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Video Message from Mike

Posted by Mike Tang
Mike Tang
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on Sunday, July 15, 2012
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New MikeOver the next few weeks I will be writing about several different exercise activities I have done along with my plant based diet plan. During the last 7 months I have used road cycling, spinning, swimming, and yoga to create my new body. Be sure to click the "Like" box on the right to be the first to receive my new posts. Check out my video message below and for those that haven't seen me in awhile....Check out my new body!

 

  

Mike's weight-loss blog series:

Read Part 1: "My Journey from the Atkins Diet to Plant Based Living"
Read Part 2: "The Juice Fast, Into the Belly of the Beast..."
Read Part 3: "The Single Ingredient, Controlled Calorie Diet"
Read Part 4: "Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner?"

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Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner?

Posted by Mike Tang
Mike Tang
Mike Tang has not set their biography yet
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on Monday, July 09, 2012
in Training

Over the next few weeks we will take you through the incredible transformation of Mike Tang. At the end of 2011 Mike weighed 240 lbs (5'8) and was in terrible physical condition. In just a few short months he has lost over 50 pounds and has just recently finished the Bassman Triathlon.  Part 1 of this series starts with why Mike decided to change his life. Part 2 takes you through his 10 day juice fast and other steps that led him to plant based living. Part 3  explains the process Mike went through to determine what to do after the juice fast was completed and how he started the plant based living lifestyle. Part 4 (this post) completes this series with the final results of the biggest loser competition and final lessons learned.

Mike is not a medical professional or nutritionist. Consult your doctor before starting a nutrition or exercise program. VTR does not promote this or any other diet/exercise plan. This story just describes one man and the steps on his journey that led to his incredible transformation since December 2011.

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner? (Part 4)

Before & AfterIf you eat only vegetables, where do you get your protein? Any vegetarian or vegan will tell you this is the biggest question people have about eating a plant based diet. Will you lose muscle mass? What can you eat that will fuel your body? These questions are all legitimate to ask, and as it turned out I had pre-existing biases about protein and I had been living with these biases my entire life.

I don’t want to say that not eating meat is the right choice for everyone, but I will say we live in a country that celebrates our animal based food production. We as a culture have decided that animal based protein is healthy, and as such we should eat as much as possible. There is a cult like obsession to the consumption of animal protein with deep seeded rituals around all of our favorite activities and gatherings. Sporting event or summer holiday?...Boil up some hotdogs, fire up the grill, and cook some sausages. This 4th of July, how many of us grilled up burgers, steaks, and BBQ chicken, overeating heavy meat based products. The simple truth is this: protein exists in all foods, not just animal products. As long as you are not calorie deficient, eating a balanced plant based diet of nuts, beans, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will provide you with all of the protein you need. So why do we have this misconception that the only source of protein is from animals? Meat is a complete protein, which makes it a very efficient source of protein. Since it is efficient, it has been labeled as an excellent source of protein. This is why I don’t think that eating meat is necessarily bad, but the amount of meat we should consume is drastically less than we eat.

Back to the competition

I was starting month three, and it was really time to buckle down. I had no real understanding of how much I had to lose this month in order to win the competition.  Was it even possible for me to catch my co-worker? I had it calculated a million ways, and I was worried about all of them. The strategy to not weigh-in was a great one; it was in my head. Then something clicked for me. I had to let it go, this competition was not about winning, but about getting healthy. The only thing I could control for certain was my eating and exercise. I would have to give it my all and let the chips fall as they may. It was around this time I decided I wanted to start to add exercise into the mix to really melt the pounds off. 

One of the lessons I learned in month one was that by working out I gained muscle mass. Muscle is heavy, I didn’t want to gain too much muscle, so I decided to swim and use the elliptical. Both of these exercises would allow me to get my heart rate up, and if I spent the time with low resistance, I knew I would not build muscle mass and my weight would drop. The elliptical became my new best friend. I would eat up hours at a time on the elliptical. Like my new found love of hunger, I started to really enjoy the hours of boredom as my legs and arms moved in circles. I again gave myself no excuses and it seemed to pay off. During this time it was not uncommon to complete an hour and 30 minute elliptical session with no headphones. Hours spent with just my thoughts and me. Thoughts that “if this was easy anyone could do it”; thoughts that “this might just be crazy enough to work”.

Lessons learned this month

It was during a swim session that I was feeling very strong. I had been swimming laps for about an hour with my thoughts, trying to keep my mind entertained, when I thought about what I was really doing. I had limited my calories and I was swimming.  Generations ago, when food was not as plentiful, our ancestors had to do the same thing. Not swimming laps at the YMCA, swimming in the sea in search for food. It occurred to me that the body must condition itself to be quicker and more efficient when not given food in the short term. How else would we have survived?  When we have a surplus of food we store it and get overweight. Our bodies naturally get slower and hunting becomes more difficult. I kept swimming with purpose, my body was tuning for the hunt.

Results

This month the weight loss had become predictable. I would stand on the scale daily and know exactly how much I was going to weigh. I knew what would cause my weight to fluctuate and how much I would lose when I went to the bathroom (I weighed myself before and after every morning). Then came the final day of the weigh-in. I had scheduled to be in late to work that day. The weigh-in was scheduled for noon, and I had booked time at the gym in the morning. I woke up and only drank 8oz of smart water. I didn’t want to gain water weight, and I was on the way to the gym to sweat out the last of my weight anyway. I got to the gym and hit the stationary bike. I threw on a sweatshirt and began pedaling. Two hours later, drenched to the core from sweating, I showered and headed to the office. Was it enough? Did the work of the last three months pay off?

I rushed to the weigh-in and stepped on the scale.....194lbs...I had lost another 21.5 pounds in the month of March, bringing my total weight loss to 19%. So had I won? Well, look at me, I lost over 45 pounds in three months and had more energy than I have had in a long time. By anyone’s definition I was a winner. Then came the news, with a very hard fought and disciplined plan, my co-worker had lost 16%. I had won! Winner, winner chicken dinner! But, not so fast. Being vegan had given me energy to workout almost indefinitely, and working out had begun to show results of muscle definition. Why stop? I liked the way I ate and how I felt, and I didn’t want to gain the weight back so you know what? What started as an aggressive way to lose weight had resulted in a healthy lifestyle. I still have a lot to learn and many years of exercise, but it is now under my control.

Before After

Thanks:

I would like to thank all those at Percussion (www.percussion.com) that were a part of the biggest loser competition and those that cheered us on! Also Audra, for putting up one of the most competitive fights I have been involved with in my life, thank you for driving me to deliver the very best I could. Deidre, thank you for believing we at Percussion should “be healthy” from this competition and the fruit in the bullpen. To the yoga room, thank you for providing the things we need to stay healthy as part of our culture. And finally, a big thank you to my wife and kids. The time invested in changing my lifestyle now will pay off in the future; I look forward to attending all of weddings of my great grandchildren!

Read Part 1: "My Journey from the Atkins Diet to Plant Based Living"
Read Part 2: "The Juice Fast, Into the Belly of the Beast..."
Read Part 3: "The Single Ingredient, Controlled Calorie Diet"

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The Single Ingredient, Controlled Calorie Diet

Posted by Mike Tang
Mike Tang
Mike Tang has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Monday, June 25, 2012
in Training

Over the next few weeks we will take you through the incredible transformation of Mike Tang. At the end of 2011 Mike weighed 240 lbs (5'8) and was in terrible physical condition. In just a few short months he has lost over 50 pounds and has just recently finished the Bassman Triathlon.  Part 1 of this series starts with why Mike decided to change his life. Part 2 takes you through his 10 day juice fast and other steps that led him to plant based living. Part three in this series (this post) explains the process Mike went through to determine what to do after the juice fast was completed and how he started the plant based living lifestyle.

Mike is not a medical professional or nutritionist. Consult your doctor before starting a nutrition or exercise program. VTR does not promote this or any other diet/exercise plan. This story just describes one man and the steps on his journey that led to his incredible transformation since December 2011.

Back to the "biggest loser" competition at work. (Part 3)

by Mike Tang

At this point I had lost some weight but I was still way down in the rankings in the "biggest loser" competition at work.  In the first month the leader in the competition had lost close to 10% of her body weight and I had lost 2%.  Even with the 10 pounds that I had lost, I still only had lost 5% in six weeks, I was still way behind overall.   Juicing had started me down the path of understanding of what my body needs and what my body doesn’t need.  Now I had to push forward, keeping this momentum.  During the week of my juice fast I had started to do research on how I was going to eat after my ten day fast.  It was while researching that I watched a movie that helped me to understand why my body reacted the way it did to juicing. “Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead ” is a documentary by Joe Cross, an Australian who spent 60 days juice fasting while traveling across America and helping communities understand the health benefits from juicing.  In this amazing story he not only loses over 100 pounds in 60 days, but also helps another man Phil Staples, lose over 100 pounds as well; inspiring to say the least.  I then found a second movie that was going to shape how I eat to this day,  “Forks Over Knives”.  This movie puts forth the idea that controlling what goes into the body while eating (forks) is preferable to invasive surgery to correct disease (knives).   Amazingly, it follows the story of eighteen patients with terminal prognosis in regards to heart disease.  These patients follow a whole foods plant based diet and within two years begin to reverse their symptoms, hardening of arteries and heart disease.  Not bad considering that they all were given less than 3 months to live at the beginning of the movie.   Now I have to say, this sounds more like a movie review column than a blog about how I changed my lifestyle, but these movies really framed my research and made an impact of how I changed my life. (for more detail rent them above for a few dollars)

In case you think I am insane (those that know me know the answer to that question), I do not advocate just watching movies and accepting the plot and events as fact.  That would be just crazy, right... “Fahrenheit 911” and “An Inconvenient Truth” fans?  But the nutrition movies continue down the path of “Super Size Me” and “Food Inc.” and actually present working plans on how to approach a lifestyle change to increase overall health.  So I researched some more, “Vegan”, “Vegetarian”, “100 Mile Diet”, “Organic Foods”, there is so much to learn on each one of these plans that it would make your head spin.  I just needed to figure out what I was going to do after the juice fast. The end of the 10 days was approaching quickly and I wanted to exercise to really start losing weight.

 

Single ingredient, controlled calorie diet

After researching all I could about plant based living, I decided I would finish the last 6 weeks of the competition with what I explained to people as a “single ingredient” diet.  I was eating foods that were not processed, whole foods.  My diet consisted of lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and mushrooms.  If I picked up an item at the store, it would have to have only ingredients that I knew were whole foods individually.I had already made the most important fundamental switch, my body no longer craved meat, cheese, or sugar. At this point I was still limiting my intake of whole grains, oil, and sugar. My goal was to eat around 1000 calories a day (I do not suggest this long term, or without the supervision of a doctor). I had just spent 10 days without eating more than 600 calories a day so the culinary world had become my oyster, or at least my oyster mushrooms.  Because most vegetables are low in calories, I was free to eat a ton of food at this time, and again I rarely found myself hungry.  I did not stress over things like “in-season” or “organic”, these are all important, but I had already made the most important fundamental switch, my body no longer craved meat, cheese, or sugar.

Lessons learned this month

So, “never in a million years”, a coworker to this day still remembers my reaction in 2011 to the notion of becoming a vegetarian.  This month I had not only stopped eating meat, I had stopped eating altogether for 10 days and I had not died nor did the world end. In fact, for the first time in my life I did not feel completely controlled by food.  “I don’t like” and “I would never” had become excuses for me to continue to eat the foods I liked to eat, and this month I had challenged those things to the core.  Just as easy as it is to say “I am too tired to exercise” or “I will do it tomorrow” these statements had now all become distant monikers of an old lifestyle.  The body is amazing. It tells you what you need to know, but most of us, including myself, choose to ignore it.  You feel good when you eat junk food, but only for a moment, then you feel terrible.  Your body craves the “feeling good” and your mind justifies the “feeling terrible”.  Eating right, your body stabilizes and starts to crave good food, because you feel better overall.  It is not easy at first, but nothing that really matters is.  You read about great people all the time, but what separates them from you is really nothing more than “action” in most cases.  The results may not be the same, but that should not matter. The confidence of meeting your own goals and sticking to a plan you can control is all that is important.  Good things take time; great things are defined by doing those good things for a lifetime.  There are no shortcuts in life; you still have to live your life until you die.

Results

This month I had really dropped weight, not just around the waist, but also in my overall bone structure.  Not over loading on protein allowed my body to naturally shrink my frame as my body was not preparing to build extreme muscle mass.  My shoulders had started to shrink and my chest had gone from close to 50 inches to 44 inches.  Then came the weigh in.  I was excited to weigh in and see where I was at in the overall picture.  Could I break through to the top 3? How much more would I have to go through to win the competition in March? I took a deep breath and stepped on the scale....  215.5... I had lost another 18 pounds total in February!!! I had lost over 10% in two months, close to 8% in February alone.  How much more did I have to lose to win? I waited for the leader to weigh in, anxious to have a definitive goal for third month.  In a great strategic play, she refused to weigh in.  I had tipped my hat, let here know exactly how much I had lost and the traction I had gained.  I was upset I did not know where I stood, but now knew I was in second place.  One month to go: full steam ahead…..

Next Week (Part 4):  Plant based exercising or “If you only eat vegetables, where do you get your protein?”

Read Part 1: "My Journey from the Atkins Diet to Plant Based Living"
Read Part 2: "The Juice Fast, Into the Belly of the Beast...

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