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Well, as of today, Brian's weightloss journey has taken us through 365 crazy days. We've had good times and hard times. It's been a trip for sure. It's not over yet, but what a wild start it has been!

This is going to involve a LOT of words and a LOT of photos... so sit back and strap in! I feel like we have so much to say that I'm afraid we'll either say too much or leave out important things!

He and I get asked a LOT of questions about how he did it. Most of the time when you tell someone diet and exercise, they realize this isn't what they wanted to hear and don't want to know any more. There are a lot of people who do want to know more though. So we're writing this blog to give everyone our side of the story :)

On average, Brian tried to maintain between 1,500-2000 calories a day. When he first began, he was eating 2,500 to start. He slowly started lowering the number as he lost more and more.
We had a lot of help from My Fitness Pal. The program is a great tool! We use their app on our phones. Basically, you enter your food and exercise. It tracks your calorie intake and when you exercise, it subtracts those calories from your net amount. So if you have a 2,000 calorie goal and you've eaten that much for the day, but you work out and burn 400 calories, you can then eat 400 more calories worth of food without going over your daily goal. At some point, you start to really put your faith in the calculator and you feel bad if you go over your goal and you exercise because if you do- you get to reward yourself with that bowl of sherbet!

You hear all the time that you have to eat to lose weight. And it's true. Starving yourself is not helping yourself. Your results will be unhealthy, not lasting and frustrating. We try to eat every 2 hours. Breakfast to start, this is the most important meal of the day for sure. If you don't start with a good breakfast, you're likely to graze all day. Eggs are a great start. There's a rad omelet recipe below. Two hours after breakfast, treat yourself to a snack. Some nuts, a granola bar, a cup of granola, some fruit, carrots, celery, a handful of crackers... something you'll enjoy and will help you get through til lunch. Two hours later is lunch time. Try to eat a balanced meal! Two hours later, another snack and two hours after that is dinner.
When it came down to dinner we had to make changes for sure. Pieces of meat the size of your palm. We now buy only grass fed, organic meat. We only eat red meat about once a week. Brian used to have really bad stomach issues every time we ate red meat, but now that we've switched, his digestive track is fine. Imagine that...
Anyhow, I think we all know that a balanced dinner consists of. We just don't care... or we over eat. Portions are a big deal. No matter what we're eating, we always check portion sizes on the packages and eat that amount. The kitchen scale is a life-saver. When you're at the store, look at the packages and compare. Some crackers allow you 5 per 120 calorie serving and some allow you 15. Which would you be more happy about eating?
If we wanted dessert, we had to work out and work for it.

Guess what though? Fruit and veggies... we never counted them on our calorie counter. We let ourselves eat all of them we wanted. Might sound like cheating, people even told us with all that sugar, we'd never lose weight. Clearly, that wasn't the case. I guess it must be better to eat apples and berries than candy and cookies ;)

Another thing Brian noticed was that he was more likely to lose weight if he drank 8+ glasses of water a day. It's kind of crazy how important that is. I think it goes without saying that soda is the worst thing you can drink.

The hardest part is getting started. When we decided to change our lives the first thing we did was throw out EVERYTHING in the fridge with high fructose corn syrup in it. I'm not kidding when I say all of it. I know it seems wasteful and crazy, but if you don't do it all at once, you'll say "tomorrow" forever. We replaced all of our condiments and beverages and everything else in there with products free of HFCS. As much organic as possible.

One day a week... we had CHEAT DAY. Yeaaahhh. We didn't go hit Old Country Buffet or anything, but we did let ourselves not count calories if we didn't want to and splurge a little.

As for exercise, he has followed a pretty strict exercise routine, but the best part about it is that in time, it becomes a challenge you can't back down from. In the winter, we hit the gym for an hour at least twice a week. He also participates in a spin class at the bike shop twice a week.
During the warm months... well, you can't even call what we do exercise. We ride our bikes. Last year Brian spent 4,000 miles on his bike. I can hardly even comprehend that. He would try to ride 25 miles a day whenever he could. 10 in the morning and 15 in the evening. I can not say enough praise for K&G Bike Center and the AMAZING bike paths of the Five Rivers Metro Parks!
Here you can read about our 100 mile bike ride we did on his 31st birthday in September on some of these brilliantly laid out local bike paths.
Dayton is a really a magical place to ride bikes. You can travel hundreds of miles in any direction without having to ride on the road with cars.
We also got to attend a lot of cool Metro Parks events last year that have truly inspired us for this year. The Gear Fest, the Cycling Summit, the Paddle in the Park event. That event convinced us to start kayaking this year!

The hardest part about working out is getting yourself to do it. You just have to commit. It helps to have someone who will do it with you.
As for biking, it can be frustrating to start. It would be a lie to say this was all fun and games starting out. There were a lot of issues up front. When you weigh 350lbs, you can't get a Walmart bike and expect it to hold your weight. Those bikes are trash and if you want a bike to ride for exercise, these are not the bikes for you. They will fall apart and the parts are so cheap they normally can't be fixed at all.
Brian started on a bike our friend put together for him and his father's old Schwinn. I remember we went out one day and he pedaled forward and snapped the pedal clean off the crank arm. That's a solid piece of metal. It was like in that movie Shallow Hal where she breaks the chair... "What is this made out of??" "Uhh... steel."
He took everything in stride and didn't give up. He was so heavy that he broke spokes on his bike more times than I can count. You can't ride a bike with broken spokes and it would have been so easy to have used it as an excuse, saying he'd fix it "later"... but every time he was in the bike shop the next day getting that bike fixed.

His best advice for those starting out with biking:
If you have money and time, your best bet is to go to your local bike shop and pour your heart out to them about what your goals are. Don't go to a big box store. Go to your local mom and pop shop and find someone who really cares. They will help you.
If you don't have a lot of money, your best bet is to find something on Craigslist. See if you know anyone who knows anything about bikes. Take them with you. Don't buy a mountain bike to ride in the city. Don't be terrified of smaller tires and seats. You can usually find cool old steel bikes on craigslist for around $100-200 and take them into your local bike shop and put another $50-100 into them to make them worth your time to ride. You really need to have it gone over before you attempt to ride it. Also, make sure the bike fits you. I could talk forever about bike stuff, but really, go to your local bike shop. They're awesome.

A big thing we've found is that most people seem to have a complete misconception of what you can't eat when you're losing weight. I don't care about studies, I don't care about what people have to say, I believe in real life experience... so here is a list of things we eat that people act like you can't eat and lose weight!
Butter, whole milk, ice cream, cheese burgers, french bread, pizza, french fries, mac and cheese, pasta, cake, fruit juice, sports drinks, hot dogs, potatoes, and pancakes... just to name a few.
It turns out there are delightful alternatives to all these foods that are usually associated with greasy, fatty versions.
The key is buying as many whole foods as possible. And I don't mean the store Whole Foods. I mean... REAL food. Food that just is what it is. When you look at ingredients, if there are more than five or six... stop reading man... if you can't pronounce it, you shouldn't eat it. We try not to eat science experiment food. We cook with REAL organic butter, we drink organic milk, we eat grass fed beef burgers, we make our own fries, baked to perfection in the oven. We drink organic 100% fruit juices with nothing weird added. The real key is to be in touch with your food. Know what you're eating.

Are you bored yet? lol
Here are some more fun things to look at:

Progress photos!




Here's my imgur photoset that contains most of these and some not shown here.

Food We Love!


Recipes We Love!

Spinach and Feta Omlet
This is the perfect way to start your day!

1 bunch spinach (steamed and squeezed to drain)
1 handful herbs (chopped, I used mint, dill and parsley)
1 green onion (sliced)
1 handful feta (crumbled)
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs (lightly beaten)

1. Mix the spinach, herbs, green onions, feta, salt and pepper in a bowl.
2. Pour the eggs into the pan and let cook with out disturbing it until it begins to set, about 2 minutes.
3. Sprinkle on the spinach mixture and the feta and continue to cook until the eggs are done, about 1-2 minutes.
4. Slide the omelette out onto a plate and garnish it with more herbs and enjoy.


Smitten Kitchen's Single Serving Pizza Dough
We love this because it makes just enough dough for us to portion into two small personal pizzas. It doesn't take all day to rise and it's so tasty!

1 1/2 cups flour (can replace up to half of this with whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water (may need up to 1 or 2 tablespoons more)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Stir dry ingredients, including yeast, in a large bowl. Add water and olive oil, stirring mixture into as close to a ball as you can. Dump all clumps and floury bits onto a lightly floured surface and knead everything into a homogeneous ball.

If you are finding this step difficult, one of the best tricks I picked up from my bread-making class is to simply pause. Leave the dough in a lightly-floured spot, put the empty bowl upside-down on top of it and come back in 2 to 5 minutes, at which point you will find the dough a lot more lovable.

Knead it for just a minute or two. Lightly oil the bowl (a spritz of cooking spray perfectly does the trick) where you had mixed it — one-bowl recipe! — dump the dough in, turn it over so all sides are coated, cover it in plastic wrap and leave it undisturbed for an hour or two, until it has doubled in size.

Dump it back on the floured counter (yup, I leave mine messy), and gently press the air out of the dough with the palm of your hands. Fold the piece into an approximate ball shape, and let it sit under that plastic wrap for 20 more minutes.

Sprinkle a pizza stone or baking sheet with cornmeal and preheat your oven to its top temperature. Roll out the pizza, toss on whatever topping and seasonings you like.
Bake it for about 10 minutes until it’s lightly blistered and impossible to resist.

We layer these pizzas with sliced fresh mozzarella, whole fresh basil leaves, olive oil, sliced mushrooms, pepperoni, kosher salt and cracked pepper.


Fresh Green Bean and Tomato Salad
This is a great, simple recipe anyone can make and it looks impressive!

Handful of green beans
One Roma tomato
Yellow Tomato
Olive oil
Salt+pepper to taste

-Slice tomatoes into thin strips, discard the slimy insides, you want the crisp skin/flesh.
-Boil the green beans for about two minutes and then blanch them by shocking them in ice water. (I usually strain them and then set the strainer in a bowl of ice water.)
-Strain the cold beans and toss them with the tomato strips with olive oil, thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Fennel and Apple Salad
This is a huge hit when we take it to family gatherings!

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced diagonally, plus 1/4 cup loosely packed celery leaves
2 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced crosswise, plus 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
1 firm, crisp apple (such as Pink Lady, Gala, or Granny Smith), julienned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whisk first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add celery and celery leaves, thinly sliced fennel and chopped fennel fronds, and apple; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Swordfish and Eggplant Pasta
This is a good dish for someone who knows their way around the kitchen. A total crowd pleaser!

1 pound penne pasta
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (plus more to taste)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1/3 cup
4 Japanese eggplants, ends trimmed, thinly sliced lengthwise, then cut into squares
1 pound swordfish steaks, skin removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/3 cup white wine
2 cups halved teardrop or cherry tomatoes (red, yellow or a blend)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

Meanwhile, place a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the 1/3 cup olive oil, garlic, red chili flakes, and 1/4 cup parsley. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggplant and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the eggplant from the pan and set aside. Season the swordfish cubes with salt and pepper.

Using the same pan, over medium-high heat, add the 2 remaining tablespoons of olive oil and cook the swordfish until opaque, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the tomatoes, eggplant, cooked pasta, the remaining 1/3 cup parsley and stir. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Stir to combine.


Escarole and Bean Soup
Soup is great for weight watching folks as it fills you up and satisfies you without you eating too much!
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound escarole, chopped
4 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (1-ounce) piece Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Serving suggestion: crusty bread

These are all recipes made often in this house. It just goes to show that with proper portions and a good diet mixed with exercise, things like carbs and meat are not the enemy! You can still eat great food and lose weight.

Overall, the past year has been a great one. We learned so much and we've become even closer. He's my best friend and I know I say it all the time, but I'm so damn proud of him. He's so dedicated and awesome and inspiring. He's like a brand new guy :)
He's full of energy, he's always on the go, he wants to go new places and try new things... it's just awesome.
We can't wait to try out kayaking this year!
Also, the last time we went to King's Island, he was too big to ride a lot of the rides :(
This year... we're going to go and he's going to ride ALL the rides!
We wanted to go indoor sky-diving when we got married, but there was a weight restriction. So there's another thing he can do now! We want to go REAL sky diving! We have to make it happen!
It's just crazy to think that a year ago, I could barely get him to go outside and as of today, he's been working at the bike shop two weeks and we have so many bikes in our house I can hardly keep track.

We went ice skating last weekend... TWICE. Sometimes I don't even know who this guy is! haha
photo.JPG photo.JPG

Just for giggles... here's a recent photo of myself:
I've been cheating and drinking a little soda and I may or may not have had taco bell today. That was bad lol, but hey, I'm going to try to put myself back on track!

Thanks for baring with me on all this guys! I know a lot of this is repeated information for those who follow my blog, but I'm going to be directing people here from FB and twitter. So... yeah. I've included new photos none of you have seen before and hopefully made this interesting enough to read! Thanks for everyone's support over the past year! Brian always loves when I tell him people are asking about him or complimenting him on my blog :D


( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 15th, 2012 11:09 am (UTC)
Huge kudos to you two!!! :) One of the hardest things to do is lose weight the right way and this is definitely the right way!

My boyfriend and I have slowly been putting more and more homemade meals into our lives and I can attest that it's not hard or scary and most of the time it tastes better! Last night we made homemade whole wheat pasta. Nom!

Also, I've been drooling over your bikes for ages! This year, I'm really hoping to get one by the spring to start biking to work. Sitting on my ass driving all the time is, well, driving me bonkers!

You two look fabulous. Keep up the good work!
Jan. 15th, 2012 11:56 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! It's great to make your own food and then be able to look at it like Wow we made this! And it really does taste better most of the time.

I can't wait to get my new bike... even though there's snow on the ground and I can't even ride it yet haha
Jan. 15th, 2012 11:21 am (UTC)
I use that app! I love that it calculates and subtracts your workout calories. I was excited that I could eat a smidgen more after walking my son to and from school. And the awesome barcode scanner so you don't have to put in all the info if your eating something prepackaged.

You and your husband look amazing. You guys make me want to go out and buy a bike so I can start doing laps around town. I'm one of those "tomorrow" people plus I'm too broke to buy a bike right now. I'm hoping Mel will bring the Kinect back so I can do the workout dance routines.

How much did you both lose so far? What's your goal? Do you think you'll slow down once you reach your ultimate goal?
Jan. 15th, 2012 11:58 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! He's lost 125lbs and I've lost about 20. I would like to lose 20 more, but I haven't been as hardcore as him lol

He wants to get under 200. He's at 225 now, so I see no way he can fail after going this far :)
He'd like to be around 180-190.

Also, I don't see us slowing down. It seems like we've created this into our new life style. If anything, I see us becoming more active as we go along and build up more muscle!

Edited at 2012-01-15 03:59 pm (UTC)
Jan. 15th, 2012 11:43 am (UTC)
This is actually amazing and you really make me want to buy a bike and get healthier!
Jan. 15th, 2012 11:55 am (UTC)
We've convinced many people to get bikes :D
Jan. 15th, 2012 01:56 pm (UTC)
You guys are awesome. I think you really nailed the true spirit of diet and exercise. Evan and all of his personal trainers would applaud you guys for your efforts and results.

You're exactly right when people just tune out after hearing diet and exercise. Yes, it can be challenging but it doesn't have to be miserable. The results make up for the possible frustrations that pop up now and then, but that's life.

You guys look great, and I bet you feel great. Treating one's body right really makes life a whole lot better, in my experience.
Jan. 15th, 2012 11:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! It's totally true. Once you change things you get use to it and it's not as hard to continue.
I'm so happy with our results. It all has come down to pure determination :)
Jan. 15th, 2012 01:58 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you guys did it this way! People know it takes discipline and that scares them off but when you're ready, YOU'RE READY!

I wasn't bored reading about food; I love nutrition. High fructose corn syrup is in SO MANY things but as you know by now (but most people don't) there are always options without it. We spent so long in the grocery store looking for sauces and salad dressings and bread without it. Once you find a brand without it, though, it's easier to just buy that brand each time. Sometimes I cave and get these Voortman's cranberry flax oatmeal cookies that don't have HFCS or hydrogenated oils. They're like my big indulgence. I don't try to lose weight but I do try to eat healthy and add fruits and vegetables whenever I can, like adding baby spinach and avocado to grilled cheese sandwiches. People always ask how I can eat carbs and be the size I am (I'm an 8 and have been pretty much since I was 14yo, which isn't tiny but it's small compared to a lot of people, especially those I work with) and I try to explain that it's because carbs don't make you fat! And vegetarian doesn't necessarily equal high carb. I do eat fish and eggs, though.

Brian looks so damn sexy, you have another job now: keeping the ladies away from him!

You're so cute in pink and leg warmers!!
Jan. 15th, 2012 11:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I couldn't agree more the HFCS is a huge deal.
My splurge cookies are Late June dark organic chocolate cream cookies. Fucking NOM.

And I know, I'm gonna have to start carrying a bat to make women back off of him haha
Jan. 15th, 2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
wow, that's so amazing! It's true, the hardest part is just getting started, as easy as that sounds. I, too, am one of those "tomorrow" people (I'm actually eating cookies as I write this). Good job both of you!
Jan. 15th, 2012 11:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah we were "tomorrow" people for years. I just remember the day we emptied out the fridge, it was like a clean slate. It felt oddly liberating!
Jan. 15th, 2012 04:54 pm (UTC)
This was so beautiful and inspiring, thank you and congratulations!
I have an American friend who lost weight living in Brazil eating basically the same stuff as she did back in the US. The reason? We don't have HFCS.

"The key is buying as many whole foods as possible. And I don't mean the store Whole Foods. I mean... REAL food. Food that just is what it is. When you look at ingredients, if there are more than five or six... stop reading man... if you can't pronounce it, you shouldn't eat it." I love this and couldn't agree more... I always tell people that food that goes bad is good for you and food that doesn't go bad is really bad for you.
Jan. 15th, 2012 11:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah I always talk about how you didn't used to have to look for organic products as they weren't called organic... Because food was just freaking food. Now everything is a science project. It's really kind of gross.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 15th, 2012 11:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks doll! I'm so happy to have such awesome supportive friends from all over the world! :)
Jan. 15th, 2012 11:46 pm (UTC)
You both look fantastic! I agree with you on eating whole foods. We have both been really focusing on that and it's nice. We feel fantastic. My problem is sugar. I have been cutting back on it over the past two weeks and it's helping me lose weight again. I just love ice cream way too much.

Going to have to try your recipe for fennel apple salad. Yum!

Also looking at your foods you love list, Annie's Mac & Cheese! SO DELICIOUS! They have a gluten-free version that I love.
Jan. 16th, 2012 11:08 am (UTC)
Oh I love all the stuff Annie's makes. So good. I think I'm addicted to Cheddar Bunnies... and I brought mac and cheese for lunch today!
Jan. 16th, 2012 09:05 am (UTC)
that's so awesome!! congrats to Brian, he and you can REALLY be proud of him(self)! :D
Jan. 16th, 2012 11:08 am (UTC)
Thanks! We're just so thrilled to have changed our lives! We were happy before, but the happiness this has brought is exponential!
Kristen Leedy
Jan. 16th, 2012 01:47 pm (UTC)
Tiffany, your story is so inspiring!!! Good Luck to you both and Congrats!!! You both look amazing!
Jan. 16th, 2012 02:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Congrats!!!
Thanks so much! I really hope it reaches out to a lot of people! If he can do it from where he was in his life a year ago with his weight and level of activity, anyone can!
Jan. 16th, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the long post! I love reading stories like this, and the the recipes are a bonus. I used to live in Dayton (Centerville) and I never would have thought of it as a nice city for biking, not that I ever tried :).

*edit* here from r/loseit.

Edited at 2012-01-16 08:46 pm (UTC)
Jan. 16th, 2012 05:52 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for the comment! He is not a redditor, but I show him posts on r/loseit all the time.
Dayton is absolutely AMAZING for biking. We live downtown and can seriously ride from downtown to basically anywhere on bike paths alone. You can ride all the way to Cincy. We have rode to Yellow Springs, Franklin, Troy, etc all starting from the paths downtown.
On his birthday we did a 100 mile ride that seriously might not have been possible without these awesome paths. http://gemcitytiffany.livejournal.com/823382.html
I wrote the metro parks today thanking them for all of their free programs we participated in last year like their weekly Saturday rides, their mountain biking demos and their kayaking demos. Just rad stuff!
Jan. 16th, 2012 09:30 pm (UTC)
This post made me tear up. I know I haven't seen Brian much at all in the past years or you but he still means soo much to me and seeing all this and hearing how amazing hes doing just fills my heart and to know you're doing just as well is also wonderful to hear!! I'm glad you have one another for support and have kept with it. I remember how hard the first day was for me when I changed my diet and started working out, I've stuck with it for 6 years now and while some days are harder than others, I just think of how far I've come and how I can't ever imagine my life without a healthy diet and working out. I'm so proud and happy for the two of you, please let Brian know and give him my love!!
Jan. 24th, 2012 11:23 am (UTC)
Thanks so much Sandy. You look great as well <3
Jan. 26th, 2012 03:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you! If you get a chance, could you message me your and Brian's address or send it to me on facebook?
Jan. 18th, 2012 12:24 am (UTC)
How inspiring! Keep up the great work, you two!
Jan. 19th, 2012 02:59 am (UTC)
Congratulations to both of you. You look amazing.
Feb. 5th, 2012 05:55 am (UTC)
If you can find Arctic Zero ice cream where you live

I totally recommend it, hardly any calories, and still super yummy if you need a treat.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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