I think for me, weight loss began out of fear, until I realized self-love is the only way to really care for yourself long term. I realized that a number on the scale cannot dictate my life, control my emotions, and hold me hostage on a daily basis. As a life long athlete, my weight never really hindered my activity and ability to play sports and do things all my friends did. I thrived on the idea that I was the athletic big guy defying physics skateboarding with ease and beating far smaller guys in foot races. I never had a major complex about my weight even though I knew that I was big, but I embraced it.
After high school my weight really piled on when I got a desk job, making great money as a sales professional, and eating out day and night. It feels like it happened overnight. I started getting winded walking up stairs and noticing my audible breathing as I was sitting stationary, not moving, at my desk. I was in denial, but I was happy otherwise. I had my longtime girlfriend and being only 20 years old at my peak weight, I never needed or had the urge to lose any.
I spent a few years moving from company to company until I took a new position that really led me to the breaking point. I was now on my feet for 10 hours a day selling cars and after about the second hour of every shift, the fatigue in my feet and legs became almost unbearable. There was no amount of insoles or breaks in between working the car lot that could help me recuperate during my shifts. I finally hit my limit and began to eat better which instantly helped me take the edge off my 385-pound frame. 25 pounds melted off almost overnight, mostly water and bloat I’m sure, but I felt incredibly better.
So now the journey was on, I lived religiously by my Nutri Bullet which is what I used to drink close to 60 ounces of whole food plant based protein shakes a day on top of probably still 2000 calories of other food daily. Weight was coming off in a way I never thought possible. Once I was 40 pounds down, I began regular strength training again. In my first six months, I was able to lose about 75 pounds. Within that year I was down roughly 125 pounds, which is when I got complacent and entered a plateau I could have easily avoided.
Sitting at 260 pounds I felt like I had arrived. I had my diet in place which is still a high fat, plant based, keto diet I created myself. I did not think I had anymore weight to lose and was happy, more active than I had been in most of my adolescent years, and was a new father. I had to reevaluate my goals and strategies. I was able to lose another 45 pounds and maintain my current weight of 220 pounds for the last 3 years. I did this by tailoring my eating plan again back to a high fat, plant based, whole foods approach. Keto has always been my ally, except I do not indulge in many animal products. I get all my protein and nutrition from plant whole foods. I have never been stronger, leaner, and more fit in my entire life. I roast vegetables in grapeseed oil, make cauliflower crust pizzas, barbecue tempeh steak, black bean burgers, eat plant based nachos, amongst tons of other nutrition rich and protein packed vegan dishes. Your nutrition controls everything, you cannot ever out train a bad diet. And now that I am a father of two little girls, I set the example of how to eat healthy, how to live and stay active, and how to properly nourish our bodies.
The only major shortcut or tip I must give anyone is to implement Intermittent Fasting. Work up to it, but I give my body 12-14 hours a day without food, usually once I am done with dinner till after my morning fasted cardio before breakfast. I only supplement with Apple Cider Vinegar and Cinnamon with Chromium before most of my meals as well. Huge for metabolism, immunity, digestion, and blood sugar regulation. I have never taken any caffeine rich supplements or performance enhancing drugs, my entire journey has been 100% natural.
My philosophy is very simple. Make this a long-term lifestyle change and be prepared to feel 10 times more psychological change than anything you will experience physically. Think in terms of years, not weeks. Give yourself time and enjoy the journey without holding yourself against unreasonable expectations. Work hard daily of course, but it’s not the end of the world to struggle or if you have to reevaluate your strategy and make adjustments. Meal prep is your best friend and make sure you maintain a healthy relationship with food because food is not your enemy! Enjoy the process, enjoy food, and find that balance in your life so that your fitness pursuit never becomes an obligation that you do not enjoy. Embrace the struggles and hurdles and know that they will only make you stronger and give you appreciation as you gradually accomplish your goals. Love yourself always and place more emphasis on nutrition and internal health than your reflection in the mirror. I believe in you. Feel free to contact me for any tips or ideas on how to start your journey, just please be brave enough to take that first step.