Oh Tommy Boy!

I have what the late Chris Farley would describe as “a little bit of a weight problem.” Add into the mix the fact that I love to eat, and the fact that I love junk food, and you have a dangerous (and portly) cocktail. For me this is a daily battle. On top of all of that, I work at a desk job… I basically sit on my can for 40 — 50 hours per week.

For those of you keeping score at home: a lethal combination.

I have a history of yo-yo dieting to try to combat the effects of my life-style and eating habits. I think part of the problem for me was the fact that I was seeing diets as a temporary solution, as opposed to a life-style change.

Last year, I decided to make this career change. One of the major hurdles for me was staring back at me in the mirror. I was sadly over-weight. I’m 6’0 and weighed 255 lbs at that point. I seem to weigh more than people that look proportionately fatter than me. My wife says it’s because I’m more muscular than the average guy. While I’d love to believe that, my self-deprecating brain says no way. I think I just do a better job of hiding it.

Here I am fat and unhappy and want to make the change to become a fireman. It’s obvious to me what the first step in this transformation has to be. I have to change my lifestyle, and drop a bunch of weight.

I immediately started a Biggest Loser competition at work. Our progress would be tracked by percentage lost. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs and you lose 20 lbs, that’s 10%. We had weekly weigh-ins where everyone removed their shoes and generally talked smack to each other.

I’m not an overly competitive guy. I’m just not. I like to win, but I can also be happy for you if you win…. unless we’re talking about weight loss. Then I will eat your soul. I will destroy you. I will also talk mad trash while I’m doing it. Of course, it’s fairly tame, because it’s all in good fun. However, when trash-talking is just not a part of your repartee, any amount is a lot. (oooooh bring it on chubby!!)

There were 25 people that signed up for the competition. To make it interesting, we took a $10 buy-in from everyone. In the beginning one of the other competitors dropped 16 pounds in a week. Apparently he was having kidney issues (he only has one) and was retaining lots of water the week of the initial weigh-ins. I certainly had my work cut out for me…. Naturally I told him that I thought he was cheating and fully expected him to have some limbs removed before the final weigh-in.

Ordinarily I would be lifting and running in the style of  “Body For Life”. That’s high-intensity interval training. However, I was sick of the gym. I canceled my membership some time before. At this point I kind of regretted that. However, I know what works for me and what doesn’t. I broke out the Insanity DVDs.

Shaun T is a beast. Everyone that works out with him on the Insanity DVDs is either a total beast, or some kind of freakin’ machine. They are all in incredible shape. I suppose they have to be, as they’re all either dancers or personal trainers. They all fueled my competitiveness. Every day I got up at 4am and did the workouts, except for the weekends. I also ate 100% clean (ok, maybe 95% clean) and had only the occasional cheat day.

  • Side note — Bill Phillips (Body for Life) recommends a cheat day once a week where you can eat whatever you want. Usually I do this for psychological reasons. It helps me to keep it together. However, my mind was in a place where I was going to destroy, so no cheat days.

Each weigh-in day I was creeping on Kidneys (the guy with one kidney). The trash talk was flying almost every day, and I was loving it. So were Kidneys and a few other serious competitors. I coded a web site to track eveyrone’s stats. People liked it, and it was *even more* motivation for me. Suddenly everyone could see my percentage numbers. I worked even harder.

With 6 weeks to go, I overtook Kidneys. The wine flowed freely that evening, true believer!

Suddenly, Kidneys turned it on also, and began to creep up on me, percentage-wise. Coming into the home stretch I thought he may catch me, as he was within 3% of my losses. In the last two weeks ,I pulled away and it was all down-hill from there. In his defense, I did get pretty absurd in the last few days.

It was over: I had won. With about a 2% margin, I had beaten the #2 competitor, and with a 6% margin was ahead of the #3. All said and done, I was down 50 lbs in 16 weeks.

I also won $75 ☺

After the final weigh-in, Kidneys and I went and had a slice of pizza together, both victorious.


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