How I Lost 10 Pounds in 2 months

It was actually pretty easy.

I downloaded, and religiously use, MyFitnessPal (free) on my iPhone. Please note I’m not associated with the app in any way. But read on for more details (including a bunch of actual steps I took, and a sample food log).

Over the past 6 years of serious rowing (4 years college + 2 years elite), I pretty much just assumed that I could eat whatever I wanted, and I’d continue losing weight, because I perceived that I was burning so many calories from training between 12-18 hours a week. However, after dropping from 200 to 180 in my freshman year (due to a huge increase in training volume), I leveled off around 185 for the next 5 years. I’d have small dips in the spring as we went dry, and generally would be a little heavier (187-189) in the fall/winter. The winter increase was a result of the holiday parties and food and a greater focus on schools (finals week) and a decreased focus on training (down time + on your own training time). After graduating, I expected that I would drop pounds as I’d no longer have access to an all you can eat buffet 3x a day and would instead be cooking for myself. However, I still wasn’t dropping weight. I thought I was being healthy, as a general day consisted of: yogurt, oatmeal, raisins, nuts, string cheese, peanut butter & jelly on wheat bread, cliff bar, chicken Caesar salad, and lots and lots of dinner. On top of this, I was on my feet all day teaching, with 1-2 workouts on the water or erg. And still, nothing happened. In fact, I became more cemented at 185, with my range now fluctuating between 182-189.

When I decided to transition to triathlons, a couple of things became clear to me: 1. My foot speed would be largely dependent on weight. 2. My aero-ness on the bike would be largely dependent on body mass. 3. I needed to lose weight. I did some reading up, and talked to my girlfriend and brother, who helped me make a couple of key changes to my diet (some I had already done, but some may be new to you):

1. No soda, at all. I haven’t had soda in a couple of years. Replace soda with water. It doesn’t hydrate you, despite what Sprite commercials will say. I will admit I for a very long time still drank a ton of Red Bull/Monster, but even that I have swapped out for the sugar free/carb free type.

2. I had to make the very tough decision to cut out sour gummi worms + gummi bears, completely, from my diet. My love for them is unlike any love I have ever felt for another human being. If I could stop myself from this one single type of candy, there would be so many less Wawa/Quikcheck/corner store runs that result in a lot of bad news. I’ll still buy candy occasionally, but my desire for other types (with the exception of Cadbury eggs…) is not nearly as strong. To help keep these desires down, I chew a LOT of sugar free gum. Stride Mega Mystery is a personal favorite right now.

3. Swap regular orange juice (very high in sugars) for OJ 50%. It’s essentially watered down orange juice. If you can’t afford to buy this (its more expensive), just add water to your OJ. But in general, drink less OJ. Replace with water. Same for milk. Swapped 2% out for 1%, and then swapped that out for skim milk.

4. On any dairy products, buy the low-fat version. I’m not ashamed to admit I live on Weight Watchers String Cheese – 2 sticks = 100 calories.

5. Buy measuring cups! Holy crap, I do not know what a serving size is. Its easy to briefly glance at the back of a box of X and see that it has 150 calories in it, but then you realize thats in 2 tablespoons… I’m looking at you, peanut butter! A tablespoon, if you are guestimating, is the size of your thumb. Lifehacker has a bunch of great articles about how to do this. But seriously, buy measuring cups.

6. Use said measuring cups! And apply their sizes to the nutritional information printed on the back of processed food!

7. Be honest with yourself, and track everything you eat and do in MyFitnessPal. Its got barcoding system that is great for processed food, so its got the information pre-loaded in there for you. I also weigh myself every single day and add it in, to get a more clear picture of my average weight (which still fluctuates about +/- 5lbs throughout the week and weekend. But I always record my weight as soon as I wake up, after peeing, and naked. I am now consistently at 178 and I’m not really “trying” to lose weight anymore, although as I get closer to race season, I’ll try and go under 174 (total weight loss = 14lbs).

Thats about it. I’m sure there are other minute details I’m missing, but those are the big ones. I use a couple of heart rate monitors to track my work during training, and use those calculations as starting points in measuring output (calories burned).

Here is a “standard” day for me:

Breakfast: 1 cup frozen fruits dethawed, 1 cup Special K fruity mix cereal, 1 small Greek yogurt (usually honey/caramel flavored). Total cal = 280.

Workout 1: variable based on swim/bike/run

Snack: 1 Bagel Thin w/ 2 tbsp of Peanut Butter & Co. Total cal = 290.

Lunch: 1 Bagel Thin w/ 4 slices of turkey, 2 slices of low fat provolone cheese. Total cal = 280. 2x Weight Watchers string cheese. Total cal = 100.

Snack: Cliff Bar (Oatmeal & Raisin). Total cal = 240. Red Bull 8.4oz, Sugar Free. Total cal = 10. Keebler 100 calorie bag, chocolate covered pretzels. Total cal = 100.

Workout 2: variable based on swim/bike/run. 2 workouts/day will put me anywhere between 800-1500 calories burned.

Dinner: chicken Caesar Salad (~640cal), salmon w/ couscous & vegetables (~740 cal). Snacks if I want them/need them.

I shoot for no more than a 500cal deficit per day. Anything greater than that and I’ll make up for it, and some, the following day.

This has been plenty long enough and more than enough information. Good luck!

Oh, you again?

I’m embarrassed about the colossal failure that was posting to this website. One post per year = not good. Honestly, I don’t even remember the goal of this website. I think it was related to things I’ve learned in teaching… and… ? I know that its not a blog. I’ll do my best to continue with that.

I’d like to get into a bit more of a routine in posting to this. My life has slowed down a little bit, which is good. In past years, winter time meant lots of weekend trips to go snowboarding (yes, woe is me) in Canada, Colorado, Vermont, etc. This year, with the weather being so horrendous, or, as you people call it, warm, all those travel plans got tossed out the window. Plus, my snowboarding and travel buddies were all becoming more grownup, what with starting their own business (J.E.), moving in with their girlfriend (J.E.), constantly fretting about the next movement up the work ladder (T.T & C.S.), and becoming more serious about the Olympic Dream (E.W.). But I am happy for each of them in the new successes they are finding, so I can’t complain too much.

I’ll leave you all, whomever you may be, with this final thought: we, us “twenty somethings” that have “musings,” must occasionally take a step back and think about where we are in life. Relative to our own life plans, and to the life of others.

Don’t spend these years sacrificing your time, or waiting to arrive at a later, greater, big moment. There were times in college where I was making decisions that I thought were best in the grand scheme of allowing me to arrive at a later, greater moment in life. I never arrived at that moment. And as my friends and I sit around a camp fire, or at a bar, and reflect on our time and craziness in college, I realize I missed a lot of them because I was trying to make sure I prepared and arrived at the later, greater, big moment.

campfire "musings" of a "twenty something year old" in this "big new scary world called life"

I have no ill regrets about my college experience, I loved it, and anyone that knows me knows how much I worship the friends, teammates, coaches, moments, trips, and physical locations that defined my college experience. But could it have been more? Who knows. I’m happy with where I am now and what I have grown into, but I’ve now taken a new approach: make now be the great big moment.

Hopefully this gets updated before 2013. I’ll try and do some site re-designing as well, and maybe even come up with a theme. But lets not get ahead of ourselves.

What up doe.

What up doe = whats up (from Detroit). I am not from Detroit, nor have I ever been, but for some reason, that phrase has been stuck in my head. I hope it now finds itself sitting on the tip of your tongue for the next week or so.

So, thanks to Ramit at iwillteachyoutoberich.com (who’s writing always encourage actually getting off your ass and doing something to move closer to your goals, rather than just thinking about them), and Alex at http://blog.extra-paycheck.com/, (who literally gave step-by-step directions on how to set up my site),

I have now set up my site.

The purpose of this is slightly undecided. I don’t want it to be a traditional blog, because I want it to be more interesting than just the typical “here is what I did today.” In the same way that people that suck at twitter do so because they share up-to-the-second updates of their lives, I hope to avoid doing that with this site (ITS NOT A BLOG).

Lets start by addressing what my interests are, as I imagine that will be what I frequently write about: education, marketing, social media, Philadelphia, “business,” and rowing. Those are off the top of my head, but lets call that a starting point.

I’ll be back later to do more with this stuff, including address the design of the site – that needs to get done pronto.

Me, circa 2011 (being moved to a blog rather than a page)

Oh, isn’t that a loaded question. I imagine for the time being, however, if you are reading this site, then you probably know who I am, and what I’ve done. But in the spirit of optimism, here’s a brief recap.

It has taken me 23 years to realize it fully, but I am a product of my parents more than anyone else (even my friends, who I love dearly). Both are incredibly successful, intelligent individuals, my mom graduated from Cambridge University (GB) and my dad graduated from University College of Dublin (IRE). My dad runs his own veterinary practice and my mom works along side of him. Combine, they have been apart of seven Olympic teams. Quite a legacy to live up to.

I’m currently in my second year of teaching at West Philadelphia High School in Philadelphia, PA. Prior to arriving at WPHS, it was considered to be one of the most dangerous schools in the state. In my first year, it had made enough improvements to be removed from the Persistently Dangerous List; Philadelphia is the only school district in the state of Pennsylvania to have persistently dangerous schools. That being said, my first year was a great experience. It was certainly challenging, but thats part of what makes something great. The second year has been substantially more challenging than the first year, due to multiple changes in administration and a general lack of stability in both the school and school district. While working at WPHS, I have also been pursuing my Masters in Special Education at Chestnut Hill College, which is in the suburbs of Philly.

I started teaching because I was accepted into Teach For America the same week I prepared to graduate from College of the Holy Cross. There, I was an Economics major, and had an amazing time getting my education, while also being a member of the Rowing team. I was a three year member of the first varsity boat, and was elected captain my senior year. In my time on the team, I raced in: Worcester, MA, Boston, MA, Princeton, NJ, Washington, DC, New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Camden, NJ, and Sacramento, CA. I’m now continuing my education of rowing at Penn AC, one of the premiere training centers in the country for heavyweight men.

I’m still living in Philadelphia, in the Art Museum District, and am walking distance from Boathouse Row, which has become a sanctuary for me as I’ve needed a place to work out my stress from the day to day events of my life. I know that the stresses I face – juggling work, grad school, training, and a semblance of a personal life – are no where close to the stresses that my students face – not having money to get home, not having anyone at home, needing to eat, violence, child care/caring for family members, working, and school – so I can’t complain too much. In the end, I am fortunate to have had these kids be apart of my life, and I can only hope that several years down the road, at least one of them says the same about me.

The next part of my life is still a little bit up in the air. I am considering pursuing an MBA, but still want to have a clearer idea of what I would use it for. I’m exploring an opportunity of starting a new business with my dad, and we’ll see where that takes us.

Thats enough for now. This is significantly longer than I expected it to be, and as I stated earlier, I imagine that most of you, at least in the first few weeks, will know me personally and will know my life story. Deuces.

Aut Vincere Aut Mori