100-pound Anniversary

One year ago today, I woke up, stepped on the scale and had a big surprise. Then I wrote the following in my 3/13/2018 blog post:

I have lost 100.2 pounds since 6/15/2017 – that is less than 9 months! As most of you know, my goal was over 100 in under a year and I did it in far less time.

I didn’t really know how I would feel the day I hit my goal. I can tell you that my first feeling was utter surprise. I expected to have lost a bit since yesterday, but honestly thought I wouldn’t be past the 99 pound mark. So, it was a huge shock!

Me, 3/13/2018

So much has changed in my life through this journey and since hitting the 100-pound mark. I am so happy I did this and can’t wait to celebrate this anniversary today.

In a very short time, a matter of days really, I will be launching my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds in Under a Year. The good feelings that I feel after achieving this milestone are why I wrote my book. I want to help other people feel this way after achieving their big goals.

Thank you so much for continuing to follow my journey and for supporting me along the way. While my weight loss journey is over my fitness journey and my life journey is just getting started.

I am more powerful and capable than I ever thought!

Week 90: Data Driven vs. Data Obsessed

This week’s blog post is focused on one thing: data. This is a week when I discovered my data driven mind might be almost data obsessed. I know this is more text heavy than normal but it was a big ah ha for me.

18 Months of Weight Loss

My weight loss journey lasted a total of 18 months.

I kicked off in June with a goal of losing 100 pounds by the following June. I reached the 100-pound mark by mid-March (hint: big anniversary coming this week) and I kept going. By the 1-year mark I had lost about 120 pounds (20% more than my goal) and I kept going. At the end of that calendar year I had the realization that I had pretty much lost all of the weight that I was going to lose and I brought my weight loss to a close after losing about 132 total pounds.

My fitness journey continued but the weight loss phase was done.

Data is my Friend

My weight loss journey was a phenomenal success. My achievements were greater than I had ever expected or thought possible. As I have said over and over again I owe this success to two things: data and project management.

In my upcoming book, Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds in Under a Year, I explain how I started my plan based on one of my favorite quotes.

“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.”

Lord Kelvin

My entire plan was based around my ability to measure my progress towards my goal. I setup a framework using project management and tracked it every day. The data kept me going because that is how I am wired. I am data driven and motivated by results.

Data Became Who I Was

For 18 months I stepped on the scale every morning and saw weight loss almost every day.I had become accustomed to seeing results daily and the results were easy to understand: weight went down means good day, weight went up means bad day.

On top of the data telling me how I was doing it told others too. Through my blog and social media I shared my updates, my milestones, my progress and publicly celebrated success. So much so that somebody once told me that weight loss had become my brand. It was who I was becoming – the formerly obese guy who sees his weight decrease daily.

Data Goes the Wrong Way

At the end of the year I switched to maintenance mode. My goal was to maintain a weight in the range of 189 pounds to 199 pounds. But in my head I expected to get down to 189 pounds which is where my BMI becomes “normal” instead of “overweight.” I hadn’t reached that point yet but fully expected to do so.

Just under 3 months into the new year I have a data problem: I have gained weight.

My weight has pretty much stabilized in the 198-199 range which is at the top of my target maintenance goal. But this is higher than I thought I would be, it is higher than my low weight and I never reached the “normal” weight range.

After 18 months of seeing my weight fall I have now seen my weight increase.

Data Failed Me or I Failed It

Here I am seeing my weight go up and I am feeling like a failure. But that isn’t the whole story.

If I was paying proper attention to more than the weight I would have looked at this differently.

  • I had reached a very low body fat percentage.
  • My strength was increasing significantly.
  • My muscle tone and definition has increased.

All of these factors add up to tell me that my weight is increasing the right way: muscle. My muscle mass continues to increase as my training yields more success. This muscle mass has weight and it means I am a little heavier.

Data Obsessed

Here I am getting frustrated by something that I should have celebrated as a victory. I have built a strong, athletic body and can do things I couldn’t do just a few short months ago. But I am feeling disappointed because my weight increased.

My wife summed up the situation perfectly in something she said this week: “you are obsessed with the data!”

She is right! I have turned a tool into the thing I focus on. I have let myself be defined, in my own brain, by a single measurement of success or failure. I let the quality of my day and my mood be defined by what the scale said.

I became a little too obsessed with the data and not with all of the data, just a single measurement.

So What?

Data is good!

Data is a beneficial and critical tool to achieving any goal. I will never discount the importance of data. I really believe Lord Kelvin: If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.

How you look at data can be bad!

I built a phenomenally successful weight loss journey without cutting a single thing out of my life and I did it through balance. Everything in moderation. Everything that I liked fit into my plan as long as I balanced it and looked holistically at what I was consuming and burning.

Data is the same way. You can’t just look at one number associated with your goal and let it define you. This applies to any goal:

  • Weight
  • Salary
  • Title/level
  • Revenue
  • Net worth
  • Follower/friends
  • Likes/retweets

You have to look holistically at the full situation and the balance of various data points to get a true assessment of your progress.

If the numbers don’t tell the story I want one day, I just have to forgive myself and move on. Bad days happen. This journey is not a sprint it is a marathon and a life-long commitment. I can’t let a single bad number kill my momentum… particularly when it isn’t a bad number at all and is something to celebrate not mourn!

Thanks for reading!

Last week’s stats (2/25-3/3):

Maintain avg. weight of 189-199 pounds: 199 lbs average
Run 10+ miles per week: 12.9 miles
Total walk/run miles: 37 miles
Weight training 2-3 times per week: 2 workouts
One race per month: no February race, next race 3/17
Continue to track & manage calories: 2,425 calories under budget

Reflections on Leadership: Leaders Aren’t Immune to Self-doubt

Weekly Inspiration

Leaders Aren’t Immune to Self-doubt

I am sticking to just a short post this week but one that is important.

In my Reflections on Leadership series I usually talk about all the important things that great leaders do (except maybe when I said Leaders don’t know what they are doing). It would be easy to think that great leaders are always on and never have an off day. It would also be easy to think that great leaders always have a plan and are confident that things are in track and are going to work out perfectly. In our social media and bullet point culture we can sometimes just end up seeing a highlight reel and thinking there are never problems.

Don’t forget that leaders are people. They are human beings with all the normal shortcomings, setbacks, worries, anxiety and everything else that comes along with being a person.

Leaders also have self-doubt, they aren’t immune. We all have that voice inside of us that says “you are going to fail,” “you aren’t good enough,” “who do you think you are,” “why would anybody care what you have to say?” It happens to everybody including great leaders.

When self-doubt surfaces you have a choice. You have the power to choose how to respond (remember E+R=O). Your best choice is to simply acknowledge that the feelings are there and do what you need to do to push past them and to get back on track. Remember all that you have accomplished to get you to this point and know that you have the power to push forward. You are a rockstar, a superhero and you are powerful. Greatness is just on the other side of that self-doubt.

Call to Action:give yourself a break and know that those feelings of self-doubt don’t mean there is something wrong with you. You suffer from the same condition as the rest of the leaders out there – acute humanity. These feelings are perfectly natural and you have to choose to move past them. You are a superhero and you are capable of so much… you didn’t come this far just to come this far… keep it up!

About Reflections on Leadership 

Reflections on Leadershipis my weekly article series reflecting on what it means to be a great leader. I hope that these thoughts can help you with your own leadership development journey.

My mission for Operation Meltis to help you melt away all of the obstacles to achieving your goals, not just your fitness goals. So, helping us all become better leaders is fully aligned with that mission. Maybe this will help achieve the Operation Melt vision

To create a world where goals never die of loneliness.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your perspective on this topic, my Reflections on Leadership series or anything else via a share on social media or message me directly.

Join my email list to have weekly Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox: https://OperationMelt.com/mail/

Week 89: Ramping Up The Mileage

March is here and that means that there are more opportunities to go outside to pursue my fitness goals. I am starting to ramp up my exercise after a little more after being a little lazy in the cold months. Don’t get me wrong, when I say I have been a “little lazy” that is still a pretty active lifestyle and not just couch time.

Marathon Prep

I am running in the OhioHealth Capital City Half Marathon on April 27. That is less than 60 days away and I have been working on ramping up my training.

Last week I did my longest ever contiguous run at 8 total miles and 7 of them running. This week I ramped up the mileage a bit more and did a Sunday long run of more at more than 9 miles with the majority of those being running miles.

I love long runs through downtown Columbus because I get to see great views of the city and explore along the way.

Over the coming weeks I need to continue ramping up the mileage until I hit a full 13.1 miles by early April. Right after that I will start to taper the distance and end with at least one rest week before the race.

I have completed one half marathon already but that doesn’t make me any less nervous preparing for my second one.

Arnold 2019

This week I went to the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus despite saying last year that I probably wouldn’t go back because of the size of the crowd. This festival salutes sports and fitness in all forms but is heavily geared towards weight lifting and similar pursuits. It is a very popular festival, almost too much so, and I felt like there were about a million people there at the same time as me.

While at the festival I walked the expo floor to check out equipment, methods and supplements that people were selling. I watched some competitions such as CrossFit Endeavor, Spartan Dash Obstacle Course, Ninja Warrior Course, power lifting and even pole fitness. Plus I had a chance to watch the end of one of the rounds of the women’s physique competition.

I attend this festival as inspiration and motivation to do better and to set bigger goals. But one other thing started becoming clear this year – I need to decide what kind of body I want. Some of the super weight-lifter guys are huge masses of humanity and I don’t want that. That said, I do want to have an impressive body that visibly reflects my hard work. Tone and a little bulk are great but massive bulk is not for me.

One thing attending the festival did do was to push me to get a pretty tough workout in the morning after the festival. I was waiting outside the gym when they opened and pushed myself pretty hard despite having a limited amount of time. Then I pushed myself even further with a coffee walk after I finished my breakfast meeting.

Bad Judge of My Own Progress

One last topic for this week is about judging our own progress. When I look in a mirror I don’t see a thin guy and I really still see that big guy who looked back at me for 40 years. The progress just happened so gradually that it wasn’t like I woke up one morning and was “thin,” it happened over a year. It takes a while for your brain to adjust to your new body. So I am a terrible judge of my own progress.

Every once in a while something happens that really shocks me. Over the past couple of weeks these shocks have come on the form of pictures. Several pictures of me have been posted by other people as we have been participating in our annual Pub Golf Tournament. Here is an example of a couple of those.

When I see these pictures I am absolutely shocked – and not just because of the funny faces! The guy in these pictures, particularly the one of the left, is not the guy I see when I look in the mirror. I don’t know how long it is going to take to get to the point where I know I am this guy but I am not there yet.

My Book

I almost forgot… I went public about my book this week.

In just a few weeks I will be releasing the book that tells my story and shares my approach. The book is called Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds in Under a Year. If you want to be the first to hear updates including when the book is released please join my email list.

Thanks for reading!

Last week’s stats (2/18-2/24):

Maintain avg. weight of 189-199 pounds: 199.8 lbs average
Run 10+ miles per week: 15 miles
Total walk/run miles: 41 miles
Weight training 2-3 times per week: 2 workouts
Yoga 1+ times per week: none
One race per month: no February race, March race planned
Continue to track & manage calories: 2,898 calories under budget