My weight loss story all started back in 2006. I was a 265 lb guy living in America’s heartland. I wasn’t working out, I was eating fast food daily, and processed foods the rest of the time. I had a nine to five desk job, and very little activity beyond that. I did do some minor household chores, mowed the yard and that sort of thing but that was the extent of my physical activity. At only 27 I was obese. I suffered from high blood pressure. I was a mess.
Daily trips to fast food joints and an office job that had me sitting for most of the day were fueling a rapid weight gain of 12 pounds a year on average. Topped off with a serious gaming habit that filled the rest of my day I was on my way to being one of those people you see featured on Biggest Loser or Extreme Weight Loss. Like many of those people I was uncomfortable, likely depressed and stuck in a rut. Like many of those people I needed a shock to my system to figure out that things needed to change.
In 2006 my now ex-wife had taken a new job that was fairly physical. Because of the physicality of the work she was starting to drop a fairly decent amount of weight in addition to starting to run both distances and stairs. Although i did take notice of the changes she was making I still continued my self destructive habits.
I honestly feel this is the biggest favor she ever did for me.
Rather than let the hurt send me deeper into depression or other self destructive patterns, I used it to light a fire inside me. I used it as motivation and a spring board to get started doing something. That something was to start running. There was really no plan I just started running. I don’t really recall the first few runs, but I am sure they were as small as a few blocks at a time. Then once that became easy or easier I just kept going and pushed through to a mile. Then it became a few miles. This continued until I got to the point I was running 4-5 miles almost daily, and I kept at this for months kicking of my weight loss story.
Relearning How To Eat
I had become once again an athlete. I was able to run frequently and for long distances. The thing that took the most learning was how to eat properly. Prior to this awakening running through Taco Bell a couple times a day was a pretty common thing. If it wasn’t that it was making something from a box, or multiple boxes sometimes. Hamburger helper, or Suddenly Salad or complete type casserole meals that come in a box. Veggies were rare, and if we did have them they were likely smothered in cheese, gravy or something else that made them entirely unhealthy. Fruit was also not common aside from what you might get out of a can or cup.
I learned quickly that food plays a much larger roll in your weight loss than exercise. Seems like a simple concept to know, but until then I had not learned it.
I learned quickly that food plays a much larger roll in your weight loss than exercise
Initially I moved to grilled meats most often paired with a side of fruit or veggies. I wasn’t a good cook at this point so this most often consisted of a simple burger or peice of chicken breast and a bag of steamed veggies. Zip Lock Steamer bags were a life saver for me during this period. Throw a few veggies in with some salt and pepper and they came out tasty and perfect in minutes.
Slowly I learned how to spice things up a little bit and became more and more interested in cooking which lead to using more fresh ingredients and a turn towards some organics as well.
The obesity epidemic is a simple failure derived from a lack of education
The obesity epidemic I learned is not caused by a sheer lack of inactivity. In fact it’s quite easy to lose weight with no activity at all. The obesity epidemic is a simple failure derived from a lack of education. Education about nutrition, cooking, and food as a whole are largely missing from childhood education. If the obesity epidemic is something we wish to change, we need to start with kids.
If you are curious about what I mean, Jamie Oliver has a fantastic TED talk about this subject which I have included. It’s a long play, but definitely worth a look.
Motivation To Move
Early in 2007 I found the Motivation to Move podcast run by Scott Smith. A former radio show host he had a big booming voice, good character and well produced show. Something that was sorely lacking in the self-help ITunes section at the time. MTM became my companion and go to source for health and fitness information. It was my constant companion as I ran mile after mile and it’s then 45 minutes or so show format kept my mind busy listening over many long and sometimes grueling runs. The show allowed me to zone out and just focus on the experience he was sharing. At the time I started listening he was coming to the end of his own weight loss story and so it was very easy for me to relate. The show focused on tips for your mental as well as physical health. Provided healthy recipes and took questions from listeners via email. My favorite part of the show however was the stories. Stories written by listeners of how their lives had been transformed. I was always so inspired by them and used them to continually motivate myself and push myself forward.
Transcript of the story on Motivation to Move
I want to take a few minutes out of my day to thank you. Why? Well because you changed my life. Crazy I know, your fifteen hundred miles away, but it happened in just a short two month period. Energy, confidence, happiness, and clothes that didn’t used to fit are all coming back to my life.
You see I am a twenty six year old Web developer from Omaha, NE. Sitting on your butt all day in front of the computer doesn’t burn many calories does it? Only a few years out of college I found that out the hard way. I remember quite vividly the day I gave up after looking at the numbers on the scale. 255. Not the largest body there is out there, but for a former athlete that played high school football, basketball, and generally loves the outdoors and likes to be active; it was a breaking point for me.
Too many trips to the fast food joints, sitting at my desk chair one-hundred percent of my day and just general inactivity began to take its
toll on my body, and my mind quite honestly. I felt as though I had thrown my life away, and would never to get it back. I looked at older men in the
mall with their bellies and felt that I was destined for that kind of a future. I felt helpless and I felt that there wasn’t much I could do about it.
Well it turns out life had it in for me and numerous life altering events happened to me that year and as a direct result I began doing some exercise
and at this point I had lost twenty pounds. I was elated and motivated to do more but even with my new constant cardio workouts, my diet was still
lacking and so my weight stayed about the same. Winter set in and with the cold I lost the motivation to continue the running that I had started only
a few months back, and as a result I began slipping…235, 240, then even 245, only ten pounds less then where I started less than I started a little
over a year ago. I gave up on myself again, frustrated in what I had done to myself.
Well then it happened. My wife took a new job that was pretty physically demanding, and as the days and weeks went by I could see obvious
differences in her body and I started to take notice. One day after she left the house I was getting myself ready for work and looked in the
mirror. I remember looking at myself and at first feeling that same disappointment cloud starting to close in on me. As I continued to look at
my unflattering physique the winds began to change and that all too familiar cloud blew away leaving me feeling like I had to do something.
Thoughts like “Do I want to be one of those fat husbands who walks around with a sexy and fit wife?” began running through my head. NO!!!! I think
even without knowing you Scott, or knowing Motivation to Move the “click” happened right there in my bathroom in front of the mirror.
I began running on the trail that had always been only a few yards from our apartment’s front door. Sporadic at first, but eventually I made it to
getting out four times a week. I was doing well on my own, but at this point I also stumbled on the Motivation to Move show. With the motivation I
had already given myself coupled with Scott’s help my workouts got more intense, more focused, then two miles turned to three miles, then three
turned to four! The pounds started coming off at a pretty alarming rate honestly, but I felt great so kept pushing forward! In less than 3 months I
had lost twenty-seven pounds and went from teetering on a size forty pants down to a thirty-six. My wardrobe now needs an overhaul.
Winter is about to set in again here in the Midwest and so I am beginning to take my workouts indoors. I am not a indoors person, and so I wasn’t
thrilled about getting started and I have been pushing it off. I had negative thoughts about the gym environment and I really don’t know why.
Maybe because I was not a fit person the last time I visited the gym and those feelings crept back into my head subconsciously. I started to feel
like I might be slipping again… that is until yesterday when I decided to give it a go, and I have to say I was amazed at just how well it went! I sat
on the bench and lifted the bar for the first time in more then seven years. As I eased the weight down on my chest and began to hoist it back up a
sudden burst of testosterone went surging through my body and it was such an amazing feeling I really can’t describe. I felt so empowered, I really
can’t say how awesome….WOW! That’s really all I can say about it. Needless to say I am eagerly awaiting the delayed onset soreness from the
first lift to wear off so I can head back down and do more.
I am a lot more energetic. I find myself having to get up from my desk several times a day just to expel some of the pent up energy. And you
know… secretly I think my energy is rubbing off on my office mates. That’s a feeling that is pretty cool!
I look better, I feel great, and I owe much of it to you and your show Scott. So thank you from yet another believer in what you do. The reason
that I write this obviously is in the hope it makes it to you and I do hope it makes your show not only for my selfish personal motivational reasons,
but because I feel that right now I am at that point I feel nothing can stop me, a state of Euphoria if you will, and I hope that all your users
get to that feeling because it’s truly a great experience.
Thank you for sharing your words, your knowledge and your experiences with us all.~ Kyle
My weight loss story stopped or went into a sort of maintenance mode sometime in 2010 when I hit my lowest weight of 189 pounds. It was around this time that I met my girlfriend of 3 years and with dating, going out and all those fun things my weight began to creep up ever so slowly. After 3 years I had put back on about 20 pounds and all the while not really kept up on my diet very well.
It was during this time that I decided to begin setting fitness goals that I wanted to complete. These goals would be tough, but attainable.
Shortly after starting work with Prep Sportswear I got an email inviting me to participate in the Seattle Rock and Roll Half-Marathon. I jumped on this as an opportunity as my first goal. I had been running as much as eight miles at a time so I felt this was pretty manageable. I was able to complete the marathon without much issue, although I did aggravate a tendon or muscle in my foot. I did however go on to complete the Rock and Roll Half-Marathon two more times. I also participated in a few 5k’s as well as 8k’s during the same period.
The other large event I took part in was a 200 mile bike ride called Seattle to Portland Classic (STP).