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344 Pounds: Lovin’ These Losses!

VOL #5, Weeks 17 Through 20, My Weight Loss Journey Continues!

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

Weeks 17 Through 20

Week 17

May 8

Music Motivation

I have only gone to the gym without music once (forgot my headphones) — it was the worst workout I’ve ever had. I just can’t seem to get pumped or motivated in the gym without some hard, fast, angry music backing me up.

I spend an unhealthy amount of time creating playlists every month.

Last month I had a lot of older music (AC/DC, etc.) on my playlist; this month I have a lot of music an angry 15-year old from the suburbs would listen to. I go through mood swings, what can I say?

There isn’t a lot of soft and/or slow music on my playlists. Sure, I like R.E.M. and Billy Joel, but I’m not going to listen to them while I’m trying to stay conscious on the elliptical.

“Piano Man” doesn’t exactly get the energy flowing

May 9

Counting Calories 5/4 – 5/8

Unfortunately, another week filled mostly with fast, processed foods.

Monday (1,467 calories)

7 a.m.: 1/2 cups shredded wheat cereal w/ 1/2 cup 1% milk = 235
9 a.m.: 1 cup unsweetened applesauce = 50
Noon: French Dip & Swiss Toasted Subs = 532
6 p.m.: Grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, buttered toast = 650

Tuesday (1,790 calories)

7 a.m.: 1 packet of whole-grain oatmeal and toast w/ jelly = 240
10 a.m.: 1 cup unsweetened applesauce = 50
Noon: Turkey and cheese on crackers w/ 1/2 an orange = 450
6 p.m.: Two pieces Domino’s pizza, breadstick = 1,050

Wednesday (2,140 calories)

7 a.m.: Two granola bars, two slices of raisin bread = 320
10 a.m.: 1 Promax 70-calorie cookies and cream bar = 70
Noon: Cheeseburger and fries = 850
6 p.m.: Zaxby’s boneless wings meal (w/ fries) = 900

Thursday (2,360 calories)

6 a.m.: 1 3/4 cups of Cocoa Pebbles w/ banana = 350
10 a.m.: 90-calorie granola bar = 90
Noon: Two pieces Domino’s pizza, breadstick = 1,050
6 p.m.: Longhorn’s salad, salmon, and 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes = 750 est.
9 p.m.: 2 cups of unbuttered popcorn = 120

Friday (1,650 calories)

6 a.m.: 2 cups of Cocoa Pebbles w/ banana = 260
Noon: 2 cups of springtime spaghetti carbonara (thanks, Joy) = 550
4 p.m.: 90-calorie granola bar = 90
7 p.m.: Restaurant taco salad w/ tortilla chips and salsa = 750 est

I’m proof you can lose weight eating whatever you want. Granted, you shouldn’t really want to eat the kind of foods I eat all week.

Here’s my commitment for 5/11 – 5/15: I want to make at least three healthy dinners next week (under 650 calories, very little processed food), mix in some strawberry banana smoothies for lunch and snack on fruits and vegetables instead of granola bars and “protein” bars.

May 13

Four Months

Five-plus pounds lost. It’s a good great weigh-in.

Weight 267.4

May 13 weight:  267.4

May 06 weight: 272.8

April 29 weight: 275.8

April 22 weight: 279.6

April 15 weight: 283.6

I’ve lost 5.4 pounds in the last week and 76.8 pounds in 15 weeks. Want stats from past weeks? Check out my entire 16 week weight loss progress.

The progress chart has been leveling off over the past month – curving back up as my weight loss slowed down. That trend stopped this week, I sent that poor little line plunging back south.

This time next month that line will be enjoying the 240s.

The progress chart has been leveling off over the past month – curving back up as my weight loss slowed down. That trend stopped this week, I sent that poor little line plunging back south.

Shawn Tyler Weeks – 344 Pounds, A Weightloss Journey

Image Gallery

Week 18

May 15

Counting Calories 5/11 – 5/15

I was able to cut back on the processed foods a little — for better or worse, it translated into less snacks between meals and larger meals.

Monday (1,460 calories)

6 a.m.: Oatmeal, 2 slices of raisin toast, banana = 400
Noon: Strawberry banana smoothie = 410
6 p.m.: Cheeseburger on wheat toast w/ chips = 650

Tuesday (1,795 calories)

6 a.m.: Shredded wheat cereal, banana = 395
Noon: Cheeseburger and fries = 850
6 p.m.: 2 heaping cups of leftover spaghetti w/ toast = 550

Wednesday (1,550 calories)

6 a.m.: 1 1/2 cups of Honey Nut Cheerios w/ jam toast = 380
Noon: Turkey and cheese sandwich w/ chips = 550
6 p.m.: BLT w/ chips = 620 calories

Thursday (1,970 calories)

6 a.m.: 1 1/2 cups of Lucky Charms w/ granola bar = 460
Noon: Cheeseburger and fries = 850
6 p.m.: Pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon = 660

Friday (2,360 calories)

6 a.m.: 1/2 cups of Honey Nut Cheerios w/ granola bar  = 390
Noon: Cheeseburger and fries = 850
9 p.m.: O’Charley’s Bayou shrimp (1/2 serving) w/ salad = 950 est
9:30 p.m.: 2 chocolate chip cookies = 170

I think I need to lay off the cheeseburger and fries next week.

May 18

This is the last workout pledge I’ll do on the elliptical.

This time, I want to reach the absolute limits of the elliptical machine. I’ll be on level 20 (out of 20) and I want to stay there 99 minutes, the most the machine will allow.

Here’s how you can make me stay there that long:

  1. Post a comment = 20 seconds. Each comment made to this post will add 20 seconds to my elliptical workout. It doesn’t get much easier than this, folks.
  2. Follow me on Twitter = 30 seconds. I need friends. I also need to lose weight. Follow me on twitter and we’ll be able to solve two problems at once.
  3. Subscribe to RSS feed = one minute. If you haven’t already, subscribe via RSS or email to my blog. By doing so, you’ll get my posts delivered to your RSS reader or inbox. Oh, and you’ll make me workout for another minute.
  4. Link to 344Pounds.com = two minutes. You can post a link on your website, blog, MySpace, etc and add two minutes to my elliptical workout. I don’t care if you’ve already linked to me before, linking again will add another two minutes.

Pushing the limits of the machine: 99 minutes at level 20 out of 20…

Can you guys make it happen?

UPDATE: Closed. 61 minutes, coming right up.

May 20


May 20 weight: 264.2

May 13 weight: 267.4

May 06 weight: 272.8

April 29 weight: 275.8

April 22 weight: 279.6

I’ve lost 3.2 pounds in the last week and 80 pounds in 17 weeks. Want stats from past weeks? Check out my entire 17 week weight loss progress.

While I’m happy with losing 3.2 pounds, I think I could’ve dropped 1 or 2 more pounds. I had a few extremely fattening meals (Outback pasta, anyone?) over the weekend, in addition to the several cheeseburgers I ate last week.

Let’s make this week the week I hit the 250s. You can help — email your mom, co-workers, friends, neighbors, etc. I’m not asking you to pull out your wallet, I’m asking you to spend 20 seconds spamming forwarding a link to someone.

In return, I’ll show you on Friday what my body is capable of doing.

May 21

I became accountable for my weight when I created 344Pounds.com.

Being accountable means stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility for your weight, while publicly declaring your desire to change.  

Granted, your accountability doesn’t have to be as public as a blog, nor does it have to be as elaborate — but it does have to be public for it to mean anything.

The people you open up with about your weight are called your accountability partners (if you’re reading this, you’re one of mine). 

While this is hardly a new concept, accountability partner(s) are people that you can open up to and share with anything related to your weight — past struggles, diets, workout routines, recipes, reasons to lose weight and most importantly, motivation.

Here are a few ways you can become accountable for your weight:

Workgroups. A lot of workplaces have “Biggest Loser” competitions — these are great opportunities to find accountability partners. While you may not be broadcasting your desire to lose weight to the world, being in a group of five-plus people, all of whom are trying to lose weight, is great accountability. Best of all, it’s accountability you experience constantly, every work day.

Social networking. Considering most of your friends and family are probably already a part of your social network such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc., posting messages and updates about your weight loss progress should be a fairly easy transition for you to make. It would also be easy for your followers to post feedback, praise, encouragement, etc.

Email list. Just like with your social network, your friends and family are probably already in your email address book. You could send out weekly or bi-monthly progress reports on your weight (with pictures, links to Youtube videos, stats, etc) on certain days. Your friends and family would start to expect and anticipate your weekly/monthly emails, much like some of you expect me to lose 10 pounds every Wednesday weigh-in.

Start a blog. I decided to let everybody I had ever met (plus some, apparently) know about my weight problem and my dedication to losing 100+ pounds, so I started 344Pounds.com. While I never intended on having thousands of people across the globe and members of the media contact me (Newsweek, to name one), it’s been wonderful — it keeps me extremely motivated.

Keep it intimate. Weight is an extremely personal issue (gee, slight understatement?) and even when somebody is committed to losing weight, we simply can’t break the shell we’ve created over the past several years or even decades to protect ourselves from the harsh reality of being overweight or obese. If this is the case for you and you still want to be held accountable for your weight, try to find at least one accountability partner — a significant other, close friend, coworker, pastor, etc.

Week 19

May 22

Thanks to everyone who participated in the workout pledge

While I was hoping to reach 99 minutes, 61 minutes isn’t anything to scoff at; I burned 900 calories on the elliptical machine tonight thanks to you guys.

This was a lot tougher than I thought it would be — I was running on fumes for the last 10 minutes. Also, I’m still really dehydrated (90 minutes after the workout) due to the enormous amount of sweat I generated.

Water never tasted so good.

May 23

Counting Calories – 5/18 – 5/22

The first meal of the week was pretty healthy — it went downhill from there.

Monday (1,890 calories)

6 a.m.: Blueberry oatmeal w/ banana = 260
Noon: Chicken wrap = 680
6 p.m.: Zaxby’s boneless wings and fries = 950

Tuesday (1,950 calories)

6 a.m.: 1 1/2 cups of Apple Jacks = 310
Noon: Outback chicken pasta (Sunday leftovers) = 850 est.
6 p.m.: Homemade chicken pot pie = 790 calories

Wednesday (1,860 calories)

6 a.m.: 1 1/2 cups of Apples Jacks and granola bar = 400
Noon: Cheeseburger and fries = 850
5 p.m.: Several crackers = 60
6 p.m.: 2 cups of spaghetti w/ toast = 550

Thursday (2,100 calories)

6 a.m.: 1 1/2 cups of Apples Jacks and banana = 420
Noon: Egg salad sandwich w/ french fries = 760 est.
6 p.m.: 3 slices of Domino’s supreme pizza (medium) = 920 calories

Friday (2,190 calories)

6 a.m.: 1 1/2 cups of Apples Jacks and granola bar = 400
Noon: TGI Friday’s Sizzlin Chicken and Shrimp = 300
3 p.m.: Oh Yeah! Protein bar (chocolate w/ almonds) = 170
6 p.m.: Longhorn’s salad and rocky top chicken w/ fries = 1,320

My diet consists of kiddie cereals, little fruits or vegetables and fried food. I guess I’m trying to prove you can lose weight eating junk food.

I’ll give the whole “balanced meal” thing a try again next week. It’s not that I lack discipline (well, maybe) to eat balanced meals, it’s more of a lack of motivation — I still see the weight drop every week eating this “‘crap” food.

May 24

I wanted to beat the machine once and for all. And so I did.

I went to the gym tonight planning to workout for 45 minutes on the elliptical. I even posted on twitter I was going for 45 minutes. Well, once I stepped onto the machine something just “snapped” and I entered 99 minutes.

22 minutes left:

Almost done:

exercise machine


exercise machine

calories burned 1284

Getting on the elliptical machine Monday will be like restarting the Nintendo five minutes after you just rescued Princess — just to do it all over again.

Where do I go from here?

May 26

I’ve made a new section for my before and after weight loss pictures. Take a look at the newest addition below of me at 264 pounds:

That’s an XL shirt, down from 4XL just 4 months ago. And what?

Shawn wearing an xl shirt

May 27

Less than pleased.

weight 262.2

May 27 weight: 262.2

May 20 weight: 264.2

May 13 weight: 267.4

May 06 weight: 272.8

April 29 weight: 275.8

I’ve lost 2 pounds in the last week and 82 pounds in 18 weeks. Want stats from past weeks? Check out my entire 18 week weight loss progress.

I’m not happy with my weight loss progress this week.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely thrilled and humbled with losing 82 pounds in four months — but I’ve been getting lazy over the last few weeks and my weight loss progress has reflected this. 

Being complacent and comfortable when losing weight can slow your progress — it appears this might be the case with me.

In particular, my diet is getting really sloppy and lazy and I think it’s time to tighten the belt again. Figuratively and literally.

For starters, no more cereal for breakfast. Next, no fries. Cheeseburgers, occasionally. Fries? No. And while we’re on that subject, nothing fried. Not a thing. I also need to add more fruits, vegetables and seafood to my diet.

When it comes to exercise, I’ll now work out 45 minutes a day on the elliptical instead of only 20 minutes, which is how long my workouts have lasted everyday for the past several weeks.  

I guarantee you we’ll enter the 250s next week. Guarantee.

I’m absolutely thrilled and humbled with losing 82 pounds in four months — but I’ve been getting lazy over the last few weeks and my weight loss progress has reflected this.

Shawn Tyler Weeks – 344 Pounds, A Weightloss Journey

Image Gallery

Week 20

May 30

Counting Calories 5/25 – 5/29

While I still eat some incredibly unhealthy things and wouldn’t call myself a health nut by any means, I made some big steps with my diet this week:

Monday (1,680 calories)

6 a.m.: 3 eggs (scrambled), toast w/ jam = 310
Noon: 2 hotdogs w/ onions, relish, mustard, ketchup and chips = 690 calories
6 p.m.: 1/2 serving of salmon w/ shrimp, tomatoes, and rice pilaf, roll = 680

Tuesday (1,540 calories)

6 a.m.: 3 eggs (scrambled), toast w/ jam = 310
Noon: 1/2 serving of salmon w/ shrimp, tomatoes, and rice pilaf, roll = 680
6 p.m.: homemade tacos w/ beef, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, salsa = 550

Wednesday (1,445 calories)

6 a.m.: 3 eggs (scrambled), toast w/ jam, two slices of bacon = 385
10 a.m.: 20 baby carrots = 60
Noon: turkey sandwich w/ lots of mustard and light mayo = 350
6 p.m.: 1/2 rack of ribs (dry rub), corn on the cob and mashed potatoes = 650

Thursday (1,605 calories)

6 a.m.: 3 eggs (scrambled), toast w/ jam, two slices of bacon = 385
Noon: chicken salad sandwich on wheat = 550 est.
5 p.m.: 1/2 of an orange = 50 calories
6 p.m.: Rotisserie chicken w/ baked beans and mashed potatoes = 620

Friday (1,770 calories)

6 a.m.: 3 eggs (scrambled), toast w/ jelly and peanut butter = 360
Noon: 1/2 BLT on wheat w/ 1 cup of potato salad = 560
4 p.m.: 15 grapes = 60
6 p.m.: 1/2 serving of O’Charleys Sante Fe chicken (jalapeno cheese, onions, tomatoes, tortilla strips, black beans, corn) served w/ rice pilaf and a roll = 790 est.

I eliminated kiddy cereals this week and cooked my breakfast. It took another 10 minutes to prepare breakfast and I used up a lot of dishes, but eating a healthy breakfast gave me more energy the entire morning.  

And while I know I need to add more green veggies, I am at least starting to add more veggies to my meals. Also, I eliminated processed foods as snacks and made sure to snack only on fruits and veggies.

Lastly, this list is void of any cheeseburgers and french fries. My arteries will thank me, as will my weigh-in next week, hopefully.

June 1

I figure I’ve had at least 100+ workout sessions on the elliptical since I started going to the gym 4 months ago. Those countless elliptical workouts have helped me lose a lot of weight, as you might have noticed.

Today will be the first day I won’t step onto the elliptical at the gym. I’m trying to increase the intensity of my gym cardio program — something that can’t be accomplished by sticking solely to the elliptical machine.  

I’ve become much too comfortable with the elliptical and it only gets easier by the day.

That’s why, starting today, my new cardio machine is the treadmill.

With today being the end of an era so to speak, I wanted to take a look at the elliptical workout program (and its progression) that has been the foundation of my physical activity program and has helped me lose 82 pounds in 19 weeks.

The Beginning

At the beginning of my gym career I wasn’t able or even willing to attempt the elliptical. I was on the stationary bike for the first week or so, afraid to step foot onto the elliptical machine because of it’s “bad reputation.”

Early Elliptical Workouts

After a week of going to the gym, I finally tried the elliptical because an old lady was on my stationary bike. After a couple of days of pain I was able to do 30 minutes on the elliptical at level 1 and burned 320 calories.

I was hooked — my career on the stationary bike was over. It didn’t take long until I was going strong (it’s rhyme time, baby) and in just under three weeks on the elliptical I was at level 7 doing 40 minutes every workout.

Increasing Resistance & Intensity

After working out on the elliptical for a month I was able to build a steadily progressing routine. Each week I moved into a new level with a jump of two levels every other week. 

I think it’s incredibly important to keep up a level of resistance and intensity with every workout, elliptical or not.

By skipping levels and by performing endurance “marathons” (workout pledges), I was able to stay one step ahead of my body’s “comfort zone.”

Getting Cocky, Lazy or Both

While my intensity on the elliptical machine and with elliptical workouts had been progressing and increasing for months, the time I would spend on the elliptical each session would decrease. 45 minute workouts turned into 20 minute workouts some days, with an occasional but rare 30 minute workout thrown in.

As I started to lose weight, I found it easy to justify working out less — either because I thought I deserved to work out less because I had lost so much already or I simply thought I could keep losing weight without working as hard.

I believe this is fairly common, so be careful on your workout program.

Coming to an End

On April 17th, I went through with my second workout pledge and also went from level 18 to level 20 on the elliptical. This is where I would stay for the next six weeks, leading up to this past Friday.

When I first started at level 18 I was still in the “dip” that I talked about above, only working out for 20 minutes or so on the elliptical a day.  

But, once we got into the second week of May, I realized that I was getting too comfortable and increased my elliptical workouts back up to 30 minutes.

June 2

My first experience with the treadmill was less than marvelous.

I started yesterday on the treadmill with a brisk walk at level 3.6 for 30 mins.

In 30 minutes I burned about 320 calories on the “fat burner” level. That’s about 75 calories less than I would normally burn on the elliptical in the same time period, but I do realize I’m focusing on different muscle groups.

While I was sweating during my workout, I was fairly bored while I was on the treadmill. After 30 minutes I wasn’t really tired nor could I feel any impact from the workout — it’s like it never happened.

With that being said, I can’t really jog/run more than a minute or so without getting exhausted — so not sure where to go from here.

Any suggestions?

June 3

Huge loss this week.

weight 256.2

Jun 03 weight: 256.2

May 27 weight: 262.2

May 20 weight: 264.2

May 13 weight: 267.4

May 06 weight: 272.8

I’ve lost 6 pounds in the last week and 88 pounds in 19 weeks. Want stats from past weeks? Check out my entire 19 week weight loss progress.

I can’t believe I dropped 6 pounds in the last week. I thought with the changes in my diet and workout I’d see some bigger losses, but not by this much.

Oh, and by the way: I love running. While Monday was an utter failure on the treadmill, Tuesday night at the gym was phenomenal. It’s by far the best workout I’ve had in a very long time at the gym.  

June 4

Using the numerous running tips and suggestions I received on Tuesday as a guide, I went to the drawing board and made a treadmill workout routine. My workouts on the treadmill have improved considerably because of it.

Here’s how my treadmill workout has been for the last couple of days:

  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Machine Mode: Fat Burner
  • Speeds: 3.6 (walking) and 6.0 (running)
  • Incline: 3.0 to 6.0, varies

The actual treadmill workout routine consists of walking (3.6) for four minutes, then running (6.0) for one minute. So, I start walking from 30:00-26:00, then run until 25:00, and so on.  

It’s extremely tough, but I have discovered I am physically capable of running for one minute — more than that, not so much.

Then again, level 5 on the elliptical used to be hard, too.

Every week, I’m going to increase my running by 10 seconds. Meaning, instead of walking four minutes and running one, next week I’ll try to walk 3:50 and run 1:10.

If I can keep that pace up, I’ll be walking two minutes and running three minutes in three months. That seems attainable and realistic. Of course, I can change this plan down the road if necessary — but it seems like a solid plan for the time being.

Comment Below
What does your workout routine include? And are you continuing to ratchet up the intensity? 





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

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