Work in Progress: Robbie, Vol 1

This is the first ever installment of my Works in Progress series.  Each individual featured is beginning or continuing their weight loss journey and sharing their road with us.  I urge you all to follow their journeys, share yours, and then we can all cheer each other on.  As Real Life Biggest Loser, Mike Bauman put it:  It takes a village to raise a healthy person.  Let FUdiet be the Town Square in our healthy village.

Meet Robbie.  From an all time high weight of 355, he’s gotten himself down to 297. He wants to push forward to the other side of 200 lbs.  To me he’s a Real Life Biggest Loser, but he still feels like a Work in Progress.  Here is his story…

How much do you weigh now? 297 lbs

How much weight do you want to lose? 117 lbs

WHY do you want to lose this much weight? 180 pounds is probably my ideal weight.

How would you feel if you lost half this amount but kept it off forever? I could live with losing 60 pounds.  I know it will get harder to lose weight the closer I get to my goal so maybe my motivation won’t be as strong.

WHY do you want to lose weight at all? There are many reasons.  Obviously, health.  I want to see my two daughters grow up and have families of their own.  My self confidence suffers because of how I see myself.  It was humiliating when I flew to Austin, Texas a year and half ago and I had to ask for a seatbelt extension.  Then on the flight back home the lady sitting next to me asked if I would move to another seat because she is claustrophobic.  Maybe she would’ve asked me to move even if I was thin, we’ll never know.

On a scale from 0 (no confidence at all) to 10 (extremely confident), how confident are you that you can lose the weight? 10 for losing another 60 or 70 pounds and I’d say only a 3 that I’ll actually get down to 180 pounds.

On a scale from 0 (not at all difficult) to 10 (extremely difficult), how difficult will it be to lose this weight? So far I’ve made some new habits, gotten into some good routines and it’s been fairly easy since.  At first it was definitely a 10, when I was trying to dial in my nutrition.  I had some bad days when I haven’t eaten enough.  Now I think it’s about a 5.

What motivates you the most? The mirror and the scale.  People close to me love me no matter what, I’m confident in that.  I don’t feel the same way about myself.  I get frustrated if I gain a pound or two even though my weight can naturally fluctuate from morning until bed time.  I’ve been told not to weigh myself more than once a week but I do it every day anyway.

How long do you think it will take you to lose this much weight? In my imagination I’ll do it in about 12 months but I think the more weight I lose the more difficult it might be, so to lose all of the weight will probably take quite a bit longer.

Tell us a little about how things have been going so far. I really feel good about my progress so far. I feel like I’m in a good place. I used to snack all of the time.  I had certain times during the day when I’d pass a 7-11 and I’d go in and get a soda and a candy bar even if I wasn’t actually hungry for it.  I don’t do that anymore.  When I do snack now it’s usually a banana or something like that.

How much weight, if any, have you lost so far?  I’ve lost almost 50 pounds since last summer.  About 60 since my all-time highest weight of 355 back in August 2009. When I decided to start counting calories the weight just started to fall off.

If you have tried to lose weight before and you either didn’t lose much or you gained it back, what went wrong?  My diet.  I started riding a bicycle in August 2009.  I love it and I burn a ton of calories doing it but when I wasn’t riding I was still eating, especially in the winter.  So when I parked the bike the pounds started to stack up again.

What is the hardest part about losing weight for you?  I love food.  I’m not big on candy so much but meat and potatoes are a part of my personality.  It’s difficult to eat something healthy but feel like hadn’t eaten anything at all.  Does that make sense?  The act of eating is important to me.

Tell us about your diet. What is the toughest part about dieting?  Not getting enough nourishment.  It’s an Achilles heal.  When I’m feeling peckish, sometimes I just want to not feel hungry and I might eat anything.  Dialing in my calorie intake so I had enough and wasn’t tempted to binge has been difficult.

Tell us about your exercise. Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle.  So far this year I’ve ridden about 500 miles.  That’s a lot for it only being the first half of March.  I give myself 60 calories per mile.  That’s kind of an arbitrary number.  I think I may burn a bit more but using that number has worked so far and has helped me keep a calorie deficit.  I know at some point I’ll have to lower that number.

Tell me about your relationship with exercise? Love it, hate it, on again/off again? As long as it’s fun I’ll do it.  Everything else I’ve tried that I haven’t liked, I quit.  That’s the key, it has to be fun.

Who has been helpful to you on your weight loss journey?  I’ve been cultivating a support system using Facebook and twitter. is a great tool that helps my track my calories and get support from others doing the same thing.

What part of the whole process do you need help with most?  Weekends are terrible.  I hate dieting on weekends.  Being home where my cupboards and refrigerator are full is really difficult.

What questions would you like to ask to a Real Life Biggest Loser?  Did you lose all of the weight you originally intended to and how was it when you decided you had done enough?

I sent your question to Scott Tremaine, one of FUdiet’s Real Life Biggest Losers and host of Who Has the Runs Scott said:

I did not actually reach the target weight I had set for myself, but I often set goals for myself that are almost unobtainable. However, remember the adage “If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it’s OK. But you’ve got to shoot for something. A lot of people don’t even shoot.”   As for how I decided that I had “done enough”, it was came down to how I felt about myself. I was under 200 lbs, I was running 4 times a week, I looked good and felt great. Most importantly though, I felt that I had reached the point where my lifestyle change would remain permanent. It does no good to loose all the weight if I’m just going to go back to my old eating habits and lazy lifestyle. I like to tell myself that fitness is a journey not a destination.

What questions would you like to ask me?  How much of a calorie deficit can I maintain without causing harm to myself?  I want to get the maximum results, but, obviously, I don’t want to hurt myself in the process. Are there signs that I should be aware of that I’m not getting enough nourishment?

My response:  It is best to strike a net calories of 500-1000 less than your basal metabolic rate each day. See this post for more details.  Do not go below that and be sure you are eliminating the calories via both exercise and diet.  Be patient.  The best pace of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week–no more than.  Any more than that and your metabolism may slow down and this is when your body begins to work against you.  Unfortunately, the more quickly you lose weight, the higher the chance it will return.  I also recommend a balanced diet that is high in fiber (>30 grams per day) and never going more than 3-4 hours without eating something (except after bedtime).  The latter will keep both your appetite and blood sugar at an even keel all day.

If we want to follow your journey, how do we find you?  I’ve started a Facebook page called “A Pound Against Cancer”.  I’m raising money for LIVESTRONG to help fight cancer by asking people to donate $1 per pound that I lose.  So far I’ve raised $525.  You can find it at

Thank you Robbie for sharing your story.  As Scott put it, it is great to reach for the stars, but what you have accomplished so far has already done wonders for your health.  Keep going and appreciate everyday that you are already healthier. 

Look for an upcoming post this week on FUdiet for more about setting weight loss goals.

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  1. Stefani says:

    I am so proud of my hubby! GO ROBBIE!


  2. R. Bauman says:

    What a great story. Congrats to Robbie – he’s a real inspiration for so many out there who want to lose weight the real way, the HARD way, and the only way that it can be done with lasting results. Keep it up Robbie – it’ll be great to see where you’re at in 12 months (or maybe even sooner?)!! Note to Dr. Sherry – love this ‘Work in Progress’ series, cause lets face it – we all are!!

  3. Susan says:

    Way to go Robbie! I’m so proud of you.

    Dr. Sherry – thanks for profiling my brother. It inspires me!

  4. Deb says:

    Robbie – thank you for sharing your story. You are doing great & really are an inspiration. So glad you are documenting this. It will help me, too. Looking forward to following the journey.

  5. Barbara says:

    I love this! Robbie is an amazing person…..full of life! He helped me through some rough spots on a LIVESTRONG ride we did last summer….and had me laughing all 45 miles. I am so proud of him taking on this challenge and in the process raising funds to honor his sister. Proud to call him my friend and thrilled he is a fellow plankaday’er. Thanks Sherry for sharing his story!

  6. Crystal says:

    Way to Robbie. Your story is very inspiring and I wish you all the luck. I’m an every day weigher-in myself. I find it really helps to keep me focussed and on track.

  7. Susan Bakke says:

    What a great story! Robbie you will inspire others as you continue on your journey..Your attitude, committment and tenacity is remarkable. Its take hard work and its not easy for sure..Its a total lifestyle change and you are proving that it works!!!way to go!!

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