Pilot Lifestyle
Weight loss competition results
May 4, 2011

If you’ve been reading along, you know I’ve been participating in Virgin America’s VFIT weight loss competition.  It has been three months and the competition has ended.  I wanted to share the results with you.

There were fifty four teams.  Each team had five people.  It doesn’t take a mathematician to see there was a lot of competition.

It started with a rather embarrassing weigh-in on February 1.  From that moment, I made a complete lifestyle change.  My goal was to drop thirty pounds.  I didn’t think it was too unreasonable to take off ten pounds per month.

I switched my diet to all natural foods: lots of lean meats, fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, Greek yogurt, and whole grains.

I cut out all the junk.  In the last three months, I have not had one bite of cake, pastry, or deep fried food.  For the first time in my life, I completely skipped Girl Scout Cookie season.

Subway and Chipotle were the only two fast-food chains I visited.  (Well, except for the one time I went to KFC and ordered their grilled chicken… I wasn’t impressed.)

Subway became a big part of my diet on the road. In the Las Vegas terminal, crews get priority.

Best advice I received?  “Eat your calories, don’t drink them.”  So, water was the only liquid I consumed.  I had no juices or soda for three months.

I also began a new exercise routine.  Three to six times a week, I put myself through grueling workouts on either a treadmill, bike, or elliptical machine.  At hotels, I would get funny looks walking through the lobby all drenched in sweat.  I didn’t care.

According to my log on www.loseit.com, I burned 24,820 calories through exercise during the competition.  That’s just formal workouts… I didn’t include everyday changes such as climbing stairs instead of riding the elevator.

Music was a big motivator for getting through the workouts.  Normally, I like a variety of songs.  For these sessions, I listened to the same playlist.  Some tunes provided inspiration.  Others were merely a loud distraction to forget about the exercise.

Most of my workouts were interval training.  The intervals got more challenging as time elapsed.  The last minute of each session was borderline torture.  Near the end, I always made sure the following song was queued up:

That song just seemed appropriate.

The Results

The competition officially ended on Saturday.  With a trip starting fairly early that morning, I commuted out to SFO on Friday evening.  I am paranoid enough about being late for a trip… but, I definitely wasn’t going to miss the final weigh-in due to a commuting disaster.

The final weigh-in was much more enjoyable than the first.

The result?

I lost fifty seven pounds.  (That’s not a typo.  I cannot believe it either.)

The final weight was logged and e-mailed to the VFIT coordinator.  An hour and a half later, I departed for Orlando.  The competition was finished.  I had to be patient and wait a few days for the results.

The coordinator released the results on Monday morning.

As a team, we did not rank.  Although I haven’t confirmed it yet, it looked like a couple of my team members never weighed-in.

As an individual, I placed fourth.

No prize for me.  That’s ok… I’ve already won.

I was initially disappointed when I saw the results.  I really wanted to win the trip to Cancun.  But, I found comfort in two realizations:

First: Fourth out of two hundred and seventy people is pretty darn good.

Second: I physically could not win the competition.  We were ranked by percentage of weight loss.  I’m a big guy… even my “skinny” weight is considered “overweight” on most charts.  I started at a much higher weight than the other competitors.  So, anyone who lost the same poundage lost a much higher percentage of weight.  To beat the winner, I would have had to lose eighty seven pounds in three months.  That’s impossible.

I congratulate the winners… changing lifestyle and losing weight is tough!  Great job everyone!!!

Thank goodness for healthy food on the airplane!

About author

Renewed Pilot

I've endured a roller coaster career in the U.S. Aviation Industry. Currently flying the 737 on my third try with the same legacy carrier, I have also flown for a regional, fractional and start-up carrier. My piloting experience includes the 737, A320, 727, Citation Excel, Citation Bravo, Saab 340 and many light singles and twin engine aircraft. I reside in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee.

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There are 9 comments

  • David T says:

    CONGRATULATIONS! That is an amazing effort and I hope your lifestyle changes stick. You should be proud of yourself!

  • Rob says:

    Congrats! That’s awesome. I just dropped 30 pounds and told a friend that my body was like having a new toy to play with. I’m sure you feel the same. Amazing effort, again, congratulations!

  • Allison says:

    That is awesome and inspiring! My husband and I have started a similiar weight loss program. I need all the inspiration I can get!

  • Sheri says:

    super congrats!!!!!!!!!!! I know it is so hard with your job…

  • Laura says:

    Brian, you ROCK!!! I admire your determination. Hard work always pays off in the end:)

  • NONNy says:

    Good Job Brian…

  • Todd says:

    Congratulations, Brian! Losing that much weight is especially difficult for airline pilots with our schedules and limited (often poor) food options on the road. Best of luck.

  • Pam Deveau says:

    What an accomplishment Brian. I’m soooo proud of you!!! I hope one day I’ll be able to say I lost 57 lbs.!!!!! Love you lots!!!

  • Henry the VIII says:

    I notice a change , now i know why..I was wonder why you lookng good at the wedding…..LOL

    Keep it up…

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