This is something that I get asked a lot by friends and people that I work with. What’s your secret? How did you lose all that weight? Because there must be some secret or trick to it, right? Then I usually get a weird look when I tell them, eat less and move more, it’s that simple. Notice I said simple, and not easy. The concept is about as simple as can be, the execution however, tends to be a bit more difficult, as most of us know.
There is a trick to it though, a secret if you will, and that is motivation. This is the key to unlocking your success, really in anything in life, not just weight loss and fitness. The problem is, that motivation has to come from within. Sure, there can be something external that gives you the initial kick in the butt, some life changing event, someone else’s success, etc. But that will only get you going, in order to keep going, and be successful long term, you have to learn how to motivate yourself from within. Now you’re probably waiting for the part where I tell you how to do that, unfortunately, I don’t have that answer. If I did, I would write a book, get rich and retire on the beach.
I can’t put my finger on why this time around was different for me. Like most people, I had tried many times to lose weight and get healthy, joined gyms, bought workout videos, tried different diets, but all of those efforts eventually failed. I can tell you that celebrating your small successes definitely helps, you have to give yourself some credit as you go along. Also, you have to get rid of your goals, at least in the way that most people set them. Your goal should be to lose weight, get healthy and get fit. Your goal should not be to lose X amount of weight, or to lose it in X amount of time. That is an instant recipe for disaster, because what happens when you hit that goal, or worse, if you don’t? If you reach that goal, you’ll most like go right back to the old habits that helped you get overweight in the first place. If you don’t reach that goal, then you feel like a failure and will give up. Sometimes the cliches are true, it really does have to be a lifestyle change. You have to change the way you look at food and fitness, for the rest of your life.
I won’t lie, it was tough in the beginning, I tracked every bite of food that went in my mouth, and was operating on a pretty serious caloric deficit, dropping about 10lbs a month. But now I don’t really have to think about it, it’s just how I live and eat, I don’t track everything anymore, I’ve learned how much I need to eat to support my training and maintain my weight. I try to make good food choices the majority of the time, which allows me to enjoy “bad” food every once in a while. I put bad in quotes, because my wife taught me something about food, it has no morality, it is neither good nor bad, it’s just food, fuel for your body. It is either more nutritious, or less nutritious, more calorie dense, or less calorie dense. It’s true though, in a cruel twist of fate, there seems to be a direct correlation between how good something tastes and how many calories it contains, sometimes nature is just mean like that. That just means that you have to balance those foods as a part of your overall diet. I still eat pizza, cheeseburgers, ice cream, candy, and all of the other things that people deprive themselves of when they diet. I just don’t eat them in the quantities or frequency that I used to.
When I first started out (and every time I tried before that), I couldn’t see my success, I couldn’t see what I was capable of. But now looking back, all I can think is, what took me so long? I guess that’s usually how it goes, the mountain doesn’t seem quite as daunting after you’ve climbed it. When I was starting out at 270lbs, I tried to not put a number on my goal, but I think that’s hard to avoid sometimes, we humans are metric driven and love numbers. So in my head, I was thinking that I could probably get back down to 215-220, around what I weighed when I was in the Navy, maybe a little less. I would have said you were crazy if you told me I could get under 200lbs. The last time I was under 200lbs was when I left bootcamp at 176lbs, and that was after someone else had controlled my eating and exercise every minute of every day for two and a half months, oh and I was 18. But here I sit, 175lbs, the lowest weight of my adult life, and in better shape than I was at 18 when I left boot camp, and I’m not nearly done yet.
This of course isn’t the whole story, just a few thoughts I wanted to get out. Always remember, anything is possible with enough time and determination!