I think I have gone about it the wrong way.

I made the “Missouri 60” challenge.
Then, I made a 20 week picture challenge.
Most recently, I made the “All Losers” challenge.

why, Why, WHY!!!!!!

Instead…I should have just done what I am doing today. Explaining what I have been doing for the past 32 months.

First… welcome to phase three of my journey.

Phase One- (Feb 2008-Feb 2009)

I lost 221 pounds. At 420 pounds, I was focused on losing weight. I started with Weight Watchers Flex program, where I tracked everything I ate. I was allotted 44 points a day. Then, I switched over to Weight Watchers Core. I changed my food to “Core” items. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fat free dairy, beans, and s small amount of grains. It is what most people would consider “South Beach” or a clean type of diet. I did cardio type exercises at the gym. Circuits with weight machines, elliptical machines and boxing classes were the main ways of moving. My biggest focus was getting weight off. When people say that losing weight is not hard, well, on paper it is not. I mean, you eat less and move more. But week after week, plateau after small loss, it is hard to stay consistent. Your gut tells you to stay on what you are doing, but there are so many “quicker ways” to lose weight. But I did lose weight. During my year, I gained weight one week, which was a pound.

Phase Two (Feb 2009-Oct 2010)

When I weighed myself at 198 pounds, I felt thin. Looking back, I wondered what would have happened if I did not feel thin. Would I have lost 250 pounds? Would I have searched for more weight loss?

It is not what I wanted. I wanted to be big. I wanted to gain muscle. It is on every infomercial. It is on every pill bottle. Lose weight and gain muscle. Build you body in 90 days!

So I decided to gain muscle.

Sounds easy, right? I swear I thought it would take me a couple of months to eat a little more and workout a little harder.

After twenty months of eating a little more and working out harder. I feel like I gained a little muscle.

It was a sh*tload little harder than I thought.  First off, there is the workout aspect of it.

There are a gazillion workouts out there. Where people look up to Jillian Michaels and Tony Horton for workout advice, I went in a different direction. They were tone, but I wanted to see if I could get size.

I looked at old school bodybuilders Frank Zane, Arnold, and Tom Platz. I read about their workouts. Tom Platz is my favorite for his love of leg workouts. Love those squats!

I read some old magazines, and started hitting the free weights. One hard part was balancing cardio and weight training.Although I heard that you should stay away from cardio type exercises, I could not stay away. So I incorporated both. It took some time, but I got a pretty good program. I weight train four days, with cardio after, and then do cardio on off days. Cardio changed as well. I started doing a variety of workouts, like the ArcTrainer, Spinning and the StairMaster. I am not going to bore you any more, but a great workout is not built in a day or a week. It does take some time. I do feel that the last few months my workouts have been beyond great.

I also changed the way I ate.  This was the scariest part. I am great at weight loss, but it is hard to eat a little more without going crazy.

While on my phase one, I would eat around 1800-2000 calories a day. During the last 20 months, I averaged around 3100 calories. At first I would eat 2100 calories, but realized with working out, I would not gain anything depleting my body of calories. There were days that I overate. There were days that I did not eat as much. In fact, here is a list of some things I ate that were not so clean….

Dried Cherries (Basically candy)
Pork Rib, no sauce (Fatty)
Fajita Beef (Not Lean)
Some Lean Cuisine my wife had (It was good, and only 270 calories)

The truth is, I did keep it mostly clean for the last 20 months. Because I ate more calories does not mean I need to eat garbage. You would not put Coke Zero in your car tank just to fill it up. I did make sure to eat protein. I kept it around 220 grams a day. Of course my fiber was there, and I did try to have more carbohydrates in the morning, primarily fruits and vegetables.

I rarely went on the scale, which is a very scary thing for someone who lived on the scale for so many years.

I knew I would gain weight during this. I knew that I would gain fat….and gain muscle. It was scary at first, but I learned so much about myself. My strength, my confidence. I learned how that I can do this.

I found my love and passion for the gym here. I found out more about me than I realized. This was a great phase.

Phase Three (Oct 2010-)

I did not realize how long phase two would take.I thought I wanted to start it earlier this year, but never did. I was not ready. I was still trying to figure out things. How many calories, which workouts, etc. I am around 225 right now. So I roughly gained 28 pounds in 20 months.Over the last few months, I have lowered my calorie intake from 3100 to 2600 calories a day, consistently. I have tracked my food over the last couple of months.

So here I am, around 30 pounds heavier. The beauty is there is some muscle. The beauty is there is some fat. I can tell that I am bigger. It is a weird thing. My pants are tighter now than at 198, but I feel better.

But now it is time to lose the fat and keep the muscle I have gained. I am going to keep my workouts the same, because they have worked. I am going to lower my calories to 2400 to trim up. I am also not going to weigh myself.

What I am going to do is take a picture every week. Not one where my gut is sticking out and the light is shining on me, but me at my best (Or at least what I think is my best). No more challenges, no more scale, no BMI’s and no counting points.

I do think you I all of us will see a difference each week. I will also share how I am doing it as well.

Once again, welcome to phase three.

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