Let me preface by saying, I never thought I would be motivated enough to actually lose the weight. I always told myself I would try, but I really had to beat myself up to get the damn motor running. At my worst, I weighed 205.6lbs. For reference, I’m 5′ 6″, so weighing 205.6 would put my BMI at 33.2, which is clinically obese. As I write this, I weigh 150.2, and I’ve never felt better in my entire life. How the hell did I lose 55.4lbs?
*Update – July 25, 2011* I’m down to Small Shirts & 29×30 Jeans! Fluctuating around 65+lbs lost.
Step 1: Eat Better
I lost my first 20 lbs by doing nothing more than changing the way I ate, extremely minimal exercise, and replacing juices and diet sodas with water. That’s it. No special sauce, no crazy drugs, no secret exercise routine, or even diet.
I have a history of making bad food decisions. I was depressed at the end of Middle School going into High School, and that’s when things got pretty bad. I had a complete disregard for being healthy. I didn’t have a role model around the house; my dad didn’t exercise anymore and was overweight but not grossly so. I wasn’t the fattest kid in school or even my class, I guess I must’ve hid it pretty well, but I definitely wasn’t happy. Truth be told I also hated my parents’ cooking, so whenever I had the chance to escape a home cooked meal, I took it. Unfortunately, options afforded to me in Northern Virginia were all extremely unhealthy and that’s how I hit my peak.
Senior Year Biology Class
Step 2: Start Exercising
After losing my first 20 lbs, I felt lighter and wasn’t as hungry, but I had hit a wall. I was no longer losing weight. Changing eating habits alone can only do so much, and I had hit that barrier. It was time to earn the weight loss! I started with P90X, the home fitness videos BeachBody releases, which were really my first foray into actually working out. I would go for a week, take a week off, go for two weeks, take a month off, it was sporadic. It was hard! I had honestly never been to a gym in my life before junior year of High School, and even now, I didn’t know what I was doing. P90X changed that, but it might have been too much to start out with. I definitely got results. By the time Christmas rolled around, I was 169 and was seeing a noticeable difference from my 205 days. It was fun to go home and visit with old friends and family as a slightly skinnier human! I was still a little chunky around the edges, but 169 had put me past my obese days to overweight.
Still room for progress.
July 2010, Los Angeles
Step 3: Kick It!
I returned home from Christmas break at 174, I hadn’t been watching what I ate and I was doing no exercise. Stupid mistake. I wasn’t feeling good and it was time for another change! I wavered for a few weeks in the lead up to GDC and PAX East, but through some exercise and healthy eating, worked my way down to 166. When I returned from those trips, something in me clicked. I can’t explain it. It was a driving force, it was that voice I was looking for, it was a craving. I wanted to exercise, and I wanted to exercise every day. I wanted to weigh myself every day. I wanted to eat right at every meal. I wanted to eat Breakfast, a meal I had skipped nearly my entire life!
On March 11th, 2011, I started doing Core, Ab and Upper Body routines every day, and I haven’t missed one since. In the period of time post-PAX, I’ve made it down to 150.2, which was my original goal back in September. I can do 10 real pull-ups of the over hand, under hand and wide arm varieties, without stopping. My gut is almost completely gone! You can see the tendons in my feet. My fingers are skinnier. My face is more defined. Since my start from 205.6, I’ve gone down 4 pant sizes and moved from Large to Medium shirts. I feel sexy and confident!
Age 7, Pre Fat
Tools of the Trade
So what do you need to do what I did?
I can’t stress enough, nothing comes overnight. Hell, you will probably gain weight during different periods of time, but it’s in those moments that you can’t give up. You have to remember where you started and make a promise to yourself never to go back.
2. Free Weights, Yoga Mat, Pull Up Bar, Pushup Bar
I was not comfortable enough to go work out in a gym, I wanted to be able to do my routines at home. I still use the following every day to stay in shape!
I was lucky enough to have my dad send these to me after not using them for a few years. They take up almost no room and work incredibly well! Highly suggested.
Don’t underestimate not owning an exercise mat, especially if you’re at home. You can try and justify carpet, but you’ll end up exercising less because of how uncomfortable it is. This mat has built in straps to keep it wrapped up when you put it away, and hasn’t yet come apart after many uses!
I originally had the standard Iron Gym Pullup Bar, but it didn’t afford me the benefits of the Total Upper Body Bar. You want to really do all the different types of pullups, and it’s just not comfortable if you skimp. In addition, the standard bar has shoddy construction and is a pain to snap together. Save yourself the hassle and spend the extra 10 dollars, it’s worth it.
I honestly didn’t know pushup bars existed before doing P90X. Damn do they make a difference! You can’t fake pushups when using these, and they enable your torso to get damn close the ground. At 10 dollars I really can’t complain about these, they haven’t broken and seem pretty sturdy.
3. Meal Snap
This is actually a new addition to my kit, but it’s invaluable. Meal Snap is an app that allows you to take photos of your food, and have calorie counts automatically guesstimated. I’ve no longer let the system guess, I tell it what the food is, and it gives pretty accurate ranges. For 3 dollars, you can’t go wrong! Track your eating habits and caloric intake without going crazy.
My newest toy came in the mail today, but I wish I had it all those months ago. A Wi-Fi enabled scale, the Withings tracks weight, body fat, and lean mass, automatically syncing the data online and to many apps including Daily Burn, LoseIt & Weight Bot. It would have been great to publicly track my progress, and I highly suggest you get serious by being publicly shamed into losing weight. Take that step, get over it, people are here to support you!
To keep track of my progress as I change the fat to lean ratio, check out http://www.jackbogdan.com/health