Fitness Quest: Early Lessons Learned


Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 10.11.26 AM Fitness Quest is a weekly column in which the journey of losing 90 pounds is chronicled online in hopes of helping other people as well as providing a catalyst for motivation.

Find Patterns in the Data

During previous attempts at dieting, I struggled at various points. Tracking my weight with Weight Watchers showed this but I never understood why because the data was not very thorough. I just knew there were ups and downs. Using a wearable tech device gave me more thorough analytics and a pattern became immediately visible. Through the first eighteen days of my quest, I lost 16 pounds. On the eighteenth day, I came in at a low calorie count and limited myself to two apples and peanut butter for dinner. The next day, though, I gained back over a pound. How was that possible?

The Weekend Trap

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 10.31.27 AMI looked back over the trends and noticed a few things. While my work and home life lead to sedentary habits, some weekends were my worst in terms of physical activity. That was absolutely the case on July 27. That morning, I lost two pounds and surged past the 15 pound milestone. Then I came downstairs, wrote an article, began repairing a computer, did  some research for products for my other site, Gearadelphia and began outlining and developing my first iOS application in PhoneGap. As a result, my activity plunged. I  took a mere 948 steps the entire day. It was the least amount that I walked since starting the diet and I did not burn nearly enough calories.

Sleep Habits

The night of July 27, my wife and I decided to binge watch some shows we liked. We stayed up well past midnight flipping through the DVR and Amazon Video. I knew I was tired earlier on but pushed through. By the time we went to bed, I reached that “too tired to fall asleep phase.” I tossed and turned quite a bit. It was my second straight night of staying up late and, earlier that day, I was dozing off in the middle of the afternoon. By the time I fell asleep, my quality of sleep was pretty low and I woke up around 6:00 a.m. The poor sleep killed my motivation to be active, slowed down my brain and lead to making some poor decisions.

The Importance of Water

I always considered myself to be a big water drinker. It did not seem like a big deal that I would drink iced tea and orange juice as long as I kept drinking water. Delusional, right? Cutting out everything but water and upping my intake of H2O made it so much easier to stay full and shed pounds quickly.

Avoid Complacency

When I hit the milestones of losing 10 and 15 pounds, I ended up having bad days. I was losing around an average of a pound per day in the beginning and it was easy to think that one bad day could easily be erased by one good day. That was never the case. As soon as I hit a milestone, I had to play catch up over the next three or so days just to get back to even. It did not take much to get off track. There was never a day when I ate fast food or anything like that. Opting for a wheat bagel with egg and cheese over a high fiber cereal or eating late at night — even just some fruit — was enough to screw things up.

Trick Yourself

When I started dieting, all of my clothes were tight on me. In no time, they became loose and baggy. It made me feel good. The now oversized shirts hung off of me rather than clinging to me. I liked it but it made me feel like I was suddenly thin and in good shape. Clearly, that was not the case. Wearing my belt a little bit tighter, finding some packed-away clothes that were a little smaller reminded me that I still had a long way to go. Additionally, wearing athletically branded t-shirts at home — hello, City Sports! — reinvigorated me and made me feel like I was part of a healthier culture. It seems ridiculous, I know, but it worked. What tips do you have and lessons have you learned along the way?

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Starting Weight: 278
Current Weight: 253.8

Marcello C. De Feo

Founder and co-ownerr at Untied Magazine
Marcello De Feo started blogging in 2002 as a way to promote his band and stay in touch with friends back east when he lived in Colorado. Over the years, he has owned and run many blogs, the most notable of which was the now defunct FlyersFaithful.com. He currently runs PattisonAve.com, UntiedMag.com and Gearadelphia.com.
  • Nina G.

    Oh no a data nerd! Heh. That’s great it was able to help you figure out what areas needed improving. I feel like I am struggling in these same exact areas recently so your column has helped me realize where i am slipping. I think a part of my problem is I tell myself at least I am not eating junk/unhealthy food when I make a poor decision with eating (such as not eating enough at breakfast and/or lunch which leads to more snacking later), but it just ends up justifying my poor decision. It’s good to know where we can improve!

    • http://gearadelphia.com/ Marcello

      That’s exactly the problem I had and I do hope this helps! Some day, maybe I’ll invent dieting #FancyStats.