Three months ago I entered a weight loss contest and it ended yesterday. At the beginning I weighed in at 182 and yesterday I weighed in at 146.2 (the above photo was what my weight was yesterday morning before church), a 19.7% loss for the three month duration of the competition. So accordingly, I lost over 35 lbs. Not too shabby. In my initial entry, I was aiming for a 10-15% weight loss and I certainly beat my own expectations. Win or lose, I would have been satisfied, but winning the iPad 3 is quite the sweet deal for $50, losing 30+ lbs, and looking so much better.
So how did I do it? I starved myself. Well, the first thing I did was research how the body gains and loses weight, what various foods do to your body, and what are the best methods to burn calories. Simply, weight loss is a game of pluses and minuses. 3500 calories is equivalent to 1 pound. So my immediate objective was to eat way less than that in which for the first month I aimed for 1200-1500 calories each day. As usual, I had cereal with 1% skim milk for breakfast, drank nothing but water to maintain a full stomach and stay hydrated to keep my metabolism up, had a small snack such as a banana during the mid-morning, a lean cuisine or weight watchers microwaveable meal under 300 calories for lunch, no snacking, and small to moderate portions of whatever was available for dinner. This worked quite well for the first month as my body responded appropriately and I lost 13 lbs, mostly water weight, but still impressive nonetheless.
I began to gain confidence and started to believe that I had a chance to win this thing if I kept this up. I knew losing weight would get more difficult so I began to use our mini-elliptical machine on a daily basis at home while watching television or a movie. This, coupled with walking to the subway and to school each day instead of driving increased my heart rate and led to burning more calories. These physical activities helped me for a while and I was able to lose up to a total of 16-18 lbs, but then I plateaued at 160 lbs. For two weeks I kept fluctuating around 160 and I got really frustrated. If I wanted to win this thing I needed to not wait for month three and just move to the next phase during the middle of month two.
This is when I really began to starve myself. I continued with my breakfast and lunch meals as before, but I then started to watch what I ate for dinner. Instead of meals, I ate quarter meals or even a fifth of my meals and when no one was looking I’d simply eat fruit for dinner. I also started exercising with a Jillian Michaels DVD. Although her workouts are for females, I’m not embarrassed to say that her 4-week progressive workouts are the real deal. I didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on the P90X or Insanity DVDs, so I opted for these girly workouts because I just don’t have the time to run outside or join a gym with a baby to take care of. But I was able to spare 30 minutes a day while CJ watched me sweat profusely from his jumper. And I must say, she really kicked my butt. I was burning 0.5 lbs per workout. She is no joke.
So starving myself and exercising helped me break my 160 plateau. Unfortunately, there were times during work when I’d feel really weak or faint and I realized I needed more protein because I was avoiding meat as much as possible. So during the last three weeks I adjusted my diet once more and sought out low-calorie and high-protein foods such as boiled egg whites and tuna fish. My mother-in-law chipped in and made me some delicious vegetable dishes covered in oyster sauce for dinner that aided me in avoiding starvation.
So this is a photo of myself in late January from my school’s yearbook, two months before the start of the competition, but it certainly highlights my rounded face.
And this is me yesterday with finer cheek and chin lines, last year’s biggest loser winner, and my new iPad 3. Sadly, I did lose some muscle mass as well.
And this here was my first real meal last tonight, pork chop over rice at Mekong. I suspect that once I begin to eat like a normal human being I’ll gain some weight back, but I hope I can add no more than 10 pounds. We’ll see. I need to lift some weights and I want to continue my ab workouts as I finally have a flat stomach, and I’m actually able to see a six-pack somewhere in there if I look into a mirror at the correct angle. I realized that I used to snack a lot and eat a ton of junk food, but now I’m more educated and knowledgeable, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep myself from ballooning back up.
I’m still amazed that I was able to get this far. I initially entered the competition because $50 for a 1:25 chance of winning an iPad 3 are pretty good odds, and I wanted the motivation to finally move me to lose weight. Pushing 180 and over was embarrassing, so it was time to change. I knew I could lose 10 lbs, I think most people did, but 30+ in 3 months is insane. Yet, somehow I knew I could do it because in the end dieting boils down to discipline, eating what you want and when you want to, for of course the mind is stronger than the body. I’m also not one to easily give up. As a gamer, I hate losing, especially when the goal is attainable. When I say I’m going to get something done, 95% of the time I get it done on time. How and by what means I get there is a different question, but I get things done. I’m pretty reliable person when it comes down to important tasks. Just from experience, if I could go through 3 years of graduate school in which only a quarter of us finished on time, and 9 years of teaching full time without taking a break, I could do this. Like I said, I don’t give up easily. I’m not a quitter. I go hard or go home…lol. My pastor even declared me as the winner after the first week of competition. He knows I don’t play. What also helped was that many people at church were watching me, so that in a way was keeping me accountable. In the end it was a game and I won. On nightmare mode.
But in all seriousness, this was a team effort and I had a ton of support from Team Suhu. Losing weight is not easy, for this was one of the most difficult things that I’ve accomplished. Okay, not one of the most difficult, but surprisingly arduous tasks. And it takes more than one person to keep going and get over the plateau. Just like all of those extreme makeover weight loss shows, friends and family need to get involved and show their support and confidence in the person. My wife and family really encouraged me to finish strong, once they saw that I could lose 15 lbs…ha. And it helped having to carry and rock CJ to sleep for many nights, walking and jogging in circles in his bedroom and bouncing up and down, up and down singing Old McDonald Had a Farm. This is a great win for everyone, we’re all winners. Good game.
I can’t wait to finally eat a McDonald’s mushroom angus burger with fries and that raspberry chocolate cake that’s been frozen in my freezer.