Archive for the 'Encouragement' Category

11 Pounds in a Week!

Mike on Apr 9th 2012

Today is exactly one week since I started up the diet again and so far I’ve lost 10.8 lbs! I’ve been eating about 1000-1300 calories per day, and I haven’t felt stressed about food or tired at all. Just a few months ago, before I started the testosterone replacement therapy, if I cut my calories at all I would almost instantly feel stressed and tired most of the time, even if the cut was simply to something like 2000 calories per day. And worse, I wouldn’t even lost any weight. Who knew fixing my testosterone level could help me so dramatically? I certainly don’t expect this rate of loss to continue for long, but it has been a great boost of encouragement after the year I’ve had.

Filed in Diet,Encouragement,Testosterone,Weight | No responses yet

Further Adventures of the Low-T Gingerboy

Mike on Feb 21st 2012

Today marks six weeks since I started my Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT), which means I’ve had six injections so far. The process of improvement is slow, but after a few weeks I did notice that I was no longer constantly feeling exhausted. I was still getting tired very quickly, and my strength would fail during weight-training, but from my perspective that was still a huge improvement. No longer being tired all the time is great! Strangely, I also stopped craving sweets all the time.

After about a month they did some blood-work again to see where my levels were. They discovered that I was still firmly a gingerboy at: 223, and considering that the goal is for me to be between 400-500, the doctor increased my dosage by 20%. They will do a full work-up again the first week of April to see where I stand, and then adjust it again if necessary. The doctor (let’s call him Dr. Staubach, since he HAS to be a quarterback), said that if I was already seeing positive results with the lower dosage then he expected me to see significant improvements with the increase. That is very welcome news to me…we’ll see.

Currently I’m finding that I don’t get tired quite as fast as I did a few weeks ago, although my energy level is still way down from where it used to be a year or more ago. I’ve also stopped gaining weight. I’m not losing it yet, but for the moment I’ll take what I can get. What Dr. Staubach keeps telling me is that it is a slow process, and that 90 days is really the amount of time it can take to determine if it is helping significantly. Considering that I’m already seeing steady progress, the future looks encouraging.

LowT Center update: Sadly, KISS is gone. Perhaps they have been exiled to a far corner of the office…maybe to the restroom. They were knocked out by a framed boxing robe. Further, I noticed that by the scale there is now a signed picture of Lou Ferrigno as the Incredible Hulk. Now there’s a picture that I find completely appropriate! Ferrigno has probably taken more testosterone in his life than all of the LowT Center’s patients combined, so who better to have framed and prominently displayed? Maybe next week I’ll find a Chuck Norris photo there…but of course I hear that Chuck Norris doesn’t take testosterone, his body produces so much of it naturally that he donates the extra to a poor body-builders fund.

Filed in Encouragement,Health,Testosterone | No responses yet

Then and Now

Mike on Jul 11th 2011

It has been a couple of months since I’ve posted. Not because I’ve given up but simply because I haven’t had much to report. Training has continued like normal, but concurrently I took a significant break from the diet. As I said in my last post, I was feeling burned out and exhausted all the time, always thinking about food. A couple of months not really thinking about what I can and can’t eat has been good, plus I had a couple of weeks of vacation thrown in there. The family took two road trips back to back, and in the middle of that we found out our house flooded and are still dealing with the aftermath of that. Consequently I wasn’t able to train for three full weeks.

I ate somewhere around 49 lbs of taffy and 63 boxes of Pop Tarts on the vacation, so I have no doubt I’ve I gained some weight, but no worries. The trips are over, the house is pretty much in order (although we are still waiting on new flooring due to the water damage), and I’m just about ready to start hitting the diet fairly hard again. As of this afternoon I was able to get back in the gym with Tim and get the normal routine going again. It was a painful and exhausting workout, but that was expected after a three week break.

I’ll end this post with a couple of photos I’ve been intending on posting since Mother’s Day. The last several years we have made it a Mother’s Day tradition to go out to eat at P.F. Chang’s for dinner. I was amazed when I saw the picture we took this year and compared it to the ones from last year and the year before. It’s easy for me to forget how far I’ve come until I see a comparison picture like this. It helps encourage me and keeps me motivated.

Filed in Encouragement,Lifestyle,Motivation,Photos | 3 responses so far

I made it by 45

Mike on Mar 15th 2011

One of the main goals I had just over a year ago when I decided to start my fitness program was to be in the best shape of my life by the time I reached 45 years old. Well, today I turned 45 and I’m happy to say that I made that goal. I still haven’t lost all the weight I want to lose yet–I still have about 40-50 more lbs to go, but I’ve lost around 90 lbs of fat, gained around 20 lbs of muscle, and have more strength and endurance than I’ve ever had at any time in my life. Just a few months ago I had a complete physical and have zero health problems, and over the last year there were countless times that I said to myself something like, “Wow, I could have never done this in the past.” When I think back to the normal state of my health and fitness in the past, I’m regularly amazed at the things I can do now without getting tired. In some ways my outlook is very different now, and I have no doubt that I’ll be done losing all the fat that I want to lose within the next several months. After that I’ll be able to concentrate exclusively and building more strength and endurance.

I’d also like to leave everyone with this bit of encouragement. If you are in a state similar to me when I started all this–150 lbs overweight, sedentary life, tired all the time, and so on–then you CAN get where I am now. You can. It has taken me exactly a year to get where I am and it will take me a few more months to get where I want to be, but that won’t be the end. There is no “end” to it. For the rest of my life I’ll be exercising, eating differently, and living better. You can do it too, but you have to change your lifestyle.

I’ll finish this post with something I’ve said on multiple occasions, “If you want to lose weight and keep it off, stop living like a fat person on a diet and start living like a fit, athletic person in training. It takes a lifestyle change, so change your lifestyle.

Filed in Encouragement,Goals,Motivation | 3 responses so far

The First Great Clothes Purge

Mike on Jan 30th 2011

Yesterday I went through my closet full of clothes and did my first Great Clothes Purge of 2011. I tried on almost all of my clothes, tossing aside things that were too big, worn out, or I just didn’t like any longer. I also sorted things that fit me again, will fit me very soon, and are still way too small.  Today I’m going to go through my dresser and do the same thing.

I was amazed at how many things fit now. Several months ago about 90% of my clothes didn’t fit. When I started my fitness program about a year ago I was wearing XXXL shirts and 42-inch waist jeans.  Yesterday I discovered that lots of my XL shirts now fit…at least half of them. I also had to toss out all of my 3X shirts (some of them looked like clown shirts on me). I wear XL and some XXL shirts, and I can now wear two of the three pairs of 36-inch waist jeans I have. One fits good, one is a little tight, and one is still WAY too tight. My latest belt is now also on the last hole and I’ll have to get a new one. I expect within the next couple of months all the XXL will finally have to go and all of the XL will fit. Who knows, maybe I’ll even be able to squeeze into my 34-inch jeans by then, too.

One side note: as of this morning I’m at 253.8 lbs. That’s 4 pounds to go to break 250 before the China trip. I’ve got one week left, and I believe I can do it. I’m being crazy strict on my diet and I’ve switched my workouts back to endurance-type routines rather than strength building, to help fat-loss. I also got a Kindle a couple of weeks ago and now use it to read while I’m doing the elliptical after my 45 minutes of weight-training. That distraction has enabled me to do 30 minutes on the elliptical every time without any trouble. Those changes have pushed me up to burning 700-900 calories per workout. It’s good to see the weight steadily coming off at a good pace again, after it slowing down for so long.

Filed in Encouragement,Exercise,Motivation,Weight loss | 2 responses so far

The Bod Pod

Mike on Aug 20th 2010

UPDATE: Since posting this article several weeks ago I discovered that my Bod Pod analysis was incorrect…it was so far outside the margin of error that you could easily call it ridiculous. For an update on the Bod Pod and my experience with hydrostatic weighing, see my post: Bod Pod: Worthless in the Hands of a Boob.

The Bod Pod is a large egg-like pod that is used to measure body composition. After being analysed about a month ago in one of them, I now know what it would feel like to be some kind of giant bionic chicken, or maybe one of the astronauts in 2001: A Space Odyssey before HAL 9000 kills them…or better yet, fat Jonathan Winters in Mork and Mindy.

When my Tanita scale at home isn’t telling me “Error Error Error,” it’s giving me readings that fluctuate wildly from 40-46% body fat. That’s a huge difference, and it gives me similarly conflicting readings for lean body mass. Consequently I’ve gotten tired of not really knowing for sure where I stand in my fitness program, so I decided to get a professional, non-bio-impedance test to give me a reasonably accurate estimate of my body fat percentage and lean body mass. That would give me a good benchmark from which to set reasonable goals and track my results.

I did a lot of research and found that the most accurate tests are hydrostatic weighing (underwater weighing), DEXA (a test using x-ray technology), and the Bod Pod (air displacement plethysmography). The Bod Pod is similar to underwater weighing except that it measures the volume of air you displace rather than water, making it MUCH more convenient and just as accurate. I could only find one place in Fort Worth that has one, the City Club of Fort Worth. Fortunately you don’t have to be a member to use it, but you do have to pay $50. There is a cheaper place about 45 miles away in north Dallas, but the City Club is about 10 minutes from us, so the choice was a no-brainer.

The process is very quick and simple. You have to wear something tight like compression shorts and a swim cap, because your hair and loose clothes can trap air and throw off the readings. They weigh you, you sit in the pressurized pod for about a minute (you don’t feel any pressure changes), and you’re done. Couldn’t be easier. I plan on doing it once every few months or so to track my results. My research says that the Bod Pod has only a 1-2% margin of error, similar to the other “gold standard” tests. Here are the numbers from my test:

Body Mass: 272.189 lb
Fat Mass: 122.249 lb
Fat Free Mass: 149.939 lb
% Fat: 44.9%
% Fat Free Mass: 55.1%

So after about five months of training with three months of dieting I’m down about 50 lbs, with a body fat percentage of 44.9%. I wish I knew exactly where I was when I started, because I KNOW I’ve gained muscle/lean body mass, which means I’ve actually lost more than 50 lbs. But, just so that I’d have a reasonable idea, I ran the numbers to calculate what my minimum body fat percentage was when I started by assuming I haven’t gained any muscle at all. I know I’ve gained some (probably quite a bit), but at least this gives me a minimum starting point. At 321.6 lbs, with 149.9 lbs of lean body mass, that puts me at a minimum of 53.4% fat when I started. If I’ve gained say 10 lbs of muscle (which is probably still a conservative guess), then that would put me at 56.5% fat at the beginning.

All of that means that I’ve lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 9-12% body fat since I started. Pretty cool. Yes, I’m still at 44.9% fat, which is hugely obese, but I’ve come a long way and am very encouraged. My hope for the next time I’m tested is to have gained several pounds of muscle while losing 20-30 more pounds of fat. I’ll probably go again sometime shortly after breaking the 250 barrier.

Below is a scan of the test results with several more stats listed, such as my Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). Click the image to see a larger version.

Filed in Bod Pod,Body Composition,Encouragement | 12 responses so far

On Being a Fatoholic

Mike on May 22nd 2010


“How to Stay on the Wagon without Eating It”

-“I’m Mike and I’m a fatoholic.”

-“Hi, Mike!”

Maybe that’s the way many of us should introduce ourselves, because it just might increase the likelyhood that we could lose weight and finally keep it off. In my research about weight loss I’ve come across a staggering statistic multiple times. For those of us who need to lose weight, around 95-98% will not keep the weight off if we lose it. That means for every 100 of us tubbies out there, only about 2-5 will keep it off. If that’s true then why bother? Shouldn’t we then just cry “Doom!”, give up and go have a large double-chocolate shake instead? Maybe not. I think the key is figuring out how we can ensure that we end up being one of those 2-5 who succeed.

With those kinds of numbers against us I believe the solution is a radical change in one’s life. A completely different attitude about weight, nutrition, and exercise needs to be adopted. I’m dubbing the problem “fatoholism.” We need to approach our weight problem just like the alchoholic approaches his drinking problem. The recovering alchoholic quickly learns that he can’t drink in moderation, he must avoid bars, he must be careful about social gatherings where people drink, and so on. Eventually, after a long term of avoidance, he may begin to reintroduce some of those “risky” environmental temptations, but in any case he must still remain on his guard. And it is unlikely he will ever be able to drink in moderation for the rest of his life, because the chance of eventually falling back into excess is just too great. He must radically change his lifestyle and view of drinking, because if he doesn’t then he will almost certainly fall off the wagon. Similarly, if we don’t do the same we will end up eating that wagon, whether the alchoholics get off it or not. So they better get off it or watch their fingers and toes if they want to keep them.

We fatoholics must approach life like the recovering alchoholics if we want to be in the Two-to-five-percenters Club. Much like the drunk living in denial who says, “I need to cut back” or “I’ll only drink on special occasions” and quickly finds that he’s drinking more than ever, we fatties tell ourselves all kinds of similar things that never work. We say various things like we’ll eat less, skip desert, give up Cokes, use Splenda, eat low carbs, use Stevia, eat high carbs, give up processed foods, go to the gym, take acai berry, buy a bicycle, eat organic foods, and on and on and on. While many of those things may or may not have certain health or nutritional benefits, none of them are going to cause you to lose weight and keep it off. The facts of losing weight and maintaining that loss are simple; it isn’t a complex subject. You must eat less and exercise more…for the rest of your life. Regardless of how difficult this may be in practice, it is true nonetheless. It is an immutable fact that eating more calories than you burn causes you to gain weight and eating less calories than you burn causes you to lose it. That’s it. You don’t need 1000 diet books to explain that. You must admit you are a fatoholic and change…your…lifestyle. Nothing else will work.

Also like the alchoholic who has a physical addiction and cravings when he quits drinking, we have all kinds of physiological things that happen to us when we begin to lose weight. Normal processes kick in and our body tries to keep us at whatever weight we were at. We have to deal with lowering metababolism, hunger, cravings, and so on. These things add to the difficulty (thus the 95% who don’t succeed), but they aren’t insurmountable. We can succeed.

How? How can we succeed? Again, there is no magic forumula, super-food, or diet that will do it. None of those things will keep the weight off. You have to change your lifestyle, for the rest of your life. You have to find the thing that will help you do that. For me it is hiring a personal trainer to train me three times per week. I have determined that I will workout multiple times per week, every week, for the rest of my life. Even if that means I have to hire a personal trainer for the rest of my life to stick to that, that’s what I’ll do. For you it may be that, or Weight-watchers, or finding a motivated friend, running marathons, or something else you come up with on your own. But whatever it is, you must change your life. A “diet” implies a goal that can be reached and then the diet will end, in which case the weight gain then starts all over. Change your lifestyle. That is how the cycle ends.

You can do it.

Filed in Encouragement,Motivation,Weight loss | 2 responses so far


Mike on May 13th 2010

Thanks for the all the encouraging words I’ve received since launching the site yesterday!

So far the program really hasn’t been too difficult, except for the physical agony the first couple of weeks of weight training (I think I now know what the 7th Level of Hell must be like). It also helps greatly that my trainer at Stroud’s Fitness, Tim Freeman, is totally encouraging. That makes a huge difference.

I have the mindset of being in it for life rather than simply, “do this to lose weight and then I’m done.” That has helped me avoid being overly stressed about it. I’m viewing it as just the way I live now. I hated it at first, then I greatly disliked it, and now I just mildly dislike it. I expect that eventually I’ll go through something akin to Stockholm syndrome and then I’ll start to love it. Then I’ll be one of those twisted people you meet now and then who actually thinks exercise and weightlifting is fun. God help me.

Filed in Encouragement | 7 responses so far