Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Before and During Photos

May 2009
December 2010

I promised before and after shots by Christmas - a promise I am now regretting, I assure you - but I'm a man of my word, so here they are.

I'm nowhere close to where I want to be, so I refuse to call these before and after photos, but I'm okay with before and during.  I'm in the midst of my transformation, it's not over. I hope!

The before shot is from May 2009, and you're going to have to take my word for the fact that I probably looked mostly the same in March 2010.  Basically, in May 2009 I decided to photograph myself every day, and hopefully lean out and have a very nice photographic display of the process day by day.  Well, that was a great idea but it didn't work out.  I don't even remember what happened, but I kept eating crap and stopped photographing myself.  I have about a week's worth of pictures and then nada.

So the changes in these pictures mostly happened between May 2010 (when I gave up gluten for good) and December 2010.  I've had some obstacles - injuries, sugar addiction, kids, and various other issues, nothing much more than anybody else out there who's trying to lose weight.

How'd I do it?  Paleo diet.  Intermittent fasting (I eat 1 big meal a day, at dinnertime, and that's mostly it).  Strength training twice a week, 25 minute each.  Karate 3 times a week, either class or training on my own at Bally's.

If you think I look pretty good, or at least a lot better than I used to, then thanks!  If you find yourself unimpressed, then I understand, but let me plead my case:

  1. I turn 40 in 3 weeks.
  2. I've been fat my whole life - this before picture isn't a guy who just let himself go suddenly, it's a guy who's been chubby and fighting it for 25+ years.  It's a lot easier to lose fat and gain muscle the first time you diet and start an exercise program than it is after 25 years of trying and failing to get lean.
  3. I didn't use any of the tricks that can enhance an "after" picture.  No Photoshop, no tan, no shaving (obviously), no special effort to dehydrate.  In fact, I haven't worked out in several days - I hurt my ribs and haven't been able to train (though I doubt it would have made any difference).
  4. I'm not a model.  I'm not trying to convince you that I'm worthy of the cover of Men's Fitness, just provide evidence that a certain style of training and eating can give decent results to a busy, regular, older guy without a lot of genetic advantages without taking up a huge amount of time or money.
I think that's the major point - #4 - that my physique is proof that you can make progress without doing a crazy amount of training.  My diet may be strange, but it isn't particularly hard to follow - I'm not hungry all the time or anything, I'm not doing 2 hrs. of cardio a day, I don't take any weird drugs.  These results, and better, are attainable by regular people.

Probably 75% of the reason for me to post these pictures is that I said I would, which has helped motivate me to stick to my diet the past few months.  In that spirit I'm going to try to repeat this post every month or so with fresh pictures.  Hopefully I can make some progress.  Maybe this summer I'll get a tan, so you won't be blinded by the glare off my chest.

Please comment if you wish.  I'd ask you to be kind, or gentle, but I think when you post pics like these online you have to be ready to be eviscerated , so consider me braced.  



  1. Excellent work! And anyone who doesn't think the "before" and "during" are post worthy doesn't live in the real world! Congrats on your mile marker!

  2. That's awesome. It's a huge transformation. I can think of a ton of people who would kill to look that fit at 40. Well done. Keep going!

  3. Great job!! (I took some "before" pics, but then only got worse, thanks to a reduction in my thyroid meds. So that was depressing!)

  4. Pictures don't lie, you really do look that good!

  5. great post. we are all most of us in the US too shy regarding our bodies anyway. Its great to take photos like these, its good to know what you look like (using a mirror or whatever). Once youre on the path, making progress, its just a great, easy, free way to monitor your progress. You don't need a scale, bodyfat calipers, blah blah. Mirror or camera will suffice. Congrats to you!

  6. That's an incredible transformation in such a short time! You make some excellent points about it being so much more difficult after trying to lose several (or many) times before. And it sure does get a lot harder with age, but 40 old? You're still a punk! :-)

  7. You are a great inspiration, Joe. I am the same boat you are and for a while quite content that the only sit ups I do are getting out of bed in the morning. Keep up the great work.

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