The poor coach is dealing with my frustration

I do feel bad. Justin, the coach who owns Crossfit Alpharetta, is patiently trying to make sure I stay focused. I have hit what I consider a plateau, hanging at 272-274 for the past 2-3 weeks. Working my butt off and eating right, I want to see movement.

He’s trying to get me to focus less on the scale and more on nutrition and progress in fitness. No doubt I am able to do much more fitness wise. At the beginning of April, walking a mile in 16-17 minutes was as much as I could do. Saturday, I did a mile on the treadmill in 11:40. I can now do some decent but not perfect squats. (The coach today, Kyle, also patiently took me away from back squats to just doing air squats against a bar so I would stop bending my back). I can do some low box jumps. There’s definitely progress.

But, it is hard to get my head around possibly having to up my calorie intake to continue my weight loss. I have been at 1400-1800 calories a day. He wants me to consistently get 2,000. Seems backwards. But the guy has helped me get this far.  I have to trust him.

An awesome “healthy” “cheat”

I have both healthy and cheat in quotes for a reason. Healthy because I am no nutrition guru. I have been sticking to a plan that has been working well for me. 50g of protein and a cup of veggies for most meals, and 50 g of protein and 50 g  of carbs for post workout meals. There are also two protein shakes per day.

While I have found my favorite brand of reasonably priced protein shakes (Premier Protein from Costco  – 18 for $24.99 (or $29.99 if not on sale) where I am getting 30g of protein for 160 calories, it can be boring. (Costco sells vanilla, chocolate and caramel, and I have gotten cookies and cream from Amazon.) My daughter suggested espresso mixed in with each about a month ago, and that is a good alternative.

But, recently, I have really found something awesome, and this is where the somewhat questionable “healthy” issue might come in to play. I have been blending the vanilla Premier Protein with three or four ounces of either diet Sunkist orange or diet A&W root beer. In the office, I do it straight. At home, I use the blender with ice.

It is truly unbelievable – tasting like either an orange Creamsicle or a root beer float. Whether I am affecting the nutrition by using a diet soda, I am not quite certain, but I know that I love it and it is incredibly satisfying.

I used “cheat” in quotes because, as I have said,  I am not on a diet. I think I am now used to this way of eating.

One more “cheat” along the same lines. If I don’t need the protein shake, I have also done the 3-4 ounces of either Sunkist or A&W with Korger brand carb master vanilla milk with ice in a blender. 60 calories, 11 g of protein and I get a full blender (from froth and maybe carbonation) of truly satisfying awesomeness.

Right or wrong – this one little thing is keeping me on the straight and narrow.

Slowly starting to feel some progress

This morning felt a little different to me. Heading off to Crossfit, my body wasn’t quite as whiny heading downstairs to the car. For the past week or so, I have had some issues on the top outside portion of my left foot. In the past, this would have set me off course – possibly to giving up. But, despite the issues, I did not give up. I adapted. And, by yesterday, my foot was feeling better. I was able to do the workout today with no pain.

I think it was 1994 – my wife’s 10 year high school reunion. A friend was talking about another friend who did not make it. He made a comment that has stuck with me since then – “He’s always so close to getting his shit together, but he gives up just before he does.”

That comment has haunted me so many times. Have I given up before I finally get my own shit together? When I have given up in frustration, have I been so close to the tipping point?

Not this time.

Time to get down to business


I made it through the first six week challenge. I think now is when the real challenge begins. Not that I didn’t do the work myself, because I did, but I had someone basically holding my hand and holding me accountable.

Now, it is on me.

The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching 

Now is the time to test it.

Crossfit 6 week challenge ended – what’s it done?

I knew going into it that I was getting in over my head. 53 years old and over 300 pounds needing desperately to change to diet and exercise habits.

You show up that first day, and it’s a WTF am I doing. They other people are in phenomenal shape and you are not. Far from it. Though I try not to look it, and I hate to admit it, but it’s a kind of slovenly look. Going from 2XL for most of your life to 3XL over the past maybe 12-24 months. Then actually buying 3XLs but not wearing them because they are too tight, so you stick to the 3XLs that have been “properly” stretched out. Nothing really fit right. The only thing I still really wear are the 3XLBG shirts from Polo. And, I don’t tuck them it because it accentuates the stomach. I don’t know if other overweight people think like me, but I don’t want to be noticed (but then you have those situations on planes that you can’t help but be noticed.

So, you are intimidated, but you try. Every exercise needs an “accommodation” because I can’t do it properly. But, you keep going. You show up that second day, and are kind of surprised that you made it back. And, you think that others are too.

After the 5th or 6th class with most of the same people, you feel a little less uncomfortable. The people know your name and are, sincerely I think, encouraging. And, then a couple new people show up in the class, and that uncomfortable feeling starts again. Why? Because you have been going for two weeks. You should be able to do things that they can’t. But they do more. They are not nearly 300 pounds. They are healthy, getting healthier. A couple of classes later, they too are encouraging you.

Then you show up at a Saturday class where it’s 40+ people, and you don’t know anyone and they, too, are all in phenomenal shape. And, you get that WTF am I doing here again. But you persevere.

While this is all going on, you are going cold turkey to 50 grams of protein, a cup of veggies and 8 grams of fat 3 times a day, plus two between meals protein shakes. Agter workout meals switch the veggies with 50 grams of carbs. Gung ho at first, then bored with the food, then meal prep gets you going again. Trying to figure out how restaurant meals fit in. Being disappointed in yourself when you f up because you thought you had a handle on nutrition facts and then you realize you really screwed up after the fact. Then getting right back on track.

It’s been 6 weeks of this. It has been so far out of my comfort zone. Except for intentionally drinking margaritas on Cinco de Mayo, I have not intentionally cheated (f’d up, but not cheated). I have stuck to the nutrition plan, with my daily errors being much more likely on the low side than the high side. I haven’t been hungry (for the most part). I have wanted a celebratory slice of cake or drink, but I have gotten past the moments of weakness.

And, I have made it to Crossfit three days a week every week (four one week, and five this week). Fort the most part, I really have looked forward to going each time – knowing the feeling of accomplishment I’d have when I was done each class.

I am still morbidly obese, but less than I was 6 weeks ago. Down from 302.1 at the start on the morning of 4/11/18 to today’s after workout weight of 277.6. That’s 24.5 pounds. Even 3.4 from my previous all-time high. I feel a hell of a lot better.

I would still be almost embarrassed to tell anyone I was doing Crossfit because I do not fit the mold – that healthy, athletic look. But, this is just a start. Part of me is thinking that “I have a long way to go.” But, that implies a final destination. I think what I am starting to see is that there is no end goal. One day I do want to get to a sub 200 weight, but that’s not the end. At that point, and all along the way, I think it is about getting better and healthier continuously, and being better than you were the day before.

There’s a great Proclaimers’ song that was actually used in Shrek. It works for this neverending journey that I am beginning. “I’m on my way, from misery to happiness today.”

Uh huh! Uh huh! Uh huh! Uh huh!

This shortened version of the song with Laurel and Hardy dancing to it is pretty appropriate (with me being the Oliver Hardy character)!


Moving on – finishing the six week challenge

This Friday, I will be finishing up my “6 weeks challenge.” That’s what I signed up for. That’s what I paid for. It was Crossfit three days a week, plus nutritional guidance for the same period. And, it is time to decide how to move on.

I have made it to classes three times a week, every week, and had one week where I got in four because my wife was going for a trial class. But, I was limited to three times per week. Many times I wanted to go on additional days.

I have had “homework” every week. This weeks if to take after pictures on Friday, and make it to class 4-5 days this week (it’s the only time I have been allowed to go more than 3). I have made it all three days so far this week. I am wiped, but feel good.

In trying to decide how to move forward, I am trying to figure out my own warped sense of motivation. My options are to sign up for 3 classes per week, or unlimited. The incremental cost is $30 per month. It seems like the unlimited would be the no-brainer. But, I am afraid that it’s the “only three” that have kept me on track – that if I do the unlimited, I might not even make three. I know, it’s f’d up, but you don’t get to 302 without being a little screwed up.

Finally hit the starting point

I have been working my butt off for the past 5 weeks and I have finally gotten to my previous all time high weight – 281 pounds. Now, psychologically, I feel like I can say I am starting.

That 302 that I saw on the scale at the beginning of April, that wasn’t me.  It had to have been temporary. I could never allow myself to hit 300+. But, I f@#$in did! I don’t think I took anything but face pictures (and my mirror selfies to track the start which there is no way I am posting), but this is from 10/26/17. We had just moved into a new office and I had to send a picture to our home office. I am at about 295 here – so not even at that temporary high.

Office Jack

But, in any event, I am starting at this previous all time high. And, I have to say, I feel like I have some momentum. 28 box jumps this morning (yes, on the low side of the small box, but without too much of a mental block).

You can track me from here. Hopefully, over the next few years, you are going to see a guy who has really been fat all his life transform into someone fit. Something that I would never have even considered aspiring to before in my life.

There’s a saying from a Far Side Comic that has been a rallying cry for my family. If my kids were up at bat, or had a big test, or if there was a herculean task ahead of us – anything big. It works at this starting point today. “Nuts! Nuts! Get ’em!”