Weight Loss Diaries: Learning to Live in Moderation

This week, weight loss diarist Frankie Martinez Blanco discovers that working out can actually be enjoyable.

Frankie admits he isn’t proud of his regular 2 AM pizzas from Pizza Boli’s. Photograph courtesy of Pizza Boli’s Facebook page.

I know what you’re thinking: “Why is this guy trying to lose weight? He doesn’t seem overweight.” And you’d be right, if weight loss and health consisted of just the physical component. With my habits, I knew I was anything but a healthy, skinny person.

Work keeps me on the road most weeks of the year, which often means tons of unhealthy hors d’oeuvres at events and A LOT of fast food runs. (My fast food binges got so bad this year that I even created a “fast food bingo” game. Sadly, I won on a pretty regular basis.) On top of that, during my short time in the city, I’d try to cram in as many happy hours and nights out with friends as I could before I had to leave for another trip. Those outings inevitably led to a medium pepperoni pizza from Pizza Boli’s for late-night munchies. In October, I started biking to work, thinking it was enough to keep me at my current weight. But once the holidays came around, my habits just kept getting worse, and I realized my routine wasn’t sustainable. Something had to change.

Frankie’s Weight Tracker:

Starting: 168 pounds

Current: 164.1 pounds

Goal: 155 to 158 pounds

“When was the last time you went to a gym?” Will Noel, my trainer for the month, asked me when we met at Mint on Wednesday night. I was embarrassed to admit that I had only gone to the gym maybe twice since July. I went over my past exercise routine, and right away he exclaimed, “I know what’s wrong and why you stopped going. You were bored, plain and simple.”

“Could it really be that simple?” I asked myself.

We proceeded to the free-weight area, and I showed him my exercise routine. Then he did something I hadn’t imagined possible: He made my workout something I could see myself doing every day. By taking my past routine and tweaking it with new additions that targeted sections of the body I wasn’t training before, he kept me moving from station to station. More important, it kept me entertained. Instead of plain crunches, add bicycle crunches and side planks to the mix. Instead of just targeting your upper body every day, mix half upper body exercises with half core exercises.

“What about cardio?” Will asked.

“I used to do 30 minutes on the treadmill at 7 to 8 miles per hour,” I said proudly.

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“Not good enough,” he told me. “Do this instead: Warm up for two minutes at 4 miles per hour, then alternate between 12 and 4.5 miles per hour every other minute for 20 to 25 minutes. This way, you get more bang for your buck, since at your original speeds you should have really been running for 45 minutes for it to be effective.”

Now for the main event: my diet. Even before I started this weight loss journey, I had already decided to start eating better. No more 2 AM pizzas or skipping meals for me. But down came the gauntlet from Will: “You have to stop drinking Hoegaarden.”

I usually drank three to four a night when I went out, which meant more than 700 extra calories. Will told me to drink only one or two light beers or gin and sodas per night. “But,” he added, “you can only go out twice a week max for this to work.”

And he was right! This past week, I stuck to all of his great advice—I only went out twice, and did a ten-mile bike ride on Sunday on top of my usual workout during the week—and I’ve already lost 3.9 pounds.

But now comes week two. Stay tuned!

Frankie’s Weight Loss Plan

1) 20 to 25 minutes of high-intensity interval running on the treadmill four times a week.
2) 30 to 40 minutes of weight training four times a week (upper body and core exercise shuffle each day).
3) Light cardio on the weekend.
5) Avoid wheat beers (and extra nights out)
6. Dinner before 8 PM and no food afterward (that means you, Pizza Boli’s!).

Track Frankie’s weight loss journey every Thursday during the month of January. Follow him on Twitter at @djlawphin