Things had gotten a little out of hand, but I kept holding onto hope that things were going to get better.
A combo ACL/Meniscus tear in my right knee that took place my sophomore year had taken away my favorite past time, physical activity, and likely my strongest social circle.
The sport? Don’t laugh! Ultimate Frisbee.
My descent into an unhealthy life style started there, but I’ll save that story for another time.
I want to talk about February.
February is when things changed, when I decided that enough was enough and that it was time to do something different.
February was also when a friend of mine had finally convinced me to sign up for a gym membership so that she would have someone to workout with.
I refer back to February often, like an old friend that you want to honor their history but never want to revisit.
Having spent a considerable amount of time bumbling through the waters of online entrepreneurship, I knew that every goal needed to be measurable, and I wanted to know what kind of mountain I was facing. The scale read 376 pounds. I feel like you really need to annunciate every syllable in that to really get the gravity of that number.
Three Hundred Seventy Six.
That’s like 3 people. Yet I was able to bury the self shame because I knew that this was all changing.
I remember the first day we went to the gym. It was a monday, and the gym was relatively packed with treadmillers and people doing their circuits of weight machines. I was pretty hesitant to dive right in, I didn’t want people to realize that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing!
It took me all of 3 minutes to realize that nobody was at the gym to pay attention to me, but they were all there to better themselves for whatever reasons motivated them. I latched onto this quickly.
We left the gym that day sweaty and eager to see what this adventure would hold for us, we discussed our fitness goals and what we wanted to get out of our time together. I was vague about really what I wanted. Part of me wanted to get healthy, part of me wanted to get strong, and the most of me probably just wanted to look better to the ladies.
We continued to go to the gym nearly every day for the length of February. I grew fond soreness, knowing that every struggling muscle was a sign that I had done something wrong, and that I would be stronger next time.
I spent the length of February just concentrating on strength training, and primary with the weight machines. I hadn’t changed up my diet at all except for following up every workout with a whey protein shake.
When you start an exercise regimen, you receive advice from just about everybody. and one of the pieces of advice I followed early was to only weigh myself once a week so that you didn’t get frustrated by a couple days of lackluster results.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any logs of any of the first few weigh ins, but I remember texting a couple of my friends the first time the number on the scale was 5 pounds less.
It was exciting, I hadn’t seen that number go down in a long time, though this time was clearly the most serious attempt yet.
A month later the scale read 362.8 a difference of 13.2 pounds. I worked hard for it, and it was definitely enough success that it wasn’t hard to continually motivate my for my trips to the gym.
In march I added in a diet change.
This exercise stuff had changed me, all of a sudden I was researching so many different things and buying a silly amount of fitness magazines. My time spent playing with websites and internet business had turned me onto a guy named Tim Ferriss, and I knew that his book, The 4 Hour Body, might be an interesting thing for me to look into. At this point, anything that could get me success without spending hours daily at the gym was something I was interested in. Tim’s book suggested that a majority of your results really stems from a good diet.
I had heard this before. But my relationship with food was abusive. I was always worried about eating enough to make it to the next meal. I adored anything sweet and sugary, and I probably had enough enthusiasm for Chinese buffets to fund the complete renovation of the Great Wall. A change in diet sounded scary, could I do it? And could I make it through my workday?
I decided that the diet outlined in the 4 Hour Body would be as good of a place to start as any. It’s called the Slow Carb Diet and is outlined as follows:
- Avoid white starchy carbohydrates : This was a big change for me, as probably every meal had significant carbohydrates. (Oatmeal, PB & J, Pasta, Rice)
- Eat the same few meals over and over (you already do this, you’re just looking to reprogram new default meals.). I certainly had my defaults: Oatmeal every morning. Peanut Butter Sandwich, every day.
- Don’t drink calories. I had given up sugary pop the previous month, but I still drank a daily protein shake. So while I probably broke this rule more often than not, I’ve listed it here just for sake of completeness.
- Don’t eat fruit. Sorry bananas. The sugars in fruit make for setbacks in the way the diet works.
- Take one day off per week and go nuts.
Lets talk about rule number 5.
The diet changed everything about how I had been eating except for my daily protein shake after workouts. However, on Saturdays I could have whatever I wanted, and you bet I made it count. You’ll still find the occasional taco bell/ Chinese food/ ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Half Baked / box of donuts purchase on my bank statements, but you’ll only see those on Saturday.
The fact that you can cheat once a week makes it so it’s much easier to behave throughout the week. Passing a Culver’s and wanting a hot fudge shake on a Wednesday was tough. There were a couple times where I had pulled into a fast food joint late at night, just wanting to satisfy my desire for a quick meal, only to decide not to- and let the meal wait for Saturday. Tim had said that there’s a physical reason to cheat once a week too, but I’ll discuss that later.
With the diet in place, and a gym routine in place, the weight continued to fall off. In June, 4 months after starting this whole shtick, I was officially down 50 pounds, but we don’t stop there!
I weighed myself minutes before starting to write this, and the number read 312. … That number doesn’t need the same emphasis as the number from February. It’s just a passing moment. I’m down 64 pounds, and I set the goal last month of reaching 100 pounds lost by christmas. Even though I’ve averaged a weight loss of over 10 pounds a month, there’s some part of me that isn’t sure I can make it by Christmas, but I’m going to give it my all.