Hello everyone! I would like to formally introduce myself. My name is Piotr. I have been a lurker here in the forums before I decided to sign up. I stumbled upon JSF one day while browsing a different forum and read some of the responses regarding John’s progress. Everyone on that forum ridiculed John for being just a bit “anal” in tracking his progress down to taking progress pictures each day. When I looked at John’s first pictures and read his bio, I realized that I was essentially in the same boat he was. My diet was crap, I didn’t exercise, my sleeping patterns were poor and it showed. I love to cook as much if not more as I love to eat. I had no problem cleaning up a medium pizza loaded with toppings and an order of hot wings with tons and tons of ranch dressing and a 2 liter of Coca-Cola! There were many days that I would exceed 5000 calories per day and that is just from food, crappy food. Alcohol was also my downfall. After a long day at work, I enjoyed coming home to a few “cold ones” and on the weekends the scenario would double and sometimes triple. In February 2007 I hit another milestone. My waist ballooned to an all time high of 36 inches. A trip to the mall set me back a few $ to look halfway decent in the office. People, including my mother, started to comment about my protruding belly. It was quite amusing at first but after a while it got really annoying. I spent 14 years in the US Army and considered myself in decent shape for years. The last few years of service I hovered at 5’11” and 180 lbs. This was borderline overweight for the Army standard. I’ve always managed to pass the redundant “push-up, sit-up, 2 mile run” routine so I never thought about taking my fitness to the next level. No exercise, no gym memberships, no good eating habits…I was just cruising along. In September of 2007 I visited my doctor for a routine yearly checkup. He was not at all happy with my weight. He also cautioned me regarding my increasing waist circumference and mentioned that I was a prime suspect for diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. I didn’t take his words seriously until I got a call from the office a week later requesting me to come in and discuss my blood test results. My cholesterol levels exceeded 230 mg/dl and I was stunned. The doc handed me a prescription and advised me to fill it immediately. Since high blood pressure and cholesterol run high in my family I was very concerned. The last thing that I needed was a daily pill regiment to worry about. Seeing how many pills my parents take daily, this was another wake up call. Knowing absolutely nothing about health or fitness, I found JSF once again and on 27th September 2007 I decided that enough was enough. I made up my mind that very day and haven’t looked back! Here is my first picture on this life changing day. 206 lbs with fat percentage that I believe exceeded 25%. I began reading the stickies in the Beginners Forum and made the entrance into the world in which I live today. Literally, overnight I became consciously aware of every piece of food that I put in my mouth. I found a simple calorie and weight tracking spreadsheet and began to use it. I tracked every calorie. I purchased a digital scale. Each portion was weighed precisely according to the Nutritional Label. My girlfriend thought I’ve gone MAD! She was not at all happy with the changes in the house. We were both used to my good cooking and have always looked forward to dinner and the weekends, as these were our times to enjoy great meals. I kid you not when I say that this happened overnight! The next day I filled a cooler with ice packs, loaded up with 2 full meals and 2 snacks and the rest as they say, is history. After a few weeks, she began to see that I was serious about my quest. She asked me a few questions regarding food and diet and she jumped on my bandwagon as well. To date, she has lost over 20 lbs and is with me in the gym each and every morning. Here is a picture of my 4 week progress: Huge difference! I am sure most of the weight lost was water weight but nonetheless… The more I read JSF forums, the more I realized that just eating healthier wasn’t going to cut it. True, I’ve lost some weight and maybe an inch or so around my waist, the need for cardio and weight training became a must. I marched my a$$ into a Club Fitness facility, got a brief walk through with an instructor and took advantage of the “try us for 7 days” promotion. After going two mornings of cardio I decided to join. Every effort was made by the trainer to get me signed up for 40 training sessions which exceeded $2,000.00 dollars!! I respectfully declined, logged onto JSF and educated myself some more. I decided to alternate cardio and weight training with one day off for rest. www.exrx.net was a great resource for someone like me, who’s never, EVER stepped foot in a gym. I chose exercises that I felt comfortable performing and put together an 8 week full body workout consisting of 11 simple exercises that utilize most of the major muscle groups. Things were a bit sketchy the first week as I was getting a feel for the machines as well as my abilities. Here is a progress picture after 4 formal weeks’ cardio and weight training: Nearing completion of yet another 4 week training period, I present you with another progress picture: The green shorts I have worn for most of my pictures don’t fit anymore. They literally fall down do my ankles. My current weight is 175 and slowly (but steadily) declining. My waist is a comfortable size 32 and it shows. People comment on my appearance and it feels good! I rise each weekday at 4:30 am and am in the gym by 5am. 530am on Saturdays and in the gym by 6am. Sundays are my days off. I know his is very early but because of my work schedule it has to be this way. There have been many mornings that I would feel sluggish to get out of bed, yet my inner self swiftly kicked me in the a$$ and reminded me what it is I am doing and why. I was bummed Christmas day as the gym was closed and I was missing my cardio workout. Nevertheless, I didn’t let that hold me back. I was back on track the next day. Today, I can honestly say that I feel great! Not only do I feel great physically but mentally as well. I look forward to continuous support from the JSF forums and am eager to make good progress in my training as well as my appearance. Thanks to all of you for your knowledge and support. It would be pretty hard to do this alone. For those of you, who are reading this, while sitting on the fence and deciding weather to commit or not commit, I have two words for ya…DO IT! It will be the biggest and best decision you ever make. I will try to update my journal on a regular basis and keep all of you up to speed on my progress. I welcome any and ALL suggestions, comments, questions etc. Thanks GANG!