I was content with my life, but I knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I wasn’t always like this. In fact, five or six years ago I wasn’t interested in energy conservation, maintaining good health and fitness, or writing. It was during the summer of 2005 when I realized that I didn’t like how my life looked in regards to the physical condition of my body (I smoked cigarettes), the passive activities I involved myself in (sitting behind a computer screen for hours on end), or the mindless actions of over consumption and wasteful behavior. That summer, I felt like I needed a change. My maximum weight was 210 pounds at a height of 5’7″ — obese, according to the Body Mass Index (BMI). Now I stand at 5’9″ tall with a weight of 165 pounds with a 3-5 pound fluctuation in either direction and I have maintained this body type since 2007.
Jump back to 2006. It hit me when I was tossing a Frisbee with a couple of friends on a sunny day—the realization that I didn’t want to be ‘fat’ anymore. At this time, I wasn’t the best disc thrower and neither were my friends, so there was a lot of running after the disc due to miscalculated trajectories. I found myself running back and forth and it was becoming difficult to breathe. I was smoking a pack of cigarettes a week, sometimes two per week. I often ate my meals fast, semi-chewing my food and washing it down with a sugary soft drink — three or four times a day. I usually ate until I was full (so full that when I burped, I would get a little food back in my mouth—unattractive) and the idea of walking it off seldom entered my mind. I would also frequently snack on chips or sweets while sitting at my computer satiating my need to rank first in the server (I was a gamer).
In high school I considered myself as a fairly athletic person. I played basketball with friends, could run kinda fast, and even trained to be on the football team. However, football and other team sports didn’t interest me as much as I thought, but one thing did and it has stuck with me until today — running.
Running changed my life after I discovered its potential to clear the mind, release endorphins (yes it’s real and it feels great), and to get in shape. I first started by running as far and as long as I could while not stressing the speed of my run. I was more concerned with the determination behind my running. Personally, I enjoy running outdoors more than inside on a treadmill (it’s too boring for me). Plus, running outside has advantages of a changing scenery, as well as hills and slopes to make it more challenging. I might have ran 3 nights a week for an hour or more each time.
The interesting part about starting to run was that I stuck to a reasonably constant schedule for 2 months. I didn’t see much improvement in my body (I still had man boobs and a couple rolls) but I felt better because I quit the cigarettes and regained a larger lung capacity. I ran not because of the people I was close to were doing it, not because other people told me to, but I ran because I wanted to run and I wanted to get healthier.
So I read some books on running, I learned how to stretch properly, how to warm up, and bought myself a sweet pair of gel-cushioned, Asics running shoes. But it wasn’t just the running or just the shoes—it was actually the combination of running and my diet that had the largest impact on my weight loss. Here are some important reminders about food that I repeated in my mind allowing me to loose and maintain weight loss:
- Slow down the rate at which you consume food
- Chew, chew, chew…
- Only eat when you’re hungry
- Listen to your stomach
- Stop eating when you’re not hungry anymore
- Save your over portioned meal for later or throw it away
- Eat up to 5-6 times a day
- Schedule eating times to be 2 to 3 hours apart
- Eat smaller meals, but more times per day
Remembering things like this, which take little time to do, take a lot of effort to enforce. Maintaining discipline is essential to losing weight in a natural way.
By the fourth month, I noticed my energy increasing and my jeans loosening. It continued until I lost a total of 60 pounds which made my minimum weight fall to 150 pounds. It took a little over one year for me to reach my minimum weight, and 2 or 3 months to regain 10-15 lbs by increasing protein intake and building muscle.
The drive needs to be there in order for you to make any changes in your life. You have to really want it. I really wanted to have a decent body. It took a lifestyle change to get it. There will be sacrifices along the way to your desired destination, but the effort and discipline is well worth the results. This mind set was not only beneficial to my physical health, but also beneficial to my mind and how I overcome obstacles on my path.
Here is a picture of my peak weight loss at approximately 155-160 lbs: