Posted by: leebase | December 23, 2012

25% and 80lbs Less of Lee

25% Less of LeeAs of this week’s weigh in, I broke the 230 barrier at 229.2lbs. That means I’ve lost 80lbs which is 25% of my starting weight of 309 last April. The scale has been frustrating the last few months…so I find the following as important if not more. I am now wearing size 36” waist jeans and large shirts. That’s down from 46” pants with XXL-Tall shirts.

I’m also progressing nicely with my fitness goals. I’m working the 100 Pushups program..still doing the “incline/stairs” versions. But I can now actually do 5 real pushups when I couldn’t even do one before. I’ve run 5k on the treadmill and keep working on training for my first 5k race sometime in the spring. I can’t touch my toes yet but I’m getting closer.

Holiday treats and cookies and parties have been a challenge. I’ve found myself snacking a lot more than I desire too.

Back to the scale. Here’s a photo of my recent weigh ins. You can see how it can drive a person to despair if you focus too much on the scale. I’ve been all 25percGraphover the place. My rate of loss is down by a third to about 1.8lbs a week. However, it comes as a week with a half pound loss, then a 2 pound gain then a 5lb loss. Crazy. The pink line are the actual weigh ins. The smooth white line shows the trend.

I recorded the following podcast to discuss what it means to lose weight. After all, the number on the scale is the sum of all your weight. Your body is mostly water, with bones, muscles, organs, and yes…fat. All you are really interested in losing is the fat. The number doesn’t tell you what exactly is happening. Are you gaining in muscle? It weighs more than fat. Did you retain water after a salty meal or for a woman, the TOM?

The scale is valuable, but it’s just _an_ indicator, nothing to have one’s emotions go riding a roller coaster for. I know I’m getting more fit by the day. I know I’m eating healthy. I keep needing smaller and smaller clothes. I sleep better, feel better. One week’s number on the scale, or even one month’s…that’s not the important story.

I feel like I’m entering the home stretch. 35lbs to go. The most difficult 35.

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Posted by: leebase | December 8, 2012

The New Lee Hits the Road

20121208-104111.jpgWas back on the road this week, at least for half of it. I’d spent seven weeks working from home which was a nice stretch of time. It’s so much easier taking care of how you eat and your fitness when surrounded by home and family.

I found out on Monday that I was flying out to Boston on Wednesday for the rest of the week. The client was down by the harbor, right in the city…my first time in Bean Town. No chance at finding a close by hotel with a kitchen. I’d forgotten how hard it is to eat well when you don’t plan ahead.

Wonderful client and challenging engagement. Equally challenging were the basket of Danishes, rolls and the like and the basket of fruit. I ate the fruit in the morning, having steely control as the delectable pastries stared me in the face. I got in the wrong line at lunch and ended up ordering a burrito. 800 calories between it and the small bag of chips. Then dinner out for real New England Chowder at Legal Seafoods. Probably should have stopped with the soup. Had grilled fish, but chose polenta for the side and broccoli. The broccoli was the only non carb laden choice. I also ate a dinner roll and had crackers in my soup.

The next day was no better. I grabbed a fruit and yogurt parfait for breakfast. It was the least bad choice of the breakfast options at the coffee shop my partner and I hit on the way to the client. I was hungry well before lunch and the refreshed basket of pastries won the battle this time. Ham and cheese hoagie for lunch…and Wendy’s burger for dinner. I went well over my calorie goal for both days and had double the number of carbs.

I awoke with more determination this morning. Hit a different coffee stand which had hard boiled eggs. Two of those and I was sufficient to the task of denying the temptation of the pastries. Lunch was a bag of nuts. Surprised I’m not more hungry as I write this on the flight home. Can’t wait to get back to my own kitchen for a decent meal of protein and vegetables.

I’ve composed my own Life Success Motto: The real Lee is a hit, he’s at a healthy weight and is fit (reading the book “Lose It Fast, Lose It Forever” by Pete Thomas from the Biggest Loser show). I don’t know if its having taken the time to think this through or what…but I’ve really felt this way this week. I feel fantastic. From fitting in the air plane seat, cinching up the seat belt, wearing my new sized clothes and sized 38″ belt…to having a great time dealing with the clients and a new teammate. The new Lee is a hit.

Even though two of the three days were not according to my eating plan, they were still so much better than I used or eat. I’ll take them in stride and do better next week. I did fairly well making the better choice in the situations I found myself facing. I’ll try to improve with some better planning so that I’ll have better options.

Posted by: leebase | December 3, 2012

No Longer Obese

ObeseBeforeAfterI reached a major milestone this past week, I am no longer obese.   When I started this journey seven and a half months ago, I was morbidly obese at 309lbs.  I am now merely over weight at 233lbs for 76lbs Less of Lee.  My belly was 55” and is now 44.25”.

The quality of my life has improved.  I no longer have trouble breathing in my sleep and no longer take anti-anxiety meds to help me go to sleep.  I no longer take Pepcid or Tums for heart burn.  Normal daily activities do not cause me to break out in a sweat.  And recently, I noticed that my feet no longer hurt.  I take far fewer naps and I exercise every day.

My clothes were XXL-Tall.  I no longer have to shop in the Big and Tall stores as I’m down to XL.  I’ve had to buy new belts and then do so again as I’ve gone from 48 to 38 in belt size.

I’ve gone from couch potato to running 3 miles for the first time in my life.  I’m training for a 5K.  I’ve also embarked on a “100 pushups” training regimen.  I can’t even do one “real” pushup yet, but I’m doing 35 incline pushups.  Most importantly, I’m beginning to see myself as an active person and really believing that I can become fit.

It starts with a decision.  Weight loss is as much mental as anything else.  I used to fantasize about winning the lottery and being able to afford to go to a “Biggest Loser” type fat camp.  If only I could afford the time and money to do such a thing, I could lose weight.   Like Dorothy, I had the secret with me the entire time.  No need for Ruby Slippers or winning lottery ticket.

I talk about the “Lottery Mindset” in this podcast.

There is psychology involved in losing weight, it’s not just about diet and exercise.  I talk about that concept in this podcast.

Finding people you can relate to and be inspired by is important.  Sometimes the Jillian Michaels of the world, those fit and thin athlete types are just intimidating and seem unreal.  Yet I’ve picked up a few online friendships with triathlon athletes via my interview on the Vinnie Tortorich show.  They’ve been where I am.  Overweight couch potatoes before embarking on their own journey.  I talk about this in a podcast as well.

If it seems like I celebrate a lot — it’s because I do.  I purposefully set forth milestones, lots of milestones to keep me striving forward and feeling successful.  Crossing out of obesity counts as a major milestone.  It has me feeling terrific and empowered.  Put I press onward.  Coming up soon with be the 25% Less of Lee milestone…the 80lbs less of Lee milestone.   Farther down the road is the 100lbs Less of Lee milestone and entering Onederland.

Tweet me @TheLeeBase

Posted by: leebase | November 30, 2012

Chemistry or Character

Everybody knows why we are fat.  We eat too much and we move too little.  Simple right?  Well, Gary Taubes turns this notion on it’s head in the book “Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It”.   He talks about how our over eating of sugar has damaged our metabolism such that our fat stores soak up (he uses more science-y words) our food leaving our muscles and tissues starving.  So we have to eat more, and we have pidgeonInFlightless energy to move.  And in eating more we end up just feeding the greedy fat cells more and so it goes.  Resulting in this odd notion – we eat too much and move too little BECAUSE we are getting fat.  It’s an issue of metabolism (chemistry), not an issue of character.

You have the Weight Watchers folks telling you “a calorie is a calorie”, just eat less and move more.   You have the low carb folks saying “calories don’t matter, just cut out the sugars and the grains”.  People lose weight following both plans.  People fail to lose weight, or lose weight but fail to stick with either program for long and regain the wait.  Same with low fat, vegetarianism — you name it.   In all the long term diet studies, there is always the vast majority of folks who don’t stick with the diet.

It reminds me of the debate over “nature vs. nurture”.  Are kids born bad, “bad seed” — or are kids screwed up by bad parenting or bad neighborhoods?  There are examples to support any side you might choose.  And yet folks will have an affinity for one of these world views or the other…and then pay attention to only those aspects that support and reinforce their view

I think there is truth in both sides of the calorie question.  To lose weight one must be in an energy deficit (take in fewer calories than you burn).  But, “a calorie isn’t a calorie”.  What you eat matters.  Metabolism matters.  Your body is a very complicated biochemical machine.  It has all kinds of redundancy and backup systems, and it will fight your efforts to lose weight.  Cut calories and increase exercise, and your body will increase your appetite — and slow your metabolism.

Clearly, though, people can lose weight and get fit.   It takes character…choices…commitment…sacrifice…self denial.  We are not just animals, helpless in the face of our base needs and instincts.

And so it goes, the never ending battle to have a clear mind to understand all the truth.  To not just pick a side and turn a blind eye to all other evidence.

Listen to the podcast on this topic:  Chemistry or Character

Posted by: leebase | November 27, 2012

The Secrets to My Success – A Thanksgiving Story

Thanksgiving is one day. It’s not one day that matters, but every day. I know, Thanksgiving was last week so this post is either a week late or 51 weeks early. For someone on a diet – what do you do about Thanksgiving? I saw articles this week with how to make low-carb this or that, low calorie versions of xyz. Why bother? Thanksgiving is just one day.

We went to visit family and we ate all the normal Thanksgiving fare. Turkey, mash potatoes with gravy, rolls, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Two slices even. The worst thing I did was buy a package of Combos (pretzels stuffed with cheese) on the drive there. 120 calories a serving, but the small bag had 7 servings. And of course I ate the whole bag. Other than that, I actually ate well. Just one plate of delicious food. Didn’t eat like a pig, but didn’t have to “suffer on my diet”.

The very next day I went back to my new way of eating. Even ran three miles on the treadmill. First time I’ve ever run three miles in my life. I was down 4lbs on Sunday’s WI. Yeah, I lost 4lbs Thanksgiving week while still eating a delicious traditional meal. You can’t assign this week’s results to this week’s activities. Last week I was up 1.8lbs even though I had ate well and exercised every day. Folks, that’s water weight coming and going. It’s the trend that matters. I look back 4 weeks, and take the total loss and divide by 4. I’m losing slightly less than 2lbs a week.

In the spirit of the season, if late, here are some people, blogs, and podcasts that I am thankful for in how they have helped me make progress in my journey to health. To date (as of Sunday’s WI), I weigh 236.4 for 72.6lbs less of Lee.

My wife, my best friend and partner in life, has walked each day with me on this journey. She has lost 46lbs, so together we have lost about as much weight as our youngest daughter weighs (thus the photo). I have a good friend, Steve H, who joined in with me after I had lost 40 or so lbs. We talk several times a week. He has now far surpassed me, and is doing fantastic.

I got started with Weight Watchers Online, and I continue to participate on the Guys on a Diet forum. The best group of online practical knowledge and experience I’ve come across. I cheer them on, they cheer me on, it’s been a big help.

I switched to the free MyFitnessPal app, and have tracked my calories every day for over 6 months with it. My wife used it from the beginning, and I saw that it worked for her as well as the WW app worked for me…and it’s free vs. the $18/mo for WW.

I listen to podcasts on my walks and workouts. My two favorite are the Vinnie Tortorich – America’s Angriest Trainer show and the Jimmy Moore – Livin’ La Vida Low Carb show. I was actually a guest on one of Vinnie’s episodes.

A couple of books I’ve liked best are:

A couple of websites I follow are:

I haven’t journeyed alone. All of these people and resources have been extremely helpful for my success…Thank You

My Podcast on dealing with Thanksgiving.

Posted by: leebase | November 21, 2012

Battle of the Mind

My online friend Jess at www.toobig.net put up a cry for help post today. He’s had a bad time, been binging and is looking for help from those who have had to battle to lose weight.

This is for you, Jess, a list of podcasts on how I’ve battled with my mind, fought for motivation, and how I work to keep a positive mindset and remain focused for 7 months and counting.

Posted by: leebase | November 21, 2012

Welcome Vinnie Tortorich Fans

Today I appeared as a guest on the Vinnie Tortorich podcast.  I thought I’d introduce myself and this blog to his fans.    My wife and I had lost a combined 119lbs, about the weight of our youngest daughter as you can see in the photo.

Vinnie has a degree from Tulane and several decades as a practicing physical trainer for hollywood stars and ultra athletes alike.  There’s a very good reason people should pay attention to him.

On the opposite side, is a guy like me.  Middle aged fat dude weighing in at 309lbs.  You can see the before/after of me when I hit my 20% weight loss milestone.  I’ve since lost another 10lbs.

I represent the everyman.  I’m not an athlete and never was.  I’m not a trainer or a doctor.  But I am a father of three teenage daughters, married to a beautiful woman and living the work a day life like most people.  I can’t afford a trainer like Vinnie, don’t have a dietician on my payroll, don’t have the resources or lifestyle of a hollywood star.

You can read my blog and follow me as I journey from a middle aged, morbidly obese couch potato – to a fit and healthy man.  I’m a little bit past the half way point.  You can see how I started, announcing my intentions to lose weight and blog about it at 309lbs having not lost an ounce yet.

I also create podcasts…just me talking about the journey as I go on my walks.  I have no beautiful side kick with amazing lungs, or audio wizard friends to produce the kind of quality Vinnie gets.  But they are the real raw thing, the journey to health, as it happens.  By a normal guy living like most of you live.   And seeing success so far.  You can check out some of the one’s I’ve created on topics Vinnie talks about.

I have nothing to sell, but do hope you will join me on my journey to health.

You can tweet me @TheLeeBase

Posted by: leebase | November 13, 2012

Make the Weight Gain Worth It

This past week was my first trip to Europe.  I taught mobile application development to our European consultants in Split, Croatia.  BTW, what a terrific place for a vacation.  Absolutely beautiful, on the sea across from Italy.  Ancient ruins.  Mountains, ocean.  Very nice.

Eating on the road is challenging under normal circumstances.  Nothing beats shopping for you own food and cooking it yourself (or better yet, having one’s wife cook it).  This trip was more difficult than normal.  For a whole week, I’m at a conference where every meal is provided — buffet style.  Delicious food, lots of it, all you can eat, three meals a day.

The end result was a 1 pound gain in weight.   That’s not so bad.  Here is how I made my food choices.   For the most part, I ate sensibly.  I chose meat or fish, and vegetables.  Didn’t eat the fried food, the breaded food, the potatoes, the pancakes and the like.   And I didn’t eat “all I can eat”.  One trip, sensible portions.

I did add a small croissant to my breakfast, with jam in addition to my usual eggs and bacon.  My real indulgence was with desert.  There was a desert buffet every lunch and dinner.  Really good looking, tempting and tasty deserts.  I could have pigged out, but I didn’t.  However, I did always choose to have at least one and sometimes two.

I tracked what I ate with MyFitnessPal as I always do.  Went over my calories a couple days and under a couple of days.  Didn’t exercise every day like I normally do.   I was expecting a small loss, or even.  But I gained a pound.

Then I realized I had drank wine and a very large beer (stop over in Germany, HAD to have a beer there).  Drinking alcohol isn’t my thing, so it didn’t occur to me to track the calories.  I suspect the overage I hadn’t accounted for lay mostly with the liquid calories.

I’d certainly eat the deserts all over again, and have the beer, the one beer.  I don’t think I’d drink the wine as that’s just not my thing, and why drink extra calories if it’s not something you REALLY enjoy?

I didn’t “cheat” on my diet.  I don’t believe in the concept.  I’m an adult man, and I make choices.  I decided to loosen up a bit on my trip (even though it was work, not vacation).  Yet I did

n’t go crazy, and I saved my indulgences for things I really enjoy most.   Just like in a week I’ll eat a terrific Thanksgiving meal without worrying about how many calories I’m eating.  Then I’ll get right back to my normal plan.  Enjoying life is how you stick with a “diet”.

Listen to the “Make the Weight Gain Worth It” podcast episode.

Listen to the “Put Life Into Living” podcast episode.

Posted by: leebase | November 4, 2012

70lbs Down with Visions of Muscles Dancing in My Head

I seem to be back on track.  Down 2.2lbs for the week, and I hit the 70lbs loss mark and broke out of the 240’s.  Time for some more visualization of the Lee to come.  Not merely Less of Lee, but Fit Lee.  That’s right, I am having starting to have visions of muscles…all over my body <gives a nod to Diana Ross>.

Mind you, I’m not talking body builder muscles.  But I am envisioning actual muscles on the body of mine.  When I flex my arms or my chest, I want at least _some_ amount of pop.  I want to see abs.  This is not about getting BACK into shape.  I was never in shape to begin with.  Thin as a young man, but never fit.

To that end, I’ve embarked on some training.  I am 3 weeks into my training to for a 5K.  I have run 2 miles without stopping.  TWO MILES.  A year ago I tried to go jogging with my daughter and didn’t make it to the next door neighbors house (50 feet away).

I went looking for my set of dumbbells that I bought 10 years ago and used — oh — maybe 3 times.  Couldn’t find them.  Turns out my lovely wife got tired of seeing them lying on the floor and sold them at the last garage sale <sigh>.   Can’t believe how expensive dumbbells are…how hard is it to manufacture?  So, I’ve embarked on a 100 pushups program instead.

100 pushups.  I can’t even do 1 real pushup.  Can’t even do the girl pushups (from the knees).  So I’m starting with “counter pushups” where you push up from a counter top, or stairs, or hotel bed.  You gotta start somewhere.

I recorded my thoughts on having a vision for muscles in this podcast.

Listen to my thoughts on Halloween Treats in this podcast.

Listen to my secrets for staying enthused in this podcast on Putting Life Into Living.

Posted by: leebase | October 30, 2012

Run Lee Run

Dropped 2.6lbs this week for 68lbs Less of Lee.   It felt terrific coming after last week’s 2lb loss.   I just might be back to the rate I had been losing back.  Or not.  As you know from my post The Scale, She Is  Liar.

After the slowing down trend entered it’s 4th week, I knew that I wasn’t dealing with transitory water.  My eating had been going according to plan.  Still tracking via MyFitnessPal…going over a bit here or there, but under mostly.  So, diet wasn’t where I looked to make a change.  Particularly since I’m eating about as little as I hope to have to at 1620 calories a day.

I did notice that I hadn’t been getting as much exercise in.  I had been traveling, plus the change in weather as the days have become shorter and colder and rainy.   I wasn’t able to get those hour long walks in, let alone the hour walks with the 30min end of day walks.   So it was time to up my intensity to get the calorie burn I needed in 30minutes a day.  I try to earn 400 calories daily via exercise to allow my eating to be more along the 2000 calorie a day level.

So now Lee is a runner.  Well, making progress anyway.  I use the RunKeeper app on my iPhone and downloaded the 5K Training workout plan.  We’re talking about a guy who couldn’t run from his house to the next door neighbors last year.   I’ve been walking, though, and had upped the pace to 3.5miles in an hour.

I actually do feel like I’m in training…visions of Rocky dance in my mind as I’m out, in the light rain, getting my work out in.   Intervals…running hard for a minute, then walk for 90 seconds, repeat 8 times.  And so on.  First time I tried to run a mile, I made it to .3 before I had to walk.   But afterward I ran 1.5 miles…twice last week.   On tap today is a 2 mile run.   Now I’m Forest Gump…Run Lee Run.

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