Allow me to be immodest for a moment.
I’ve worked pretty hard this year to get fit, and I’m finally starting to see the result. I like it. By chance, I’ve posed for three photographers in 2010, about four months apart. That means I have visual documentation of my progress, which I’m proudly sharing below.
January 1st – 213 pounds (35% body fat, 30% muscle)
photo by J.D. Roth
At the start of the year, I weighed more than I ever had in my life. And I felt awful. I couldn’t sleep. Walking uphill to my office was taxing. I was stressed, and I ate to cope with it. It wasn’t good. I resolved to make 2010 the Year of Fitness, but I was slow to start. Here’s how I looked on our jungle vacation in late February:
April 1st – 207 pounds (33% body fat, 31% muscle)
photos by Gabby Francis
My first photo session this year was with Gabby Francis, a Get Rich Slowly reader who e-mailed offering to take my photo. Gabby works as a production assistant in television, but wants to branch out into photography. She was very patient with me, and it was fun to chat with her while we worked. But I was more than a little uncomfortable. I hated how I looked and felt. In three months of trying, I’d lost only four pounds.
I’ve been using this as my primary publicity photo.
Let’s be very clear: I hate how heavy I am in these photos.
This is me trying to be happy. It was tough.
July 23rd – 187 pounds (27% body fat, 34% muscle)
photos by David Hobby
You’ll remember David Hobby from my tale of win-win conflict resolution: I stole one of his photos from the web; he suggested a creative solution for restitution, and ever since we’ve been supporting each other. He’s a good guy. He’s also a pro, running Strobist, a giant among photo blogs.
When David told me he was going to be in Portland and wondered if he could shoot some photos of me, I was happy to agree. I’d lost 20 pounds since the photo shoot with Gabby, which allowed me to feel more relaxed in front of the camera.
David’s a pro. I like that he specifically told me not to smile.
“How about something at the table with you rolling pennies?” David asked. “Like a LOT of ’em.”
“Would it be too much trouble to have you take a photo of both of us?” Kris asked.
Aside from the fact that I chose to wear the same shirts for David as I did for Gabby (what was I thinking?), I like how these turned out. I was still heavy, but the weight loss was starting to become apparent.
November 18th – 175 pounds (24% body fat, 36% muscle)
photos by Amy Jo Woodruff
My friend Amy Jo is an editor — but she wants to be a photographer when she grows up. After seeing her photos of Lisa, I agreed to pose for her too. This was my favorite photo shoot so far. I haven’t yet lost all of the weight I want to lose, but I’ve shed most of it. I no longer have those chubby cheeks or the bags under my eyes!
“You can’t sit there,” said Amy Jo. “There’s a weird light across your eyes.” Psycho-killer!
Now officially my favorite photo of myself. I can retire the one I’ve been using since 1999.
Amy Jo asked me to list fourteen words that I feel best describe me. I gave her this list:
- Adventurous – I love to try new things.
- Creative – I love to make new things.
- Curious – I love to learn new things.
- Evolving – I’m a different man today than I was yesterday.
- Independent – I make and act on my own decisions.
- Intelligent – I am smart.
- Playful – I like to joke and jest.
- Positive – I look on the bright side.
- Resourceful – I search for ways to get things done.
- Sociable – I enjoy the company of others.
- Tenacious – I pursue my goals with vigor
- Unguarded – I share myself freely, and I accept the word of others.
- Versatile – I am good at many things.
- Zealous – I’m passionate about my friends and hobbies.
“It’s funny,” she said as we were walking to the park. “Whenever adults do this exercise, all of their words are positive.”
I laughed. “Yeah,” I said. “Kris told me that she could think of some other words to describe me. Like ‘obsessed’. I told her that’s why ‘zealous’ is on the list.”
I have negative attributes, just like everyone else. I’m sure you all could name them. But I don’t think it’s productive to dwell on them. Instead, I like to focus on my strengths, and let those guide my life. Dwelling on the negative is a sure path to misery. I don’t want to be miserable.
Welcome to middle age, my friend.
I love in-jokes. This one’s for all of those who’ve read Foldedspace since the beginning.
So, to summarize: Since the start of the year:
- I’ve lost 40 pounds.
- I’ve dropped from 35% body fat to 24% body fat.
- I’ve increased my muscle mass from 30% to 36%.
- I no longer use my C-PAP machine.
- I can run faster and farther than I ever have in my life.
- I can lift more weight, too.
- And most of the time, I don’t crave ice cream. (Just don’t look at my work area right now, though!)
My physical transformation hasn’t happened by chance. It’s taken hard work and dedication. But I’m starting to believe I really have made a lifestyle change. I want to exercise more now, not less. It sucks when I don’t get a workout in. (And somedays, like I hope to do tomorrow, I actually work out twice.)
So, do I think Crossfit works? Hell, yeah!
Maybe if I keep it up, when I’m 91 I can be like Olga Kotelko.