As I mentioned in my other blog post, I made a new years resolution to get into shape, while leading a busy life as a new dad. While these first couple weeks have had ups and downs, I have to say I am happy with my progress this far. But this isn’t an update, not quite yet. I wanted to share with you the journey that led me to enjoy exercise and see the true benefit of a healthy diet.
It all started when my wife encouraged me to go get a physical done. If you’re anything like me, you make every excuse to not go to the doctor, this time I didn’t have an excuse. I had not been to the doctor in almost 7 years, my wife had just gone for her physical and in her own way “encouraged” me to set an appointment. I went to the Dr and went through the routine, the Dr said I was healthy and everything looked good. Then the unexpected challenge came. Before my Dr. left the room he asked me what my height was. Yea your probably thinking, what’s the big deal. I proceeded to tell him that I was 6’2”. He looked over a chart he had and said “Hmmmmm, well your 6’2” and you weigh 227 pounds”. I politely said, “Okay, and what does that mean?”. My Dr. pointed to the chart and said, “You see this chart?” I responded, “Yes”. He finished with, “Well with your height and age you need to be around 180 pounds. You are 227 pounds and the falls into the obesity category”. Before I could say anything else, he got up and walked out of the room. I didn’t know what to think or say, so I got up and left. I could have taken that last bit of news in two ways, either ignore it or do something about it. I decided to look at it as a challenge. I wanted to show my Dr. that i could be healthy, so I decided to set a goal to lose 50 pounds.
The Paleo Diet
At that time one of my co-workers was doing Crossfit. He would come to work and tell me all the time about how sore he was and how hard he worked out that day. I told him about my Dr’s charge and at that point he introduced me to the Paleo diet (or as many people know it as the caveman diet). I began to do my own research on the Paleo diet. I came home and told my wife about it. My wife is someone who doesn’t really believe in diets, she thinks a lot of times they are just scams that take away too much and provide a band-aid over a much bigger issue. I looked up recipes and my co-worker gave me a Paleo diet cook book with some background in it. I presented the information to my wife. I knew I would need her on board with this for two reasons. First, I needed her support. I wanted to make this change and I wanted her support throughout. Second, it would drastically change the way we grocery shopped, what we bought and how much we spent. Eating Paleo can get quite costly at times. She read over my research and gave me her suggestions to modify it slightly to better meet our needs. After her buy off, I was off to the races! This all happened in December and it lined up perfectly so that I could start off the new year with a new Paleo diet. The main idea behind the Paleo diet is to think like a cave man when it comes to the food you eat. If a cave man could not hunt or harvest it, then it isn’t worth putting in your body. On the Paleo diet, you eat a lot of meat, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Basically, all the processed foods are cut out and you center yourself around the natural things. Also, although many people go organic, due to cost and personal belief that it is not much different, I did not do all organic. The diet was challenging, I can still remember that first meal of January 1st, 2013. My wife made me a scramble that consisted of bell peppers, quinoa and scrambled eggs. This was not a promising start. That first me did not make me want to continue! I had to make an adjustment mentally. I told myself that this was not just a diet instead it was a lifestyle change. After a couple of meals things got better, we found recipes we both liked and eating Paleo became the new normal.
At this time I realized that the diet was important but if I wanted to kick start my metabolism I was going to need to do some exercise. I talked to my co-worker about his CrossFit workout and researched many others. I could not justify spending $120 a month on a membership, though. After my research, I found that the best way to lose weight and jump start your metabolism was to run. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I hated running, so I looked for some other options. I stumbled across Insanity, it is a workout that is put on by Shaun T from Beach body. This was a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, this was a bad place for me to start. No only was I currently out of shape but I did not have the stamina to keep up with these workouts. I tried for about 3 weeks and stopped, feeling a little discouraged I decided to try running on my in-laws treadmill. This treadmill was simple but nice, it had some built in programs that provided interval training and low, medium or high intensity. This allowed for me to chose my work out and safely work my way up to more intense workouts. This treadmill became my best friend, I would walk/run 5-6 days a week. I began to love getting on the treadmill and felt so great after accomplishing my workout.
First things first, don’t be someone who has to weigh in after every workout! If you do this you will set yourself up for disappointment. The key to weighing in is weighing in at the same time, under the same circumstances every couple of weeks. For me, I would do my weigh-ins every 2 weeks. When I would weigh in I would do it as soon as I got out of bed before I got dressed for the day. This was my routine when I weighed in, I knew I was dealing with the same variables and I would have a better baseline this way. After about a month I began to see results. I remember throughout my first month my weight fluctuated and I think I lost maybe 4-5 pounds. I remember telling myself, “you have a long journey ahead”. The second month is where I saw the big results coming in, I had given my body time to adjust and my metabolism had speed up. That second month I had lost a total of 12 pounds. I was so excited and it was beginning to show!!! I kept this same routine up for about 8 months, at the end of my 8 months I had gone from 227 pounds to 157 pounds! I was down to the weight I was when I graduated high school. I felt amazing and saw the benefits of hard work. I will tell you, though, 157 pounds was under weight for me. It was imperative for me to find a happy medium as I did not want to under weight, I wanted to be healthy. So at that point, I changed my workout routine and cut out a lot of running and moved onto weight lifting. This allowed for me to gain more muscle and yes even a little of that fat back and I began to even out and settled somewhere right about 175 pounds.
Bringing it all together
Sure this may just sound like another story of someone who lost a bunch of weight, for me this was my journey. The process of getting healthy taught me so many valuable things that I can pass along to my family, friends and even people I have not met! I wanted to write about my experience because I wanted to encourage people that, yes while diet and exercise can be hard work, in the end, it truly does pay off. I not only gained a better looking me but I also gained confidence and belief in myself. Doing this diet and exercise plan changed my life and I hope that if you are considering something similar you go after those goals. I would love to hear about your goals or success stories, leave me a comment below with any questions you may have!