The Real Biggest Losers?
I saw this pop up as I scrolled through my dash this morning and for some reason, it just struck a nerve. If you want to read my ramblings, fine. If not, I am OK with that as well since this is being written more to get it out of my system than anything else. I will put it behind the jump to save your dashboard.
I feel some type of connection with the message in this video. For those who have not followed my blog since the start, my initial weight loss was accomplished a lot through following the Biggest Loser 30 Day Jump Start. It did what it said it would do, and gave me the jump start I needed.
So much of what is said in this video speaks directly to me, where I have come from, and where I am going. Initially, I too was caught up in the calories in and calories out concept, focused only on cardio with no strength training, and worrying day in and day out about what number might appear on the scale.
People who have never truly struggled with their weight will never, ever, be able to fully comprehend why the number on the scale can be such a driving. It is easy for them to just say “get off the scale” or “do it different”. In many ways, it takes 2 critical changes, the first being the change in your eating and exercise and the second being the transition out of the weighing yourself daily, weekly, etc. mindset. I was in that routine and lost who I was, much like Courtney mentioned in this video.
CrossFit has helped me learn things about myself and recover lost confidence. I don’t know the last time I got on my scale. I don’t count calories. Realizing this, given where I have come from, can be somewhat frightening. How can I go a week without weighing? What if I take in 200 more calories than I burned today? Moving away from that has never felt so freeing.
Look around you, inspiration is everywhere
Isn’t that an awesome photo? Isn’t that a beautiful and strong woman? Amanda has put in a lot of work and it shows. She has dropped over 100 pounds and become a new, better, stronger, faster version of her old self.
I am fortunate to know her personally and to have seen her transformation. Through a close friend of hers, she made the decision to change, setting in motion a chain of events that has not stopped to this day. Rather than try and recap it all and fumble over my words, I encourage you to read her story for yourself in detail on the Punch Life in the Face blog.
“There goes our sport.”
Reading through some Facebook posts the other night, I saw this pop up via Progenex:
The Biggest Loser begins tonight, and according to Bob Harper the entire season will be all CrossFit. Will this be good or bad for the sport?
Sadly, one of the first comments I read was this:
There goes our sport.
There have been times when I have been ashamed of some of the people that opt to represent CrossFit, and reading that comment was surely one of those times.
CrossFit is not something designed solely for the super elite. If you read ANY box website or talk to a trainer, they will tell you to come in regardless of your fitness level. They want you to come in, workout, improve, grow, get stronger, and get faster. I have yet to hear one of our trainers say “Well, you are just too fat. Sorry, we can’t help you.” How about the main site? Does it say “CrossFit is for athletes who are not obese?” In fact, it says something quite the contrary:
The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience.
When I read that, I see that any of these workouts can be scaled to meet the needs of the participant while at the same time presenting a unique physical challenge to them, helping them grow as an athlete.
Just because Bob Harper is doing CrossFit, doesn’t mean that on day 2 of the ranch he is going to have a 400 pound guy do Fran. I mean, let’s get serious here. I think Bob Harper understands the benefits of high intensity, functional movements and is planning on applying those concepts to The Biggest Loser participants’ workout routines.
Perhaps there will be an influx of participants at CrossFit boxes all over. Maybe people that do not typically fit the “athlete” mold will join. Maybe people that need to lose weight instead of improve their Grace time will join. Maybe CrossFit will become an even more household name.
And if that happens, why is that bad for CrossFit?
Why does that mean the sport goes to hell in a hand basket? Aren’t we all about making people better versions of themselves? If I saw a largely overweight person walk into our box, I would love nothing more than to shake their hand and tell them that they got tons of guts for stepping foot in the door and that if I could help to just holler. I would hope I would be the kind of person that would cheer them on during their workouts, or even finish an extra set of reps or a run with them to let them know they are not in the fight alone.
Let’s let people experience all of the benefits of CrossFit. Not just weight loss, but strength, speed, and most importantly confidence. The last thing I would do would be to claim this sport as my own, something a selfish, shallow, and insecure person would do.
One year ago, life changed with a single phone call
There I was, just chilling on the couch. Not doing anything really productive because I had a long week at work. I loved Saturdays because they are the only days that I get to sleep in. Even with the girls getting up early, it is still sleeping in compared to the week. And what Saturday mornings are complete without waffles, giant glasses of milk, and plenty of bacon? After gorging myself, it was always therapy to just chill out on the couch and finish drinking my coffee.
As I was sitting there the phone rang and it was my wife. She was at Books-A-Million and doing a little shopping. She asked a simple question.
“Hey, how serious were you about wanting to make a change?”
Don’t get me wrong here, I like the Biggest Loser. The 30 Day Jump Start book was what turned things around for me. I still find the show inspirational to watch. That being said, is there something wrong with me when I think that Jillian Michaels, who appeared to struggle through this, should have done better? Yea, it’s a TV show promoting health. I understand that. I realize she is not an the CrossFit regionals, but those push presses looked like they were beating her down. I guess I just expected someone who is known for training others to have an easier time with a 2 minute workout and to also do it with a little less complaining.
Now that our monthly Wicked Fit challenge at our box is over, the marathon is over, and the only real event on my schedule coming up is Tough Mudder, it has left me to think about what I want to do moving forward.
First and foremost, I want to maintain how I eat (I hate to use the word diet) but want to change things up. During the Wicked Fit challenge I did the Paleo thing. I took before and after photos, measurements, and all that jazz and saw some success that I was very pleased with. However, I am not so certain that this is the plan for me to follow long term.
I guess I have just grown tired of having to label how I eat. Why does it need to be called something? Why can’t it be just how I eat? Perhaps it makes for interesting topics of conversation, but I don’t need to spout off some trendy label for the meals that I consume. One item of concern with regards to Paleo, and this is merely a personal thing here, is that I was tired of feeling guilty for having something like bread. Before my long runs, I would typically have some bread with almond butter. Well naturally bread is not on the Paleo plan and for some reason that messed with me mentally, thinking I was cheating when all I was doing was properly fueling my body. It wasn’t like I was scarfing down French fries and loaded baked potatoes at every meal. I was having carbs to fuel my long runs, simple.
I don’t want to eat clean and still feel bad about it. That is just stupid and does me no good at all.
Out of everything that I have seen and tried, I would prefer a mixture of what we learned while going through the Biggest Loser 30 Day Jumpstart as well as Paleo. I did feel a lot better throughout the day (less bloated) following Paleo with the carbs being cut out. The Paleo meal plan I followed had a lot of red meat and what I felt like were really salty foods (i.e. sausage stir fry), neither of which I want to eat. I did like the majority of the Paleo meals I made and will certainly continue to make those. I want to mix things up a little and balance it out by adding back in some whole grains and carbs. Nothing over the top.
So I am going to change things up and kinda “wing it” based on what I have learned so far. And you know what, I feel totally at peace about this.
Captain’s Log: Star Date 199
Kinda crazy to think that tomorrow will be day 200 for us. Never in a million years would I have thought I would be seeing day 200 of a lifestyle change. Normally I give up way before this.
I wrote before about going back and trying the Biggest Loser book one more time. The average daily calorie intake for me would be about 1700 which I have found, is not enough. The first time through it worked because I had very little physical activity. That has changed considerably since then. Since the activity has picked up, as do my calories. When starting the book back, I stayed hungry. Vastly different than the first time. I would get home and want to graze on stuff in the house (dangerous). Either that or I would be so hungry before a meal that I would want to eat more than my regular portion. So rather than give in and eat crap, I am going to do what feels right for me and that is to increase me calorie intake, but to do it with healthy food. Normally I have 3 meals a day and 2 snacks. Yesterday I brought a little extra food with me to have in between all of that and it helped tremendously.
Here is how it went down:
Breakfast (About 7:00 a.m.; post CrossFit):
- Egg whites
- Turkey sausage
- Wheat breakfast thins
- 2% milk
9:00 a.m. - 3 hardboiled eggs
Snack #1: - Hummus with whole grain pita slices (Seriously, go make this)
Lunch (About 1:30 p.m.):
- Low-sodium turkey sandwich with tomatoes, onion, and spicy Dijon mustard
- Mixed green salad with tomatoes, reduced fat feta cheese, low fat Caesar dressing
- The mother of all fluid that is not water: Crystal Lite
3:00 p.m. - Large banana
Snack #2 (About 4:00 p.m.):
- The second best yogurt: Voskos (Chobani is still the reigning champion)
- Raw almonds
- Turkey Pitas (Ground turkey, mixed greens, with a little dab of Sirarcha)
- Steamed broccoli
- Glass of 2% milk
For water, I have really gotten used to drinking a lot of it. Since yesterday was a CrossFit day, I drank more than usual. I had about 96+ ounces of water.
So I ate more food and didn’t feel bloated or fat. I actually felt better. Like I was giving my body what it needed to keep moving. This is where I have wanted to be all along. Eating healthy (not some restrictive fad diet) to fuel my body and know in the back of my mind that I am not worried about the number on the scale the next day.
What can be done in 180 days?
Exactly 180 days ago, my wife and I made a decision to get healthy. 180 days… today. In some aspects I look back and it feels like 180 days is a very long time. However, it also feels like that time has flown by. What has happened in 180 days:
- Eat Healthy: It all started with this. We threw away our unhealthy food and restocked with good stuff following the Biggest Loser 30 Day Jump Start. Note I did not say a diet. We have never been, and never will be, on a diet. We are eating healthy! Stopped drinking caffeine, eating red meat, eating fast food, and focused on a healthy balanced eating program consisting of 3 meals and 2 snacks a day.
- Fitness: Ran my first 5K in March, and have run 4 after that. One of those 5K’s was the first my wife and I had run and it brings tears to eyes seeing this photo. Started Crossfit March 31, 2011 and have continued going at least 3 days a week. Completed the Warrior Dash in May and now have my first half-marathon approaching in November and Tough Mudder in December.
- Weight Loss: At the date of this post, I have lost 65lbs, gone from a 44 in the waist to a 36, and even lost a shoe size. I was pushing a XXXL shirt and have gone down to an XL or L in some cases. I managed to document most of this along the way and it feels good to look back at old photos and remember where I started.
- Life in General: I am being called skinny now for the first time in my life. I am at a weight that I have not seen in about 10 years. I have never felt this strong and this fast in my life, ever. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a long way to go. But I feel so much better and so much more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have.
Although both my wife and I are doing this together, I speak mostly about my accomplishments here. She has not really wanted to take “then & now” shots, but is getting closer to wanting to do that. When she does hopefully she wont mind me posting them here to show off all of her hard work.
With all of that said, we both still have work to do. I want to see 200 pounds and would love to do that before my foot crosses the start line at my first half-marathon. I want to complete a triathlon. I want to complete an Ironman. There is so much more I have yet to do with this life.
If you are reading this and been stuck in a rut, not sure how or if you can move forward, and are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, know above all else that you can do it. All it takes is getting started. Take that first step in a new direction and then never go back.
PS - These pants used to be tight on me. :-)
I am still in shock sometimes that we have been keeping up with this as long as we have. But then again, a lifestyle change is not a 90 day program, it is a permanent adjustment. So here is yesterdays meals/snacks.
- 2 egg whites (Egg Beaters)
- 2 strips of nitrate free turkey bacon
- 1 wheat bagel thin
- 1 banana
- 8 ounces of Almond Milk
- Cliff Bar
- 6 pieces of sushi
- 1 pear
- Chobani yogurt (blueberry)
- Small portion of mixed nuts (unsalted)
- Cluckphrey (vegan) sandwhich, with spicy dijon mustard, red onion, tomato, and cheese
- 1 cup of broccoli
I had never tried the “vegan chicken” patty before, but it was surprisingly great. I cooked it on the stove (microwaving those things sucks) and found it to be very filling.
Breakfast: 3 egg whites, banana, grain English muffin, 2 veggie sausage patties, 8 ounces almond milk (vanilla)
Snack #1: Chobani yogurt (mango) with almonds
Lunch: 6 pieces of California brown rice sushi, pear
Snack #2: celery and hummus
Dinner: Rice burger with red pepper, red onion, sprouts, honey dijon mustard, and tomatoes on multigrain bread; asparagus