When you lose 100lbs it’s pretty easy to guess the number one question you get asked. It’s always, “So how’d you do it?” Here’s how (Part 1).
#1 Start Small
As I said, I failed at every diet known to man, from Atkins and Weight Watchers to the all fruit and veggies diet, so I was determined to make this time different. Instead of jumping into a plan cold turkey I would break it up into more manageable parts. I decided to just focus on fitness and not worry about food just yet. My goal was to make fitness a part of my life, something that was second nature to me. Once I was able to stay active on a regular basis, then I would focus on eating properly. I also did not try to do too much when I initially got on the treadmill. My running buddy Bryce gave me a parameter of spending a minimum of 60 minutes on the treadmill. So I made that my goal, no matter how slow I had to walk to make it happen. I think I started out walking about 2mph the first few times we went and I was exhausted when I was done.
#2 Challenge Yourself
Even though I couldn’t do much in the beginning, I still wanted to be challenged. Bryce would encourage me to up the speed of the treadmill by .2 or .3mph for the last minute or two of my workout. Most of the time, I followed his suggestion, although I can’t say I didn’t complain about it a time or two! ☺ A lot of times I would work out alone but I would always make sure that I pushed myself just a little. I knew Bryce was going to ask how it went and I didn’t want him to think I was slacking off (accountability is a great motivator!). I kept track of the time, distance, and calories burned for each of my workouts and I would aim to do just a little better each time, assuming my body felt up to it. If I was overly tired or sore I would not push it because I did not want to risk an injury. Injuries are the worst and they should be avoided like the plague (more on that in a few weeks)!
#3 Follow Through
The biggest failure I made in every diet I tried was that I did not give it enough time to work. I would give it a few weeks and if I didn’t see the results I thought I should see I gave up. I decided this time that I was going to continue this no matter what. It was actually pretty easy to do since my goal here was not to lose weight but to make fitness a part of my life. I kept going to the gym; I kept working out. I am a normal person. I work 40+ hours a week and I have a wife and two kids. I’m not wealthy, so I can’t afford a chef or maid. I make time several days a week for me to get my work out in. Yes, that means that sometimes I have to get up at 4am in the morning to get my run in (that’s rare, but I’ve done it). It’s about doing what you know is important. This is important to me, and to my wife and kids, so I made sure that I followed through and stuck with it long enough to actually see results.
One early spring day, the weather seemed to be pretty nice. The longest I had run without stopping was 3 miles, but those were mostly run on a treadmill (which is easier). That day I ran a PR (personal best) 4 miles. It wasn’t pretty and it certainly wasn’t very fast (10:50 pace), but that day I fell in love with running (and haven’t stepped on a treadmill since). Running became a part of who I am. From this point on I would have a new identity…I was a runner. I felt like a superhero. I felt like I could take on the world.
Today, I run all the time, several times a week. When I don’t run for several days, for whatever reason, I miss it and I feel like my Newtons are giving me the evil eye every time I walk by. In fact, I am currently training for my first half marathon on November 3rd and my first full marathon next year on March 17th! Since I began, I’ve logged 583 miles over 200 workouts. I never thought I would call myself a runner. I never thought I would say that I loved running, but I do. I know there are people out there right now who are saying the same thing, that there is no way they would ever be able to run. And yet here I am. I was that guy and now I am a runner. Believe it when I say, if I (a food addict who weighed over 300lbs) can do it…you can do it!