What were the factors that inspired you to make changes?
A brief history. I have struggled with my weight for the majority of my life and anyone that has known me for any length of time, knows that I have worked for a very long time to get to where I am today.
I have tried just about everything you can think of in order to lose weight. From the dreaded four letter "diet" word, to hypnosis, to doctor prescribed medications,even Over Eaters Anonymous. All of these provided only a temporary aid in losing weight. I would lose the weight only to put it all back on later. Eventually, I would just give up.
Once I became involved with RTB my desire to lose weight returned. It wasn't just a desire to lose weight. It became a desire to become triathlon fit. Even with all of the inspiration around me, I continued to struggle with my weight. Don't get me wrong, I was losing some weight, but that was due to how much I was working out and less to do with what I was eating.
The reason why I say that "diet" is a four letter word is because diets never work. A diet usually involves only one family member trying to lose weight while the rest of the family continues with their normal eating habits. Eventually the one dieting succumbs to the pressures of the rest of the family.
The true inspiration came the day my wife decided that she had enough with being overweight as well. Now I was no longer just dieting. This became a lifestyle change. Once the family is willing to change, temptation becomes much less of a problem. Anyone trying to lose weight knows that it is extremely tough when you are surrounded by temptation. When the temptations are removed and replaced with healthy foods for the whole family, weight loss becomes much easier.
What have you learned about yourself along the way?
The biggest thing that I have learned is that I am physically capable of so much more than I ever thought I was. I know that is cliche.
I have always been obsessed with what the human body is capable of. Now that I was losing weight, the question became what am I capable of? I have always been a cyclist, even at my heaviest, but I figured that I would always be the guy that jogged/walked 5K races and nothing more. Little did I know that with my weight loss and encouragement from my wonderful new RTB friends, my athletic endeavors and ability would be changed forever.
What can you do now that you couldn’t do before?
There are definite advantages to losing weight. The biggest advantage is the wear and tear on the body. The amount of force exercise generates on the body are incredible. The heavier you are, the higher the force generated.Trying to run or perform any type of pounding activity definitely takes a toll on the knees. As I mentioned previously. I would run 5K races and have to walk/jog them. After my weight loss, my running has improved immensely. Instead of walk/jogging 5Ks, I am training for my first marathon and looking forward to running my first 50K trail run. The slow walk/jog 5Ks are a thing of the past. In fact, my body has become so accustomed to being able to run much farther distances that it takes me about 5K just to get warmed up.
I am still finding new things that I didn't know I was capable of and I will continue pushing my limits just to see how far I can go.
What is the best advice you could offer someone in your shoes?
As I mentioned in my brief history, I have struggled with my weigh for the majority of my life. Even though I am now at my goal weight, I still struggle. I spent many years eating the wrong foods and developing bad eating habits. I know it will take me years to completely wipe out all of these bad habits as well.
So, if you are trying to lose weight or just looking to eat healthier, you will find yourself struggling at times. So much so that you may give up. My best advice is to hang in there. You didn't get the way you are now overnight and making a lifetime transformation will not happen overnight either.
Don't just "diet". Diets tend to be only temporary solutions. A diet is great if you want to look good for your reunion or fit into the great new outfit you bought. However, if you want to make permanent changes. Lifetime changes. I suggest a "lifestyle change" is a better choice to describe what you are doing. And the best success is having your family on board with your lifestyle change.
My wife and I have lost a combined 290 pounds. We did it because we committed to a lifestyle change. If you were to check our cupboards, gone is the junk food. Our refrigerator is full of fresh fruits and vegetables. We pre-plan our meals for the week and cook at home 6 night a week. We even pre-pack our lunches every night for the next day at work.
Yes, we do eat out one night a week. We are still human and enjoy having someone wait on us once in awhile. However, we do it in moderation. We do know ahead of time what we will be ordering and make sure it does fit into our new lifestyle.
I am a strong believer the the saying "one cheese burger will not make you fat, just like one salad will not make you skinny". But this doesn't mean a lifetime of salads. There are so many different foods, healthy foods to choose from.
I just touched on the physical side of my weight loss journey and I could go on and on. What I didn't touch on is the mental side of my journey. The positive changes that I have under gone psychologically. I'll save that for another day.