The Journey of the Fat Mantis Hi everyone! You’ll have to forgive me if my journal isn’t as comprehensive or laid out as well as some others. I’m really not used to keeping a journal of anything, much less an online journal about something as personal as weight loss. I guess I should start by telling you guys a little about myself, eh? I'll try to keep this as structured as I can. Ok then, here goes! *** Warning, this is LONG! I’m sure a lot of you will skip most of it. For those, my progress and goals are at the end. Although my life story is very fun to read *** My Weight History Growing up I started out pretty healthy. I was as thin and fit as every other kid in elementary school up until about the 3rd grade. About the time I turned 9 or 10 I started packing on some weight. Not just a little weight either. I’m talking buying “Husky” pants and adult sized shirts. I believe when I was 11 years old I weighed about 135lbs, no idea how tall I was at the time. That was about my “fatness” peak as a child. From there I slowly started to grow into my weight. When I turned 14 my father hired a friend of his from work who used to teach Tae Kwon Do to help get me in shape. Every other weekday, for two hours, in the basement of my home we would stretch, kick, punch and spar. I really enjoyed it. He and I eventually became really good friends as I grew older. Growing up I was never really forced to eat my veggies. My parents are from the south and Mom is a great Southern Cook. Growing up this way really set my eating habits in stone. By the time I was 17 I had all but lost my fat physique and was starting to look rather thin. This I owed to the fact I was doing still doing TKD. I had great stamina and energy, but I was still eating like crap. I was thin, but had no muscle to speak of. Bones, fat, and skin pretty much summed me up. I always had that belly. I stopped TKD not long after my 18th birthday and about that time I started factory work. My poor eating habits continued but my job kept me moving around for enough hours in the day that I never gained or lost for the next few years. I met my wife when I was about 20 years old and about 167lbs. No longer working in a factory, I was working in the mall as an arcade manager. Let me tell ya, there’s a high energy job! Still thin as a rail, but this was all about to change. Fast forward 7 years into the future. I’m 27 years old and gaining weight fast. I’m 5’11 and weighing in 180lbs. not really bad, but keep in mind I have no muscle! New Years Day 2003 I have my last cigarette. Yay for me right?! Right! I put down the smokes and reached for the candy. The Zyban I had been on a month prior to quitting starts to have an ill effect on my body. I break out in these huge hives and rashes. I itch all over. So many large welts on my body I look like I had been beaten and lashed by a group of barbarian masochists. The doctor gives me a steroid called Prednisone to take for 2 weeks. I’m laid out on the couch and basically bed ridden for days while taking this. Let me tell ya, it really helped the hives but it blew me up! People tell me once you stop taking the prednisone the weight gain goes away. Hah! Not for Mantis! The puffiness in my face went away, and went away straight to my belly! Since that day I’ve been steadily picking up weight. My diet was simple. No breakfast, fast food or something fried for lunch, and a huge dinner, usually consisting of pasta or pizza. We went out to eat multiple times per week. Steak joints are my favorite with the yeast rolls and potato soup. After dinner I’d snack while playing video games, bar cheese and butter crackers were my favorite. Eating like that it doesn’t take long to stack on the weight. Weight Loss Attempts I had tried a few times over the past couple years to lose weight. I bought various gym equipment and tried different fad diets. Treadmill, Bowflex, free weights, Atkin’s, South Beach, etc. I’d lose 5 or 6lbs here and there but it never lasted. I didn’t have the desire to stay motivated. I met a friend online who goes by the name Cheeze. He’s a generally good guy and has helped me to understand some of the basics of weight loss. He too was a big guy at one time. Taking his approach to dieting, which is basically a 20/40/40 plan I started to lose weight. I just never had the motivation to stick to the plan. The longest I made it was 3 weeks in and that’s with cheat meals every Saturday, sometimes the whole weekend. Exercise was a bad word to me. Walking to the fridge to get a pop or to the phone to order pizza was all the exercise I wanted to get. Why I Decided To Get In Shape In May of this year I booked an Eastern Caribbean cruise with my wife and niece. I decided it would be nice to lose 10 or 15lbs by the time the cruise came along in late July. That way I could eat myself into a sugar coma onboard and not have gained any new weight in the end. So I started the diet I had done before that was the most successful for me. The ‘Cheeze’ Diet! I started my weight loss program weighing in at 216.8lbs. More than I had ever weighed in my life. 2 weeks into it I see myself in the mirror and I don’t like what I see. Of course I’ve seen myself in the mirror every time I took a shower or changed clothes, but this time was different. I really saw myself. I saw what kind of shape I was an in and was not pleased. I decided that after the cruise I would keep the diet going. If I could get down to 175 – 180lbs again I would be happy. I now have a goal! Great goal, until I saw a picture of myself last winter and thought “My God is that what I look like? That’s disgusting!” That was 5 weeks ago. Today I’m well on my way to being a new person! The Last 365 Days, In A Nutshell Being a self employed painting contractor, sometimes you get slow spurts. Last summer was one of our busiest summers ever. Last winter was, unfortunately, one of out slowest winters ever. So for the cold Michigan winter months my daily activity consisted of waking up, heading to the computer room, loading WoW, staying there until bedtime and doing the same thing the next day. Not to over simplify, but that was my lifestyle up until about 5 weeks ago. There are days that I have to go in to work and spend many an hour doing physical labor to get a project done. I also have employees that I try to keep working as much as possible, and when we get slow I give them the work first to keep them as close to 40 hours as I can. Often times I end up delegating myself out of work and go home to work out of the “office”. Invoicing or playing video games is all the same to your body. You’re still sitting on your ass for hours on end. I can’t say the last year has been a complete waste. I do have a Level 60 Night Elf Priest, a 60 Human Warlock, a 60 Human Mage, a 60 Gnome Rogue, and a 60 Dwarf Priest to brag about. Who needs good health when you got 8/8 Transcendence baby!! (Inside WoW joke, sorry). How I Found JSF About two weeks ago my niece and I were talking about our progress on weight loss for the cruise. A few minutes into the conversation she posts me a link to a website her boyfriend (Hi Mason) frequents about fitness. Not being a fan of bodybuilding or fitness sites I tell her “cool, ill check it out later” and dismiss it. Later that night around 10pm or so, I’m bored as hell and I see that I never closed the AIM window and that link is staring at me saying “click me! You know you want to! What else do you have to do?” So I do what any fat bored computer geek would do, I click the link to http://www.johnstonefitness.com! 4 hours later I go to sleep with so much new knowledge in my head about fitness. I wake up the next day with a new found motivation. In awe of John’s transformation, I skip work and “manage” from home reading everything I can from this guy’s site. Checking out the forums, “Wow! He has a following! Hey! Some are fat people like me!” Everyone here has a very enthusiastic and positive attitude toward everyone else. It’s very refreshing. These are the exact reasons I neglected other body building and fitness sites. There is so much misinformation and crap out there, that’s not motivational. JSF on the other hand, while a lot of you have different methods and programs to accomplish your goals, there are no flame wars or immature penis comparisons going on. Not on the public forums anyway! Just about everyone here shares many common interests. We all care about our health, we all either want to get and/or stay in shape, and we are all inspired by the willpower, determination, and results John Stone has shown during his amazing transformation. --------------------------- My Goals First and foremost I want to be and feel healthy again. I don’t want to be a sloth tied to his computer chair playing video games from morning to night. I want what almost every fat person wants. I want to be fit and trim! I want to have muscles! I want to have the energy I had in high school, but this time I want to have the body to go with it! Before I found JSF I just wanted to cut some fat and be done with it. After being inspired by JSF my goal set has changed entirely. First, I need to lose my blubber, afterwards I can focus on strength training and muscle building. My current goal is to get down to 175lbs. At that point I can re evaluate my body and decide if I need to cut some more or start building muscle. My Program Eating I’m far from an expert so if anyone sees me doing something wrong, please tell me! I’m always open to input and suggestions. When I started this program I made the same mistake John made when he started his initial fat loss. I’m eating too little. I was taking in on average 1200 calories a day. Now, after seeing John’s meal plans, I realize that’s way too low. I’m fighting myself trying to get it higher to where it needs to be. Some days it’s really hard for me to get to the 1700 or so calories I want to be at. I know a lot of you will tell me that even 1700 is still too low, it’s hard getting past the mindset that less is better. I’m working on that too I’ve been keeping a record of what I’ve been consuming everyday. I even formatted it similar to John’s. Thanks John! Since we started around the same weight, I’ve even been modeling some of the things I eat off of his diet. I figure if nothing else, it’s a good place to start until I find what works ideally for me. My diet boils down like this: Wake up: work out After work out(HIIT): Whey shake w/ skim milk, 1 tbsp of natural peanut butter 1 hour later: “Nutrition Bar” (still trying to find a good healthy one) Lunch: lean meat sandwich on wheat if I’m on-site, else egg beaters and a meatless patty 3 hours later: 15 Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels (Thanks John!) 3 hours later: Dinner, lean meat, 2 veggies. Snack: can of tuna or whey shake w/ water I’ll vary that here and there and sometimes throw in a healthy cereal, but that’s basically it. I need to increase my caloric intake for sure. Workout Every day except Sunday I work out. I’ve started out 5 weeks ago with a light jog on the treadmill and every week I’ve been improving. Last week I started a treadmill program that’s similar to HIIT cardio. It’s 30 minutes long, first 5 minutes is mostly warm up, then 20 minutes of alternating running and light jogging, then 5 minutes to cool down. It’s been keeping my heart rate between 155 and 183. I also lift every 3 times a week. This is more of me trying not to lose what muscle I have, rather than a building program. I work out my biceps and triceps every time, since if I do grow anywhere I really need it there! I do 1 exercise for each major muscle group. Monday it’s my chest and shoulders, Wednesday I do back and abs, Friday I do legs. I lift in the morning, just before my cardio. On days that I lift I usually throw ½ a banana in with my whey shake. Progress I think I’m doing well! I’ve been keeping a very detailed log of my weight, my diet, and my exercises. When I have some real results to show I’ll post them for you guys along with pictures. Unfortunately I wasn’t wise enough to take a “before” shot until 3 weeks into it. Now I take a new front and profile pics, John Stone style, every Monday. I also only weigh myself once a week, on Mondays. Here’s my weigh-ins so far! Week 1: 217lbs Week 2: 208lbs Week 3: 206lbs Week 4: 199lbs Week 5: 197lbs The wife came downstairs today and saw me and said “Wow! You’re skinny!” Talk about a motivating factor! I put on a size Large shirt today for the first time in years. I have so much motivation now, thanks largely in part to JSF, I’m going to be unstoppable. The last time I felt this motivated toward something, I quit smoking… “Your last cigarette was 181wks 5days 21hrs 57mins 17secs ago. You would have smoked 38187 cigarettes (190.9 cartons) and spent $7637.40USD” So John, you better keep lifting and watch out! Mantis is motivated, on your tail, and shedding pounds buddy! Hmmm MantisFitness.com I like the ring of that!!