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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 10 Day Juice Fast, Into the Belly of the Beast…

Posted by Mike Tang
Mike Tang
Mike Tang has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Saturday, June 16, 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 (this post) takes you through his 10 day juice fast and other steps that led him to plant based living.

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.

The Juice Fast, Into the Belly of the Beast… (Part 2)

by Mike Tang

Mike before the contestLet’s get something clear, up front.  I love meat. I love cheese. I would consider mayonnaise one of my closest friends.  That is what made the Atkins Diet so perfect for me, eight years of eating the things I loved the most.   As far as food goes, nothing, let me repeat, nothing made me happier than a smoker full of ribs and eight hours of stoking the fire.  The process of turning meat into “fall off the bone” ribs is nothing short of amazing. Growing up, meat was a symbol of success for our family. Large feasts of roasted pig, fish, and duck were revered as much as Larry Bird and the Celtics were on the court.  So after a month of dieting and not seeing the results I needed to win the "biggest loser competition" at work, I was ready to make a move to an extreme diet. I am a competitor after all, and I had set the bar high. I was going to win come hell or high water.

February 2012

Research and Preparing for a 10 Day Juice Fast

We all know the internet is a great place to do research. Every idea out there can be validated by some crazy guy typing a blog post on his kitchen table. So what was real and what was “infomercial” propaganda?  After a lot of digging, I settled on the fact that my “extreme diet” was going to be a 10 day juice fast.  I found the best way to prepare the body for a juice fast was to spend a week eating raw nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Ten days of no meals,  juicing fresh vegetables and fruits in a juicer. It seemed that it had all the hallmarks of a crazy plan, no eating and rapid weight loss, just the thing I needed to get back into the running.  So, where should I start?  I had already cut out alcohol, sugar, refined carbohydrates (flours and rice) and caffeine.  After some research, I found the best way to prepare the body for a juice fast was to spend a week eating raw nuts, fruits, and vegetables.  That week was hard, but it went by pretty quick.  I started the first phase on a Monday and by Friday I was restless. It was “go time”.

Juice Fast Days 1-3:

I started my ten day juice fast on a Friday night with my first “juiced” meal.  My only goal at this point was to make it until Sunday night. "I can do anything for three days," I told myself.  “25 laps in the pool and then 2 juiced apples, 5 juiced strawberries and a hand full of blueberries. This is hard...”, was my first post on Facebook. I had let the world know, no turning back now.  I was restless that night, but I was resolved to make it so I simply drank a glass of water and tried to fall asleep.  I somehow made it through that first night and into my first full day Saturday.  I woke up and made a juice of green grapes, strawberries and a nectarine.  Then came the hard part, I had to go out to the mall to run an errand.  This was where the panic set in.  What would happen if I needed to eat something when I was out? I got in my car and headed to the mall. The clock was ticking.  I remember feeling claustrophobic as I ventured out, passing fast food restaurants, the convenience stores of quick meals, none of which could help my hunger.  I needed to finish quickly and get home.  Two hours, two short hours had passed since I juiced and left my house, but I was finally home.  I thought I was going to die, I juiced quickly and sweet relief, I was nourished again.  The rest of the day passed uneventfully, I had made it 24 hours without a solid meal.  I went to bed, I was almost through my first goal, make it to Sunday.My mind and body were in active revolt against what I was forcing myself to do.  I juiced throughout the day, but I could hardly get off the couch.By the time I woke up on Sunday morning I had gone over thirty hours without chewing any food.  This was definitely the hardest day for me.   My mind and body were in active revolt against what I was forcing myself to do.  I juiced throughout the day, but I could hardly get off the couch.  The second hand on the clock was crawling. I needed to eat a real meal and chew some food.  I thought it was best to distract myself. I decided to find a project to do around the house.  It was in the middle of this project when life hit like a ton of bricks.  Every frustration I had ever had in my life somehow manifested itself in anger and emotion.  “You simply don’t understand at all,” I explained to my wife as tears ran down my face.  If I was not going to give my body the food it craved, it was going to break me down to the core of who I was and force me to eat.

Looking back, this was the last stand for my old cravings for bad food.  With the support of my family, all looking at me like I was completely crazy, I made it through day three.

Juice Fast Days 4-10:

I woke up on Monday, my body almost completely broken of its craving for eating food and feeling a ton better.  I made my morning juice and headed off to work.  This is where the work of the weekend paid off.  I was able to work throughout the day with new energy and focus.  That week I even made a day trip to DC, patiently taking the crew out to lunch while drinking a glass of water, waiting to go to Robek’s for my ABC (Apple, Beet, Carrot).  I cruised through the rest of the days of the fast, and by the end I felt I could nourish myself this way indefinitely.I cruised through the rest of the days of the fast, and by the end I felt I could nourish myself this way indefinitely.Things I juiced in the morning consisted of fruits, Apples, Oranges, Pineapple, Carrots, Blueberries, Grapes and Strawberries.  These things all complement each other well and can all be combined to make creative meals.  Some days, I would create another fruit juice concoction and drink it for lunch or I would switch to vegetables.   My plan was every night to get my vegetables in juice form; these were low calorie, low sugar and high in nutrients: spinach, broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, ginger, garlic, and celery.  Between meals, I fell in love with Smart Water and drank 4-6 liters a day of water. 

Juice Fast Results and Lessons Learned:


Benefits I gained by juicing:

  • Reset my palette to not expect high fat foods, processed foods, and meat.
  • Energy from digesting nutrient rich meals three or four times a day.
  • Vegetables have a ton of things that are good for me. I generally felt better.
  • I learned that I would not instantly die if I missed a meal.
  • I control my body and cravings, not the other way around.

Things I was starting to put together:

  • Setting small goals that spanned a few days made everything more attainable.  Having a plan for the next step allowed me to move right into the next thing and not feel like I was “stuck” miserable forever.
  •  Fruits and vegetables made me feel good. My body was sick and I did not even know it. I had simply allowed myself to get used to feeling awful.
  • The human body is a amazing thing.  Get to understand what yours is telling you and not turn a deaf ear to the pain you cause it.

I felt good, and it was really starting to work, so what next?  By the way, for those keeping count... halfway through February I was down to 223.5, a loss of 10lbs, game on! I had already lost more weight in the first half of February than I had in the entire month of January!

Next Week:  Now that juicing was done, what was the next step and the second month weigh-in? Would I do better than month one?

Read Part 1: "My Journey from the Atkins Diet to Plant Based Living"

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