Tuesday, March 18, 2014

From Fat to Fit before Fifty

On January 5th 2014 I had loosened all of my belts and my loose fitting pants were snug. The trend was bad, and the holidays had taken their toll. I normally achieve some level of fitness and shed some pounds through the spring and summer, but I never get to the point of adequate fitness. One professor of health told me that I am a classic endomorph.

This means that I have a tendency to carry large amounts of fat and muscle. It is true that I am quickly able to add strength and muscle mass when I dedicate time to weight lifting, but my passions are less in muscle strength and size and more into endurance sports. In 2007 I trained for several long cycling events including Lotoja, a 206 mile race from Logan Utah to Jackson Hole Wyoming. I completed several 100 mile races and another 200 miler, the Desperado Dual. I am not fast and do not climb hills well. The body type that benefited me during high school football and college weight lifting was now burdensome. Though I do okay for a clydesdale, I cannot keep up with lighter riders.

During my peak fitness in 2007 I had gotten down in weight to 229 from a high earlier in the year of 260. At 229, even as an endomorph I am carrying around a 25 pound fat suit.

Gallons of Milk

At one point on a mountain bike ride I was trying to explain to my very light, fit friends what it is like to ride hard to keep up at my weight (245 at the time). I told Mark that to feel what it would be like to ride at my weight, he would have to strap 11 gallons of milk to his body. He asked, "what?" I explained that a gallon of milk weighs eight pounds and that the difference in weight between his and my weight was 88 lbs. I asked how he would like to bike the same trail with 11 gallons of milk strapped to his back.

He and the rest of the group were merciless. They then wanted to know the gallon of milk equivalent to everything they saw. They would say, "Hey Dave, what do you think that rock formation weighs in gallons of milk?" They were unrelenting. I got no sympathy and just tried to keep up.

Weight Loss History

I had tried lots of things to lose weight to be more fit and to ride faster and farther. Running has always been painful, and my fit wife would tell me that marathon running (she did four in one summer) at five pounds less makes a huge difference for her. I always wondered what it would be like to run at 50 pounds less. I had done South Beach which had consistently helped me drop between 5 and ten pounds very quickly, but that is as far as I could get. I tried upping my exercise to very high levels. I tried Atkins, Zone and others. None seemed to last very long. I would drop a little then start hating the food I had to eat, then plateau, then, when winter rolled around, I would pack it on again.

The top picture is of me riding Little Creek Mesa, October 2013. I got a lot of heat for the shirt selection. I weighed 250 at the time. The bottom one is of two of my lighter riding buddies weighing in at 150 and 175.

The Beginning

On January 5th, 2014, three things happened. I weighed in at 255 (I'm 6'2"), I complained and my wife suggested I use MyFitnessPal. 255 for my height is obese per the BMI. I knew that I could safely ignore the BMI score because other indicators were okay. Cholesterol, resting heart rate and blood pressure were all in normal ranges, so I did not worry about some of the problems that accompany obesity.

The following posts are the journey of my progress using My Fitness Pal. It will not work for everyone. It takes discipline not to cheat and to record all of your calorie consumption and exercise, but it has worked wonders for me.

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