20/20 Lifestyles Wrap-Up (with Video)

I made it! I completed the two complete phases of the 20/20 Lifestyles Program, and I’m pretty proud to say that I KICKED. ITS. ASS!!!! Watch the video below for my recap, and/or continue reading further down for the details!

Today was my final program appointment with my physician, Dr. Doyle Perkins – though I will be meeting with him every 10 weeks hereafter to check-in and continue to measure my progress and assess any needs I have as pertains to my weight or fitness. Last week I went through my final round of tests on the program – including having my bloodwork run, strength and flexibility tests, and my DEXA body composition scan.

First up were my program before & after photos:
beforeafter_jun2014
Whoooooaaaaa… look at that side view! We are always are own harshest critics, and I sometimes feel like I’m just as big as ever, but there’s no denying that I’m considerably smaller than I was back in September. I’ve lost a large number of inches around my body – more around than I am tall, in fact. Look, I made a table!

Initial End P1 End P2 Total loss
Neck 16″ 13.75″ 13.25″ -2.75″
Chest 54.75″ 46.5″ 43.75″ -11″
Waist 51″ 39.5″ 36″ -15″
Hips 57.25″ 49″ 46″ -11.25″
Right Arm (Bicep) 19″ 15″ 14″ -5″
Right Leg (Thigh) 36″ 28″ 24″ -12″

If I’ve done the math correctly (chances are that I haven’t), that adds up to 57 inches total! And if you double my arm and thigh values for actuals, it’s like 74 inches. Over six feet of space gone from my body overall. NUTS!

Next up is a table of some of my other metrics:

Initial P1 End P2 End Change
Weight (lbs) 266 210 191 -75 lbs!
Body Fat % 61.3 50.0 43.2 -18.1%
Lean Body Mass (lbs) 103 105 109 +6 lbs!
Cholesterol 185 182 154 -31
Triglycerides 103 77 69 -34
LDL 119 124 100 -19
HDL 45 43 40 -5
Glucose 104 84 82 -22
BP 126/82 114/68 106/66 -20/-16

Everything’s going in the right direction there, except for my HDL (healthy cholesterol), which I need to try to get to 50 according to Dr. Perkins.

My favorite part is the lean muscle mass. According to the DEXA scan, I’ve gained something on the order of 6 lbs of muscle. I don’t have anything to compare this to, but when I started on the program they told me the strength training component of my workouts were designed to prevent me from LOSING muscle mass, which I’m told is common among women losing large amounts of weight. So the fact that I did more than maintain my muscle and that I, in fact, increased my muscle, is something to celebrate. Doc said my fat loss was something like 81 lbs instead of just 75, factoring in my lean gains. And both the assessor and my doctor mused that it was the largest body fat percentage loss/muscle gain they remembered seeing in a female on the program, so I’m pretty proud of that!

The muscle mass increase explains my strength test results. My bicep curl back in September showed me able to curl 35 lbs. Last week, I curled 54 lbs. My flexibility result was perhaps the most of a letdown. My “sit and reach” back in September was 9.6 inches, and last week it was a mere 7.7 inches. The assessor said it wasn’t uncommon, buuuut, I don’t believe her. I haven’t been doing as much stretching as I should in recent months. And MAYBE I was wearing Spanx to my final appointment. That might have had something to do with the negative result 😉 In any case, increased flexibility is always something to shoot for.

So yeah, I’m feeling pretty damned good about my overall program results. What’s more, I feel confident that I will be able to maintain my efforts and keep losing more as time goes on. I recommend the 20/20 Lifestyles program to those with the financial means to do so. It’s not an inexpensive program. And while my insurance covers half of it, it’s still a lot of money out of pocket (or out of our health savings account, which is a nice perk as well). I’ve gone through all sorts of different weight loss programs, but this was really the most comprehensive, and I think that approach is what’s really required for long-term lifestyle change. I feel deeply changed in ways that I never thought possible, and I’m excited about the next stage of my personal journey. Hope you’ll continue to follow along!

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End of Phase 1 Update Extravaganza

Blargh! Let me start this update post by mentioning that I’m SICK – yet again! I woke up on Wednesday morning with a crazy bad raw throat, and have been working ever since to try to feel better. I’m happy to report that the throat rawness is gone, but it’s been supplanted by a cough and generic cold symptoms. I’m an icky mess, so I’m drinking lots of water, trying to keep my nutrition in the right place, and laying off the workouts for now. Which sucks ‘cuz the weather’s actually nice now. Again: blargh! Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

This marks my first week on Phase 2 of the 20/20 Lifestyles program, and within this last week I had all my end of Phase 1 testing and other fun stuff: blood work, measurements, body composition testing (DEXA), updated progress photos, and a meeting with my program doctor. I couldn’t isolate one that was more important to me than any other – I was looking forward to it all!

Let’s start some tables, shall we?

Initial 5-wk 10-wk 15-wk 20-wk 24-wk Total
Weight (lbs) 266 255.2 237 227.6 218.6 210 -56 lbs
Blood Pressure 126/82 114/68 112/64 118/74 114/68 -12/-14
Neck 16″ 14.5″ 14.25″ 14″ 14″ 13.75″ -2.25″
Chest 54.75″ 51.5″ 50″ 48.75″ 47.75″ 46.5″ -8.25″
Waist 51″ 44.25″ 43″ 41″ 40″ 39.5″ -11.5″
Hips 57.25″ 54.5″ 52.5″ 51.75″ 50″ 49″ -8.25″
Right Arm (Bicep) 19″ 17″ 16.5″ 16.5″ 15.5″ 15″ -4″
Right Leg (Thigh) 36″ 30″ 29.25″ 29.5″ 29″ 28″ -8″

 

Those are the measurements. That’s a total of 42.25 inches – gone! Amazing. Let’s have another table, this time focused on my DEXA body composition scan results:

Phase 1 Start End Total Change
BMI 48.6 38.4 -10.2 pts
Fat % 61.3 50.0 -11.3 %
Fat Lbs 156.8 103.8 -53 lbs
Lean Muscle Lbs 98.9 103.9 +5 lbs!

 

As you can see at still 50% fat I have a long way to go. And I’m thrilled to see that I GAINED five pounds of lean muscle mass. Apparently it doesn’t happen often on this program during Phase 1, and any strength training is done mainly to prevent lean muscle loss as well as fat loss. So color me stoked about that. And let me just say, people: do not trust your home scales’ body fat measurements! They are wildly inaccurate. For example, my home scale’s fat percentage shows me down in the 30’s (between 34 and 37).

Lastly, let’s look at my blood work results:

Phase 1 Start End Total Change
Cholesterol 185 182 -3
HDL 45 43 -2
LDL 119 124 +5
Triglycerides 103 77 -26
Fasting Glucose 104 84 -20

 

My cholesterol started mostly in the normal ranges, however it’s perplexing that my healthy (HDL) cholesterol went down while my bad (LDL) cholesterol went up. Though I am eating more eggs and animal protein sources now than I was before I started. My doctor wasn’t concerned and said just to keep plugging away at it, and that he’d like to see me above 50 for my HDL. My triglycerides came down a bunch though, which is good. And he did heap a big bunch of praise on the fact that I dropped my fasting glucose down to below 100. No more pre-diabetes for me!

And now for everyone’s favorite part: PROGRESS PHOTOS!

Phase 1 Progress Photo

Now we’re seeing some changes, aren’t we? We’re each our own worst critics, and I definitely fall prey to that mentality, but look at that side view! I can’t argue with that sort of visible success. I’m getting smaller. My measurements show it, my photos show it, and my clothing sizes reflect it. Now if my mind would get in on the fun as well we’ll be golden!

My Phase 2 goal is to get to ONEDERLAND, or under 200 pounds, for those of you out of the know about such vernacular. Pretty sure I have that dialed. I’m in my first of twelve weeks total on Phase 2, and while I’m starting it off on not the best footing (by being sick), I have high hopes. My trainer would like to see me down into the 180’s, but I tell her she’s crazy. But is she? We’ll see!

Weigh-In Update and 20-Week Measurements

Hi y’all! Betcha thought I had forgotten about this blog, as it’s been A WHOLE WEEK since my last update. Too long. Lots has been going on so I’ll get right to it.

This Monday my trainer surprised me with my 20-week measurements. I never know when these assessments are going to happen (to the specific day, that is), so it’s always a sort of happy surprise. It eats into my cardio time, but whatevs.

Initial 5-week 10-week 15-week 20-week Total
Weight 266 lbs 255.2 lbs 237 lbs 227.6 lbs 218.6 lbs -47.4 lbs
Blood Pressure 126/82 114/68 112/64 118/74
Neck 16″ 14.5″ 14.25″ 14″ 14″ -2″
Chest 54.75″ 51.5″ 50″ 48.75″ 47.75″ -7″
Waist 51″ 44.25″ 43″ 41″ 40″ -11″
Hips 57.25″ 54.5″ 52.5″ 51.75″ 50″ -7.25″
Right Arm (Bicep) 19″ 17″ 16.5″ 16.5″ 15.5″ -3.5″
Right Leg (Thigh) 36″ 30″ 29.25″ 29.5″ 29″ -7″

If you add up all the inches lost, it comes to 37.75 inches. That’s over THREE FEET, people! Believe me, I quadruple-checked my math, because I’m crazy-bad at it, but the figure is correct. That’s… well… astounding.  I’m holding my hands three feet apart right now and GEEZ that’s a lot of space.

At some point I’m due to have my official Phase 1 completion assessment which includes a DEXA scan for body fat measurement, some blood work, a few strength and flexibility tests, and an updated progress photo. Not 100% sure when that will be happening, as I’ve been “gifted” 4 additional weeks of Phase 1 by the program management. So it could be soon, or next month sometime. I’m really eager to see how my body fat percentage has decreased. I really hope I’ve preserved (or gained) lean or muscle mass and have mainly lost fat pounds.

In other news, I had another weigh-in on Tuesday, but this one has a bit of a story wrapped around it, so bear with me while I explain. See, the weather on Tuesday was forecast to be beautiful. Here in Seattle the winter months, or really all the seasons except summer, are pretty depressing. Overcast, rainy – it leaves us starved of Vitamin D and kinda moody. This Southern California girl, especially. So when the sun peeks out from behind the clouds it’s always a festive occasion. It had been a few weeks since I’ve been able to get out on my bike, so I decided that Tuesday morning, before my weigh-in appointment, I would take advantage of the dry weather and get some saddle time.

The thing is, usually on my weigh-in days I participate in a bit of “intermittent fasting”. That’s my delicate way of saying I don’t eat or drink anything before my weigh-in. I’m not a proponent of this behavior, but that’s what I did to begin with, and it’s been a difficult mental hurdle to not continue. Eating beforehand would add a few pounds to the scale, and I’ve regretfully been enslaved to the desire to see LOSS at that official weigh-in. But my desire to ride on Tuesday, I’m very relieved to say, overrode that disordered thinking and I knew that if I wanted to ride with any gusto, I was going to need to fuel myself. I ate my eggs and toast and tea, and hydrated plentifully, knowing that I would likely not show a loss from last week, and likely a gain.

Scenes from my Tuesday morning ride

Scenes from my Tuesday morning ride (click image for detail shot)

The ride itself was, while not as great as my first trail ride, still a solid effort. It felt HARDER this time. My legs felt heavier, and I could feel a sense of fatigue much more strongly. I’m guessing I had A LOT of feel-good hormones happening on ride #1 that made things feel better overall. I decided to not push things too far and turned around at about 3.25 miles, giving me a total of 6.7 miles (see my ride report on Strava!). The ground was also still wet from recent rains, and I spent a lot of time peeling earthworm bits from my tires, brakes, and other components once I got home. GROSS! I think the worst part of the ride experience was that I LEFT MY FITBIT ON ITS CHARGER AT HOME!!!?!??  What. A. Tragedy! All those thousands of steps, never counting for anything 😛 All that aside, I’m still eager to ride more, and hope the weather decides to give us some nice days a few times each week.

Now back to my weigh-in. The scale registered at 217, up 0.4 lbs from last week’s weight. Not as bad as I expected, frankly. Before my dietitian had a chance to ask me too many questions (if I happen to have a slow loss week, she has a tendency to gently grill me for possible explanations, which is one of my few pet peeves about the program – but, ultimately, I get it), I proactively told her about my morning activities. It was still a bit of a mind-game for me. Maybe I wasn’t explaining to her, but I was trying to explain to ME. In any case, I congratulated myself on making a decision based in HEALTH vs. in a numerical dependency.

A few more wins from Tuesday and yesterday: after my weigh-in I had lunch, which was the 20/20 Chicken Vegetable Pizza from the Pro Sports Club bistro. Usually I eat the entire thing for a total of 490 calories, but I was pretty satisfied after half so I asked for a box and kept the remainder for my afternoon snack. Then I treated myself to an hour-long massage, which was even better because I had a gift certificate for it, so it was  FREE! I love massages. For years I denied myself the luxury because I was worried about exposing my body to someone, but I’m over it now. Wednesday it was again gorgeous outside, and I smiled all the way to my gym appointment, played some basketball with my trainer, and tried to figure out what I would do with the rest of my day. NO WAY was I going to spend it all indoors.

Juanita Beach Park from a stroll in 2010.

Juanita Beach Park from a stroll in 2010.

I settled on taking the dog for a walk at the recently-renovated Juanita Beach Park at the north-east end of Lake Washington. It’s a gorgeous little waterfront park with paved walkways and a wraparound wooden pier that lets you lap onto the lake over and over and over. I got up over 13k steps. Wanted to get to 20k, but by the time I made five revolutions or so both the pup and I had had enough and waddled our way back to the car.

It was a great couple of days, and I’m keeping my head and mood up as much as I can. Things are going great on this path to health and wellness and I’m really proud of myself. I even signed up for my first 5K run/walk this weekend: the Kirkland Shamrock Run. The plan is to mainly walk, but jog or run when I feel I can. My goal is to get an 18-minute mile. Nothing extravagant but still challenging for me. I’ll make sure to do a complete write-up once I’ve completed it.

Week 15 Measurements

Got my 15-week measurements done last Friday! Below are the results. Brackets show total loss since September of 2013.

Weight: 227.6 lbs [-38.2 lbs]
Neck: 14″ [-2]
Chest: 48.75″ [-6]
Waist: 41″ [-10]
Hip: 51.75″ [-5.5]
Bicep: 16.5″ [-2.5]
Thigh: 29.5″ [-6.5]

That’s a total of 32.5 inches down from those 6 areas! I’m a whopping 10 (T-E-N!) INCHES DOWN from my waist alone. Holy crap, that’s nearly a foot! Now, if you were to look at my Week 10 measurement results, you would see some weirdness with the bicep and thigh measurements, but my trainer assured me that those will be different based on who is doing the measuring (they are supposed to measure the length of each segment and use the circumference of the exact middle, but placement differs based on the measurer, I guess??), and not to be discouraged. Okay, then!

I’ll be meeting with my program physician tomorrow for him to review the results with me, and I expect more back-patting and aggrandizement. I haven’t had any physical setbacks this period, though I should probably mention that I’m getting into cycling and having all sorts of weird pains pop up. Overall a good show so far.