Body Fat – My Story Of Losing It

Body Fat Percentage has been on the tips of other blog writers finger tips for a couple of weeks now and I wanted to take some time to tell my story about body fat percentage.  I could take you back to when I weighed 175 pounds and was not in any shape other than round but for the purpose of this post my body fat percentage story will start on November 19, 2012.

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Recovery Breakfast The Day After Ironman Arizona 2012 Not pictured: hard-boiled eggs.

Why did I chose November 19, 2012 to start the story of my body fat percentage?  That was the day after Ironman Arizona and I had just spent my morning with Susan Lacke eating anything and everything.  After all I had just completed racing and I was heading into the off-season so why not.  That morning while scarfing down waffles, pancakes with Reese’s pieces, hard-boiled eggs, coffee and toast I didn’t realize that my ‘fit’ body was really not ‘fit’.

When I got home and I started seeing pictures of me I noticed one thing.  What was that one thing?  Well, that would be my skinny fat stomach.  As you can see from the picture below I looked like I was in shape and an 11:53 finishing time at IMAZ would say that I was, but in reality I wasn’t.  I stepped on the scale and my weight was 155 pounds and my body fat percentage was 12%.  For most people, that would be ok but I had a gut and I was devastated by the pictures.  How could I talk about living a healthy lifestyle when I was running around with this pouch?

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This picture set off a fire alarm in my head that it was time to get in the best shape of my life for Ironman Texas

I began exchanging text messages and emails with Jeff Irvin who pointed me to the book Wheat Belly.  I would say that this book was the kick-start to not only dropping weight but also body fat percentage.  Along the road I discovered that just by dropping wheat that the weight was dropping off and my body fat percentage was going in that same direction.  Simultaneously I joined Instagram and my food inspiration and time in the kitchen went in the other direction.

I was making dishes that were fantastic tasting but I was keeping track of my calories, carbs, fat and protein intake.  What I noticed was not so much the calories but the carbs.  If I exceeded 300 carbs in a day I would notice little to no difference or a gain in body fat percentage regardless of the amount of training I was doing.  At that point I had a conversation with Maria about nutrient timing.

Nutrient timing was the second leg of the stool that had to be installed in order to have my weight and body fat percentage drop in a healthy manner.  Since I do all of my training in the morning it was imperative that I get the majority of my daily carbohydrates in before, during and after these workouts.  I began by having a 90 or 180 calorie Endurance Sport 24 shake 1 hour prior to the training.  Depending on the intensity of the workout I would have either water or an electrolyte based drink and then that would be followed up with waffles for breakfast as recovery (side bar:  I am on Day 14 of #wafflestreak.)  The rest of the day would be filled with healthy fats (avocado, coconut) and lean protein (vegetables, eggs.)

Now that my stool had two legs I needed a third to keep it balanced otherwise this ‘diet’ would not work.  What was that third stool?  The goal of racing Ironman Texas at 11:15 or less.  Having this goal has me keeping my diet very clean and the corresponding weight and body fat percentage reflect this.  I have had this goal for sometime but now that all three pieces of my body fat percentage stool have come together this goal is now becoming more of a reality.  My performance in the water, on the bike and on the road have shown that this formula is working and I am not about to throw a monkey wrench into it.  We are less than 90 days away and I will be disciplined to make sure that this train keeps moving forward.

Weight And Body Fat Percentage Progress:

  • Nov 29, 2012: Weight: 149.2 lbs; Body Fat Percentage: 10.1%; Water%: 60.4%; Muscle Mass: 128.4 lbs
  • Dec 30, 2012: Weight: 148.0 lbs; Body Fat Percentage: 9.3%; Water%: 60.9%; Muscle Mass: 127.6 lbs
  • Jan 30, 2012: Weight: 143.4 lbs; Body Fat Percentage: 8.7%; Water%: 61.2%; Muscle Mass: 125.0 lbs
  • Feb 24, 2012: Weight: 140.4 lbs; Body Fat Percentage: 6.0%; Water%: 63.8%; Muscle Mass: 125.2 lbs

Nearly 9 lbs lost in 3 months with a body fat percentage drop of 4.1% and maintaining a muscle mass that is fairly constant.

If you think I am doing this by starving myself just take a look at my Instagram account as I have been documenting the meals that I create and eat on a daily basis.  You will notice that there is a wide variety in the meals and also in the colors of the meals which means that I am not only getting all of my macro-nutrient needs met but also my micro-nutrient needs are being met.

This process is just that, a learning process.  I have seen what works and doesn’t work for my body but I am also focused on my hunger queues which means I eat when hungry and not what the hands on the clock say.  This is not magic but instead science and hard work.

Have You Ever Focused On Body Fat Percentage?


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  1. Jeff Irvin says:

    Nice write up Jason. Your results are remarkable and your hard work is admirable.

    You are literally a half pound away from goal weight 90days out – wow!

    Your description of being “skinny fat” just hits the nail on the head as I was the exact same way.

    The real impressive number for you is that your lean muscle mass has stayed virtually unchanged when compared to the overall drop of BF%. This is a very important metric, especially for the endurance athlete, as the quick and easy way to lose the weight would be to drop muscle but that leads to a host of other issues and is not sustainable at your training workload.

    Well done man!
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..Yeah, that was Stupid …My Profile

    • CTER says:

      Thanks man. A lot of credit goes to you for pointing me in the direction of Wheat Belly. It also helps to have you working on the same goal and literally being in the exact same position in terms of weight, body fat %, etc.

      My fear now is being too lean for IMTX. I will be right at 139 for Puerto Rico in 3 weeks for sure but 90 days is a long road and watching that scale will be tough especially during peak weeks.

  2. Natasha says:

    You are a very dedicated person, good job on hitting your goals! I’ve always struggled with hitting my body fat numbers but I think I’m going to make that my focus once I’m able to at the end of my new journey in 9 months.
    Natasha recently posted..Monday MotivationMy Profile

  3. Victoria says:

    Your dedication to integrating habits to support your goals into your entire life is impressive – it will get you far. Keep up the good work.
    Victoria recently posted..Myrtle Beach Marathon: 3:47:29My Profile

    • CTER says:

      Much, much appreciated. You know the goal and having it out there for myself is as much a motivator as it is an accountable action for me.

  4. Laura G says:

    Great Post!

    I know that the diet is my one weakness to getting where I want to be and what I want to accomplish. It’s great to read the science and thought process behind your changes and seeing how great your results are. I do not eat bad in general (not eating fast food or burgers every night) but I can work on limiting the treats and eating more satisfying meals along with understanding my body needs before, during and after training.

    • CTER says:

      It is truly about understanding your body. When you read Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc everybody has tips and ideas but that is what works for their body. You have to figure out what works for your body.

      For me because of my training I am eating a pre-workout at 4-5am then working out and eating breakfast between 830a and 9a which means I am hungry for lunch by 1130a-12p and then dinner is right around 430p and I finish off with an EnduranceSport24 Whey Protein shake and a snack at around 730p.

      It works for me but may not work for you. Listen to your hunger queues and eat when hungry not emotional (tired, stressed, bored, happy, sad, etc.) You will know your hungry when your mind is cloudy or your stomach grumbles or both.

      Simple snacks of dried fruit or nuts are helpful.

      One of the best tools I own in the kitchen is a digital scale. That helps me regulate servings size and keep portion control.

  5. I monitor my bf% constantly and can’t get it anywhere down to single digits. I thought the vegan thing would take care of it for me but after 2 months there’s no real difference.

    I have read wheat belly, didn’t care for it too much as a book. it was a tough read with sound medical principles, just boring. I already eat only whole foods, nothing processed, no pasta, very little bread, all whole clean vegetables. so a lot of the wheat belly principles didn’t have much effect for me.

    at 6’1″, 179 lbs isn’t overweight by any stretch. But I still came in at 20.8% body fat this morning, goal is 11%. Since I used to be closer to 40% fat before I lost weight I’m starting to doubt if I’ll ever be able to get past that “skinny fat” stage. Your progress is very inspiring and gives me some hope.

    Did you ever look into the 80/10/10 plan or more of a vegan approach? I’m curious to what you think would happen to you with that approach. Everyone is different.
    Carolina John recently posted..A day of eatingMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      I have not looked into the 80/10/10 plan. A more vegan approach for me would only mean the elimination of eggs and honey as I steer as clear as I can from dairy already.

      That being said I will not give up honey so the vegan approach is most likely never happening. Could I give up eggs? Probably but don’t think it is necessary as I am getting healthy fats from the eggs and that benefits my diet.

  6. Maria Simone says:

    You’ve put a lot of thought and hard work into both training and nutrition. You are an inspiration :)

    I agree with Jeff about your maintenance of lean muscle mass. There is no sense getting light if it sacrifices muscle mass. You’ve kept your strength and gotten very lean – even after the max strength phase you did. Your numbers are strong and consistent so I don’t worry that you’ve sacrificed strength just to be lean.

    Solid. Solid. Solid.
    Maria Simone recently posted..Running to the beat of my own lyricsMy Profile

  7. Really interesting to read, Jason! This topic has been coming up a lot lately, but I would definitely agree with you – cutting out a lot of the wheat (especially processed) and sugar has made the most difference for me. The flip side, though, is that I eat A TON of veggies and protein, otherwise I would never stay full! But minimal processing seems to be the route that works best for me…
    Addy @ Six-Kick Switch recently posted..Good Weekend and Chocolate MuffinsMy Profile

  8. lindsay says:

    i’m impressed. i know EXACTLY what you mean by “walking the walk” – why should people listen to me if i’m jiggly? i really need to get it in gear!

    how are you measuring your BF%?
    lindsay recently posted..Pain in the Rear: A DiagnosisMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      I have a Tanita scale that measures: weight, body fat%, water%, muscle mass, visceral fat and a host of other items. I have had it for a while and really like the information that it gives me in a matter of moments.

  9. Rodney says:

    I don’t have any weight loss goals but I did want to get leaner and in the last 60 days of going (mostly) meat free the change has been pretty outstanding. Between that and timing food intake properly it has been pretty easy and I am pretty impressed with the results.

    Wheat Belly is a great book as is The Thrive Diet and of course all the great blogs out there ;)

  10. Micheal Clark says:

    Wow, awesome blog, thanks for the article.Garcinia Cambogia

  11. hi there….Percentage of body fat is a real factor in both health and fat loss. Knowing what percentage of fat you are carrying compared to your muscle can go a long way toward assuring that you are losing fat and not precious muscle as you drop weight.
    Body fat percentage recently posted..The Lemonade DietMy Profile

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