How I Lost 50 pounds in 52 weeks

A little history first. You need to know how I got so overweight in the first place.

I started at around 175 pounds, a little heavy, but not horrible. This goes back several years when I left my job and my wife in the same year. Big mistake. I don’t recommend making two life-altering decisions in the same year if you can help it. I am sure these emotional earthquakes impacted my physical, not to mention, emotional, situation.

My daughter and me in January 2004.

My brother offered to let me have an office in his suite of offices not far from my apartment. I accepted. He happens to be in the restaurant business and he generously invited me to lunch most days. Because he was in the business he didn’t worry about paying for lunch, so I didn’t have to, either. He ate intelligently and never gained any weight. I, on the other hand, did not and did. I packed on pound after pound, week after week.

After three years of this, I had ballooned up to around 225 pounds and my waistline had swelled to 44 from 36 inches. Looking down at my bulging abdomen one day, I realized it was time to get serious about my condition. At that time I was riding my bike about 9 months out of twelve for something like 2000 miles a year. So, I packed on these pounds in spite of the biking. If I hadn’t been riding, I would have gained even more.

I shot this Wednesday on my birthday this year.

For my weight reduction program, I did not want to count calories. If I had it to do over again, of course, I absolutely would.

At that time I thought that cardio work was the only thing that would burn off fat so I set about doing at least five and often six cardio workouts a week. I would do the treadmill at a 4 mph clip for around 25 to 40 minutes a day. Then log another 15 minutes on the Schwinn Airdyne stationary bike. On alternate days I included resistance work. While I didn’t understand that building lean muscle mass would increase my calorie burn, I was under the impression that working out with weights on a day that you did cardio activity essentially doubled the benefit of the cardio work. Urban legend? Old wives’ tale? I don’t know; I just did it.

At no time did I consult a personal trainer or anyone in the health field, including a doctor. I don’t recommend this last part. You should always get a physical checkup before commencing on an exercise program, but I was younger and dumber at the time.

My weight work was very simple. I used the biggest muscles – back, legs and chest. I found the heaviest weights I could handle and started with three sets of five reps. I did this on each machine. First, leg lifts, then on to lat pull-downs and finally chest presses. Same principle each time – five reps with the heaviest weight I could handle. As weeks passed, I was able to increase the reps to as high as 10 or 11 then added more weight and went back down to five. The weight work took around 10 to 15 minutes. Coupled with the cardio work, I averaged just under an hour a day, but worked out at least five days a week and often seven.

Regarding enjoying the workouts. Maybe I was just lucky, but the fact that I started having success immediately really excited me. I not only enjoyed working out, I actually found myself looking forward to it. The working out translated in my mind to melting away the unsightly fat around my waist. I loved the idea that I was getting control of my weight (and waistline!).

While I didn’t count calories, I tried to eat intelligently. That meant foregoing my former evening snack of a two pound vat of vanilla yogurt – about 800 calories! No wonder my weight shot up like a balloon. Also, I took Sunday off. That is, I would allow myself an ice cream sundae or some pizza once a week. That way I wasn’t white-knuckling it the entire time.

Here is the result. I lost 3/4 of a pound to 1-1/4 pound virtually every week for the year. In addition, my waistline melted from 44 inches to 34 inches. My weight dropped from 225 to 175 pounds. I held that weight until approximately the last year or so when my increased bike riding, calorie counting, portion control and writing this blog took me down to my current weight of around 155 pounds.

I wish I had photos to show of me when I was heavy, but because I didn’t like the way I looked there are very few. Vanity, thy name is Tony.

I hope you can learn something from my recounting of this experience. It is simple fact.

I don’t know that it would necessarily work for you. Every body is different. Consider it a stepping off point. The important thing is to do something.

Trying to lose weight and not succeeding? Quit trying and start doing. Remember what Yoda said, “Try not! Do or do not. There is no trying!”

I have since written a Page – How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off which is loaded with information on the subject.

Tony

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9 Comments

Filed under calories, Exercise, life challenges, men and healthy eating, Weight

9 responses to “How I Lost 50 pounds in 52 weeks

  1. Rich Mitchell

    Terrific post Tony…a belated Happy Birthday!
    Are you still doing weight work? Were there any negative ramifications from getting down to 155, such as loss of energy?

    What do you snack on during the day when hunger hits?

    Like

    • Thanks, Rich! Yes, I am doing weight work every other day.

      As far as being 155, I think I have more energy. lol The best thing is that I am wearing pants with a 32 waist again, that was what I wore in college.

      My snacks are often Pepitas which I wrote about here. Just love ’em. Because I like chocolate, but don’t want to add the saturated fat to me, I snack on Love Crunch Organic Granola every night. You can find that on the blog, too.

      Tony

      Like

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  7. Steven Peter Yevchak, Sr.

    It IS funny what we stumble upon in our quests for either weight-loss OR fitness. Having re-injured my right shoulder while exercising (with kettlebells that were too heavy for me at the time, with bad form and not nearly enough focused concentration on what I was doing – you know the drill), I had to take a couple of MONTHS off of working out to let it heal. When I started back, I dropped WAY down on the weights I used and concentrated instead on form and concentration. Since the kettlebells WERE extremely light for a guy (20′ ea. to start with), I nailed the above two factors and had to rely on increasing the workload via reducing the amount of time it took to do each “rep” (multiple moves with the kb’s as “chains” instead of “complexes”) and reducing the rest-time in-between reps to “feel” like I was doing anything to increase my strength. It worked (I’m getting stronger), but a byproduct of that method was that I dropped weight like crazy (even though I wasn’t trying to and actually didn’t WANT to since I started out at my “perfect” weight for my height (160′ @ 5’10”). I lost 16′ in a month (160–>144) withOUT changing my diet. In fact, once I realized what was happening, I had to seriously BOOST my food and protein drink intake to try to claw my way back and yet continue the workout regimen that I’m on (which is working for me and which I’m not about to stop). As the weight I use goes up I’m noticing my speed coming down – which is logical – but at least now I know that if my weight ever does become a problem for me again, all I have to do is revert back to the lighter weights and higher speeds to get it back off (I don’t anticipate that happening any time soon since I’ve only managed to get back UP to 155 so far). Just thought I’d throw that into the mix. Pete

    Like

    • Thanks for sharing. The body is a wonder, no doubt about it. Interesting how much we learn when we push the body in various ways in our quest for health and fitness. Keep on truckin’.

      Like

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