I started working in IT directly out of High School. Within a few years I was into a Systems Administrator role and suffice it to say — I was living on caffeine as I provided 24/7 Data Center Support. And not just any caffeine — but Dr. Pepper. Do you know how many calories are in Dr. Pepper? How about 8 per Day? 1200+ calories. Yikes! Needless to say my weight began to creep up as I was consuming way too many ‘liquid-calories’ and (due to late nights) not staying as active.
It was September 2007, my daughter was about to turn 3 yrs old, and I constantly found myself tired when I got home. So tired I couldnt spend valuable time playing with my active toddler. I was up to 191 lbs and 38% body fat. I was watching TV one evening and an info-mercial for P90X came on. Tony Horton was over 30 and fit. The workouts seemed logical and the diet plan seemed reasonable. I remember him saying “Just keep pressing play”. Ready to make a change and tired of the condition I was in — I decided to buy P90X and commit to 90 days. And so it began.
I took progressive photos at least every week (sometimes every day). I started out at 191 lbs and set my goal to be 50 lbs. I told myself that no matter what, I would commit to 90 days and stay strict — no budging.
Man that was rough! Not only commiting 1.5–2 hrs per day for workouts, but actually staying on the diet and surviving the actual workout was the hardest thing I ever did. In 30 days I hit my goal of 50 lbs! Truly Amazing — the program was working; I was seeing progress and totally motivated. Not one to stop there I bumped my goal to 60 lbs.
I had some struggles during the 31–60 phase. Between all the changes to my daily regime, the stress of working long hours supporting Infrastructures, and catching the flu during the winter months — I wasnt staying on track 100%. But, even with the flu, I committed to staying in the routine and working out even if at only a fraction of my potential. I am the type of person that needs to stay in a routine. But even with all that on the very last day I hit my goal of 60 lbs! Now, as you can imagine, there was no stopping me now. I bumped my goal, one last time, to 70 lbs for the last 30 days and off I went.
As expected, my progress began to slow as I was reaching what would be my lowest/healthy weight I could expect. Motivation was slowing as daily progress was very miniscule. But, I constantly looked back to my progress photos for encouragement and stuck with it. On the morning of day 91, I stepped on the scale and was shocked to see that I had just surpased my goal of 70 lbs and lost a total of 71 lbs. I had started at 191 lbs (waist size of 38, Large shirt) and weighted in at exactly 120 lbs (waist size of 27, Small shirt).
Maintaining throughout the years
Over the course of the next 5 years I began to recognize you have to find a balance in life. My hardcore diet and exercise regimine was too strict to maintain a happy life. My weight fluctuated +/- 8 lbs, still with a healthy BMI, but was impacting my personal life.
Over the course of the next 5 years, with the help of the iPhone, Smart Scales, Apps to log food/diet, Apps for workouts, etc… I have settled into a routine that allows me to live a social life, stay in great shape, and keep my workouts to 20–3o minutes (max) per day. As a result I am now pushing 40 and can honestly say I am in the best shape of my life.
- iPhone + HealthKit. I can’t over emphasize the value HealthKit brings to a holistic view of my entire health from all the various devices and apps.
- Apple Watch. To log my workouts, encourage me to ‘stand’, and to ‘breathe’ throughout the day.
- Fitness Apps. There are a ton out there. But my go-to for the past few years has been a combination of ‘Six Pack Abs’ + ‘Interval Timer’. I have created a High Interval (but low impact) plan that allows me to focus on adding muscle while staying lean (9–12% Body Fat) and keeping to 20–25 minutes per day.
- Diet/Nutrition. MyFitnessPal. I log EVERYTHING. I am following (and really enjoying) an Intermmitent Fasting Keto program and easily maintain 11–12% body fast during the winter and trim down to 9–10% body fat during the summer (swimsuit) season.
- Withings Smart Scale. This wifi scale logs my weight to MyFitnessPal (which helps ensure my weight-to-calories get adjusted as I progress) and it also synchs to Apple HealthKit.
- Hidrate Spark. This is a water bottle company I sponsored on KickStarter that invented a water bottle with a bluetooth sensor that automatically syncs to Apple Health Kit and MyFitnessPal. This is my key to get 120+ oz of water per day to keep my body fat % below 10%. Before — I had never realized how little water I drank on a daily-basis.
There is no magic formula and everyone’s body is different. But one thing I discovered during my journey was that to ‘get in shape’ and stay there you must commit to a Life Style Change. You have to change the mindset of craving food and using it for a crutch or to relieve stress — you have to just look at it as “fuel”. It isnt easy — but if you:
- Set Goals
- Log Food and Exercise (for visibility and accountability)
- WANT to change
Then you can find the “best you”. Good luck!