The Biggest Loser

The two biggest new year’s resolutions are losing weight and making more money. Interestingly, this year, I only made a resolution for the second. Fate, it seems, has demanded I also make a resolution regarding the first.

You may have heard of the show The Biggest Loser. (I’m sure most anyone who has gone to a gym lately has at least heard of it.) If you haven’t, and you haven’t seen it on television, The Biggest Loser is a show where people who are overweight are put to a training program to see who can lose the most weight in the allotted time. I’ve never seen the show, so other than better health I have no idea what the biggest loser wins.

Anyway, a bunch of us where I work have decided to do this ourselves. No, we’re not going to be on the show (although that, too, would be fun), but we have agreed to encourage each other to lose weight and have a little competition in the process.

If you’ve ever worked in the tech industry you know that a large percentage of folks in that industry are overweight, or as some in the scientific community like to say, “big fat fatty boombaladdies”. Our office is no different, which is why so many people in the office — 10 people, or about 1/4 of the company — have decided to join in.

Like in the show, the point of the contest is to see who can lose the most weight in the least amount of time. Every two weeks we all weigh ourselves to track our progress (even thought that’s not the best way to really measure progress) and whoever has lost the most weight in that time period wins the jackpot. Every week, everyone participating puts in $5, and the winner of the two week cycle wins the whole thing. (Currently this stands at $100.)

Having decided to join, I’m a bit skeptical. Sure, I want to lose weight. Heck, at 6’1 and weighing 300 lbs, I need to: guys of my girth don’t often go too far in the racetrack of life before they’re struck down by something like cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Having been overweight just about all my life, however, I’m honestly wondering how well I can actually succeed. since reaching my full height, I’ve not been less than 245 lbs, and that came during a summer trip to Puerto Rico where I was eating about 1200 calories per day and walking trails in the forests near my uncle’s coffee/plantain farm. (Sometimes I wish I could have spent more than the 5 weeks I did doing all of that. My starting weight was around 265/270.)

So, from the looks of things right now I’m in the process of planning my diet and exercise plan to ensure I’m successful in the competition, so wish me luck. I don’t intend to lose $20 a month to something I can almost totally control, and provided others don’t start using thermogenics, I’m fairly confident of my chances as the biggest … winner of the contest. (What, you didn’t think I’d really call myself a loser, did you?) The two approaches I’m considering are a more protein-oriented approach, since I’ve had longer-term success with that before, and a high calorie restriction approach, since I’ve had success with that before, though not very long lasting, and because it offers life extension qualities, at least if I can keep with it for the rest of my life. The first approach would allow me to spend some time at the gym, which I actually enjoy. The second approach would require that I avoid heavy exercise, but would probably make it easier for me to work on my goal of running a half-marathon by the end of this year.

Interestingly, The Wife has decided to join me in this weight loss endeavor, although she doesn’t exactly have much to lose. In fact, if she can even lose 20 lbs I’ll be extremely surprised. Oh sure, she could lose that much weight if she decided to become one of those body-building man ladies with the breasts that look like flapjacks, but I doubt she’d really want to go that route (neither would I want her to take it).

Anyway, as I said, wish me luck. If you have any tips — sites to go to for guidance, dietary tips, etc — leave them here. I’ll keep you abreast of my progress, but if you’ve gone through this I’d like to hear what you have to say: I think I’ll need all the help I can get. My ultimate goal is to get down to 210 lbs, but as for now, I’ll be happy getting back down to 260.

5 thoughts on “The Biggest Loser

  1. I’m currently trying to lose weight and a small group of friends and I all signed up on Traineo. Basically we motivate each other and each of us gets a weekly report about the others in our little group. It’s nice and simple and we’re having a laugh while we’re using it as well.

    Reading your post reminded me how I felt a few years ago – I must have been about 320 pounds and thought I’d never be able to lose weight. In 2003 I was diagnosed with Diabetes and at that point I just changed my lifestyle virtually overnight, took up a form of exercise that I thought I’d be able to enjoy (Mountain Biking) and cut out eating out at fast food joints and eating what was quite obviously rubbish.

    I lost about 85 pounds in that first round of weight loss and have stayed at about 230 ever since. That’s still above ideal though so that is when I decided to give Traineo a go with a few friends and have another go to get somewhere approaching ideal.

    I do feel so much better it has to be said and one of the biggest motivational factors is after your first few weeks when you’ve lost some weight you can see that what you are doing is making some progress which encourages you to continue.

    Good luck though – the most difficult bit is starting and you’ve just done that 🙂

  2. Hey, Dave;

    Thanks for the story. Absolutely a great motivation. Actually, I was at 320 at my peak about 2 years ago. Managed to bring it down to 290, then came back up to 300, and I’ve been hovering there (give or take 5 lbs) ever since. I wish I could go mountain biking — I love that and hiking — but there aren’t many mountains near Miami. Of course, there’s always the swamp, and I could take up gator wrestling, but getting mauled hasn’t ever exactly appealed to me.

    By the way, beautiful blog you have there. Great design! (I’ll be redesigning this site soon, and I’m always looking for inspiration.)

  3. I think the main thing for me in finding a way to get fit was trying to find something that I’d find interesting and stand a chance of sticking with. Mountain biking was the only thing I could think of like that at the time – I didn’t think I could keep up going to a gym and didn’t think it’d hold me interest – it would seem like a chore rather than fun. If you can convince some friends to do the same activity as well that helps. I had two mates start cycling at the same time and I’m sure they were doing it mainly for moral support rather than any of their own reasons. One of them has stayed with it and loves it like I do since then though 🙂

    Thanks for the comments about the site by the way – it did start as a commercial template that I altered to fit my needs. It came from Template Monster and I just altered the graphics and altered the layout enough to make posting 500 pixel wide Flickr photos easy and look good (originally it was too thin). It seemed to be a small amount of money for something that I could never create from scratch.

  4. Yeah, someone to exercise with helps. I’ve actually been going to the gym for a while now (usually early, like 5am), mostly by myself. The Wife has gone with me a few times, but — and I hate to say this — sometimes she’s more of a liability than a help, since I usually have to spend a good portion of my time encouraging her. (I seem to be the outwardly passionate one.) It usually ends up being a me having-to-pump-her-up session, since she freaks out anytime her hart rate goes over 110. (She thinks it’s bad for you for some reason.) Since the gym wasn’t working out for her (and because I’m in dire need of a partner in order to infuse myself with some accountability fear) we’ve been walking a lot lately, but even then, she’s not as keen on it as I am. 🙁 Maybe someone from the office will instead take that spot.

    That aside, we went to the bookstore today to get a book on calorie and nutritional information and she seemed pretty excited about all this, so we’ll see. Maybe she’ll develop the the want for a bit more exercise. If not — well, I guess there’s always finding another partner (though, as I’m sure you can tell, I really don’t want to).

    As for the template information, thanks. Normally I do what 90% of people do and just grab a free template then modify it (heavily), but buying one may be a better option, since it’ll be more than just me taking the project on. Again, thanks for the info. I’ll look into it.

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