3 Years of Melting

Welcome to my weekly Operation Melt update where I share the ups, downs and lessons learned from living a post weight loss fit life.

Tomorrow is the third anniversary of my decision to change my life. To honor that special day I am taking a quick look back (including lots of photos!) at where I was, what I did and where I am today.

June 14, 2017

Looking back three years ago life was very different.

My forty years of obesity had reached a point where I my weight had climbed to 325 pounds. But I didn’t have any idea that my weight was that high because, despite being constantly embarrassed by it, I never weighed myself, paid no attention to it and was not regularly visiting a doctor. In fact I hadn’t been to a doctor for more than fifteen years. But my weight was an obvious struggle for my whole life since I was a kid.

While my weight was a problem it was really just scratching the surface.

My blood pressure was high and I was not aware of that. I was over-consuming food, especially unhealthy food. I was over-consuming alcohol. I was working more than sixty hours per week on average in a high-stress job and still wasn’t feeling like I was succeeding. Plus I wasn’t getting any regular exercise at all as evidenced by my phone tracking an average of 3000 or fewer steps per day.

I would even joke about my health and tell my wife to get ready for husband number two after I am gone.

Beyond the health situation I had also lost a lot of my self-confidence and wasn’t sure just where I fit.

Point of Decision

The next day I had my appointment with my doctor and he gave me a reality check about the current state of my poor health (read more: D(octor)Day: 6/15/2017). I finally let myself understand the realities of my situation and I decided I wanted to get better. I just wasn’t sure how to do it. That’s when I wrote this in my daily journal.

I really want to get healthier.  I hate being so overweight..  I hate not being able to buy clothes in normal stores and having to always be concerned about weight capacity on things like camp chairs.  I hate not being able to do things that I know Liz wants to do like horseback riding.  Plus I hate the little aches and pains, the terrible stomach and being so self-conscious all the time.  But, it is way too easy to keep doing what I am doing instead of fixing it.  I want to get better and have to challenge myself to do so.

This is when I kicked off my journey to get better and I decided to do it my way!

A Journey Begins

I wasn’t quite sure that to do at first so I just started while trying to figure it all out. A couple of days later a goal and plan emerged (read more: Let’s do this my way (with some help from Lord Kelvin)) My inspiration: a quote from Lord Kelvin.

If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.

I was committed to losing over 100 pounds in under a year.

I wasn’t going to consider fad diets, surgery or even giving up anything I liked. I was going to use project management, data and other things that were already a big part of my day-to-day expertise. Once I built a little confidence, and once people started seeing (and commenting on) my progress, I decided to go public.

Branding being one of my areas of “day job” expertise, I decided to embrace the comments of “you are just melting away” and the name Operation Melt was born.

OperationMelt.com

Then I wrote my goal on paper as a SMART goal and made sure it was relevant to my life by continuing to focus on why it was important to me to be successful. My “why” that I wrote down at the start of my project was:

I am focusing on losing weight, eating better exercising more and de-stressing is because I am tired of being so overweight.  It has annoyed me for years and I just have to address it.  The time is now because I hit an embarrassing level at 325 pounds.  Plus I am over 40 now and need to get into some healthier habits or face terrible consequences – my dad died at 59 after a really rough 10+ years of suffering, my grandmother died at 63 after years of suffering.  I don’t want this to be me.  Finally I want to improve my health and confidence and get out of my current job and and do something different where I feel successful.  Those aren’t directly related, but it is all about self improvement.

That’s where it began. I started tracking my food, eating healthier and exercising constantly.

I went to my boss and said that I was going to start working more reasonable hours, I didn’t ask permission, I just told her. Plus I ultimately, hopefully unrelated, left that company in a downsizing and took the opportunity to give myself a five month sabbatical which turned out to be an important part of reaching my goal.

June 14, 2020

Flash forward three years to today and the situation is very different!

I lost my 100 pounds in just nine months.

But I didn’t stop there. I went on to lose a total of 131 pounds before gaining some back by putting on significant amounts of muscle. In all I have achieved a body fat percentage of 13.5% which isn’t just fit and healthy, it is nearly high-performance athlete level healthy!

Exercise is now my #1 hobby and I love to move. I average ten or more miles of walking and running every day. I run races and have completed three organized half marathons and way more “just me” half marathons.

I went from 325 pounds to my first half marathon in just 14 months (read more: Week 71: 325 Pounds to Half Marathon)!

As the quarantine hit and work from home became an everyday reality I spent less time commuting and getting ready for work. I reinvested this time in my fitness and significantly ramped up my exercise via walking and running. I currently average around ten miles per day, 150 active minutes and almost 4000 calories burnt per day.

My health is always my focus and a top priority. I know exactly what I have eaten at any point in any day, how my calories stack up, where I am with key macros (protein, fiber, sodium) and how to “hack” any restaurant menu to make it healthy (at least healthier).

I have a wonderful personal trainer, Teresa, who has helped me achieve other athletic gains such as dead-lifting my body weight and increasing my bench press strength from 45 pounds to over 120 pounds.

Just to be clear, I have also never had a cheat day! I can do what I want any day and have built a lifestyle that doesn’t require me to cheat.

My confidence has gone way up and I have my voice, my passion and my calling: top use my numerous transformational experiences and skills to help people achieve their goals. The blog that I launched early in my journey has evolved into a platform to tell my story and share my point of view. I have a point of view that I am confident is worth sharing. I am a goal-crushing and project management evangelist and I know that I help people every single day. Not to mention the fact that I have written and published a book!

The increased confidence extends to my body and I no longer fear the whispers. I seek out clothes that fit and are sometimes even snug on my body. Let me just add that my body is far from perfect and impressive given the forty years of obesity that have left me with extra skin – I do not look like a man with just 13.5% body fat. But that is ok with me because I am happy with my body and happy with my life.

I am in tune with myself physically, mentally and emotionally and am always willing to be vulnerable, transparent and an open book if I think it can help. And I am always looking to help! That is why I have started evolving Operation Melt to be less of a celebration of me and my story and instead be a platform to help others. I am working on some new additions to make it even more valuable for you other goal chasers out there.

Most importantly I know I am an unstoppable force who is capable of accomplishing anything that is important to me. That’s something I simply wouldn’t have said three years ago.

Was It Worth It?

Here I am, three years after making my decision. The weight has stayed off. The athletic achievements have continued to grow. But it isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, that is not the whole story.

When people lift weights to grow their muscles the process starts with a little pain. The current muscles essentially get torn apart so they can grow back bigger and stronger. My journey has gone through the same process and there has been pain as the muscles of the old me got torn away so the new me could grow.

  • I have experienced failures, setbacks and pain along the way. I have had several injuries and my doctor has told me that some of my recurring pains may just be a new “normal” in my life.
  • I have received my fair share of doubters, critics, eye-rollers, gossip and snickers from people as I pursued my goal.
  • I have been failed by my body, mind and emotions along the way and have shed actual tears. But I have also failed my mind, body and emotions and didn’t give them what they needed.
  • I have failed, disappointed and annoyed some people I care about and some have failed and disappointed me. And I have lost some friends along the way. This really makes me even more appreciative for the people who have stuck with me, supported me, listened to me and loved me through the journey.
  • I lost a very lucrative job because, in part, I refused to be all-in and make it the most important thing in my life.
  • I have spent thousands of dollars on proper equipment, my gym membership, my trainer and race registration fees.
  • I have had to replace my full wardrobe multiple times.
  • Parts of my life are significantly more complicated and I still am way too focused on the numbers every day.
  • I continue to have an unsettled feeling like I am right on the brink of a huge breakthrough but just can’t put my fingers on it.

With all of this pain along the way, I occasionally like to pause to reconsider if all of this was worth it. Was this the right decision for me to disrupt and transform my life?

I was going to give you a long, thoughtful answer to explain why this journey was worth it. But instead I will do it my way…

Was it worth it? HELL YEAH!

Tell Me What You Think

How have YOU learned to value and leverage your quiet time? Tell me what you think about today’s post (or anything else) by sending me a note via the Contact Me link above or via a comment on social media.

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Want to learn more about how I used project management as a tool for success in my weight loss journey? Pick up your copy of my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds In Under a Year from Amazon.

About Operation Melt

Operation Melt started as a blog to share my transformational weight loss story. After I achieved success with that goal it has evolved into a platform that to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives. My goal is to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

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