- Posted May 27, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments
I Lost 200 Pounds in 1 Year
With respect to my downward spiraling health, I was medicating it and not treating it. My food addiction was getting worse by the day. I was spending about $750 per month on fast food and convenience store garbage like donuts, bagels and sugar filled soda. I would never abstain from a food because it wasn’t good for me and I never even considered doing exercise for the purpose of fitness. Getting out of the car was my only cardio workout.
Painful standing meant my job was becoming difficult (where I am required to do presentations and networking in social settings). I would turn down invitations from friends where standing was involved. I wore an ankle brace every day because my body was struggling just to hold my weight.
I had tried to lose weight so many times and I knew that my daughters, aged 5 and 2 at the time deserved better than I was giving them.
I privately wondered: * Could anyone ever love me (myself included)? * How long would it be before my loved ones would start to be ashamed of me? * Will I live to see my daughters marry? Graduate? Even grow up?
On the outside I wasn’t an unhappy person. In fact, a majority of people around me seemed to like me and think I was a positive, happy person, but inside I was just living day to day. I had settled in life, love and in so many areas of my life. I was loved by my daughters but not by myself.
I was preparing a lesson plan for a class I was teaching that was teaching a principle: handle your weaknesses one at a time. It suggested writing down the evil things you are fighting on five balls and show that these are impossible to juggle all at once. But if you were to toss the balls one at a time at a person, they could handle their shortcomings. The manual even suggested possible shortcomings: * Violent behavior * Adulterous Relationships * Drug usage * Alcohol Abuse * Unhealthy Eating Habits
Seeing unhealthy eating habits alongside four things I had always perceived to be far more grevous offenses took me aback. Was I as reckless as a violent adulterer who does drugs and abuses alcohol? Now this may seem harsh, but at this moment, I finally recognized that I was destroying myself. I was committing suicide one burrito at a time.
See, I had never even considered the fact until that very moment, that food and my addiction to it was hurting my relationships, shortening my life unnecessarily and taking away from those that I loved most.
The next morning, I decided to get outside and go for a walk. It was 4am. When I returned home after what was probably a quarter of a mile, I was breathing so hard that my roommate thought I was having a heart attack. But I didn’t die. And that told me I could probably do it again tomorrow and I might not die then either.
A week or so later, I was visiting with a nutrition major friend of mine, Bret. He gave me a meal plan that I used for the next 9 months that was largely whole foods based. More importantly, he was there when I needed to ask a question about food or exercise. He encouraged me and told me he was confident that by the following Christmas, I could be 100 pounds lighter.
I prepared food every night that was consistent with the diet and as a food addict, decided never to deviate from my plan for fear of relapsing. As with all things, I have had the support of my friends and family and that has made all the difference.
After 9 months, I started some additional strength training and increased my protein intake to facilitate muscle growth.
Bret had started me with the incredible idea that I could drop 100 pounds by the next Christmas. When I first started eating healthy, the weight poured off of me. It’s clear to me now that my body wanted to be fit and I had been fighting it my whole life with my addiction. Despite hitting a few plateaus along the way, by the following Thanksgiving, I had doubled his dream, losing 200 pounds.
I ran in my first 5K Thanksgiving 2011 as my family cheered me on at the finish line and inside I knew that I had become the man they would always know: healthy, strong and happy. Loved by others always, but finally for the first time and forever by himself.
6 months after that, I completed my first triathlon.
Why was I so massively succesful? I’ve thought at about this a great deal, but if I had to point out a few things:
Consistency. I was devout in my gym attendance. My gym tracked records and I used social services to check in. When I looked back after the first two years, I had averaged 19 gym workouts per month (that’s roughly 5 per week).
Clear Rules and No Cheat Days. To this day, I still haven’t consumed a single sugary dessert since that day: no cake, no pie, nothing of the sort. I don’t think this extreme nature is necessary for everyone, but I was addicted to unhealthy food and I know that had I allowed myself “cheat days” (I hate that description because it makes you married to a diet or meal plan and gives you guilt even when you plan the deviation from normal). But ultimately, I know myself and where I personaly came from and being the person I was, I would have fallen off the wagon due to discouragement and cravings that would have come back. I was like an alcoholic and no one ever tells an alcoholic to once a week go do a happy hour and get it out of your system, so why would I do it?
I did it for me. This was the click that changed this time. See, this was not the first time I’d attempted a change, but this is the first time it stuck (I’ve been at my goal weight for almost two years now). Every other time, I did it for a girl or a suit or some other reason. This time I did it because I realized that I deserved to be healthy and happy and I deserved to live.
Did I have external motivation? Of course. I was concerned that relationships had deteriorated due to my poor health. I like the attention that comes from the opposite sex now. I love being strong in and out of the gym. I get a rush from completing a new personal best or when I did my triathlon.
I love not having limits. I work for a construction company in marketing (I don’t actually do construction) so when a homeowner for the first time offered for me to go on a ladder and check out the damage in his attic, I said yes. I don’t know enough about construction to actually know what I was seeing, but I was just excited to be able to climb a ladder for the first time in my life and walk around up there because a couple of years before, no one would have in their right mind invited me to go into their attic.
In closing, please allow me to present the tale of the tape:
Weight: 440 pounds to 212 pounds = 228 pounds lost or over 50% of my body weight. I’ve also added some of muscle weight to this. Waist: 56 inch to 34 inch = 22 inches lost Neck: 22 inch to 16 inch = 6 inches lost Shirt Size: 4X to a Large Collarbone: I now have one (or two? I failed anatomy.) Adam’s Apple: Finally. Visible Veins: About time. Fitness: I couldn’t walk to I feel physically fit for the first time in my life.
And most importantly, my two daughters, aged 8 and 5 now can sit on my lap without my stomach getting in the way and wrap their arms completely around me. My oldest daughter, at age 6 once told me that my transformation was a “complete metamorphosis. You are a butterfly now, Daddy.”
I have never been more proud for her brilliance and to have shown her that she never has to stay a caterpillar.