down segment by segment, as well as showing me the workout as a whole. The more you use and play with Strava the more you will love it.
  3. 7-Minute Workout. This is a great workout I can do in 7 minutes. I’ll often do this when I am waiting for someone or something, or if I want to get a decent workout in without going to the gym, I’ll go on a run and follow-it up by doing a few 7-Minute Workouts back to back. It’s all stuff you can do without weights. I’ll do it in my front yard. Have done the 7-Minute Workout in hotel rooms and at campsites. It’s all these 30 seconds exercises the app walks you through — crunches, push-ups, planks, lunges, squats, wall sits, etc. It’s a great workout and so basic. I don’t use this app all the time, but it’s a great arrow I have in my quiver. I broke a bone in my wrist a few months ago that kept me from doing push-ups and tricep chair dips. When the app told me to do those things, I just subbed in 30 seconds of additional planks or some other exercise. After I ran 11 miles on Thanksgiving Day and my legs were thrashed, I took it easy on some of the leg exercises and subbed in some additional core and arm exercises.

New Year’s Slack
For New Year’s we went up to Tahoe to stay with some friends. I went ten days without weighing myself, which is an eternity for me. At home, I still weigh myself everyday. Still, sometimes, multiple times a day. So going ten days was like totally letting loose.

I was active in Tahoe. Playing with the kids in the snow, snowshoeing, skiing, snowblowing, and snow shoveling. But I wasn’t especially active. And, for about ten days, I ate whatever I wanted.

Selfie in Tahoe at -50.

I came home and didn’t weigh myself the first day. I was nervous. Took a day and was really careful with my diet and went on a run. The next day I got out the scale. I was nervous. I weighed 238 pounds, which was two pounds more than when we’d left for Tahoe.

In reality, I wasn’t eating that terribly in Tahoe. Remember, my standards have changed. What I now consider a “terrible” day of eating I would have considered an “average” day a few years ago.  Within a few days I was back down to 236 and then in another couple of days I was down to 235, which officially put me down 55 pounds. I took a few days off to give my body a break and then made another push and spent a few days between 232 and 234. When I sensed my body was “happy” again, I made another hard push and pushed through to 230.

Finish Line?
235 was the number I thought I needed to get to when I started out. 225 was my wedding weight, and if you look at me in wedding photos I was very thin, and at that time I had to have intense workouts everyday in order to stay at 225. So I thought 235 would be about right. I feel like I’ve gotten to 230 easier this time, when I am 13 years older, than it was for me to get to 225 as a twenty-four year old. The only difference I can think of is diet, which I doubt I changed much in my early 20’s. If I was on a diet, I was only eating less, not thinking about the types of foods I was eating and learning about my my body reacts to different kinds of food.

On our Wedding Day I weighed 5 pounds less than I weigh now.

Now that I’m here at 230, I still feel like I’m not “there” yet.” It’s harder to put an exact number on it now, though. I want to lose fat, especially belly fat, and continue to gain muscle. So maybe I need to gain 5 pounds of muscle and lose five pounds of fat? I’m still figuring this part out, but the scale is definitely becoming more limited in measuring my overall fitness. Some will say I obsessed over the scale too much throughout this entire journey. Again, this is what worked for me. I know others who weigh themselves once a week. If that works for you, great. But 2-5 times A DAY for most of this journey is what worked for me.

But I’ve realized there is no finish line. Even if I were to achieve the goal — “phenomenal shape” — I still have to maintain my body. I still have to watch my diet, be mindful about what I am eating, the amount of exercise I am getting, what muscles are getting weak, etc.

If I want to achieve, and maintain, phenomenal shape, I need to spend a proportionate amount of time thinking about my health and wellness. We become what we think about most of the time.

If you have struggled with your physical fitness and struggled with losing weight, I hope this post is helpful to you, and please reach out to me if I can help you in anyway. I am happy to answer questions or check in with you to help encourage you on your journey.

This has been my journey, and the journey doesn’t end here. I am still learning, still refining. Others my criticize my techniques. Think I should eat less meat or not meat at all. I shouldn’t use “Cheat Days” or encourage binge eating on a “Cheat Day.” This is what’s worked for me, and I’ll continue to refine it to achieve and maintain the results that I desire.

Cheers to good health,

P.S. If you are serious about good health, you should’t read this post just once. You should read it a few times a week for the next several weeks. I would also recommend that next time around you not read this post but you read the revised version of this post, which I broke up into 6 separate blog posts. While this post is about 6,100 words, because I added new content to the series, the 6 separate blog posts combined are more than 8,100 words. So if you go through the whole series next time around, you’ll get what you just read, but you’ll also get new content that you have not read before.

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