7 a.m.: 1 1/4 cup of Kashi Go Lean cereal, toast w/ butter and jelly = 385 Noon: Tuna sandwich w/ BBQ flavored Pop Chips = 400 6 p.m.: 2 cups of spaghetti w/ french bread = 720
Tuesday (1,900 calories)
7 a.m.: 3 scrambled eggs, 2 pieces of bacon, 2 pieces of toast w/ jam = 420 10 a.m.: Oh Yeah! Protein bar (chocolate w/ almonds) = 170 Noon: BBQ, white rice w/ hash, 1/2 cup of coleslaw, 2 hush puppies = 720 6 p.m.: Baked chicken with white rice, corn, and green beans = 590
Wednesday (1,765 calories)
7 a.m.: 1 1/4 cup of Kashi Go Lean cereal, toast w/ butter and jelly = 395 10 a.m.: Oh Yeah! Protein bar (chocolate w/ almonds) = 170 Noon: Tuna sandwich w/ sour cream and onion Pop Chips = 400 5 p.m.: Mexican chimichanga, chips and salsa, rice = 800 est
Thursday (1,680 calories)
6 a.m.: 3 scrambled eggs, 2 pieces of bacon, 2 pieces of toast w/ jam = 420 Noon: BBQ, white rice w/ hash, 1/2 cup of coleslaw, 2 hush puppies = 720 5 p.m.: 1 pancake, 2 slices of french toast w/ syrup = 540
Friday (1,580 calories)
8 a.m.: 1 1/4 cup of Kashi Go Lean cereal = 280 Noon: McDonald’s cheeseburger w/ small fries = 650 calories 5 p.m.: 10 sushi rolls, egg drop soup, 1/2 cup of fried rice = 650 est
Last week I questioned continuing counting calories. I still don’t think it’s having a huge impact on my weight loss, but I have decided to continue to report my calories each week until I reach my goal of 150 pounds lost.
By losing (almost) 100 pounds in six months, some have told me that I make losing weight look easy. While I certainly like to think I’ve been optimistic and energetic on this weight loss journey, I never meant to mislead anybody.
Losing weight is hard.
Here are some harsh realities of losing weight and why you’ll find it hard.
You probably won’t lose 100 pounds in six months. You need to set goals that are realistic. Keep in mind, the more you weigh, the quicker you can lose weight.
Cravings will last for months. I had extremely bad cravings. I broke my addiction to soda in a single day and it gave me serious withdrawals.
Bad habits die hard. I used to eat out all the time — I’d order sweet tea or soda and have several refills with every visit. It took about three months before I could easily say, without reluctance, that I wanted a water instead of a soda.
Family and friends may not support you. Sure, they may encourage you to lose weight and motivate you, but when you go out on Friday night they may still want the chili cheese fries.
You got yourself into the mess alone, don’t ask or expect other people to help you out of it. If they do, great! But, as in my case, my wife was pregnant for the first three months of my weight loss journey — the hardest part — and I couldn’t even begin to ask her to give up the pickles and ice cream.
You blame being overweight/obesity on something else. I used to say that I was cursed with “bad genes” that wired me to be overweight. Being overweight all my life it was easy to use bad genes as an excuse.
By blaming something or somebody else for your weight problem, you’re giving yourself an easy out when you get discouraged and feel like giving up.
You might begin to say to yourself, “I should quit trying to lose weight, my (genes, wife, job, Bigfoot) won’t ever let me anyway.”
While there are definitely people who are afflicted with certain medical conditions that prevent them from losing weight, those people are few and far between. More than likely, you’re not one of them, so forget the excuses.
The odds are stacked against you. Not only have you probably tried and failed to lose weight several times before (I know I have), but so has everyone else.
While I’m not big on numbers, statistics or “facts” (read this blog long enough, you’ll see that), I know that the vast majority of people who try to lose weight fail.
Information is readily available, but confusing. I love all the comments and emails I receive through the blog. I’m also thankful for all the advice and weight loss tips I read on other sites and blogs — there’s no limit to the amount of information available.
Your body is different and you’ll need to find what works for you.
You don’t want to sweat. If you’re having fun in the gym for the first month or two, you’re doing something wrong. The gym isn’t about being comfortable, or having fun, it’s about being in pain.
You’re not mentally strong enough. I can guarantee you that you will hit a brick wall sooner or later on your weight loss journey and you will need to be able to stay patient while you try to break it down.
Your lifestyle needs to change. Losing weight isn’t about setting short term goals like “lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks.” Losing weight is about changing the way you live.
This means making consistently healthy choices not only at the gym and dinner table but with the actions you take all day long.
Six months ago I was 350 pounds and couldn’t run down my driveway without becoming exhausted, forget about participating in a 10k race. And while I’m not certain I’ll be able to run the entire 6.2 miles, I know I can at least finish.
7 a.m.: 3 eggs (scrambled), toast w/ jam, two slices of bacon = 385 Noon: BBQ, white rice w/ hash, 1/2 cup of coleslaw, 2 hush puppies = 720 6 p.m.: Homemade tacos w/ beef, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, salsa = 550
Wednesday (2,015 calories)
7 a.m.: Nature’s Valley granola bars (2) = 180 8 a.m.: Bojangle’s bacon, egg, cheese biscuit = 535 Noon: BBQ, white rice w/ hash, 1/2 cup of coleslaw, 2 hush puppies = 720 6 p.m.: 3 slices of homemade french toast = 580
Thursday (2,285 calories)
8 a.m.: Bojangle’s bacon, egg, cheese biscuit = 535 Noon: Cheeseburger and fries = 850 6 p.m.: Mexican chimichanga, few chips w/ salsa, red rice = 900 est
Friday (1,605 calories)
6 a.m.: 3 eggs (scrambled), toast w/ jam, two slices of bacon = 385 1 p.m.: TGI Friday’s Sizzlin’ Chicken and Shrimp = 300 6 p.m.: 3 slices of Domino’s supreme pizza (medium) = 920 calories
As you can see, my diet has been pretty lazy this week to say the least — my wife has been out of town (that’s what we call an excuse, kids). Without “supervision,” apparently my diet goes a little bit astray.
I’m back on track today and hopefully we’ll carry that into next week.
As I was sorting through old pictures yesterday (getting ready to post new progress pictures), I came across this quickly fading memory:
My wife took this picture of me in October of 2008. I was tipping the scale at close to 350 pounds (though I didn’t know it at the time) and I was extremely obese living an unhealthy lifestyle.
This was a lifestyle that was going to end with me dying in 3020 10 years weighing 500+ pounds.
I want to give you a glimpse into my lifestyle before 344 Pounds:
The above picture was taken at Chili’s on October 11, 2008. It was sent through my iPhone to Facebook as a mobile upload, which is how I have a timestamp of the picture.
I asked my wife to take a picture of me as I wanted a new (emo, apparently) picture for my Facebook profile. We took about 50 different shots because it was hard finding a picture that I was happy with.
It was hard taking a shot that hid all the fat on my face (notice the hands).
Once our Glamour Shots session was over it was time to pick my poison, so to speak.
While I can’t recall what it was the night the above picture was taken, it was always either sweet tea or soda, depending on what I was in the mood for that particular meal. Both sugar drinks are roughly 150 calories or so a glass — I’m sure I had at least 2 or 3 refills that visit, as I always did.
That’s at least 450 calories.
Once my drink arrived, the appetizer would soon follow. I’d always order a serving of southwestern egg rolls (delicious, but 810 calories). My wife would have a couple, but I’d eat the remaining 600 calories.
We’re up to 1,050 calories and the main course hasn’t even arrived.
Ah, but here it comes: chicken crispers. Strips of chicken battered and fried, served with french fries, corn on the cob and honey mustard. Mmm, this is so good I think I might die.
Calories in Chili’s chicken crispers? 1,880 calories.
That brings the total calories I had for dinner over 3,000. It wouldn’t be so bad (okay, it’d still be bad) to enjoy this type of food if it was only once in a while and you went to the gym for three hours shortly afterward.
But it wasn’t. And I didn’t.
I lived an unhealthy lifestyle that created the selfish 350 pound man you see in the picture above. I don’t recognize him, nor do I have a shred of respect for him — he was consciously making choices on a daily basis to kill himself.
The guy in that picture is dead. That unhealthy lifestyle is dead, too.
I’m all that’s left.
My wife and I are considering setting up a home gym.
We’re contemplating it for a couple of reasons.
First, my membership at Better Body Fitness is up for renewal in a couple of days ($99 for three months). I always like to know I’m getting the best value for my money.
Secondly, my wife decided to start an elliptical workout program to lose some baby weight.
So, we’re trying to decide: home gym or gym memberships?
A gym membership for both of us at Better Body Fitness would be $198 every three months or $792 $460.80 for 12 months. It has all the elliptical machines, treadmill machines, dumbbells, etc we could ever need.
While a home gym would cost more money upfront, I shouldn’t have to spend any more money for at least a few years assuming nothing breaks.
We already have a cheap elliptical machine (by ProForm) in the house that we purchased a few years ago for about $350, but to be frank — it’s crap. I don’t think it’s ProForm (I’ve only heard good things), I just believe buying an elliptical (or any cardio) machine is a “you get what you pay for” kind of deal.
With that being said, if we did buy a new elliptical machine for a home gym we’d choose a more expensive elliptical model in the $750 range. It’s worth it.
If convenience was the only deciding factor, we’d pull out the Visa with 0% for 12 months and hit Dick’s Sporting Goods tonight!
My gym lacks any sort of childcare services, so that means either my wife or myself has to stay home and watch our daughter while the other goes to the gym.
That’s not very practical.
A home gym, even a single elliptical machine, would take up a lot of room. We live in your typical four-bedroom suburban house consisting of an office, baby’s room, guest room and masters.
While we could cram a small gym into our house, we certainly don’t have what you would call an abundance of space.
My wife dislikes the lack of privacy in the gym. In other words, she dislikes the perverts. By talking to other females in my family, apparently my wife is not alone in this sentiment. While I don’t think this is a problem in my gym (we’re a bunch of good ole’ country folks), I honestly wouldn’t notice if it was.
Personally, I don’t need privacy. I’m a man. I could show up at the gym wearing nothing but my underwear, unshaven for weeks and jump on the treadmill and start running. Men have no emotion or feelings.
Ultimately, I think my wife and I are going to work out separately. We’ll end up buying an elliptical machine to go into a small home gym and I’ll stick with Better Body Fitness.
While my wife wants to concentrate on cardio, I know I’ll begin focusing more and more on building muscle — requiring a smorgasbord of free weights and machines. That’s how you get buff, afterall.
Elliptical & Treadmill Workout Pledge
I have a workout pledge for you.
Since some of you are new to the site, here’s how workout pledges go. Basically, I allow my readers (that’s you!) to determine how long I sweat at the gym.
It isn’t as simple as you telling me to work out (hey jerk, work out for three hours!), you have to complete one (or all) of the small tasks I outline below:
Post a comment: +15 seconds. Just comment to this post. It can be a “Good luck!” or it could be your life story. I’d be happy to read both.
Follow me on twitter: +30 seconds. I like to tweet.
Follow me on Facebook: +30 seconds. Join my new Facebook page and get absolutely nothing of value other than adding 30 seconds to my workout.
Subscribe to RSS feed: +45 seconds. I’m not really sure what RSS means.
Link to 344Pounds.com = +1 minute. You can link to me from your blog, Facebook, Twitter page, Digg, Plenty of Fish profile, etc. For every link I receive, I’ll workout 45 seconds.
Unlike previous workout pledges, this is not just for one machine — this is for two, the elliptical and the treadmill.
If the total time for this pledge comes to 75 minutes for example, I’ll spend that time on both machines. I’ll complete 75 minutes on the treadmill, take a short break, then get on the elliptical!
You have until 7 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday to add time to my workout. So, if you want to add me to your blogroll, RSS feed, Facebook, etc and make me earn your friendship, you have about 30 hours to do so.
It’s up to you. How long will I work out Saturday?
This has ended! This Saturday (UPDATED: Friday night at 7 p.m.) I will be working out for 93.4 minutes on BOTH machines.
I’ve lost 2.4 pounds in the last week and 102.8 pounds in 25 weeks. Want stats from past weeks? Check out my entire 25 week weight loss progress.
I’m satisfied with the loss this week, but I know it could’ve been more. With a little more basketball and a little lot less pizza over the weekend I probably would have lost another pound. I’m not complaining, though.
Honestly, I’m surprised I still lost 2.4 pounds, especially with all of the belt loosenings I did after hitting the 100-pound mark last week.
On a new front: loose, sagging skin is starting to become a problem. I’m not quite sure how I’ll address this yet (if at all), but I’ll keep you posted.
One battle at a time.
Today is picture day.
Homepage excluded, the pictures page is by far the most visited page on the blog. It’s definitely my favorite page, one that I frequent quite often. On days when I feel like skipping the gym I take a look at a few “before” pictures.
That always gets me moving.
This is the most recent picture:
This was taken last Wednesday. I’m 100 pounds lighter in this self-portrait than I was in the first picture I uploaded some six months ago.
There are two pictures left to be uploaded: 220 and 194 pounds.
6 a.m.: scrambled eggs (1), toast (2 pieces) with jelly and peanut butter = 410 1 p.m.: grilled catfish w/ corn and hashbrown casserole = 760 6 p.m.: bacon, lettuce, tomato (add cheese) sandwich w/ chips and salsa = 580
Wednesday | 1,820 calories
6 a.m.: scrambled eggs (3), bacon (2 slices), toast (2 pieces) with jelly = 420 10 a.m.: grapes = 60 Noon: Ye Ole Fashioned (restaurant) cheeseburger and fries = 850 est. 6 p.m.: Red Lobster 1 pound crab legs, mashed potatoes, salad = 490
Thursday | 2,100 calories
6 a.m.: scrambled eggs (3), bacon (2 slices), toast (2 pieces) with jelly = 420 1 p.m.: BBQ, white rice with hash, coleslaw, hash browns (2) = 720 6 p.m.: Five Guys little cheeseburger and cajun fries = 960
Friday | 1,750 calories
6 a.m.: egg, bacon, and cheese sandwich on whole wheat = 380 10 a.m.: Oh Yeah! Protein bar (chocolate w/ almonds) = 170 Noon: gyros w/ onions, lettuce, cucumbers, tomato on a warm pita= 540 6 p.m.: chicken alfredo pasta, Caesar salad = 660
I don’t like tracking calories every week on the web, I’d prefer just to keep a running tally in my head. With that being said, I don’t know how my meals might begin to look if I didn’t have to be accountable for them.
Due to recent media attention, this was the biggest workout pledge by far. I was forced to stay on both the treadmill and elliptical for 93 minutes (plus two for cool down) — putting me in the gym for 3 hours and 10 minutes Friday night.
This was the first workout pledge I tweeted while I worked out. It was a new experience, a positive experience I’d do again; the support I received kept me going for the last hour when my legs started failing.
Recap of Friday night’s workouts
I started out on the treadmill machine a little after 7 p.m. Friday. I maintained a speed varying from 3.4 (when I took pictures) to 4.0. Incline levels varied as well, ranging from 1.1 to 5.1. It was a brisk walk with some hills thrown in.
The 95 minutes on the treadmill were easy compared to the 95 that were soon to follow on the elliptical. While I was on the treadmill daydreaming, fighting boredom, I realized I needed to make a bigger workout playlist for pledges.
Other than realizing I need to bring a book for “next time” and needing to urinate for the last 30 minutes, I had a smooth workout.
I burned nearly 1,000 calories and walked over 5.5 miles in 95 minutes on the treadmill. Other than stiffness in the legs, I finished the workout unscathed.
It wasn’t until I stopped stretching and went to the restroom did the scary reality sink in: I’m about to start the hard part.
I had only done 95 minutes on the elliptical before once (when I did 99), but that wasn’t following 95 minutes on the treadmill. I was sore, tired and wanted to go home.
The only place I was going, though, was on the elliptical.
I started my workout on the elliptical machine after a short break used to go to the restroom and fill up my water bottle. After typing in level 20 (out of 20) into the machine it turned on and I immediately knew I was in trouble.
I got onto twitter for some support and found Lethal Weapon 2 on television (the one with Joe Pesci), settling in for a long, painful workout.
Looking back, I have no idea how I managed to keep going.
Around the halfway mark on the elliptical, about two and a half hours after my current cardio session started, my legs began to buckle. I had to lean against the machine’s console so I wouldn’t fall down. This was the moment I wanted most to quit and say “no thanks” to the remaining 45 minutes, but I didn’t.
I got back on twitter and looked for support — I found it and kept going.
With about 20 minutes left my water ran out and my cell phone battery was dying, which meant no more twitter updates. I turned off the music application on my phone (G1) to conserve the battery and simply ignored my water problem — I wasn’t about to quit now.
Luckily, the battery in my phone lasted long enough to snap a final picture and I was able to wipe the machine down, stretch, guzzle down 20 ounces of water and walk out of the gym alive.
It was easy to fall asleep once I got home. My legs were sore and stiff, but I could walk.
I was a little sore Saturday and only did some light cleaning, but hit the gym Sunday hard and did 30 minutes on both the treadmill and elliptical.
I’ll be back at the gym tonight fully charged.
I want the 230s.
My birthday is this Sunday (July 26) — I’ll be turning 24.
It’s going to be the best birthday I’ve ever had.
It’s not because I’m going to have a big party — because I’m not. And it’s not because I’ll be getting some shiny new toy — because I’m not.
It’s because I have something to celebrate.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve celebrated 23 wonderful birthdays. I’ve always had wonderful family and friends and have absolutely nothing to lament about.
I use birthdays though, just like New Years, to reflect back on the last year and to look at what I’ve accomplished — and what I’ve yet to accomplish.
That list has always started and stopped with me losing 100+ pounds.
Even more reason to celebrate, the Monday after my birthday is the first day of my week long vacation. I don’t plan on taking anytime off of the blog though, because I have absolutely no life. Just kidding. Sort of.
But really, I’ll still be around.
Hopefully, I’ll get an early birthday present tomorrow: 230s!
The scale had an early birthday present this morning. 230’s!
July 22 weight: 238.8
July 15 weight: 241.4
July 08 weight: 243.8
July 01 weight: 247.6
Jun 24 weight: 252.4
I’ve lost 2.6 pounds in the last week and 105.4 pounds in 26 weeks. Want stats from past weeks? Check out my entire 26 week weight loss progress.
I’m now 39 pounds away from weighing under 200 pounds. Can you imagine how exciting that day is going to be? I loved the day I lost 100 pounds, but it’ll be nothing compared to the day I weigh under 200 pounds.
That’s going to be one big party.
There’s a good reason for this ridiculously large grin.
I haven’t been able to fit into a large shirt since middle school.
Granted, it’s snug, but it fits comfortably.
It took 12 years of extremely poor, selfish choices to put me into a largeXLXXLXXXL XXXXL shirt. It only took 26 weeks to roll it all back.
That’s something to smile about.
I haven’t been able to fit into a large shirt since middle school. Granted, it’s snug, but it fits comfortably.
Counting Calories 7/20 – 7/24
Monday | 1,585 calories
6 a.m.: shredded wheat cereal (2 cups), Nature’s Valley granola bar: 405 Noon: BBQ, white rice with hash, coleslaw, hashbrowns (2) = 720 6 p.m.: bacon lettuce tomato sandwich w/ BBQ flavored Pop Chips = 460
I take up a lot less space. I have a longer hang time. I fit into clothes I haven’t been able to since high middle school. But those are the obvious changes.
You already know those.
What you don’t know is that I asked my wife a couple of weeks ago what the “bone was in my butt.” She said it was my tailbone. I knew of the tailbone, but I’ve never felt mine. I can’t remember ever feeling it back there.
I can also feel my collar bone and my pelvic bone. I see veins in my hands and arms when I get my blood flowing. I see extremely tight muscles in my legs forming and can see muscles growing in my arms.
Losing 100 pounds is a lot like dating and exploring a boyfriend/girlfriend’s body for the first time. It’s amazing that I can explore my own body and find muscles and bones I’ve never felt before.
It’s as if I’m not familiar with my own body, a body I’ve supposedly lived in for almost two decades.
That’s the thing, though. I haven’t.
I’m glad I didn’t start this healthy lifestyle during August and December.
I’m a college football fan(atic). I love watching hours of college football every Saturday — particularly, I love watching SEC football and the South Carolina Gamecocks. When they’re not playing, I’ll usually opt to watch one of those “powder puff” teams in another conference pretend to play football.
Here’s looking at you, Buckeyes.
Typical food spread during football season in 2008:
We’re talking 2,500 calories consumed during a single football game.
While I’m thinking of simply limiting my portions this year (half a dozen wings, one cup potato salad, etc), I would really prefer to have some healthier food options altogether like these deviled eggs my wife and I made last night:
This is the first week in my entire journey I’ve gained weight.
July 29 weight: 239.2
July 22 weight: 238.8
July 15 weight: 241.4
July 08 weight: 243.8
July 01 weight: 247.6
I’ve gained 0.4 pounds in the last week and lost 105 pounds in 27 weeks. Want stats from past weeks? Check out my entire 27 week weight loss progress.
Week 27 is the first and last week you’ll ever see again.
You don’t need a picture of my scale this week — I’m fairly sure I showed you what under 239 pounds looked like a week ago. I was less than pleased this morning and couldn’t have cared less about showing you the scale at 239.2.
With my 24th birthday this past Sunday and a weeklong vacation from work this week, I’ve lost sight of my goals. I haven’t relapsed into my old unhealthy lifestyle, but I have stopped trying to be healthy.
I’ve been snacking on junk food during the day. I skipped the gym both over the weekend and last night. I’ve been watching more television and spending more time on the computer.
It looks like I’m still human.
This week should show you that if you don’t put in the work, you won’t lose the weight. It’s not rocket science. I’ve lost weight 26 weeks in a row without fail — the first week I gave just a little bit of slack I gained half a pound.
If you thought I was serious about losing weight before, wait until August 5th.
No more slack. Not one inch.
One of the most frequent questions I get asked is how I started this blog.
344 Pounds, without a doubt, is the greatest form of accountability I have available to me. It’s hard to imagine my journey without this blog.
I know of countless readers that have realized this as well and started their own blogs. Within the past few days alone I’ve been notified of a couple new blogs that have been started by readers following in my footsteps.
So, how exactly do you start a weight loss blog?
Create a Free Weight Loss Blog
You need a place to put your blog — this is called a “host.” There are numerous weight loss blogs that are placed on free hosts, such as Blogger and WordPress.
Pros of Free Blogs
They cost nothing and can be setup within a few minutes
Small learning curve to get started, but running it is fairly easy
Cons of Free Blogs
Generic URL. You can’t have a “short” web address with most free blogs. I couldn’t have 344Pounds.com on WordPress.com, for example, my web address would have to be like 344pounds.wordpress.com.
Limited customization. You can choose color schemes, upload images, etc., but you’ll never have the ability to do everything that you can do on a standalone blog that costs a little bit of money to set up.
Upgrading difficulty. While you may be fine with a free blog for now, what happens when your blog gets more popular and you want more features available to you? It’s hard to upgrade from a free blog.
That’s the free option. Then, there’s an option that costs a little bit of money. This is what most weight loss bloggers decide to do.
Create a Standalone Weight Loss Blog
This is how I created 344 Pounds. It costs under $10 a month with Just Host, but I consider that an extremely small price to pay for the accountability.
Pros of Standalone Blogs
Takes only a few minutes to set up.
Full control. While you may not need it at first, you can do anything with your blog. As you become more serious about blogging and learn of different things you can do, you’ll love the limitless capabilities.
Short web address. This signed the deal for me. I wanted to have my own short web address, 344Pounds.com — something that is only capable by going through Just Host or a similar hosting company.
Cons of Standalone Blogs
Price. Just Host charges $7.95 a month for your blog. That’s obviously more than “free,” but for me, the value is there to spend $8 a month to have a short web address and have full control over my blog.
Starting a blog isn’t that technical, it just involves a few terms that you’re probably unfamiliar with. If you do decide to start your own blog, whether through Blogger, WordPress, or Just Host, feel free to post a comment if you have any questions and I’m sure either myself or someone else will help you!
Are your lifestyle changes taking hold? Have you had to battle any plateaus?