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344 Pounds: I’m a Daddy – All the Motivation I Could Ever Need

VOL # 3, Weeks Nine Through Twelve, My Weight Loss Journey Continues!

Updated: December 6, 2020
Before and after
By MBL Featured Blogger: Shawn Tyler Weeks
Originally Posted: March 1, 2020

You don’t have to eat carrots all day to lose weight. In fact, if you try to, your diet will almost certainly fail. Exercise and eat balanced meals with portion control, and you’ll lose weight.

Shawn Tyler Weeks – 344 Pounds, A Weightloss Journey

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Week 10

March 20

I’m a Daddy

My wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl at 9:07 PM on Thursday.

baby Abigail

Natalee Abigail, 7lbs 12 ounces, the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

My diet is suffering immensely while at the hospital (oh, the irony), but I’m still committed to drinking nothing but water. I missed the gym Thursday, but I’m about to go there now while mommy sleeps.

March 23 

Back in Black

I’m back on track and dressed in black.

fila shirt

After having absolutely no exercise since last Thursday and eating things like No Rules Pasta, Egg McMuffins and Bacon Cheeseburgers (with fries), I could feel my body beginning to crave healthy food and physical activity.

While it’s hard with a newborn, I managed to get back on track with my healthy diet and exercise program this Sunday. 

Thankfully, my wife is really supportive about making sure I stick to my gym routine; Natalee is being supportive too, as she’s sleeping more and more with every passing day.  

My trip to the gym yesterday burnt 710 calories in 45 minutes on the elliptical.  I also lifted some weights while I was there — it felt really good to flex my muscles.

Last Wednesday my wife and I went clothes shopping. My old clothes, 3XL-4XL shirts and 46+ waist jeans/pants, fit on me like a sack of potatoes, so it felt really good to get some new threads (that’s what they’re called now, gramps). 

I ended up buying a new pair of pants, a couple of shorts, and a few shirts. One pair in particular were a set of new workout clothes.

Prior to last Wednesday I had been working out in my old (prior lifestyle change) 4XL t-shirts. As of Wednesday,  my new workout wardrobe consists of a black shirt and white basketball shorts, both branded by FILA Sports.

Sizes: 2XL shirts, large basketball shorts, and 42-waist pants/shorts.

It feels great to have clothes that fit. I look better and walk around with more confidence, proudly showing off my new shape, the product of all my hard work.

Hopefully this is the week I go below 300 pounds.

March 25 Weigh-In Results

It took me two decades to reach 300+ pounds and only nine weeks to leave that scary, morbid place for good.

weight 296.2

Mar 25 weight: 296.2

Mar 18 weight: 302.6

Mar 11 weight: 306.6

Mar 04 weight: 312.0

Feb 25 weight: 320.2

Feb 18 weight: 324.0

Feb 11 weight: 328.2

Feb 04 weight: 333.0

Jan 28 weight: 338.2

Starting weight (Jan 21): 344.2

I’ve lost 6.4 pounds in the past week, 47 pounds total in nine weeks!

After my  week four weigh-in I talked about how I knew I couldn’t sustain losing several pounds a week and how I’d be happy losing just two or three pounds on a regular basis. 

That’s why with each new weigh-in I’m shocked by the scale. I’ve moved 4, 5, 6 and 8 pounds each week over the past several weeks with absolutely no signs of slowing down or “plateauing.”

Being under 300 is a major milestone — I can’t thank you guys enough.

March 26

Setting Weight Loss Goals

It’s fine to have a long term weight loss goal in the back of your mind, but it’s much more important to constantly make up new, shorter goals that you can accomplish every other week or so. It keeps you from getting discouraged.

Short Term Weight Loss Goals

When I started at 344 pounds I started with extremely small goals. I wanted to lose 1 pound the first week, 2 pounds the next, etc. I didn’t know at the time how my body would respond to my drastic healthy lifestyle changes.

After I lost 6 pounds the first week I started setting goals like, “I want to lose 3 pounds to reach 329” and “I want to lose 5 pounds to reach 319.”  

I always set goals that revolved around weighing below a five or a zero (330, 325, 320, etc), nothing like “I want to lose 10 pounds to reach 307.5.” Most people like those “official” sounding numbers, there’s something comforting about them.

gun show t-shirt

Long Term Weight Loss Goals

I want to lose 100 pounds. If I had said 123.4 pounds, nobody would take me seriously (except for you, mom). 

I realize that I’d still be overweight and would weigh in at 244 pounds when I’m finished, but there are two things to keep in mind:

– I’m 6 feet, 2 inches tall.

– Muscle weighs more than fat.

It’s not my goal to lose weight to be flabby or sticks and bones. I want to have muscles. Ripped, toned muscles. 

Week 11

March 28

Blogging My Weight Loss

I get several emails like this one on a daily basis — I read every single one and once I find the time, I reply. If you’ve written to me and haven’t received anything back yet… don’t worry, it’s coming.

This is one of the reasons I’m blogging my weight loss journey.

Tyler,

I’m sure you get a lot of these emails, but I just wanted to thank you for posting your weight loss experience. You’ve inspired me to be more aware of what I eat and how active I am (or more accurately, how inactive I am). You’ve shown me that I can still have pizza and cake once in a while, as long as I incorporate more fruits, veggies, and other healthy alternatives into my day-to-day diet. I keep an eye on calories, but I allow myself to have a couple tacos for dinner if I want. It’s nice to not feel like I’m restricted on a typical diet.

Though my weight loss goals are much smaller than yours right now, I too have struggled with my weight throughout my life. Just when I had achieved a body and a lifestyle that I was happy with, I met my current fiance, and nothing makes you gain weight faster than a comfortable relationship. Bigger and bigger I grew as fewer and fewer of my clothes fit. I hate that I now have to “dance” into my jeans every morning because I have grown a bit too big for them.

I tried lots of fad diets, but of course none of them worked. Then I found your blog through consumerist.com, and it was like a lightbulb went on in my brain. Why can’t I just eat better, exercise more and allow myself some not-so-healthy foods once in a while? When I read that your wife was expecting, and that your future child was one of your motivators, my mind was made up. My fiance and I often talk about having a child, and if I’m going to be the one carrying it around for 9 months, I need to have a body that’s healthy and ready to do it. If I stopped living off sweets and carbs, and got used to eating fruits and veggies now, it wouldn’t be as hard once I was pregnant, it would just be HABIT.

So, again, I really want to thank you for posting your experiences and showing the rest of us that there is a way for the average person to lose weight without losing their minds.

-Kate

Age 24

It’s emails and comments like these that make me push myself everyday.

Thanks, Kate.

March 29

Observing Lazy Lifestyles

Cars parked

This morning around 11 I drove to town to pick up some random office supplies at Office Depot. Pulling up to the store, I realized it’s closed — the sign on the door reads “Sunday: 12 PM – 6 PM.”  

Bored, I played with my iPhone, flipped through radio stations, watched cars, etc. As I lost interest with my phone, I began to watch cars more and more and started to notice a lazy trend:

They didn’t want to park.

Being intrigued (and a nerd), I grabbed a pen from the console and started to jot down my observations. I watched 23 cars in the roughly 30 minutes I had to kill — here’s what I observed:

Two cars went down one aisle. These cars went down the aisle they entered the lot and quickly parked at the back of the “main group” of cars.

Six cars went down two aisles. Down the aisle, then up.

Six cars went down three aisles. Down, up, then back down again.

Seven cars went down four aisles. That means they came in from the back of the lot (where I was) and went down that aisle, came back up another aisle, down another, then finally parked on the trip up the next aisle.

Two cars went down five-plus aisles. I spent less time watching OJ’s bronco.

Want to start losing weight today? Park in the first aisle, not the third. I’ve lost 47 pounds in nine weeks not just by going to the gym and eating moderately healthy, but by making countless small lifestyle changes like this one.

March 30

Ways to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

You won’t lose weight with diet and exercise if it’s not being supported by a healthy lifestyle. While they sound like the same thing, they’re definitely not.

What is a healthy lifestyle? A healthy lifestyle is one that involves eating moderately healthy and exercising. 

It isn’t that easy though — it also has a large part to do with the small decisions you make, the ones made during the other 22-23 hours of the day when you’re not at the dinner table or the gym.

Living a healthy lifestyle means doing the following:

  1. Putting your cart in its designated area. After you’re done putting groceries into your car, put your shopping cart in one of those designated cage areas found throughout the parking lot.  Even better, take the cart back to the store.
  2. Not going through drive thrus — park and walk inside. If you have the urge to go get a Big Mac, at the very least get out of the car and walk 40 feet to the counter. This goes for banks, dry cleaners, etc. Not only will you lose weight walking inside, but you’ll usually get helped quicker.
  3. Not circling a parking lot for 20 minutes. I spent enough time addressing this yesterday, I think I’ve wasted enough of my life on this topic.
  4. Taking the stairs. I went to my landlord’s new two-story office a couple of weeks ago and he insisted I took the elevator, not the stairs. Wait, what? I know I’m fat, but give me some credit — I can walk up a flight of stairs.
  5. Walking (or running) to the mailbox. Three months ago I would stop at our driveway (about 75 feet long) and roll down my window to grab the mail.  These days, I pull all the way to the garage door, get out, and walk (or run) to the mail.
  6. Preparing your meals, limiting processed food. I’m not naive enough to expect most people to cut out processed foods completely, I know I certainly won’t — unless Cracker Jack starts growing in wheat fields. And while it’s common sense that grapes are healthier than chips, also keep in mind the dozens of calories you’ll burn by taking the time and effort preparing a fresh meal.
  7. Not feeling bad about your diet. If you have something considered “unhealthy” (cheese, french fries, etc) don’t feel bad about it. Don’t call it “splurging” either, I can’t stand that word. You know what you should call it instead, you should call it “controlling portions and eating moderately healthy.”
  8. Having a yard sale. It takes a lot of calories to have a yard sale. It’s also a good way to (indirectly) clean your house and make a few bucks while you’re at it.
  9. Getting enough sleep. When we implement an exercise routine into a busy life, we normally take back that lost time by subtracting it from our time spent sleeping. By sleeping less, you increase the chances of being tired the following day, resulting in a lack of energy and motivation to be physically active.
  10. Doing chores. Mowing, vacuuming, washing dishes, doing the laundry — everything burns calories.  Heck, not doing chores will burn calories, but your house will look better if you vacuum. Depending on your height/weight, you can burn hundreds of calories doing an hour or two of chores around the house.
  11. Watching less television. Yes, I love The Price is Right too — Drew Carey is a fantastic host. It’s just simply ridiculous though to watch two-three-plus hours of TV a day as some people do. Not to sound harsh, but I’d rather be out doing something (anything) with my life than watching someone else’s.

This is how I try to live a healthy lifestyle. I don’t always succeed, but I try.

April 1

Gym Routine Changes

tread mill

I’m now on the elliptical for 45 minutes six days a week at level 17.

At this pace, I’ll be reaching the elliptical machine’s maximum intensity level (20) in a few weeks. I need to keep increasing intensity to challenge my body, something I will be unable to do once I reach level 20.

So, it’s time to find a new machine to command and conquer. Body, meet:

Ah, the treadmill: “Scaring overweight people since 1973!

Once I hit level 20, I’ll add the treadmill into my workouts until it gradually consumes the majority of my cardio.  

Weigh-In Results

Today is a fantastic day.

weight 289.6

April 01 weight: 289.6

Mar 25 weight: 296.2

Mar 18 weight: 302.6

Mar 11 weight: 306.6

Mar 04 weight: 312.0

Feb 25 weight: 320.2

Feb 18 weight: 324.0

Feb 11 weight: 328.2

Feb 04 weight: 333.0

Jan 28 weight: 338.2

Starting weight (Jan 21): 344.2

I’ve lost 6.6 pounds in the past week, 54.6 pounds total in 10 weeks!

I’ve gone from a size 48 waist to a relaxed 42, probably 40 if I tried. I’m also comfortably fitting into 2XL shirts, down from 4XL, and in another couple months will probably be considering 1XL. I haven’t worn 1XL shirts since middle school.

I’ve gone from a size 48 waist to a relaxed 42, probably 40 if I tried. I’m also comfortably fitting into 2XL shirts, down from 4XL, and in another couple months will probably be considering 1XL. I haven’t worn 1XL shirts since middle school.

Shawn Tyler Weeks – 344 Pounds, A Weightloss Journey

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Week 12

April 3

Best & Worst Times to Workout, Weigh and Eat

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. That’s about as far as I made it into A Tale of Two Cities, maybe I’ll pick up where I left off one day.

I workout: 4-6 p.m. on weekdays. On the weekends, I normally go at night around 8 or 9 p.m.;  occasionally in the morning.

I weigh: Lately, every morning before breakfast. Depending on the amount of waste/water in my body, my weight fluctuates wildly day to day. The Wednesday weigh-ins are much more reliable.

I eat: three meals a day, normally around 7 a.m., Noon and 6 p.m. I also have a snack consisting of a banana, cup of applesauce or Cracker Jacks either in the morning or in the afternoon between meals, but not every day.

What the Experts Say

Best time to work out. Early morning or mid-afternoon. Most “experts” will tell you that it’s best to work out in the morning before breakfast, but a growing number of people are saying that working out between 2-4 is good as well because your body is at its peak energy levels for the day.  This means you’ll be able to work out harder, longer, etc and make your workouts more productive.

Worst. No expert will go on record saying “don’t work out at X time.”  If they did, could you imagine the backlash? Anytime is a good time for physical activity.

Best time to weigh. Once a month or once every two weeks in the morning.

Worst. Every day. By weighing yourself every single day you’re setting yourself up to be discouraged. You may expect to lose a pound every time you step onto the scale and that’s just not practical. 

Best time to eat. Virtually every expert suggests you eat several small, balanced meals throughout the day, roughly two to three hours apart. It keeps your metabolism going throughout the day and gives you energy.

Worst. Within three to four hours before bedtime.

If you can try going to the gym in the morning before work, by all means, give it a shot and see if you get better results.  

April 5

Shopping for Running Shoes

I’ve always opted for normal, run-of-the mill running shoes. You know, white and black, maybe a little gray or a dash of color — nothing bold or exciting. Just cheap, bland, and nothing that draws too much attention.

That’s all about to change.

I’m looking for gawdy stylish bold running shoes. I’m not a brand loyalist, they can be Nike, Adidas, Reebok, etc. These are the two I’m considering:

NIKE Air Zoom Katana Star

Nike red running shoes

Or… Nike Air Max 360

Blue Nike running shoes

What do you guys think? I’m leaning toward the red, white and blue Air Zooms in celebration of tax day — maybe I can wear them into the post office on April 15 as I send off my check to Uncle Sam.

I’ll be careful not to cry on them.

April 7

Denied Health Insurance

A year after high school, I moved out into the big world. I had a high paying job that allowed me to move into luxury apartments downtown and stock it with high-end frivolous electronics.  

My weight was ballooning, but it was easy to ignore. Going out for some wings and fries was more important than my health. It’s easy for your weight to go out of control when you’re busy and/or having fun — and so it did.

No longer on my parents health insurance, I had to sign up for that as well since it wasn’t provided by my job.  I went to the website for Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, the company my mother suggested, and put in an application for coverage.

A few days later, I got a letter in the mail: Denied for Coverage. My “height and weight proportions” weren’t within their coverage limits. Naive, I didn’t even know it was possible to get denied for health insurance at the time.  

After Blue Cross Blue Shield denied me I applied at a couple of other health insurance carriers in South Carolina — all denials. 

Should I have been covered? Well, that’s a business decision that each health insurance provider that denied me had to make. Each company had a risk analyst take a look at my application, deem that the chance of me having a serious medical condition (heart attack, diabetes, etc) was simply too high and I was denied coverage.  

Nobody thought they’d make a dime off of me if they insured me. Right or wrong, that’s the way it was and probably always will be.

I was uninsured for three years. I only had to go to the doctor once uninsured; I sliced a finger open and needed stitches. One hour and $350 later I had the cheapest pair of stitches money could buy.  

Fortunately, my wife graduated shortly after I decided to cut my finger open and got a job with great benefits. I was added to her health coverage, no forms to fill out or questions asked.

Our health insurance provider? Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina.

April 8 Weigh-In Results

Brick, meet wall. Wall, meet brick.

April 08 weight: 289.2

April 01 weight: 289.6

Mar 25 weight: 296.2

Mar 18 weight: 302.6

Mar 11 weight: 306.6

Mar 04 weight: 312.0

Feb 25 weight: 320.2

Feb 18 weight: 324.0

Feb 11 weight: 328.2

Feb 04 weight: 333.0

Jan 28 weight: 338.2

Starting weight (Jan 21): 344.2

I’ve lost 0.4 pounds in the past week, 55 pounds total in 11 weeks!

I’ve finally reached the infamous “weight loss plateau.” I’ve been warned about it by countless people through email and comments and it has finally arrived.

This is an opportunity to reflect on my lifestyle, eliminate any remaining unhealthy habits, tighten my diet and boost my levels of physical intensity.

I’ve lost 55 pounds in 11 weeks and want to lose another 45 pounds by July 26 (birthday).

I’m not even slightly discouraged. I have absolutely no desire to sulk or feel sorry for myself. If my body thinks it can quit it has another thing coming.

I’m writing up a plan to escape this plateau targeting my diet, physical activity, lifestyle — all need to be revamped. I’ll post when it’s done. Also, I’ll update this post with my video progress later on this evening.

Beating a Weight Loss Plateau

I’m going to break through this weight loss plateau and come out more dedicated and determined than I was before.

What’s a weight loss plateau?

Originally, I thought that the plateau derived from a shrinking calorie deficit.  As you weigh less, you burn less calories in a day, therefore you have to keep increasing intensity and lowering your calorie-intake to lose weight — some people don’t.  

While this is certainly one reason people stop losing weight, it’s not what people refer to as a “weight loss plateau.”

The actual meaning of a weight loss plateau, according to most “experts,” is summed up in one word:  homeostasis. Simply put, that’s the term to describe our body’s desire to “stay the same.” 

While my body has allowed me to burn fat for several weeks, it’s now in “starvation” mode and has slowed the rate at which I burn energy (fat). 

Our body’s most important priority is self-preservation. My body believes that if I continue losing this much weight I’ll eventually starve myself to death, so it’s now trying to hold onto whatever it can.

Those are the cliff notes. Study them, we might have a pop quiz.

So, how do you beat a weight loss plateau?

Now things start getting fuzzy. There is no single, solitary way to get out of a plateau. Some people swear by “shocking” your system and using diets and programs like the Eat Stop Eat diet work temporarily to help you restart your engines so to speak.  

Those theories aside, there are a variety of things you can do which revolve around changing your diet, physical activity and just “mixing things up.”

Here’s how I plan on doing that.

Physical Activity

  • More intensity:  level 18 on the elliptical, speed 3.6 on the treadmill
  • Elliptical for 20 minutes a day, treadmill for 10 minutes
  • Serious, consistent weight training program starts today
  • Buying a jump rope and doing at least 50 100 reps a day

Diet

  • Need to find a substitute for ranch salad dressing
  • Eat less chips with sandwiches, more fruits (applesauce!)
  • Eat less sugar-laden cereal, more high-fiber oatmeal

Lifestyle Choices

  • Start eating 5 small meals a day, around 6 and 9 a.m. and 12, 3, and 6 p.m.
  • Keep a food log (on this blog) and count calories for the time being
  • Stop going to sleep early — wait at least 4 hours to go to sleep after I eat
  • Quit being so lazy at night and play more with my dogs

I feel really good about these changes. Did I miss anything?

April 9

Goodbye, Stomach

side by side stomach comparisions

I’ll miss you. You’ve been a great place to hold remotes and snacks for years.

Comment Below
How far have you come in your weight-loss journey? Tell us about your progress. 

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Author

Author Details
Shawn Tyler Weeks
MyBigLife.com
Shawn Typer Weeks - creator of 344 Pounds website.

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