This was week 132 of
my Operation Melt journey that started with my goal to escape obesity and lose
over 100 pounds in under a year. As you probably know I achieved that goal (in
just 9 months) and then a whole lot more. I went from 325 pounds to completing
my first half marathon in just 14 months with a total weight loss of over 130
I accomplished this
by applying concepts of project management and managing my transformation as a
project just like I have helped businesses do for two decades.
After achieving my
initial goal, and countless others, my journey of personal transformation has
grown into a quest to turn myself and others into goal-crushing machines. My
vision for Operation Melt is to build a world where goals don’t die of
My weekly Operation
Melt blog posts are about continuing to hold myself accountable while sharing
my journey with you. My hope is that something that I am doing will inspire you
to try to crush your own goal, will motivate you to keep going and will equip
you with some additional tools that have helped me manage my journey.
3… 2… 1… end of a decade
This is my last post
of this year and my last post of the decade. By the time I write and post my
next update we will be a couple of days into 2020.
I don’t know about
you but the 2010s were a decade of serious change for me. I had lots of jobs
across 3 companies. I had a layoff. I lost a parent. I moved to a new house and
sold our first house. I both gained and lost friends. Liz and I both turned 40.
And the list goes on.
Perhaps my biggest
change in the 2010s came 925 days ago when I decided I was going to lost over
100 pounds in under a year. I decided to conquer one of my biggest areas of
failure in my life and one of my biggest frustrations and embarrassments.
With all of this
reflecting on the decade I was struggling to figure out how to wrap up this
year in today’s post and move onto the next. Like many other facets of my life,
when I don’t know how to get moving, I have decided to turn to project
management. I am going to share my 2019 Operation Melt retrospective.
management a retrospective is an exercise that a project team engages in to
reflect on what is working and what isn’t. It usually happens at the conclusion
of a phase or stage of a project and at the conclusion of the project itself;
though it can happen at any time. They take many forms but the way I usually
lead mine is that I ask the team to brainstorm their feedback about the project
to-date around 4 dimensions:
- Smiles: what went well that we would like to continue or do again in the future?
- Frowns: what hasn’t gone well that we would like to change in the future?
- Lightbulbs: what ideas do we have for the future that might improve our process or results?
- Flowers: who do we want to pause and appreciate?
brainstorming is complete we group feedback into themes and prioritize our top
3-5 items in each category to report out. These 3-5 items become the basis for
how we approach the next phase, stage or project.
I have applied this
process to reflecting on my past year of my Operation Melt journey and want to
share my results with you.
1. Commitment: my commitment to my journey was
unwavering in 2019. I continued to track my data, logged everything I
ate/drank, recorded all exercise, analyzed performance and made adjustments
2. Weight: I essentially maintained my weight
loss. While I didn’t lose more weight (as planned) I also didn’t gain much
weight either (see the associated frown). I am approaching 2 years since I lost
my first 100 pounds and have past 1 year since I hit my low weight. I am
particularly happy with being able to maintain the results after I learned the
stat that most people who have experienced significant weight loss gain it all
back within 2 years. Not me, boom!
3. Performance: I continue to improve my
performance as an athlete. I ran 13 organized races in 2019 including 2 half
marathons and improved my time significantly. I am very proud of the
improvements in my running performance and I am kind of a beast. Plus my
performance in the gym has increased too. After starting the year at a 70-pound
maximum bench press strength I was able to increase to easily doing 110 to 120
pounds at the end of the year.
4. Body Image: my body continues to improve shape
and tone and I continue to become increasingly comfortable with it. I don’t
cringe when I see myself naked in the mirror though I do see the areas that
still need work. I am happy to see my muscles grow and get firm and enjoy that
I have stabilized in clothes sizing.
5. Operation Melt: I launched my book this year
and sold a modest number of copies including to people who aren’t just friends
and family. I continue to tell my story through my blog and through social
media. And I know I am having a positive impact on people. I am showing them
that they can achieve their goals if they just try and that the journey doesn’t
have to suck.
6. New Job: so I tried to limit to 3-5 items but I
needed a 6th. I took on a new job this year as a consulting project manager and
my first client is OhioHealth. This means I get to use my project management
skills to help improve the health of those that OhioHealth serves. This
literally lets me combine my passions and make an impact. Plus I really like my
consulting firm, TOP Consulting!
1. Too much? Sometimes I feel like I am too
focused on my journey, my sharing, logging everything, photographing my life,
talking about my weight loss, getting anxiety if I haven’t exercised, fretting
about going over my calories and so on. It is still a little all-encompassing
and I feel like I am a little annoying and monotonous to those around me. Plus
I am letting my mood and view of myself get dictated too much by the numbers.
2. Weight Struggles: I kicked off 2019 by
switching to “maintenance mode” from a calorie and weight loss
perspective. Then I gained weight. I learned that I am under-estimating my
portion sizes and the calories and I need to keep myself in “weight
loss” mode to account for the under-estimation. I was able to reverse the
issue and maintained strong in the 199-204 range for most of the year. Yes that
is up from my 194 low weight but I have also seen significant muscle growth
that comes with weight. I know I am at my low manageable weight too because I
see HUGE swings from day to day based on sodium, carb and alcohol consumption.
In fact I went from 203 pounds at the start of Christmas week to 207 at the end
of the week despite having a net calorie deficit every day. This is just how my
body reacts. It isn’t “real” weight it is just water retention but it
is “real” frustrating.
3. Pain: I learned this year that pain accompanies
increasing athletic performance. I often find little aches and pains that pop
up after runs or workouts. I have persistent issues that come and go too with
one of my toes and hip pain. A lot of this is related to not properly
recovering, warming up, resting and stretching to accompany my performance.
4. Reach & Impact: while I know that people
are reading my blog, following me on social media and are buying my book I
don’t know that I am having the full reach and impact that I want to have. I
need to find ways to maximize the value I am providing to my readers.
1. Sustainability: I want to use 2020 to explore a
more sustainable approach to my fitness journey versus allowing it to be all
encompassing. I am not sure what form this will take but it will certainly
include NOT weighing myself everyday but moving to 2-3 times per week. I need
to look for other ways to strike that balance.
2. Deliberate: also in 2020 I want to start
working to be more deliberate about how I perform in areas of my life. This
will include actually defining a training plan for myself for running to
strategically improve performance. This will include defining a true recovery
plan after runs and workouts. Plus I will work to apply this outside of my
fitness life and work to be more deliberate and planful in other areas of my
life including at work.
3. Experiment: I want to experiment more in 2020
with how I approach my blog and social media presence in hopes to make them
more impactful and easier to manage. I’d like to see my social followers
increase and become more interactive. I’d like to work on trying to conduct a
couple of meetups / events to help people with their goals. I would also like
to convert one of my many book ideas into reality even if that just means
launching another eBook.
4. What’s Next? I also want to start thinking
about what my next big goal is that I want to achieve in my life. The others
have been pretty rewarding and I have defeated poverty, obesity and mediocrity
so far and am ready for the next.
I have so many areas
of appreciation that it is hard to limit, but here goes.
1. My wife Liz. Liz has always been my biggest
supporter in life and that continues with my fitness journey. She is the one
who gets to hear me talk about it every day and has got to be tired of it but
continues to listen. She is my editor in many ways including editing my book
but also listening to my half-brained ideas and helps make them better. I love
her and don’t know what I would do without her.
2. My team of experts. I continue to be super
appreciative of the experts who help me with my journey. Starting with my
trainer, and now friend, Teresa who helps me achieve new levels of performance
while being a huge supporter and advocate for me. Then there is my doctor Charlie
who helps me be safe and is a good reality check for me when needed. Plus my
team of experts includes all of those people who give advice, tips, tricks and
insight on how to improve my running and lifting performance and such. Finally
my experts include the countless servers and bartenders who help me tailor my
restaurant choices to fit my fitness needs “how big is the portion
size”, “how is that prepared”, “what other options do you
have for sides”, “can you leave the xyz off that”, “can I
do a half portion” and the countless other special requests that have been
honored for me are appreciated beyond belief!
3. My supporters. I really appreciate all of those
people who say kind words of support to me and those who stay interested and
curious about my journey. I can’t tell you how much it continues to motivate me
to have people say things like “I am so proud of you” and “wow,
you are looking great” and “how was your race this weekend” and
other such things even when I know they are sometimes just being nice. One
friend and coworker, Deanna, has been particularly supportive and I can’t thank
4. My readers, followers and those I have helped.
I appreciate all of the people who read my writing (my book, blogs, etc.) and
follow me on social media particularly those who interact to let me know that
what I am producing matters to you. I am especially appreciative of those of
you who I have inspired to start your own journey or that I have helped achieve
your goals along the way. I am honored that something I have said, done or
shared has been beneficial to you.
There you have it!
This is my 2019 year-in-review retrospective. As I look toward 2020 I am
excited for another year of wins, struggles, learning and transformation. Just
think where we will all be at the end of the next decade!
Thanks so much for
reading. I hope that my experiences and my tips can help you achieve your own
big goals. If we work together we can build a world where goals never die of