Posted by: fizzhogg | December 24, 2010

There is No Finish Line – 2010: A Look Back

On January 18th, 2010 – exactly 339 days ago – this was the paragraph that kicked off this Project:

I am a fat guy. Fat drips off me like hot fudge off a sundae. Mmm, sundae…. anyway, I am fat. For my height, bone structure, etc., I am sixty pounds overweight. I have been fat for more than 15 years. I have joined numerous gyms, had personal trainers, tried many diets, and have never followed through on any of it. Ever.

This year I followed through. For Christmas of 2009 Hova and The PT gave me a bike. The Unfat Machine is a triple crank Specialized Secteur Sport in this color scheme:

I decided, after riding a total of 61 miles on it, that I would attempt to ride 2,000 miles this year, and hopefully lose 60 pounds in the process. As of this posting date, I have ridden 2,388.9 miles.

On October 9th, 2009 I weighed 231 pounds (more on that particular date later). That’s 16.5 Stones for our dear friends across the pond. On January 1st, 2010 I weighed 229.5 pounds.

On the morning of November 20th – the morning of El Tour de Tucson – I weighed 201.5 pounds. Just over 14 Stones. I had lost 30 pounds in a year. Not even close to my 60lbs goal, but the most weight I’ve lost in my lifetime. Ever. I am wearing clothes I have not fit in during this decade. These photos do not have the OH MY FREAKING GOD! quality of Gaz’s – the amazing shrinking 39 stone cyclist – but I think you’ll see the Unfat Project was a success.

BEFORE                                   TOUR de CURE                  EL TOUR de TUCSON

I weighed over 234 pounds in that first photo – heavier than when I started 2010, but I use it because that is the heaviest I have ever been in my life. The reason I look close to death is because that shot was taken right after a family soccer match where I nearly went into cardiac arrest running around after six-year-olds. (I am wearing a XXL Life is Good t-shirt)

The middle photo is June 5th, 2010, when I rode the 50-mile Tour de Cure. I weighed 216 pounds that day. (I am wearing a XXL club-cut jersey)

And the third shot – right after crossing the finish line at El Tour de Tucson on November 20th, 2010, standing with The PT, my silver medal around my neck. 109 miles, and at barely over 200lbs, the smallest I’ve been in over 15 years! (and amazingly, I am wearing an XL pro-cut jersey)

By the wayI weighed myself a week after EL Tour (a day after Mt. Lemmon) and for the first time in GOD KNOWS how long… I clocked in under 200lbs. 199 to be exact.

Damn it feels good to be a gangsta

HOW I DID IT

Riding over 2,300 miles in less than a year will help anyone lose weight. The cycling was the only exercise I did this year. On February 8th, I threw out my beloved deep fryer. But it wasn’t until the summer – when I really started focusing on eating better and eating right – that the weight began to fall off. If I had spent January through May eating like I did July through November, I have no doubt I would have lost close to fifty pounds.

Eat better. That was the key to the weight loss this year. No matter how far you ride or run or walk, no matter how many hours you spend in the gym, if you’re not eating right on a regular basis, you will not lose the weight.

So, yeah, I’m wearing clothes I haven’t worn in years, and tucking in my shirts again, and feeling terrific, but the real success story of The Unfat Project are the numbers…

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

On October 9th, 2009, I had a complete physical from my doctor. After looking at the results of my blood work and everything else, he proclaimed me as “Pre-Diabetic.” He informed me that if I did not lose a significant amount of weight, and start eating better, I would be diabetic within a few months and have to go on medication.

On December 2nd, 2010, I went to the same doctor and had another complete physical, including all blood work and tests and whatnot. Just as I did in October the previous year. Here are the results…

My HG(or HB) A1C Test

This is the main test used to measure your body’s average daily blood sugar level and it’s the most trusted and accepted test to detect if a person is in danger of diabetes. In October of 2009, my test came back at 6.4 – which is a percentage number. The American Diabetes Association as well as my doctor consider 6.5 to be pre-diabetic.

Obviously, I was as close as you can get to being pre-diabetic. How does one bring this number down? Diet and exercise.

Cut to my doctor visit on December 2nd, 2010. My number… 5.6. Not only lower, but as my doctor put it – “You went from being basically pre-diabetic to not even being close to the danger zone.” He went on to say he usually only sees a drop this drastic in people who are on doctor prescribed and monitored diet and exercise programs.

My “random blood sugar” number – another test for possible looming diabetes was 125 in October, 2009. In December, 2010, my number dropped to 105.

My hs-CRP test, which is to check for the risk of cardiovascular disease was 2.9 in October of last year. 3.0 is consider high risk for cardiovascular disease. In December of this year, my number dropped to 2.4.

Cholesterol

In October, 2009, my total cholesterol level was 191. Under 200 is considered desirable, so though I was close, I was still okay. In December, 2010, my number dropped to a microscopic 127.

My LDL (that’s the bad cholesterol) numbers in October ’09 was 101. Less than 100 is considered optimal, so again, I wasn’t in any real danger like I was with my blood sugar, but I was certainly flirting with it. December ’10 my LDL dropped to 86.

My Triglyceride level (basically Fat) was 193 in October, 2009. That’s considered borderline dangerous. Over 200 is considered the danger zone. In December, 2010, my Triglyceride number dropped to 132. Far below anything remotely dangerous.

My HDL (the good cholesterol) was what concerned my doctor the most. Back in 2009 my number was a paltry 26. For a healthy male, that number should be in the 40’s. My December tests revealed my number had climbed to 32. Still not anywhere near the 40’s I need, but – according to my doctor – a great change from a year ago. He suggested that I up my consumption of fish. If I eat fish at least two or three times a week, and continue the Unfat Project through 2011, he feels I will hit that magical 40 in a year.

So, other than my HDL not quite getting up there, all these numbers were a huge success. My doctor said he wished I could do a Public Service Announcement letting people know that there is no magic bullet, no special pills or drugs, but just simple exercise and eating better will do more to prolong a healthy life than anything else.

My doctor was giddy when he informed me that, in one year of cycling and eating better, I had reduced my risk of cardiovascular disease by nearly 20%, and my risk for diabetes by over 50%.

THE ROAD AHEAD

Despite my frustrations with my El Tour performance, and the fact that I didn’t really start eating better until five months into the year, 2Kin2K10 – The Unfat Project has been a resounding success. I feel great, and best of all, I’m not content. I’m not satisfied. I want to see that scale read 180. I want that HDL number to hit 45. I want to fit into a Large pro-cut jersey.

There is no finish line.

I will continue to ride. I will continue to eat better – which is the toughest thing for me. But seeing these numbers is something I can latch onto, something I can look at and say, “This is working!” Of course, the photos help, too.

I will not be continuing this blog next year. It will still be up, and on January 1st, 2011 I will be posting something very special – something akin to a New Year’s Resolution type of thing, but much more than that. It’ll be worth a look.

But as far as regularly blogging about riding and eating, I’m done. I truly appreciate those of you that have found this little aid station on the Century Ride known as the Internet. I thank you all for your comments and your support.

My nutshell plans for 2011 are to amp up my riding. While I am not setting a specific mileage goal, I hope to ride over 4,000 miles. I want to double 2010. Also, I plan to ride in many more group rides and events. I’m going to really focus on charity – specifically Livestrong. I am a proud member of TEAM FATTY and will be fighting like Susan.

So, the posting I will be doing in 2011 will be almost exclusively about fundraising, and about the stuff from my January 1, 2011 post.

Next year I plan on riding these events:

July 9th, – Tour de Donut (with my son)

July 10th, 11th – Livestrong Challenge Davis, CA Century ride

August 20th, 21st – Livestrong Challenge Philly Century Ride

October 15th, 16th – Livestrong Challenge Austin Ride For the Roses Century Ride

November 19th – El Tour de Tucson (also known as the “Douglas MacArthur Memorial I Shall Return” ride)

Plus a smattering of other events if I can work them in.

Click HERE to view my personal Livestrong page and to donate to my fight in 2011. Never Give Up.

The Last Word

As great as 2010 was, it was also a tough year in that I lost my father in July. Well, I didn’t lose him, I knew where he was. He just stopped breathing. Though my father knew nothing about cycling, and had some memory issues late in life, I know he was smiling down on me the second half of this year, and especially during the 109 miles of El Tour. In fact, as the Unfat Machine and I waited in the pre-dawn light at the starting line, a message appeared on my handlebars above where I’d placed a “dig deep” note to myself…

Many of you have seen this phrase at the end of some of my posts. My father used to say this to Hova, The PT and myself whenever we would leave his house. My father thought he was the best driver on the road and everyone else were… idiots.

I’m convinced that it was the Pahg, my father, who kept the Unfat Machine upright during El Tour as we navigated bouncing water bottles, potholes the size of Oregon, falling riders, and those folks who would suddenly decide to stop before moving over to the side of the road to visit an aid station. Thanks, Pahgee.

Be sure and stop back  by on January 1st, and if you can, please donate to my Livestrong page.

Always eat better.

Always ride your bike.

And you will lose the gut.

Fair winds and following seas, Willy

You’re very good. You are, you are

Watch out for the road idiots

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Responses

  1. Inspirational mate.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year! 

  2. Those pictures tell us what we need to know, you have done it mate, WELL DONE, Happy Holidays

    You remind me tho, I need a Livestrong and Team Fatty Jersey still, so me, coming here, to leave this comment, has just cost me a small fortune LOL

    Gaz

  3. Great post and congratulations on a very successful 2010. Have a Merry Christmas and lets get ready to tear up 2011!

    Steve

  4. Nice re-cap for the year. It demonstrates well how we all can change our lives.

    Merry Christmas, Fizz.


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