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18 miles, 2000 vertical ft

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I'm signed up as a member of a team who will race in the Tuckerman's Inferno Pentathlon this weekend in New Hampshire.


I was originally planning to do the kayak section, but given my shoulder injury I swapped with our bike guy. Not that I'm a bad cyclist - I did a century (100 miles) last year averaging almost 15 mph, and lapped people in a half-iron triathlon bike course (56 miles). I've been spinning 2-3 times per week all winter so I'm pretty strong.

And I have a really nice bike:


I weigh 8 lbs less than I did in that century, so I should be faster.

Here's a map of the course and an elevation profile:

Here it is on Google Maps:

I'll let you know how it goes...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYOTIC 4/15/2011 7:57PM

    Good luck!

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ANNE7X7 4/15/2011 8:55AM

    That's sounds insane, but you rock so I have no doubts that you'll do fabulous! Have fun!

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GRACEFULIFE 4/14/2011 12:59AM

    Wow... sounds awesome. Go get 'em!

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CARRIE1948 4/13/2011 2:54PM

    Good luck

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BOOMAC1961 4/13/2011 1:57PM

    AWESOME Challenge! I wish you the best of luck! I know you can do it!

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Anniversaries: 1.5 years at a healthy BMI by my definition

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How do you celebrate maintenance? The weight might not change, and besides it's overall fitness I'm after, not a particular number on the scale.

What I recommend to people is:

1) get your BMI below 30
2) then focus on % body fat

If there 's any number I'm chasing it's my % body fat. I prefer it at 20 or below.

In the meantime, I've done some reflecting and decided it's time to do some celebrating.

On 10/12/2009 my BMI went under 30 according to Physics Diet.


That means I've had what could generously be termed a "healthy" BMI for 547 days. And today is my year-and-a-half anniversary of that.

So even though I felt kind of like a fraud for gaining some of the weight back from my lowest point, I did stay under the number that I recommend to others, and I should really just shut up and celebrate that.

In the meantime I did push my BMI below 25 for about 4 months, and then gained almost 30 lbs because I was so enthralled with kayaking I lost sight of tracking my food.

I've been pushing those pounds of fat off again and now have about 10 to go according to Physics Diet (or 5 according to the scale).

As I said, having that number on the scale isn't as important to me as the % body fat, but they do tend to track together. Once I'm under 160 my % body fat should settle around 20 again or a little under, assuming I'm eating and exercising the same ways that got me there the first time.

And if it doesn't, then I'll tweak the system, adding more protein and more heavy lifting.

So, yay me. Maintenance.
emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENIKINZ17 4/17/2011 10:53AM

  I don't put much stock in the BMI or scale but I do agree with the body fat %...I would like to get mine under 25% but I have no clue what it is now...I need to look into one of those tests and see how much it would be...I had calipers but doing them on yourself was frustrating, I want an accurate read and I don't trust the bf scales either.
Thanks for sharing this!

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MOM5INFL 4/17/2011 8:05AM

    Congratulations on your weight maintenance! You would have gained it all back by now if you didn't commit to the process of permanent lifestyle change. We will become members of the elite 5 percent (or 10 percent...whatever they say it is)! I admire your exercise ethic! Impressive. Keep it up! You are an inspiration! Birdie.

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MRPLATSON 4/14/2011 3:06PM

    Sometimes when you're charging head-first for a goal you lose sight of the things you've accomplished along the way. Looking back and appreciating the positive things you've done is as much part of the process as losing the weight is self.

For some strange reason I feel incredibly proud of you; even though I can't see how I fit into the equation.

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GRACEFULIFE 4/14/2011 1:48PM

    I'd say that as you explore, you're closing in on a good working definition of maintenance. Or perhaps finding that the definition may not be the same for everyone! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANNE7X7 4/14/2011 12:53PM

    Woohoo!! Maintenance is no piece of cake, but you are doing so well! Keep it up!

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    hey great profile age congrats on your BMI how are you how is the rotator cuff going?

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FISHING88 4/13/2011 1:53PM

    You are wise to choose carefully your definition of healthy bmi. Too often people try to maintain what is too difficult or frustrating and then they give up. Your approach is much healthier!

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OVERHAULING-ME 4/13/2011 1:13PM

    CONGRATS! Maintenance is a HUGE celebration! Thanks for all the information you've gathered on the journey that you are now sharing! I am a huge benefiter!

Have a great day!

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    Loved your blog - I'm still on my journey to my healthy BMI but wanted to thank you for the inspiration!!! -Shanna

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ANGELCOWBOY1 4/13/2011 7:17AM


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    emoticon You are making Maintenance happen!!! I'm sooooooo very happy for you!!!! ~hugs~
Cathy emoticon

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BULLET 4/12/2011 9:56PM


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BECKYB73 4/12/2011 9:45PM

    YOUR definition is the only one that matters! You're living life the way you want to and doing the things you've always wanted to do. That is WINNING! (no matter how far from your low weight you are!)

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    You've been a machine lately. Pounds off, bf% down. Hooray for consistency.

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JLPEASE 4/12/2011 4:38PM

    So awesome. Congratulations!!

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FITFORMYKIDS 4/12/2011 1:08PM

    Fantastic! I love how you are using health markers to feel good about yourself. Love the waterfall pic!

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KAZINMICH 4/12/2011 1:02PM

    Amazing! Congratulations! Maintenance should be celebrated! You worked hard to change your entire life to living healthy and happy and it's wonderful. I'm working on getting down to a healthier weight and size, and once I'm in that range I will focus on my BMI too. Right now my BMI is off the charts, and will be until I lose more weight!

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BUNPOH 4/12/2011 12:22PM

    What a great concept, celebrating your maintenance. Congratulations at keeping within the bounds you've decided for this long, and for reining it in when you needed to. Now I'm inspired to go check when I crossed that magic 30 BMI line and see how long it's been!


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What HEALTHY looks like

Monday, April 11, 2011

I keep seeing blogs and questions all over this site where people are trying to figure out what their "optimal" weight is.

I've said this before and I'll restate it here. I figure the best way to proceed is:

1) Get the BMI under 30
2) Focus on the % body fat you'd like

For me that's around or under 20% body fat. And as far as lean mass, I want LOTS of it. Especially in my core, back, and shoulders (for kayaking) and my legs (for road cycling).

These pictures have been floating around the internet for a while, and I think it's time to post some of them here.

There are two places I've seen them:



Here is a preview:

They come from this book:

And are available from this website at the University of Delaware:

under "Photos from “The Athlete” by Howard Schartz and Beverly Ornstein"

A few interesting side notes about these pictures:

"Biggest Loser" fans might recognize someone in this picture:

Folks who like TED Talks might enjoy hearing from someone in this picture:

Here's her page over at TED Talks. Well worth watching, only 20 minutes each:

(Look closely at her legs. Now go watch the talks.)

People might remember someone in this picture from the recent Summer Olympics:

Here is a more recent photo:

The real reason I wanted to share this, however, is because these pictures underscore to me a few things:

1) Bodies come in all kinds of shapes and sizes

2) To me a body built to DO things is attractive

3) Depending on your selected nutrition and fitness regime you can reshape your body

Until I started spinning regularly I always was a pear shape. To the extent that sometimes I had to buy shirts and pants in different sizes. Not anymore. Between the weight lifting building my upper body and the high intensity cycling trimming my hips, I am more of a rectangle or even a sort of trapezoid.

Here's the thing. YOU get to decide what you want to look like. Who CARES what anyone else thinks, really? It's YOUR BODY. And it's fun to make it strong so it can do fun things.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MRPLATSON 4/13/2011 10:33AM

    Leave it to me to completely miss the point.
Looking at these pictures and I find the following things interesting.
1. Most American Football players are in poor shape.
2. Basketball players and Boxers have fantastic full body musculature. Except Jeff Lacy, he's an upper-body freak with the wrong build for the sport.
3. Check out all the Sprinters flexing their Arms... I say again, Sprinters.
4. For all the women who are afraid they will look too 'muscular' if they work out - check out all of these absolutely beautiful women who don't even remotely look "butch". Sure that Russian girl is 5'1" and 85lbs. but she can do a triple twist backwards while jumping 10' in the air - can you?
5. I would loved to have seen the bf% listing on there as well (just for comparison sake), because I would bet that 300lb. Sumo-Wrestler has a much lower bf% then you think.

Comment edited on: 4/13/2011 10:34:08 AM

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GRACEFULIFE 4/12/2011 9:57PM

    Swedish divers are always the hottest at the olympics. And the girl with two prosthetic legs, well I'd..... oh never mind.

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DDOORN 4/12/2011 9:51PM

    Love your last line...so SO very true!


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CONFUSEDBIRD 4/12/2011 5:46PM

    Wow thank you so much for sharing! I wanna order that book now. Looks like a collectible photography book.

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JESPAH 4/12/2011 11:50AM

    Sports Illustrated, I think it was in '09, did a similar spread and, yes, it's true -- there is no one size fits all. There is a true difference (duh!) from the marathoner to the kayaker to the linebacker to the point guard to the skiier to the ultimate frisbee player to the ballroom dancer to the snowboarder to the weightlifter to the pitcher to the golfer and on and on and on.

We are being sold a bill o' goods, folks.

Objective measurements are what matter. And, I might add, some of the most important ones come from your doctor: BP, heart rate, cholesterol, lung function.

PS Thank you for commenting on m'blog.

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DEE0973 4/12/2011 8:57AM

    Well said...thanks for sharing. I'm working on moving focus from the scale and focus more on how my clothes fit and being happy in my skin. Thanks for the added motivation

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ANNE7X7 4/12/2011 8:31AM

    Thank you for sharing this!! It is so interesting to see all the pictures and realize that weight means pretty much nothing as opposed to BF%!

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SANSANDY1 4/11/2011 2:37PM


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OVERHAULING-ME 4/11/2011 2:29PM

    WOW, thanks for all the information and GREAT visuals!!!

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250STRONG 4/11/2011 1:50PM

    Very well said! Thanks!

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New Plan and Reward

Monday, April 04, 2011

It's KILLING me not to be able to boat or snowboard.
^%$$#@%^^& shoulder.

Despite that, (or maybe because of it) I've been able to focus on the eating and as a result I'm back under 170 now (in actual pounds - Physicsdiet's average lags behind). 10 more pounds and I'm gonna treat myself to a BRAND NEW BOAT.

I suspect it'll be one of these


or one of these


The Jackson comes in carbon (drool, drool) but that's really for actual competitors, not wannabe newbies. Anyway, I'm going to have to try them and see how they feel, because that's the ultimate test. Maybe here: www.mountainmanoutdoors.com/SpecialE
or here: www.zoaroutdoor.com/demofest.htm (although I hope to actually HAVE the new boat by then)

By the time I'm under 160 I'll have gotten rid of most of the junk in the trunk, and with my upper body and core strength I should be able to start learning how to throw loops, do cartwheels, and engage in other freestyle nonsense:

I've surfed that wave on the Ottawa in the second video. It's fun.

Had good luck with an ultralight kevlar recreational kayak as a reward back when I got the first 100 lbs off,


so I think this will probably work out pretty well. Heck, I paddled that boat so much the summer of 2009 that it was the reason I ended up taking a white water class - because I wanted to roll my rec boat and extend the season.

Kind of ironic that I ended up getting lured to the Dark Side. Now I only paddle flat water if there's no other option and I wouldn't be caught dead in a rec boat. LOL I have an 18-foot sea kayak for that!


Plus I've noticed that having an expensive drysuit ($900) has been excellent incentive to keep my weight down.

With the new boat I won't be able to fit in it or do any of those cool things if I don't stay under 160. So the ability to do the activity will be the reward for maintenance.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WOLFKITTY 6/3/2011 10:33AM

    All of your kayaking is really impressive to me. I don't know that it'd ever be my passion, but I love hearing about yours!


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WOLFKITTY 6/3/2011 10:33AM


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    woo hoo way to go your doing great emoticon

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PATTILYNN224 4/8/2011 8:30AM

    Hope you'll post pictures of that new boat once you get it!!

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KAYAK-A-MANIAC 4/6/2011 7:15PM

    Great motivation on your part...GOOD FOR YOU! There is nothing like being on (and in) the water. emoticon emoticon

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JESPAH 4/5/2011 7:49AM

    That drysuit is fantastic motivation right there.

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ANNE7X7 4/4/2011 9:02PM

    what a cool motivation! I'm also finding that since I can't work out as much, I've been keeping my eating in check and the pounds are coming off again!

You can do it! Woohoo!

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BECKYB73 4/4/2011 3:08PM

    I LIKE your thinking! The boat is yours for the taking! (well, maybe not literally...but yeah) emoticon

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250STRONG 4/4/2011 12:31PM

    So awesome! Love the built in motivation....

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HEARTSOYOUNG 4/4/2011 11:03AM

  Great motivation, no doubt you will get your boat!

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Where I started Jun 2009 - Sept 2009

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Third in the series of where I began...

Part 1
Where I started (335.6 lbs, BMI = 52.6) May 2007 - Apr 2009

Part 2
Where I started Apr 2009 - Jun 2009

Part 3
Where I started Jun 2009 - Sept 2009


June 25, 2009
People amaze me. (Have I turned into a food Nazi?)

Tags: bariatric surgery, diet, exercise, grilled cheese, nutrition, protein
There’s a guy in my water aerobics class. This fact, by itself, is commendable because he must feel isolated at times because at the moment he’s the only one. He comes with his significant other, who is supposedly a retired(?) nurse.

He recently underwent bariatric surgery in January. As of yesterday he’d lost 97 lbs (down from 400). I’d lost 97.6 (down from 335.6). So we’re in roughly comparable situations and we compare notes.

A few weeks ago when we first started chatting about long-term weight loss, he told me he’s losing weight so fast that he’s losing muscle too, and feeling weaker. I asked how many grams of protein he’s eating per day? He didn’t know. He pointed to the SO and said, “she’s in charge of that.” So later I asked her when they were together. She said, “he eats protein at every meal.” But how MUCH protein on average, per day? She didn’t know, either. I told him that he should probably look it up, and at minimum be getting 100g per day.

His weight loss has been slowing down in the past few weeks, to the point that I’ve caught up to him. Yesterday I found out why.

While waiting for them to open the pool and class to start we were chatting and he divulged that he’s started being able to eat more lately, which he took as a sign that he’s recovering well from the surgery. The item that he said he’d eaten? A whole grilled cheese sandwich. GRILLED CHEESE? Did he mean broiled, or fried in butter? He didn’t know. The SO who probably served it to him was sitting on the other side of me and didn’t speak up. “GRILLED CHEESE?!” I said. “That is NOT a good food choice. It is almost pure carbs and fat. And if it was fried, it’s even worse.”

“They told me cheese is good,” he said.

“Cheese is loaded with fat. If you want protein, go for lean poultry breast or a lean fish like hake, cod, or tilapia.”

“I love tilapia!,” another woman waiting with us said.

“Dude,” I said. “This is not what I want to be hearing. I do not want to be hearing that you are now eating grilled cheese sandwiches. After all the hard work and effort you’ve put into getting to this point, it will make me cry to hear you are eating things like that. I love cheese. But the only kind I’ve found that is OK is the Weight Watcher’s string cheese and the WW cheddar pieces. They have the least fat and salt compared with the amount of protein. But I can only eat them sparingly.”

“String cheese is good for snacks,” he said.

“Not just any string cheese. You have to read the labels. Weight watcher’s is the only kind I have. And I do like it.”

Then they opened the doors.

About 220,000 people supposedly had bariatric surgery in 2008. The number probably went up this year. The more people having these surgeries, the more sloppy the places that do them are going to be. And I’m sorry, but a place must be very sloppy indeed if they don’t educate their patients about nutrition. I mean, COME ON. This is INTERNAL elective SURGERY. These people can’t put more than something like a tablespoon of food in their stomachs at a time, and they aren’t told that they need protein, and that eating whole grilled cheese sandwiches isn’t something to be proud of? Or if they are told, they don’t pay attention?

Yikes. I see a massive problem coming with the explosion of these procedures. I mean, do we really know the long, long term effects of them? Not with so many people. And without proper coaching, nutritional education, and permanent lifestyle changes, how are they going to maintain their fitness?

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s fantastic that this guy has lost 100 lbs and that he’s in my water exercise class. That is commendable. However, having made similar strides without surgery or drugs, I can say for a fact that the nutrition is a key part of the process, if not the most important factor. And without it he will fail, which I would hate to see.

June 27, 2009
New BMI = 36.90

Tags: 100 lbs, bmi
Very Happy Milestone this morning.

I have removed 100 lbs!

Also, the BMI is now under 37.

Next milestone in 0.7 lbs when I will have removed 30% of my starting weight.

So in the end, my Reward Kayak ended up helping me get to the goal that made me deserve it in the first place. I LURVE my new kayak. Not only is it pretty and functional, but it ALREADY helped me lose weight!

July 5, 2009
New BMI = 36.098

Tags: indigestion, low fat, weight loss
A couple more milestones today:

I’ve removed 60 lbs since joining SparkPeople
I’ve removed 105 lbs total
Next milestone in 0.5 lbs when I’ll be under 230 lbs for the first time in recent recorded history.

I did well yesterday at the 4th of July BBQ in terms of staying under 2000 cal or so for the day. Unfortunately those cal that I did get included an extremely high amount of fat (almost 40% of the total calories), which my digestive system is NOT used to…

So I spent half the night with uncomfortable indigestion and the wee hours of the morning praying to the porcelain god, if you know what I mean. Lesson learned. When used to a low-fat diet, do not challenge the system with high-fat meals.

July 26, 2009
New BMI = 34.86

Tags: 5% net, halfway, under schedule
Aha! I made it! Under budget and under schedule! LOL.

Another 5% net G.O.N.E. (I’d projected July 27 to hit it.)

And now I’m officially halfway in terms of effort. Eight 5% net milestones behind me, eight to go…

If you had told me last December that before the end of July I would remove 113 lbs and try whitewater kayaking, I would have laughed at you. Not WITH you, but AT you.

By the way, that’s also another fun milestone. My personal trainer is 112 lbs. This means I’ve now officially lost an ENTIRE PERSONAL TRAINER in weight. When I started I was using cats (10 lbs) as units of weight. I’ve removed over 11 cats. (I love the image of 11 cats strapped all over my body. A big furry, HEAVY, wriggling, complaining mass. LOL. Much less interesting to imagine my trainer just sitting on my back, piggyback style!)

The difference is that she’s probably 95% fat free, while the weight I removed is probably 95% fat. Hehe.

August 26, 2009
New BMI = 32.98

Tags: 125 lbs down, 5% net gone, bmi under 33
Woo-hoo! I’m officially THROUGH that nasty 220 plateau.

A BUNCH of milestones hit today:

80 gone since I started tracking my food at Spark People in March
Another net 5% removed (projected for 8/21 so I’m almost a week late – see comment about plateaus, above) 9 down, 6 to go! This is the best estimate I have for marking where I am in the process in terms of actual effort and difficulty.
I’ve lost 125 lbs since I started
My BMI is under 33. When it gets under 30 I’ll no longer be obese, just overweight!
Next milestone in 0.7 lbs when I get under 210.

I credit preparation and determination for this one.


I brought 4 protein bars with me yesterday to the ribbon-cutting ceremony and boy, did I ever USE them! They prevented me from eating the sweet starchy things available in the morning with the coffee, from eating the chips, creamy dressing, and cookie in my box lunch, and ESPECIALLY from eating the pepperoni and cheese and ranch dressing with veggies in the afternoon. (I had ONE square of cheese and I counted it.)


I only had water to drink, even though there was good wine available (I was afraid of the carbs in the wine, but especially of the disinhibition it might encourage toward eating the pepperoni and cheeses). We were gone so long that I missed spinning class, so when I got home I did an elliptical session.

August 31, 2009
New BMI = 32.2

Tags: biggest loser
I’ve now officially removed 130 lbs. Next milestone in 1.3 when the BMI will drop below 32. When it drops below 30 I’ll be “overweight” and not “obese” for the first time since the early 1990s.

P.S. I won the weigh-in at work, again.

Overall % lost by each of us over the past 16 weeks:

ME 22.52%

Bill 5.74%

Tiffany 1.98%

Larry 1.43%

Rose -1.66%

I am beginning to suspect that I could have won some serious ca$h if I had ever managed to get myself onto the Biggest Loser TV show, if I could have psychologically handled being cooped up with a bunch of other intense people under the scrutiny of cameras (which is actually pretty doubtful).

My BMI on May 11 when we started this was 42.3. At that point I’d already lost 65.6 lbs, but even at a BMI of 42.3 I was bigger than Helen (41.5) and almost as big as Tara (43.4), who were the two female finalists in Season 7 (Helen won).

By week 16 Helen had lost 37.35% and Tara had lost 39.80% while living under TV scrutiny, working out for hours every day, etc. etc. Only three people in season 7 lost a larger % of weight at home than I have, and they had from 17-19 weeks to do it. (The person who had 17 weeks lost 23.22% total. By next week I’ll probably be about there.)

In our case, here are the winners for all 16 weeks and the percentage lost that week:

18 May Larry & Bill (tie) 4.38%

25 May Bill 2.1%

1 June Rose 2.72%

8 June ME 2.85%

15 June Larry 1.79%

22 June ME 2.31%

29 June ME 0.49%

6 July ME 2.79%

13 July ME 2.45%

20 July Bill 0.76%

27 July ME 1.13%

3 Aug ME 2.45%

10 Aug Tiffany 2.2%

17 Aug No-one (we all gained)

24 Aug ME 2.52%

31 Aug ME 3.42%

September 4, 2009
New BMI=31.86

Tags: obese, overweight
Greetings from the UK. Where Lisa‘s scale weighs me in STONES. Which means I don’t really know my weight until I’ve done the math, hehe. (Fortunately there are 14 lbs in one stone, so the math isn’t that hard.)

Today (my first morning here) I reached a new milestone. The BMI is under 32. When it gets under 30 I’ll be officially out of obesity and just overweight!

Yesterday on her way to an appointment in London Lisa took me by the local bicyle hire place where I got the ONLY Dawes Giro available. It’s a sweet ride. Took it out for a spin in the evening with Steve (Lisa was still in London until 9pm). Lovely 8 mile route, a bit windy in the country stretch, but very scenic. In the ensuing 40 min I got mostly used to the index shifting and burned 318 calories (max HR 151 BPM, which is respectable). See here for the route we took.

Today Lisa and I are going to spend the day kayaking on the Great River Ouse. To get there we will ride our bikes to the train station, take the train for2 stops, then ride the bikes to the yak rental place. No cars were injured in the making of this vacation, hehe.

September 9, 2009
New BMI = 31.45

Tags: 40% weight loss, 5% net loss
Went on a nice 47 mile round-trip ride with Lisa and Steve from King’s Lynn to Hunstanton by the seaside yesterday. Pictures and route forthcoming when Steve has a chance to upload/enter them.

Some new milestones this morning:

I’ve lost another 5% (10 down, 6 to go)
I’ve removed 40% of my starting weight (getting on toward being half the woman I used to be)
I’ve officially won my contest with Vic, so she’ll have to pay for the bloody marys in January (she dropped out for legit personal reasons a while ago, but she still owes me at least ONE victory bloody mary! LOL)
Next milestone in 0.2 lbs when I’ll have removed 135 lbs. And in 0.8 lbs I’ll win that contest with my cousin Nick, and he’ll owe me a nice dinner in November. Hehe.

Today is my last day here in the UK. I’m flying at 1pm to Philadelphia, and then from there to Syracuse. I better go see if those boarding passes printed out…

After this point I started posting my thoughts here at Spark People, with the Sept 15 2009 post, "Back in the Saddle."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALYFITN 4/4/2011 8:32AM

    This was a fun catch up. Your blogs have always been motivational to me. You are spot on about the grilled cheese. I am often horrified by others' food choices. Your product reviews have especially been helpful to me and have made me carefully scrutinize food labels. Why take it in if it isn't the best? I'm finally hitting 120 grams of protein per day after slowly working up from 30-50. Carb cravings are gone. emoticon emoticon

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