follow your dreams, you can reach your goals, i'm living proof
brad - 3/11/18 - 10:30 pm

A year ago, March 11th, 2017, I stepped on my digital scale to assess my status: 244 pounds. It was the third largest number I ever saw while weighing myself. I was 245 twice before that. Almost a year earlier, on March 28th, 2016, I was my all-time heaviest at 247 pounds. At that time in 2016, I was straight up depression eating. I did not care one iota. I purposely stuffed my face and couldn't get myself to care at all about what I was putting in my body. I snapped out of it eventually, like I always do, and decided to put in some kind of effort towards being healthier. I started walking around the block at the start of August 2016. I kept that up for a couple months, I lost a little weight, but I still wasn't eating right. Once soccer ended and the colder weather came in, I also stopped exercising. November, December, most of January: nothing. Okay, I'm going to put some more effort in. I bought a treadmill, and started using it on January 21, 2017. I used it 30 out of the next 39 days, until the last day of February, when I once again ran out of steam. I had too much depression, I was still eating terribly, and I was not seeing any results. I was closing in on my heaviest weight again.

A year ago today, March 11th, 2017. It was a Saturday. I was sitting in this chair, feet up on the desk, like I always do. Something has to change. I'm tired of it. I'm tired of being fat. I'm tired of my clothes not fitting. I'm tired of buying bigger pants. I'm at the last notch in my belt. I'm going in the wrong direction. Something has to change. I don't like what I see in the mirror. I don't like how I feel in my own skin. I don't like how I look in 99% of the photos of me online. I don't like me. Something has to change. I have to change. I don't know how many times I said that to myself before, and I don't know why in that moment I finally decided to listen to myself, but I did. I woke up the next day, went to the grocery store, and bought my first bag of salad and my first protein drink. I turned it into an experiment. "What is the absolute least I could do and be healthy? What is the absolute least amount of effort that I could put in and still produce the desired result?"

I started out slow, first by making a couple lunches a week at home to replace going out to eat every day. Then spring soccer started up. As the season progressed, I got the mill back into the rotation. More exercise. I ate less fast food. I ate healthier lunches, then recognized even those were still too many calories and started to tweak them. Summer came. The mill was in full rotation. Fall soccer started, I alternated that with the mill again. Lunches were down to around 700 calories from 1100-1600 I was previously consuming. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all tried to hold me back, but they were nothing more than temporary spikes in a still downward trending graph. I stopped going out to lunch completely. The mill BROKE and was out of commission for a full month, and even THAT couldn't stop me. I had warm enough clothes and a jacket to keep me going in 40 degree temperatures. The mill came back online, just in time to take me down the home stretch, and properly close out the past year of diet and exercise.

52 weeks later: 52 pounds lost. I weighed in at 192 on Saturday. SUCCESS!!!

I did have to put in some work this past week. I was at 194.4 the previous Saturday, and I wanted to get myself back to that pound-per-week average. I lowered my calorie intake and exercised for seven days straight, and I'll be damned if I didn't hit 192 right on the nose when I stepped on the scale Saturday afternoon. I don't need to lose two pounds per week, but it's nice to know that I can if I'm 100% focused.

The story doesn't end here. This past year was the first chapter in a life long quest for better health. Chapter two starts today. I am even more motivated than when I first started. My next mini-goal is at 190, 186 after that, then 180. I don't have any records of what I weighed in high school, but I want to say that's where I was at before I went to VT and figured out I could eat chicken patties at 11 at night from a place no more than a half a block from my dorm.

Here are some of the peaks and valleys from the graph of recorded weights from my spreadsheet:
      01/01/2003: 214 lbs. (pre-appendix bursting)
      02/02/2003: 194 lbs. (post-appendix surgery)
      07/01/2006: 245 lbs. (+51 gain)
      12/16/2008: 200 lbs. (-45 loss)
      04/26/2012: 245 lbs. (+45 gain)
      10/26/2013: 217 lbs. (-28 loss)
      06/08/2015: 243 lbs. (+26 gain)
      07/28/2015: 235 lbs. (-08 loss)
      03/28/2016: 247 lbs. (+12 gain)
      09/06/2016: 233 lbs. (-14 loss)
      03/11/2017: 244 lbs. (+11 gain)
      03/11/2018: 192 lbs. (-52 loss)
This is that graph, with every recorded weight I've made. Every entry prior to 2005 was pulled from journal entries.

Click for a larger view

I kept three running weight goals to aim for every week: 1/2, 3/4, and 1 pound.
At a 0.50 pound loss per week over 52 weeks: 218 lbs. (-26 loss)
At a 0.75 pound loss per week over 52 weeks: 205 lbs. (-39 loss)
At a 1.00 pound loss per week over 52 weeks: 192 lbs. (-52 loss)
When I started, I really only thought I was capable of half a pound per week loss, but I proved to myself that I have what it takes to achieve the most ambitious of those goals. I would have been perfectly happy if I was 218 or 205 right now, but to make it to 192 really makes me smile.

I lowered my BMI from 37.1 (obese) to 29.2 (overweight)
I lowered my daily calorie intake from 3,210 to 2,390
I lowered my pants size from 40" to 36", and I'm about to go buy a size 34"
I lowered the # of days I went out to eat from 322 a year prior to 177
I've exercised 194 out of the past 283 days (68.5%), ~4.8 times per week

I know BMI is no longer considered a true standard to go by, it doesn't differentiate between muscle mass and fat mass, so it can't accurately judge a person's health. I would need to drop to 164 lbs. to break back into the high threshold of what BMI considers a "normal weight". But now, I don't know... maybe that's not too far of a reach anymore. At some point I'm not going to be able to keep up a pound per week weight loss, but a half pound per week still seems reasonable. I'm only 28 pounds away from normal BMI, and that's just a smidge over a half pound loss per week over an entire year. The thought that I could be sitting in this chair next year, typing up another "year in diet and exercise" review, possibly being a "normal BMI" for the first time since I was maybe 16-17 years old, it's kind of exciting. Weight isn't the only thing that matters, obviously. I need to go get a physical, get some blood work done, and see what else I need to do to keep my body healthy. Still, I don't think I'm done with weight loss. 192 is good. Being in the 180's would be great. Being in the 170's would be phenomenal. Anything lower than that, while still maintaining a health body... well, let's see how far I get first. I'm taking this week by week, and that's as far as I need to look ahead right now.

I think it's fair to point out that I shouldn't have let my weight get out of control in the first place. I don't feel like going into the backstory of all the mistakes I made over the past 20-25 years of my life right now, I'll save that for another time. While I think it's a big accomplishment for me to get back down to where I am now, I could have hunkered down at any point in the past 15 years and really taken my health seriously. Any of the downward slopes on the graph would have been a great time to start and keep that momentum going. Having a mental addiction to food and not being able to get out of well established routines is enough on their own to keep anyone from making progress; stir in dealing with the other stresses of life and the willpower of a soggy paper plate, and there was no chance for me to stay on track for lengthy periods of time.

I want to thank my sister Mish for getting me into Blue Apron. I'm honestly more excited about those meals than I am about eating out anywhere. I went from having no idea what to eat for dinner to being able to follow a recipe and put together well balanced meals that have also expanded my palate. I'm still nowhere near a pro, but I can somewhat handle myself in a kitchen now without too much panic, haha. I want to thank Jaime Lynne for getting me into the Fitbit. She's been using one for quite a while, and I always brushed off the idea that something like that could actually make a difference in my life. Once I bought one and started putting real data into it, the first wake up call of many started to roll in. The part of my brain that is numbers driven latched on to every single digit, a new handful of spreadsheets opened up on my computer, and that's when counting calories and putting aside time to get my step count up started taking center stage. On top of that, trying to put in more steps than her on a weekly basis brought out my competitive side, and while I might not win every week, I always have something to strive for. I want to thank Krystle Leigh for her encouragement and inspiration. Her social media posts about going to the gym over this past year have been a reminder to me to get outside or on the mill, no matter how I'm feeling, because I know I'll feel better about myself afterward. Being the person I've talked to the most over this span as well, she's cheered me on every step of the way, and has been influential in helping me stay motivated to keep working toward my goals.

On top of that, anyone who has encouraged me or complimented me along the way, I owe you thanks as well. Every little bit helps, especially for someone like me. It has never been a problem of physical limitations, only mental ones, and kind words coming from any family member or friend has aided me in my journey, and kept me in the right mindset to keep pushing forward. Thank you, and I am looking forward to another year of bettering myself.

I just want to make a brief mention of the NCAA Tournament, which will start this week. Michigan is a #3 seed in the West bracket and will play #14 Montana on Thursday the 15th at 9:50 PM. I am picking BLUE to win it all this year. Virginia Tech is the #8 seed in the East bracket and will play #9 Alabama on Thursday the 15th at 9:20 PM, because of course both of those games would be on at the same time. And, man, Alabama, I just don't know. This should be an easy pick for me, VT all the way, and that's who I'll pick to advance, but the Hokies better watch out. If they go cold like they did against ND in the 2nd half of that ACC Tournament game, 'Bama will bury them.

Posting this late on Sunday instead of early Monday, because it's 3/11. Three Eleven. 311 Day.



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