Before and After

Before June 1, 2005
After October 1, 2005

History and Stats

Elements

Background

I was a yo-yo dieter for 30 years. I am 5' 8" and weighed about 145 lbs when Cathy and I married in 1973. During the next three decades I successively gained and lost weight. Each time I gained, I hit a new high: 180, then 190. I never wanted to exceed 200 lbs, but I did. On June 1, 2005, I weighed in at my doctor vist at 230 lbs. I could not climb a flight of stairs quickly without feeling faint, almost blacking out on the 106 steps from the Montlake parking lot to the University of Washington campus.

In 2005 my doctor wanted to double my cholesterol medication and write a prescription for high blood pressure. I decided to get serious about my health and signed up for a trainer at a local gym. I still remember the introductory session with Jesse Ward, who now runs his own Crossfit gym (Local's Gym in Lynnwood, WA). He asked me what my goal was. I said I wanted to weigh under 200 lbs. He calmly wrote down "199," smiled, and then proceeded to ask me what I really wanted. He motivated me to become more concerned about how I felt than a number on the scales, and to pay more attention to body fat percentage than to BMI. He also needed to know if I was interested in body-building (which I wasn't), since professional weightlifters may weigh a lot, but still have low body fat percentages.

Results

In the process of focusing more on health than weight, I still ended up losing a lot of weight: 50 pounds in the first 4 months, then another 10 to 15 pounds since then. I have weighed between 160 and 170 since 2006.

Now I am completely off of cholesterol medication, and my blood pressure is fine. My thyroid medication has been slightly reduced. I substituted exercise in a variety of modes and healthy eating for the unhealthy habits I had acquired.

Body Fat

On July 30, 2007 I had my body fat tested with a mobile hydrostatic unit.
Go to: http://www.bodyfattest.com/
Of all methods used to measure body fat, the hydrostatic method is considered the "Gold Standard." I have retested with the same mobile unit several times since then.

Referral Note:

If you make an appointment with the Body Fat Test mobile clinic, both you
and I may receive a $5 referral discount. Please let the technician know that
Gary Martin of Edmonds referred you.

My body fat history is below. The first two entries were obtained using calipers at the gym. The others are results of the hydrostatic method. Body Mass Index is based on the Adult BMI Calculator at the CDC web site's "Body Mass Index" page, using a height of 68.5 inches, and weight rounded to the nearest pound.

Date
Weight
Body Mass Index
Body Fat
Jun 1, 2005
230
34.5
38.8%
Oct 1, 2005
180
27.0
26.7%
Jul 30, 2007
165.5
24.9
14.6%
Nov 19, 2007
165.5
24.9
14.2%
Apr 1, 2008
172.5
25.9
16.6%
Oct 1, 2008
161.6
24.3
12.6%
Apr 9, 2009
164.6
24.7
14.1%
Oct 6, 2009
166.4
24.9
14.9%
Sep 13, 2010
162.6
24.4
15.3%
Apr 27, 2011
169.0
25.3
15.5%

 

Note: Between Sep 2010 and Apr 2011 I signifcantly increased weight-lifting and decreased cardio. I gained over 6 pounds, but my body fat percentage stayed almost the same.

 

Body Fat Chart

 

Immediately after the hydrostatic test on July 30, 2007, I had my body fat measured using two hand-held devices at my gym. Check out the differences in the results:

Body Fat Measurements: July 30, 2007

Method Percentage
Hydrostatic Method
14.6%
Caliper Method
20 %
Handheld Analyzer
18 %

 

When I thought I was still at 20% body fat, and was killing myself with excess cardio and weight training to try to drop the value to under 18%, into the "healthy zone" for my age and gender, I was in fact already below 15%. Consequently I no longer trust the hand-held devices at the gym.

Weight

My weight chart looks like this:

 

People

In aiming for an overall healthier lifestyle, I have learned to value role models and a select group of local health & fitness professionals. It is their collective expertise and guidance that has played an essential role in steering me toward sustainable healthy choices. The starting point was critical. Trainer Jesse Ward helped me get safely fit. Massage therapist T. Zeda made it possible for me to sustain workouts without injury, and convinced me to begin practicing yoga. That was the best addition to my health and fitness activities.

The most influential person by far is my amazing wife Cathy. While struggling with weight issues over more than two decades, Cathy patiently encouraged me to make better eating choices, and never nagged. She became my foremost role model for nutrition. When people ask what "diet" plan I followed, I say simply, "I just began eating what my wife ate." She has always made sensible, disciplined, and good nutritional choices about what to eat, and how much to eat. I could give examples of some of the specific changes I made, and some of the foods I eat now, but these change with time. In brief, I stopped eating cookies or muffins with every cup of coffee (multiple times a day), and double (or triple) portions at meal time. I started eating more fruits and vegetables, and lean sources of protein, in moderation. I do not deprive myself of "fun" foods; I just limit the quantity, and know that extra calories have to be paid for with more workout time :)

Water & Food

 

Water

During the summer of 2008, after an insightful conversation with the friendly and competent staff at Edmonds Vitamins & Herbs, I began drinking water according to a simple formula:

Half my body weight = Ounces of water per day.

At around 160 lbs, that is 80 ounces. I carry a 25 ounce bottle and drink 3 to 4 of those each day.

The health benefits have been immediate and long-lasting. Within 3 days after starting, all of the residual discomfort from a case of plantar fasciitis was completely gone. Within a couple of weeks, I was able to stretch much more deeply during yoga practices. I am more flexible now at age 60 than I ever dreamed possible.

 

Food

I follow no rigid plan, no commercial diet program. I try to eat healthy, balanced, whole foods.

 

Supplements

I take daily:

  • 1 multi-vitamin
  • 2 Glucosamine/Chondroitin Sulfate tablets
  • 1 or 2 fish oil capsules

Available at Edmonds Vitamins & Herbs.

Exercise

Gym Routine

From June 1 to October 1 2005, I spent at least an hour, often two hours per day, at the gym. I began with an overall assessment with a trainer. I paid for 4 sessions with the trainer and paced them out about as follows: 2nd session about a week after the 1st session; 3rd session a couple weeks after the 2nd; 4th session about a month after the 3rd. By then I knew how to do all the exercises safely and how to adjust the weight on each one without overstressing muscles and joints. My routine was about equally split between cardio and weight training.

My maintenance routine has evolved over the past couple of years. I found the key is to mix it up regularly.

My workout is a random mixture of:

  • Cardio (treadmill, ellipticals, rowing machine, spin bikes, etc.)
  • Weight-training (2 or 3 times a week, about an hour per workout)
  • Stretching -- daily! For some examples, click here or here. I do a lot more stretching as I get older.
  • Handstand on the open floor (which I can now hold for up to 60 seconds), for overall strength and balance maintenance.
  • NEW (2012): Work with gymnastics rings at Harbor Square Athletic Club

Exercise Roller

On the recommendation of our massage therapist (see below), we have begun using a foam exercise roller especially for the IT (Iliotibial) band. Here's a web site with helpful information on the IT band and the use of a foam roller: "A Runner's Guide to ITBS." For more foam roller exercises, click here. Foam rollers are available at some local sporting goods stores, and online, for around $25.

Bicycling

I am a seasonal bike-rider; I enjoy it only under good conditions: sunny, warmer than 50 degrees, calm to light winds :)

A really nice 80-mile loop trip includes 3 ferry crossings: Ride from Edmonds to Mukilteo (about 15 miles), ferry from Mukilteo to Clinton on Whidbey Island, ride from Clinton to Keystone/Coupeville ferry (about 25 miles), ferry to Port Townsend, ride from Port Townsend to Kingston (via Port Ludlow) (about 40 miles), ferry from Kingston to Edmonds. The trip can be done easily in 12 hours.

 

Yoga

I have practiced yoga regularly for about 7 years. I especially enjoy the challenge of a Hatha yoga practice with poses that are held for at least 15 to 30 seconds so that I can fully experience each pose and make adjustments as desired. While I enjoy a variety of background music selections, I prefer quieter music that facilitates Santosha, or contentment with where I happen to be in the moment. (For a fuller article on Santosha, click here.)

Yoga has proven to be so beneficial that I decided to pursue a 200-hour Yoga Alliance certified teacher training program at Twist Vinyasa Yoga in Edmonds. I completed the program in July 2012, and am now a registered/certified yoga teacher (RYT-200). Click here for my yoga web site.

As a certified yoga instructor, I want to pass on a gift than I myself have received through the generosity of many yoga instructors and enthusiasts. I hope to provide an authentic yoga experience that offers age-long practices along with whatever I can impart of myself to benefit others.

In particular, I hope to offer a "cool yoga" class for people with heat-sensitivities, like my wife Cathy, who along with many others with MS cannot tolerate a traditional warm yoga environment. In this way she and others can have an opportunity to derive all the benefits yoga has to offer, yet without jeopardizing their health and well-being merely due do ambient room temperature.

 

Massage

Adding massage therapy to my health plan has played an important role in helping me achieve and maintain my personal health and fitness goals. Cathy has also found massage beneficial for MS-related issues. Some health insurance plans cover a limited annual number of massage treatments. For over 4 years our massage therapist has been Robin Swearingen, naturally gifted, always aware of what we need, and just a fantastic person. When I refer people to her, they agree. She is located conveniently close to our home at Quietude Massage Therapy in downtown Edmonds, 549 Main Street in the Main Street Health Center Square. Phone: 206-850-8281.

 

 

 

Gary's Health Page. Last updated on 27 Mar 2013