How I’m doing so far… A progress report

Small steps are getting me there…

I haz a tiredIt has been a long day and I’m really tired so I beg forgiveness in advance if this post is not up to my usual level of silliness and is a wee bit more direct.

At the end of July, I read an article  which had a profound effect on me.  In it was information which provided me with the final piece of the puzzle that I needed to get me started toward being fit and healthy.

(watch for a series of posts that will talk in depth about the article and its impact on me)

For the first time in my life, I am not working to “lose weight.”

I’m working to be fit, and healthy, and most importantly I’m working to make this a permanent part of my life.

Why is it different this time?

I’ve been on the weight loss roller coaster ever since the early 1990’s.  Up down, up, down, around and around we go, down then up, but ever and always…back up; always further up with each time around on the ride…  Nothing worked.  Nothing I did seemed to make a difference.  There seemed no way to break the cycle.

Been working outFinally I have a tool that is making a difference; I have a way out.  A way “off the weight loss roller coaster.”

I know that this time is different; I can feel that it is different.  The ride is over.  The track of the roller coaster has been straightened out and it has become a train with a destination.  The journey is starting.

If you’re reading this and saying “Yeah, right, suurrrrrrrre it it’s different!” then I understand.   I do.

To my close friends of many years, to my friends I’ve met through the dance world, and to those of you among my readers, who know me only through my writing here on this blog and on Squidoo, I understand completely that you may have doubts.  After all, I’ve been here before; I’ve even said “this time is different” before.

But it is.  A couple days ago, I was in the kitchen loading the dishwasher and I was trying to explain to my very best friend, who happens to be my room mate, what the difference was this time around.  And candidly, I was having a very difficult time articulating it.

Yeah, I know… me?  At a loss for words?  Did the earth just shudder in its orbit and tilt off its axis?

As I spoke to him, trying to find the right words to explain, it dawned on me that what I’m doing this time which is different, what I’ve been doing since the first week of August is making choices not for the coming week, or the coming month or even the coming 18 months.  I’m planning and making choices for the next 30 years, perhaps 40 or even 50 years if I’m very lucky.

This time, it is the SCALE of my outlook which has changed.  The nuts and bolts of getting in shape haven’t changed. What has changed is the time frame for which I’m planning.  This isn’t some “project” that I’m working on as one part of my life.  Nope this time it is my life, my whole life.

De Plan!  De Plan!

evil planEvery time in the past I’ve approached the “weight loss” process like this:

  • Goal: to lose weight
  • Achieve this goal within xxx number of months
  • (then a few months later…) Job done.  Task finished.

And I would relax and the fitness levels would drop and the health would decline and the weight would creep back on as a result.

THIS TIME however, this is what is happening.  First of all it isn’t a “weight loss” plan at all..

  • The goal is to be fit and healthy for the rest of my life —
  • I anticipate that I’ll be at my desired fitness level by Jan 2016.  FYI, my “desired fitness level” is actually a range of pounds / body fat which will be adjusted and fine tuned as I approach the end of the “get fit” phase and move into the “stay fit” phase; Once the “fit range” is established, I’ll give myself a “wiggle zone” where I plan to stay for the rest of my life. Staying anywhere in that “wiggle zone” is fine.
  • Every step I take from the very beginning — every action I take NOW is being made with the awareness that 15-16 months from now, my job isn’t finished, it is just beginning and “the job” will never be over.  Ever.  So whatever changes that I make that get me fitter and healthier, need to be changes that I’ll be able to maintain for the rest of my life.

Another way to put it is that every time before when I’ve “lost weight” I’ve laid out an action plan for the next few months.  This time I’m laying out a action plan for the next few decades!

Slowly, ever so slowly, every single aspect of my life is being examined and if it does not further my goal of living a fit and healthy and happy life, well, it’s going.  Bye, bye, so long, out-the-door-it-goes!  One tiny step at a time.  One tiny thread at a time, a new tapestry called “my life” is being woven.

It is hard to prove, but something fundamental has changed inside of me.  It is a difference so basic and revelatory that it is almost spiritual in its intensity.

So, to those who may doubt my new resolve, I simply say… keep watching, keep reading, and keep me in your thoughts.

Because this time really is different and as the months go by, you will see in the “real world” what is something intangible which I only feel inside me now.

The proof will be in the photos and the charts and through my tales of “Diet & Fitness Drama” here on this blog.  There will be drama of course, we must have drama, this is me we’re discussing after all…  🙂

The journey so far:

My heaviest weight:

the journey of a thousand miles written on the bottom of a foot in markerApproximately 334  lbs.  — I say approximately because my bathroom scale only goes to 330 lbs.  The number before the large ERROR appeared on the scale was flickering between 333 and 335 lbs.  Literally.  I have a digital scale.  The silly little screen said ERROR!

I wanted to throw the damned thing through the wall!

The date was July 25, 2014 — my birthday.  I turned 52.

For the sake of my data spreadsheet, I decided that my “official heaviest weight” would be the smaller weight of 333 because that number seemed to linger slightly longer on the screen before the big black ERROR appeared.  Grrrrrrrrrrr.

How about that for a birthday present?  A scale that gives you an error message when you try to weigh because you’ve exceeded the design tolerances of the device!  *sigh*

Below is how I looked on the day after my birthday

2014-07-26 At my heaviest weight

Below is my first “official progress photo” – July 29, 2014…

…here I was still working out what to wear and the “template” for the progress photos.  The hat and the shirt were actually a birthday present from my best friend.  They totally rock!

Progress Photo on 07-29-2014 at 9.48 AM-Side by Side

Below is my first “progress photo” including a “standing” photo – Aug 29, 2014

Check out the difference in attitude between this photo and the one on the day after my birthday!  This dude in this photo is making progress.  He’s on the right track.  He’s found the key to getting the job done.  The beard is trimmed, the hair is cut, I’m smiling for goodness sake!

Photo on 08-29-2014 at 11.53 AM Side by Side

Below is my the “progress photo” from today – Sept 5, 2014

Progress Photo on 09-05-2014 at 10.40 AM Side by Side

By the numbers…

If you look at the photos up above, you’ll notice a couple of things:

  • Yes, the secret is out.  I dye my beard.  OMG!  The Shock!  The Horror!  The Deception!And after seeing the dramatic visual before / after shots.  AND seeing the 10+ years that NOT dying my beard adds to my apparent age, I shall never allow it to go completely natural again.And for those who just have to know,“yes” Auburn – as in brownish red, is my “real” color.  I dye to get rid of the grey, not to change my color.  And if I accidentally (on purpose) choose the more red of the reddish browns, then “oops! my bad”  — Sue me if ya gotta!.  LOL Vanity, thy name is Tony!  🙂
  • The second thing you’ll notice is that there isn’t much difference in the in the photos, not yet.  You have to look at the numbers to get the whole story:
    • Total inches lost to date: -4.63″
    • Total pounds lost to date: -5.20 lbs
    • Total body fat lost to date: -2.0% BF

Weight Chart

If you look ONLY at this chart then it would be very easy to become discouraged.  Which is why, sports fans, dearest readers, and the odd cousin or two that reads my blog, it is important that one use more than more one measure of “success.”

Take it from somebody who knows, that would be “moi” — Do not only track your weight loss!  Because it only tells you one small part of the story — and it might LIE! or at least mislead you.

You can see here that I’m not meeting my, for lack of a better word, “goals.”  However… the trend is downward, small downward, but downward nonetheless — even if it isn’t matching the “goals.”

2014-09-05 Body Weight Chart

FYI, the two “balloons” point to the dates of the first two dance competitions in 2015 that I am planning, and preparing, and working VERY HARD to attend.

Body Fat Chart

This chart paints a MUCH better picture of what is going on.  The actual fat percentages are at or below the “goal” fat percentages.  The loss of body fat is steady and quite visible!  Woot!

The projected weight loss “goals,” both “Total Body Weight” and “Body Fat” are based on percentage of body fat which I am trying to lose each week.  Conventional wisdom says that you should lose no more than 1-2 lbs per week of your “total body weight” if you wish to lose weight at a safe and healthy rate.

Losing pounds and body fat at this rate will allow your body time to make adjustments which will be critical later on.  One of those adjustments is to avoid that ugly loose hanging skin that many people have when they’ve lost a LOT of weight in a short amount of time.

Another way of gauging your rate of fat loss is to loose no more than 1% of your total body weight per week.  For me, when I started back on August 1st, that would have been 3.33 lbs a week.  As of this blog post, 1% would be 3.27 lbs a week.

However, when I set up my initial “goals” however, I choose to be conservative.  I am aiming at a weekly weight loss of no more than 0.65% which is firmly in the 1-2 lbs per week range.

2014-09-05 Body Fat Chart

Body Inches – Using “Ye ole Tape Measure”

This chart REALLY shows a GREAT picture of what is happening.  Woot!  Even if the Total POUNDS are not coming off, the inches are!

2014-09-05 Total Body Inches Chart

Just look at those lines heading DOWN! DOWN BABY DOWN!

This chart is the one that really sums it all up:

2014-09-05 Body Mass Chart

This chart shows my body split into two components: Fat (in yellow) and Lean Body Mass (in pink).

Fat, well is fat.  We all know what that is.  The yucky stored yellowish white stuff that represents stored energy.  Ever spill some grease on the burner while cooking?  THAT is fat.  That is what my body has too much of.

Lean Body Mass is things like muscles and bones, and internal organs.  The stuff that I want to keep around.  The good stuff.

The body, of course needs to keep some body fat to function.  The problem is that most of us tend to have too much of it.

The combination of the red and the yellow areas represent my “total body weight” projected out from July 25th through Jan 2016.  The shrinking yellow represents fat being burned off by my body as I get fitter and healthier and get rid of those excess energy stores that I don’t need.Applause Kitty

Ideally the red stuff should stay pretty much the same or increase during this process.  In other words, I am trying to lose FAT and keep the MUSCLE.  Losing muscle when trying to get fit is not a good way to do things.

So, the shaded bits are the “goals” or “projections”

The dots with the lines is what is actually happening.  If you look at the top line of dots you’ll see that my “total body weight” is not meeting the projected goals.


If you look at the BOTTOM line of dots connected by the line the real story is finally revealed.

The reason my total body weight is not dropping as fast as projected is because I’m gaining MUSCLE!!!!

I’m losing FAT and I’m gaining MUSCLE at the same time which IS TOTALLY FRIGGING AWESOME!


Woot! [doing a happy dance while typing]

See ya on the dance floor…

How you can help Tony succeed in his goals:

Cat sleeping in the net of a socer goal with caption that reads "I haz a goal and I iz sleepinz on itz."You can help me out with moral support:

  • Comment on this post using the “comment” section and send me an “atta boy”
  • Share this post through Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and any other social media site you belong to.  Heck, why not share it with every site to which you belong!
  • Look over in the right hand column near the top and add your email address to the “notification” list for this blog.
  • If you also blog on WordPress, click the “Press this” button and do a “hey look what this dude is doing” type of post about me on your own blog.

You can help me out by doing some shopping…

♥ Visit my store: TxCowboyDancer Designs (
and see if there are any designs there that you can’t resist!  There are designs for dancers, for book lovers, for cat lovers, and much more.

Join the mailing list for TxCowboyDancer Designs to be notified when new designs are posted ( and get codes for savings on your purchases.

♥ Visit my auctions on ebay — check them out and see if there is something that you’d like to buy.

♥ Visit my “online garage sale” on Pinterest — check it out and see if you see something you’d like to buy.

♥  Visit, and buy anything that strikes your fancy.  You get great stuff and I get the referral credit.  🙂

… Bookmark or Favorite this URL: (

… and use it every time you visit Zazzle to shop.

By using this URL, you’ll send a referral credit of 15% of your sale in my direction every time you buy something from Zazzle.  And it will NOT cost you anything extra except a few seconds to bookmark/favorite the URL in your browser.

♥  Do you shop at You get great stuff and I get the referral credit.  🙂

Bookmark or Favorite this URL:
and use it every time you visit Amazon to shop.

When you decide to go shop at Amazon, click on your bookmark / favorite button instead of typing in amazon into the address bar or search box.
By using this URL, you’ll send a referral credit of between 1 – 10% (averaging around 6%) of your sale in my direction every time you buy something from Zazzle.  And it will NOT cost you anything extra except a few seconds to bookmark/favorite the URL in your browser.

So there you have it.

A new beginning, a future fit and healthy and happy me.  Stay tuned for progress reports along the way.

See ya on the dance floor!




About TxCowboyDancer

Professional Dance Instructor teaching Country, Ballroom, Swing, Latin and Line Dance. Eleven time Country Dance World Champion.

Posted on Sat, Sep 6, 2014, in Misc. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Tony! You’re back on track! Kudos to you buddy. Your persistence and confidence is inspiring. You’re right on the mark about making fitness and health a permanent lifestyle and I learned years ago about increasing and maintaining muscle mass. That is huge in the weight management arena. Way to go! Love the charts! And the photos, wow you’re glowing in your after photos. Wishing you much success buddy! Love your blog.


    • Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! 🙂 Hi Carole. It is so nice to hear back from folks;thank you for the feedback. I followed your link. Nice site. And a nice photo of you. I actually attended an IAGLCWDC event in Vancouver (Back when it was Gary & Lisa’s event). I’ve been dying to come back and visit for an entire week and see more of BC other than just Vancouver (and no, that’s not a hint! LOL) If everything goes as planned then in 2016 – yes, I’m looking that far ahead, my goal is to do 1 Canadian event and 1 European event… OR if they will put me on staff…and pay my way, I’ll do as many as will hire me! Woot! *DEEP BREATH* — small steps… small steps… get fit, healthy THEN get certified as a judge THEN get dance events to pay my way to them. Woot! 😀


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