How I went from a Really Fat guy to a Less Fat Guy

March 2nd 2012, the scale hit 100lbs.  I told myself I would publish this once I hit 100… so here you go; for your reading enjoyment:

So, my friends.. I have been writing this note for many weeks; but for some reason never published it until now.  I truly believe there is power in writing down what you are going to do; so you can see what you have planned and get feedback on it.  But, those of you who know me really well, know that I’m not a guy who talks about what I am going to do or what I have done; I prefer to just let the results show.

I think a little back story is warranted in how I got to where I am.  Back on Sept 14th, I went to the doctor with a very sore foot.  I weighed in at a whopping 367 lbs.  That was still down 24 lbs from what I was a year prior; but still too high.  I was so embarrassed by my weight.  I couldn’t believe that I had just let myself go so much.  Add into that, the fact that my lovely wife was working her butt off to get more healthy.  The meeting with the doctor was sobering.  I was faced with the words “heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol”.  All of those symptoms lead to premature death.  I couldn’t imagine leaving Michelle without a husband and sons without a father; so I took the step to get on the right path.

I started on October 1 by IMMEDIATELY by changing what I was eating.  I started by recording exactly what I am eating and making sure that my total caloric intake is around 1600 (that number came from a dietitian that I met with a few times in the fall of 2010; so I’m  not just pulling numbers out of my ass). I have recorded every single thing that I have eaten since then.  If I didn’t know what the nutritional information for the food in front of me, I simply didn’t eat it.  Now, don’t think that I didn’t have pizza and wings and the food that I love.. I did!  I just PLANNED FOR IT.  If I knew I was having pizza for dinner; I made sure to balance my nutrition for the day around it (and of course, I didn’t over eat the pizza).

As many of you saw, I was in a pretty dark place at the beginning of October 2011.  For a number of reasons, my health included, I was in bad shape, emotionally and physically.  I decided on October 10th that I wanted to start exercising.  October 17th, I weighed in at 347; and hit the gym..


I have been going 3 times per week since Oct 17.  I have only missed one week; and that was due to a badly sprained ankle; I literally couldn’t walk to the gym.  I have had several small injuries that have slowed down my cardio exercising; but I never stopped.  Michelle is a guru physical trainer (she really should just go get certified); so I asked her to put together some basic weight lifting and cardio programs on notecards for me that I could take to the gym.  I wanted to keep my workouts to about an hour; so I didn’t feel like I was spending every waking moment at work or at the gym.

Weight Lifting:

I really prefer doing supersets over straight sets; I feel like that gives me a much better cardio workout while I am building muscle as well.  If you are wondering what a super set is; it is a style of working out where you work opposite muscles in two or more sets in a row before resting.  For example, I will do a set of 15 reps of chest press, then immediately go to a set of 15 reps of bent over row (back); then immediately go back to the chest, then immediately back to the row without any rest in between.  After I’ve completed 3 sets of chest and back; THEN I rest.  I find it gets the heart going very well and serves as a warmup to the cardio exercise (or what I call the *real* exercise).


I started out on the Hell-iptical for 30 minutes… I have bumped that up to 45 minutes and am doing fast pace HIT sessions to really get the blood flowing.  I recently started jogging on a treadmill.  Michelle swears by running as the ultimate weight loss exercise; so I thought I should give it a try.  Now, here is the tricky part… don’t just start running.. you will fail.  I actually started doing a couch to 5k program (I am using the one at    Not that I will ever be a marathoner; but I thought I should start somewhere.

How I was successful:

  • Find your motivation.  For me, I realized that if I kept going the way I was going I would lose my family; either through my own self-pity or through death.  I wanted to set an example for my boys on how to be a strong and healthy person and how to make good decisions about food.
  • Set goals (more on that below)
  • Buy a scale and weigh yourself every day.  You don’t have to record it; but you should at least look at how your weight fluctuates every day; so you can get a feel for when you are slipping.  Holding yourself accountable is important!
  • Find someone to do it with.  If you can’t find anyone, join and send me a friend request (I’m turbodog14) and I will do it with you.  I know that I *need* the encouragement every day that I get from Michelle; and would have never gotten this far without her support.  If you need that person, I will encourage you and keep you going!
  • DO NOT GO ON A DIET.  You are changing how you think about food and your lifestyle.
  • Write down everything you eat.  I have recorded everything since I started; haven’t missed a single food; even when I cheated and had a 10,000 calorie date night plate of nachos.  Its sobering to see how many calories you are eating and tracking it will help educate yourself.
  • Find time to exercise.  I know, joining a gym sucks and paying for it sucks and being the “fat guy” at the gym sucks.. but guess what?  That guy on the treadmill next to you lost 100 lbs and is quietly cheering you on as you sweat and grunt.  We *KNOW* what its like and want you to succeed.     I saw success though just dieting, but I really saw the pounds drop when I committed to exercise.

Goals (and how I set them):

This shouldn’t be new to any of you reading this; but it is important to set goals when you start.  Your goals should be S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timed). I wasn’t and still am not overly worried about hitting a specific weight number.  When I was super fat, I felt totally fine; was happy and didn’t worry about it.. so the number didn’t really matter.  Now that I’m less fat, I feel totally fine; am happy and am not worrying about it… the number doesn’t matter… so I never have and will not ever set a “This is the number I have to hit” goal.   I won’t share my complete list of goals as some of them are highly personal; but here are a few:

  1. I want to go to the gym 3 days per week OR burn 1800 calories per week in exercise alone.
  2. I wanted to be under 300lbs by the time I went back to the Doctor in December 2011.  I didn’t hit this goal; I was 302.. but I felt good about it.
  3. I wanted to have to replace my pants in October. I still have my fat pants; but yeah, I cannot BELIEVE that they ever fit.
  4. I want to *NEVER* have to shop at the fat guy store for clothes again.  I remember having to buy new pants for work; and going to the fat guy store and they had nothing that would fit; it was all too big.  I was so happy that I cried… I’m getting emotional just thinking about it now.
  5. I wanted to be in good enough shape that I could start running Jan 1.
  6. I want to lose 2-3 lbs per week… this one was easy starting out; but I’m down to about 2 lbs per week now best case.
  7. I want to lose another 6 inches off my waist pants size by August

Great Moments in my journey:

Everyone has ups and downs while you are going through something as life changing as major weight loss.  I’ve had many downs and disappointments, where the scale just didn’t move at all for a week or two.  It was frustrating as hell; but I just keep with the program and keep going and eventually I will get there.  There have been many many many good moments; but these two really stand out:

Bulls Game with Austin:

So, being a fat guy, I always hated going to the theatre or stadiums for sporting events because I was so fat that I had a hard time fitting in the seats and even if I did fit; it was so uncomfortable that I would end up with a sore back or knees or whatever just from the pain of sitting there.  I went to a Bulls game with Austin (his first game ever!) and was so anxious about how uncomfortable whenever I go to stuff like that.  We got there early, and I was *DELIGHTED* to fit comfortably into the seat.  It was a very emotional night for me: Austin’s first game (he was so excited) and I could sit comfortably in the seat.

Flight to Charlotte

I had never enjoyed the thought of flying; simply because of trying to wedge into a tiny seat for several hours.  I was particularly anxious about this trip because it was with my CEO and several of my peers.  I found that I not only fit into the seat; but could easily buckle the belt and had some slack left over.  It was hard to control my happiness and excitement.  I even crossed my legs while sitting in the seat! I was beaming.  Oh, and I immediately started planning a grand vacation adventure 🙂

Long story short:

You can do it.  It will take time, and sweat, and effort.. but YOU CAN DO IT.  You just need to KEEP GOING.