Ever since I reintegrated into civilian life, my weight has been a nagging problem. During my military service, I had cultivated a voracious appetite. Two large Papa John’s pizzas with garlic butter dipping sauce in one sitting? Nema problema. However, I had offset the calories consumed with daily rigorous physical activity.
More PT, Sergeant, more PT!
We like it; we love it; we want more of it
Make it hurt now, Sergeant; make it hurt
Throughout my last two years of college, my sedentary lifestyle caused my weight to hover in the 200-220 pound range. (I’m 6 foot 2 inches, BTW.) However, I hit the proverbial bottom of the rock in autumn of 2001, right around the time I lost my job in advertising. Reaching a zaftig 274 pounds, I swore that I would take the weight off and never let myself go like that again.
I had bought myself a Bowflex PowerPro XTLU in late 2000, and let me tell you, it made an excellent thousand-dollar clothing rack. Finally realizing that I actually had to use the thing in order to lose weight, I looked through the manual that came with my Bowflex, and near the end was a section titled “The Bowflex Body Leanness Program” by Dr. Ellington Darden.
This 6-week program involves four key factors:
- a strict, but balanced low-fat, calorie-counting diet (1300-1500 calories per day for men)
- superhydration (working up to approximately a gallon and a half of cold water per day)
- working out on the Bowflex three times per week
- repeat the six-week program as needed
Some parts of the program defy conventional wisdom, such as only working out every other day and skipping weekends. However, within six months of religiously following the program, I dropped down to 216 pounds. Unfortunately, I reached a plateau and did not know how to push past it. I hovered between 215 and 220 for close to a year, which wasn’t a bad weight, but it left me with enough of a gut that I was embarrassed to take my shirt off in front of females.
I decided to join Gold’s Gym, and started taking protein supplements (cue Cartman: “Beefcake!”). I also reverted to an eating habit of occasional 3,000-5,000 calorie binges; they do add up. After a year of this, I was out $650 (Gold’s Gym membership fee) and weighed in at 246.5 pounds. I had sworn that I would not do that to myself again, but sometimes the easiest promises to break are those made to oneself.
I decided to go back to the tried and true, remove the dirty clothes draped over my Bowflex, and try the calorie-counting Bowflex thing again. Fortunately, in the interim, Dr. Darden had published a book called The Bowflex Body Plan. This book expanded the 24 pages in the Bowflex manual to 300 pages, and helped me understand a bit better why the program worked the first time. It also showed strategies for getting past plateaus.
So far, so good. I am at the beginning of week six, and have lost 21 pounds to date. My goal is between 190 and 200, so I will have to continue the program for at least another six weeks. I am using a post in this blog to log my weight-loss progress.
I do not expect “Brad Pitt in Troy” results, but the need to be at least comfortable with my own body appearance has never been more important to me than it is now.
Disclaimer: I have no direct association with Bowflex, the Nautilus Group, Dr. Ellington Darden, or even that pretty-boy from the infomercials (Randy). There is no fitness program out there that will work successfully for every individual, but this one has for me (twice). And, damn it, there is not going to be a need for me to do this a third time.