May 232016

My Weight Loss Story – Part 1

by Michael


Every year, I set personal fitness related goals for myself. In the past, my goals have been around cycling a certain amount of miles. I have a back injury that rears its ugly head from time to time and this has lead me to conclude that if I keep doing the same things, I’ll keep getting the same results. As a result, I’ve decided not to ride my bike everyday or do any of the same exercises on consecutive days.

Last year, I pedaled 2,100 miles over several commutes from my home to work and back. For all of my efforts, I lost zero pounds last year. Losing weight wasn’t the focus of riding all those miles but you’d think that I’d be able to shed weight without thinking about it due to the biking but that just wasn’t the case. I concluded that while I enjoyed exercising, the reason I hadn’t lost any weight was because of my diet.


My goals this year are to be able to do 100 push-ups in one set and do 10 pull-ups in one set. When I say things like, “I’m going to do more push-ups this year” it holds no water because there’s nothing holding me accountable. I need an amount and a time frame in order to be successful. At the start of this year, I was able to do 15 push-ups and zero pull-ups. My goals seemed lofty for sure but I’m a numbers guy and measurables like this are what drive me to success. I just needed to figure out how I was going to be able to accomplish it.

My first goal was to work my way up to being able to do 100 push-ups in a day. On the day of the Super Bowl, I was able to do 100 push-ups in a single day for the first time in my life. I did them in 5 sets of 20 over about a half hour period. This was a major achievement for me and it was the first time I believed that I would be able to accomplish the push-up goal this year.

Then I was able to do them in 4 sets of 25 push-ups. Shortly after that, 30, 30, 30, 10. Last month, I was able to do them in just 3 sets – 35, 35, 30. The next step from this point is challenging and I’ve concluded that in order to be able to do 100 push-ups in just 2 sets, I will need to do 2 things. 1 – I will have to do more than 100 push-ups in a day and 2 – I will have to lose weight. For every 10 lbs I lose, that’s 1000 fewer pounds that I will have to push-up over the set of 100. Tipping the power to weight ratio in my favor was obviously going to be necessary in order to be successful.

Just like I said earlier about exercising, I need a weight loss goal. I cannot just say to myself that I want to lose weight and have it stick. I just don’t operate like that. At the start of every month, I assess my progress and set a new monthly goal for myself and I get on a scale weekly to monitor my progress. I don’t know how much weight in total I want to lose, I just assume that I’ll know it when I get there. I know that I’m looking for an optimal power-to-weight ratio that allows me to accomplish my push-up and pull-up goals.

What I don’t do is count my calories. I don’t do this because it constantly makes me feel bad. It makes me feel oppressed, like I’m doing something bad that needs constant monitoring when in reality, I’m eating food and I don’t want to beat myself up for doing that. I know what’s good for me to eat and what isn’t. I don’t need to quantify all of the calories I’m consuming.

The other piece to this is that I exercise. A lot. But this isn’t the reason why I’ve lost weight. I’ve lost weight because of the diet. My exercise looks like this – M/W/F, I bike about 21 miles to/from work. T/Th/Sa, I run in my neighborhood. I created a running goal for myself this year of being able to run 6 miles in under an hour. I’m currently up to 4.7 miles in about 45 minutes. All of this is in addition to my push-up and pull-up goals, which I’m working on each twice a week. I wear a heart rate monitor to track this data and on average, I’m burning 6000 calories a week while exercising. Unlike tracking the calories that I consume, tracking the calories that I burn is empowering. It’s proof that I’m working hard and that I’m getting better as I’m able to run further and my per-mile pace drops. This also allows me to not feel any guilt when I want to drink a glass of wine with dinner because I’ve earned it.

So where am I at now with my push-up goal? I’m up to doing 160 (8 x 20) or 150 (6 x 25) twice a week. For the pull-up goal, I’m just doing as many as I can with the assistance of resistance bands over a few sets. The best part about these goals is that I’m not concerned about failure at all. If I do fail, I will have done thousands of push-ups and pull-ups this year and that itself is a huge personal victory for me. I’ll post an update in January and will let you know if I was successful or not in achieving my goals.

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow and will detail the food part of how I lost the weight.
Jul 292015

I don’t know what’s going on but I am having a hard time fueling properly for stuff lately. I’ve been hungryyyyy. Not sure what’s happening. I’m eating a few more calories than I was when trying to lose some weight. Instead of 1300 as a base I increased it back to 1600 as a base. We’ll see how that goes. Shaking things up.

For breakfast I had two fried eggs and a toasted English muffin with cinnamon and splenda blend. Calories: 338. Then I hit the road to bike to work.


It was a little on the chilly side first thing but it warmed up as I went. I was running a bit late for some reason and I thought “I’ll just make up time on the trail”…yeah right…My legs felt like giant tree trunks, I was huffing and puffing on all the hills and then when I got to the Springwater Trail I was in a headwind the ENTIRE TIME.

I was so slow. So slow. My time doesn’t necessarily reflect my slowness, but trust me, I was slow on the morning ride in.


I got to work and had a cup of coffee. Trying to stave off the coming hunger. It’s been a hollow feeling lately. Stomach grumbling, hollow, almost nauseated hunger pains. Yuck.

Morning Snack:

Plain Greek Yogurt with sliced strawberries and about an hour later I had some cherries. Calories: 193

I prefer the Costco brand of the plain Greek Yogurt. I’ve tried a few brands lately. Chobani was ok but not my favorite, Trader Joe’s version wasn’t good at all in my opinion. It was super “milky” tasting to me. I’m not sure how to describe it–it just tasted a little off and it was REALLY high in calories. Back to my favorite–Costco.


I didn’t have many options and the frozen meal didn’t sound too appealing. I ended up meeting Michael and a friend at Korean Twist food cart for lunch. I got two bulgogi beef tacos and one spicy pork taco. $6.50 for the three taco special! They aren’t huge and just come with meat and lettuce and the sauces.


So tasty! Messy, but tasty. They are small tacos but filling. I had to estimate the calories and I think it was around 440 calories. The three of us sat in a nearby park to eat our lunches in the sun. It was a nice break from the day and it felt good to get some real food in me, not just snacks.

Afternoon Snack:

Applesauce. I was busy in the afternoon, lost track of time and was still a bit full from lunch. Calories: 50. 

Ride Home

It was a hot one. Hot hot. Thankfully it was comfortable on the bike (for the most part). I took a lot of rest breaks in the shade to cool off, let my heart rate go down a bit and drink some water. I was doing really well until I got to the BIG HILL near the house.


It’s not exactly steep but it’s a slow, steady grind that never lets up and doesn’t level off until you get to the very top. I’d estimate the hill to be about 1 mile long from start to finish. Lately I’ve had to stop mid-hill to catch my breathe and give my thighs a chance to rest. Ooof this hill!


Despite the hill that’s been giving me so much grief this summer, it was a pretty good ride. I felt good and strong and made it home in decent time (especially with so many breaks).


Ride Stats

Total Miles: 22.98
Total Calories Burned: 876


For dinner I made Trader Joe’s gnocchi topped with vodka cream sauce (also sauteed some spinach in the sauce). I made caprese salad the easy way. Fresh roma tomatoes and basil from my garden and a string cheese. 🙂 Calories: 531 delicious calories!

I feel like lunch and dinner were good. I felt satisfied and never had that hunger crash. I’m not sure how to fix the rest of the day. I think my snacks are generally healthy but they aren’t quite filling me up. On days I ride in I can’t have a big breakfast because I think I’d just puke on my bike. So I don’t know that I can change breakfast much. Any ideas?