Tuesday, March 20, 2007

BigAssSuperstar: Un-Weighted: Epilogue

Here's a graph of how the six month project went:


As you can see, it's not a dramatic drop, and there were some ups and downs throughout.
Recapping the stats posted earlier:
Height: 5'7" --> assuming same
Weight: 220 --> 204
Body fat (on electronic scale): 40.1% --> 36.7%
Chest: 44.5" --> 43.5"
Biceps: 12" --> 11.5"
Waist: 47" --> 42.5"
Thighs: 25" --> 25.25"
Neck: 17 3/8" --> 16"

Here's my math for the fat loss, subject to peer verification:
Started with 220 pounds, 40.1% body fat, meaning 88.22 pounds of fat and 131.78 pounds of everything else.
Ended with 204 pounds, 36.7% body fat, meaning 74.87 pounds of fat and 163.09 pounds of everything else.
That means I lost 13.35 pounds of fat and put on ... 31 pounds of muscle? No, that can't be right. Man, I'm no good at math problems. Someone help? I did some math yesterday that suggested I lost 11 pounds of fat and put on five pounds of lean muscle. That sounds more real, but may also be entirely wrong. (Revised calculations suggest I put on 2.6 pounds of muscle. Numbers still need checking.)
A 16 pound overall loss is nice, but it could've been better. Commentary further down. I'm most impressed with the shrinkage around my waist -- studies have shown that midsection fat is the stuff that's worst for your health, so to see the biggest reduction there puts my heart at ease, literally. I'm also happy about getting my neck back, with an improving jawline. Between the two, I'll feel more comfortable wearing button-up shirts. The only number that got bigger was the thigh measurement -- I'm not bothered by that, since I'm fairly certain I've packed on some leg muscle.
---
Let's recap the goals set out in BAS:UW:Week Zero:
  • Ultimate goal at this point is 160 pounds with a body fat percentage at the high end of "healthy". I'm setting the six-month goal as a 50 pound loss, putting me at 170 pounds as of mid-March 2007. Ambitious, yes.
Clearly, I didn't even get close to my admittedly ambitious weight loss goal. In fact, I barely got more than 20% toward the goal. I lost weight and lowered my body fat percentage, but didn't get to the goal.
  • Fit into size 36 pants. 34 would be nice. I can't imagine 32.
As noted earlier, I'm now wearing size 36 pants, and loving it. 34 is a distinct possibility in the future. I still can't imagine 32.
  • Be able to wear new, nice clothes proudly and comfortably
I wore nice, new clothes to the Christmas party and a wedding recently, and was proud and somewhat comfortable.
  • See improvements in empirical measures: blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol
As chronicled in BAS:UW:9, I went to the doctor for blood tests and found an improvement in my blood pressure. I didn't get a call back about any trouble with my blood test results, so I'm guessing my cholesterol is not a concern right now. Next appointment, I will ask for comparable results, and perhaps see about getting old medical records from Toronto to compare the old labs.
  • Have more energy
  • Less unnecessary sweating
"More energy" is something difficult to measure, so I can't quite say. Perhaps more appropriate distribution of energy would be a more accurate assessment, as I'm appropriately tired when I exercise, and appropriately mopey when I don't. I can say that I no longer sweat profusely at the slightest exertion, though I'm tempted to chalk that up to the change of climate here.
  • Quit smoking
Didn't get done. Sorry. Still on the to-do list.
  • Reduce pain in back, neck, chest and knees
Success on this one. When I'm doing regular work at the gym, my back and neck don't seem to hurt as much. Chest pains have all but disappeared. And my knees don't bother me any more, as long as I keep up the treadmill and weight training. More than a week or so without working out, and the hills and stairs start to hurt again.
  • Develop a masculine physique
My man-boobs no longer trouble me. I'm still doughy around the middle, but I'm really digging how my legs look. I'm starting to see evidence of muscle in my arms and shoulders. The photos suggest I'm making a transition from having "tits" to having "pecs."
  • Improve flexibility, thus reducing groaning, grunting, huffing and puffing
Flexibility has started to improve now that I'm stretching regularly at tae kwon do class. Grunting has not ceased entirely.
  • Gain respect for my discipline and achievement
That hasn't been accomplished. I know some people are proud for the progress I've made, but I know I've let people down by not giving 110% the whole way through. Some see the lack of significant progress as a blatant example of "impulse control" issues run amok. I see their point, and this project has been a lesson in perceived effort vs. actual effort vs. results.
  • Get a better sense of myself as an attractive person
I'm liking the improvements, but I'm still some way off from seeing myself as a sexy dude.
  • At the end, shave off my mustache/goatee. It's the mask of the fat man.
Done! Pictures will be appearing soon. This is my first time without a beard/mustache in about five years, so it'll take some adjustment for me and those who know me.
---
So, what started six months ago in response to missing the opportunity to be part of the Life Network (now "Slice") series X-Weighted Season 2, is now over. What have I learned?
Well, I can see what held me back from being a bigger loser.
  • I should have started resistance training a lot sooner -- more muscle is good all around, and more muscle burns more calories;
  • I should have made a stronger long-term effort to hold back from enjoying the tasty treats offered by coworkers, and the temptation to augment my bagged lunch with off-menu snacks from the deli downstairs;
  • I could have put up more of a fight against the "pizza option" when there was no dinner plan at home -- though I really don't regret pizza. I should, but I really like the pizza they make downstairs;
  • I set a weight loss goal that was not practically achievable. That was discussed earlier in the project. Perhaps short, achievable goals are the answer;
  • Being "accountable to the public" for my weight loss is not, in itself, sufficient motivation to work out like a fiend and eat like a forensic accountant, but it helped.
So, what next? Where do I go from here?
I'm not giving up. I'm not planning to do weekly weight checks on the internet any more, but I'm not about to give up on my fitness goals. That 160-170 pound figure is still the goal. It's a target. It's not a six-month target any more, but it's still a target. As I said months ago, my goal is not to get a little less fat -- it's to get fit. To give up now ... to stop exercising and return to eating junk whenever junk seemed tasty ... would be to make this project a gimmick. A blip. A stunt. The gimmick was there as motivation to actually make some changes, not simply for the sake of drawing attention to myself.
I made some changes. I didn't make a dramatic physical transformation, but there have been changes. I've spent more time on a treadmill in the last six months than ever before. I've put on pounds of muscle. I've eaten a lot of good food. I've taken up a sport. I've taken some risks and seen some rewards. This has been worthwhile, and it's worth continuing.
Of course, it's not all me. I'm not going to take all the credit. If I'd been able to do this all on my own, odds are I would have done it long ago. Thanks to Amanda for taking part in the X-Weighted audition processes, cheering me on even though Halifax didn't make the cut, calling me on my bullshit along the way, loving me despite my cookie binges, helping me dress for my size, and feeding me delicious and healthy food. Thanks to Sandra and Byron for offering their own perspectives on fitness, leading by example, passing on their wisdom about what works for them and what doesn't, and for rooting for me from half-way across the country. Thanks to my family for keeping tabs through the blog, posting their attaboys and waytogos when I made gains, and questioning my logic (even when they did so anonymously). And thanks to everyone else who's been lurking in the shadows and reading along. I don't pretend to have a large and loyal audience, but I get enough questions about the project to know that a few people have been watching.
And there's more to come. I've run the before and after photos through a morphing program and have come up with some nifty videos. I hope to combine that with some footage shot at the initial weigh-in/measurement and a few more clips from along the way and put together a little thingy for YouTube.
Thanks for joining me on this journey!

Monday, March 19, 2007

BigAssSuperstar: Un-Weighted: Week Twenty-six

The final weigh-in for the six-month BigAssSuperstar: Un-Weighted project:

Start weight: 220 pounds
Last week: 205
This week: 204
Change: -1
Total loss: 16 pounds

I expect to write a follow-up wrap-up some time in the next week, with before/after photos and some more thoughts, but here's the rundown of before and after measurements:


  • Height: 5'7" --> assuming same
  • Weight: 220 --> 204
  • Body fat (on electronic scale): 40.1% --> 36.7%
  • Chest: 44.5" --> 43.5"
  • Biceps: 12" --> 11.5"
  • Waist: 47" --> 42.5"
  • Thighs: 25" --> 25.25"
  • Neck: 17 3/8" --> 16"

And for further comparison, on May 22 2006 I weighed in at 225 pounds. That's a 21 pound loss since then.

More to come later, including a review of the goals laid out at the beginning, before-and-after morphing videos, and a look at what happens next.

Monday, March 12, 2007

BigAssSuperstar: Un-Weighted: Week Twenty-five

One week to go, and I have a new weapon in my fitness arsenal: tae kwon do class.
This is a relatively big deal for me. I've never been involved in any kind of sport, aside from tee-ball when I was about six years old. So, attending twice-a-week classes with a six-month purchase is a pretty noteworthy step for me.
Classes went well last Monday and Wednesday. I got tricked out with a snazzy uniform and white belt (which I've yet to learn how to tie according in the Standard Method), did the hour-long class with kicking and punching and stretching and pushups and crunches and lots of sweating. Then I walked home, which is about 2.3km or 25 minutes. All this while fighting a bit of a cold. Pretty proud of myself.
Start weight: 220 pounds
Last week: 208
This week: 205
Change: -3
Total loss: 15 pounds

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Monday, March 5, 2007

BigAssSuperstar: Un-Weighted: Week Twenty-four

Two weeks left, and it doesn't look like I'll be cracking 200. I'm two or three days into developing a cold, so I'm not sure how gymmable I'll be this week.

I'd like to think that this week's weight change is purely as a result of about 6km of walking last Saturday, two trips to the gym for weight training, and decent eating throughout the week, resulting in significant muscle gain.

Realistically, it could have something to do with that ... plus a junk food binge late in the week. My co-anchor brought in a case of World's Finest Chocolate-Covered Almonds to raise funds for her daughter's daycare, and I think I ate at least six boxes (at $2 each) this week. On the bright side, some children will be enjoying some lead-free paint in their play space.

Martial arts training begins this week. Task one: learn Korean.

Start weight: 220 pounds
Last week: 206
This week: 208
Change: +2
Total loss: 12 pounds

Friday, March 2, 2007

Watch it, buddy!

Thanks to dad for tipping me off to the kerfuffle involving CityTV's consumer advocate Peter Silverman, a crazy optician, a door and the Emergency Task Force. (We miss having CP24.)


Kudos to Peter "Watch it, buddy!" Silverman for taking a door to the face while standing up for the little guy. I went to school with Silverman's twin daughters. I almost had my first kiss with one of 'em. We had a "date" one time involving pizza at Frank Vetere's, and video games and playing with Star Wars figures at my place. Grade five.

Speaking of Grade Five, we just finished watching the new Fox game show "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" Not an awful show, but a good reason to have a PVR -- you can watch an hour-long show in under 40 minutes.

It also reminds me that in Canada, we call fifth grade "grade five." One of those linguistic differences. Like in the States, they say World War Two, while in Canada, style indicates we say Second World War.