Friday, April 10, 2009

Introduction and History

My name is Robert Stehwien and this blog will chronicle my quest to get back into awesome shape and maintain it while being a 38 year old software developer. First a little history.

I have always battled my weight. Before high school I was quite fat but got into shape with weight-lifting, running, gymnastics, and martial arts. Early college saw me expand some but it was in an acceptable range (approx 185 lbs at 5"10') and kept at bay with weight lifting.

I'd always been a computer geek and before finishing school I got a job as a C++ developer and got married. After that I continued to exercise lightly, but the sedentary job and continuing my eating habits from my younger days helped my weight creep up. Sometimes I lost a little (like when I got into kickboxing at 27) but normally the trend was up.

In September 2003, I topped the scales around 250 and had been diagnosed with sleep apnea. That was a wake up call as it showed me I was on the same path that had led a friend of mine to his death a few years prior (he topped the scales well over 350). The sleep apnea bow air up your nose device was also a great motivator - it was more annoying to my wife and myself than my snoring.

So I read up on some diet books and decided to go low-carb - using the latest (as of 2003) Atkins books, dust off my bowflex, and get some kickboxing aerobics videos. It worked well, by September 2004 I had dropped over 80 lbs and was down to 168 lbs (it only took 8 months to drop the weight the rest was a test of maintence). Here are some before and after pictures:

Above is also the belt I wore throughout the diet and still wear as a constant reminder.

My wife had been concerned with the diet being high fat, so I got my cholesterol measured before an after:
  • Before: Total Cholesterol 181; HDL 45; LDL 95; Glucose 203
  • After: Total Cholesterol 141; HDL 43; LDL 84; Glucose 76
Not bad for eating eggs, bacon, meat, and veggies. Not to mention that I felt great. I recall one day toward the end of my EMBA (one of the only people to loose wieght during the 2 year program) carrying about 50 lbs of books upstaris to a break room and while thinking how heavy they were I realized that one year before I had been carrying around 80 lbs... what that must have been doing to my body.

Things were good for a while. I was able to maintain the weight, got into doing Bikram's Yoga along with some weight training, and finished the EMBA which culminated in an awesome trip to Prague to study international business for a few weeks.

Toward the end of 2004 my dad and grandmother (essentially) got scammed out of her home a few years after his divorce and he a had to go in for spinal surgery. I stepped up to help care for both of them until he was on his feet and my wife and I still care for her to this day. Combined with a job I no-longer enjoyed despite my boss being very supportive during the chrisis, I was stressed to the max and my weight started to climb. By October 2008 I had gone back up to 200 and it kept on climbing. Time for a change.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Thanks for this post (and blog). It gave me back the hope I could also succeed in getting into shape again...