***Pic is from my Bro's wedding...he's not that upset by really heavy me, he just saw his wife walking down the isle.
My story is pretty typical. I grew up loving food, I grew up eating that food, and I grew up gaining weight. All through elementary school I was a heavy kid up until my growth spurt in grade 8. In high school I gained the baby weight (and cake weight) back, but was able to keep it in check with athletics. I swear half of the pictures of me growing up are of me eating cake. After high school is when everything changed. The sports ended, the eating increased and TV bingeing with a box of pizza was a weekly norm. My weight ballooned to around 300lbs…not good. Sedentary life took hold, and that my friends is a tough nut to crack!
It was February 2011 when I decided to change everything. I started eating better and working out became a 6 day a week habit. Since I've always been the ambitious type, I decided to go big with Tony Horton's p90x videos and I can honestly say, I owe all of the progress I made with my weight battle to this program and its sister program p90x3. The above mentioned programs are not easy. They require major motivation and commitment to benefit from them…but I can tell you from experience, these programs are worth every penny if you're willing to put in the effort, and effort is everything. In total I lost approximately 60lbs and with some hickups, have been able to keep most of it off over the last few years.
So what have I learned from the weight loss journey? Good question.
1)I learned that life is nothing without your health! This should go without saying but it's true! Without your health, all the material in the world is just that, material. It has no meaning. In the end, our health should always be the foremost priority when it comes to existing, and I'm not just talking physical health either!
2) I learned that good things don't just happen over night! Everything good requires hours of effort before something special happens. The best part is, this can be applied to everything in life. Relationships, careers, health, you name it…Starting a website definitely requires reminders of this lesson on a daily basis. Expectations vs Reality can be two very different things!
3) I learned that support is very important, but if you're not motivated, support doesn't mean anything! I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to skip a workout or eat crap but somehow convinced myself not to. No matter how much support you have, there will always be opportunities to cheat yourself out of progress…you have to really want it, it's that simple.
4) I learned that nature is amazing! Hiking became a common occurrence for my wife and I. Luckily we are blessed with multiple trails near our house, so getting out and appreciating the simple things is not a huge task. All I usually require is some heat. Finding the motivation to hike in the cold is so difficult!
5) I learned that losing weight is one thing, keeping it off is a totally different animal! As it goes with many people, there is a slight weight gain after losing some, and I'm not an exception to that. What I've learned is that you can never stop checking yourself. There will be times that you slip, you just need to recognize it and not let it become routine.
6) I learned that genetics play a huge role! My wife is the same weight she's been since high school and can seemingly eat whatever she wants without gaining a pound. Than there's myself; there are times I can have a piece of pie and weigh 3lbs more the next day. Food does affect people differently, make sure you learn what food works for you!
These last three are a little deeper:
7)I learned that people do treat you differently when you're heavy. I also learned that I treated people differently when I was heavy. The confidence boost helps a lot, although if you're like me, talking to strangers still isn't the easiest thing to do.
8)I learned who I was as a person. I learned what I wanted in life, and more importantly, I learned what I didn’t want. Being heavy can often times suck everything out of your soul because self doubt always makes unwelcomed appearences. For me, losing weight helped me find direction in life with the absense of self doubt; you have to have direction! If you don't, you're just floating along waiting to die.
9)Lastly, I learned to be myself. I learned to make time for my version of life!