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Here's me at 166. I'm in the middle there.

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This is me, right before I started my latest weight loss attempt. Not terrible, but I've gotten better!

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Here's a picture shortly after I started.


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Here's my little chance to make it all about me. After all, it IS my Spark Page, so bear with me for a bit!

My intentions with this series are to chronicle my journey from 250 pounds and bordering on health problems -- being unable to seriously work out, and too embarrassed to take off my shirt at the beach -- to US Marine Corps Officer Candidate Class 202, on or about 3 October 2009.

The journey started about two years ago, but it wasn't always with this goal. I was a relatively unimportant Field Organizer for Senator Claire McCaskill's campaign against Jim Talent in Missouri. I was bordering on obese at 250 pounds, although I didn't really recognize that fact. On an everyday basis, I didn't really want to take off my shirt, but I didn't ever really see myself as what I was -- until I looked at myself in photos. Still, I wasn't really ready to change my lifestyle -- that, it turned out, happened on its own. For anyone who has ever worked a political campaign, you already know the workload -- as the election drew nearer, we were working easily 20 hours a day and sleeping at our desks. Combining those hours with fairly regular exercise in the form of walking precincts and getting in a run here and there, I was able to lose 60 pounds and look fairly acceptable for my wedding.

So there I was, 190 pounds and looking okay... but a year later, I was gaining weight slowly and creeping up towards 200 pounds again. I hadn't really learned any lessons from my weight loss, since it came unconsciously and unintentionally. I was pretty much right back on track to gain all the weight back, and that's when I found SparkPeople. What a difference that made! I started actually paying attention to what I was eating, and amazingly enough, I realized that didn't mean I had to change my whole life and stop eating anything I enjoyed -- it just meant I had to eat a little less of it and make sure I'm not always snacking. Combining my new discipline with a renewed vigor for exercise, I was able to lose thirty pounds between July and October; I'm now down to a healthy 162 pounds, and my body fat percentage is around 10%. I feel so much better, and I can take my shirt off without being embarrassed. I officially have a beach body!

More importantly, though, I came to realize that I have a purpose in life, and I'm focused on using my physical gifts to serve my country. I've looked into it, and the Marine Corps is a great opportunity for me to utilize my abilities -- both physical and mental -- to serve a higher purpose. So, as of today officially -- albeit, I started training a few weeks ago physically -- I am beginning the process of training for OCC Class 202 with the intention of being commissioned as an Officer of Marines in December of 2009. My wife and I decided that the October class would be best for us, as I would be done with The Basic School and possibly my Military Occupational Specialty school around the time she finishes graduate school, and it gives me a lot of time to physically prepare myself for the rigors of the toughest military entrance program in our country's history.

Depending on who you hear it from, the requirements vary. The minimum Personal Fitness Test score for entrance to OCC is 225 out of 300; that's about a 24 minute three mile pace with 86 crunches in two minutes and 15 pull ups. My Officer Selection Officer, however, won't send anyone to OCC with less than a 245 PFT score.

That's all well and good, of course, but can you survive at OCS with a 245? Unlikely. Many people say you need at least a 275 to have any hope at finishing the course, and realistically, people with a perfect score -- 18 minute three mile time, 20 pull ups, and 100 crunches -- still don't have it easy.

Right now, my score is a 234 out of 300. I can run a 19:50 three mile and do 100 crunches, but my pull-ups are weak -- I can only do 9 in a row. This BLOG will chronicle my journey from mediocre fitness to elite fitness -- I'm determined to get into OCC 202 and I'm going to thrive, get my commission, and serve my country.

For more information on Marine Corps OCS, check out or
The first link is a video series based on a past OCC class and their journey through the process. It's a fascinating thing to watch, and it shows you exactly what I'm anxiously awaiting. Some people would call that crazy, but to me, it's moto as hell.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy following along with me!

Member Since: 8/2/2008

Fitness Minutes: 6,941

My Goals:
I started out (pre-SP) at 192 with about 17% body fat, and I'm aiming to be at 162 with around 10% body fat. I want to be faster on my skates in hockey, look better, and of course, have abs.

My Program:
Recently, I heard someone say the key to losing weight is "eat less and run more." Well, I wouldn't say I'm eating *less*, but I'm eating healthier -- sticking within my Spark recommendations -- and running four or five times a week. It's worked so far, so I'm sticking to it!

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 current weight: 172.0 
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