“I couldn’t wait for success, so I went ahead without it.”
So when I initially set out on my journey to change my lifestyle on December 27, 2011, I was skeptical. I had tried and failed to lose weight numerous times. I felt stuck in most areas of my life. My career was comfortable, easy, and I had summers off. Was I maximizing my potential? No way. But, it was what I had done almost all of my adult life so it was familiar and comfortable. Alan Stein, noted Strength and Conditioning coach, regularly talks about how achieving our best happens only outside our comfort zone. I have learned this from my journey. At first, it was not comfortable to change my eating HABITS. And really, that was what needed to change, my habits. Was my diet terrible, and filled with tons of fast food and meals I didn’t prepare? For sure, but again, this was really just a symptom of the real problem; I had not learned to cook healthy meals in a way that fit into my life. I had read tons of books on health and nutrition and honestly, probably had an expert level of knowledge on the subject. However, I hadn’t committed to applying that knowledge into my life. Therefore, I continued to gain weight and live a life that was totally unhealthy and ultimately was leading me toward an early death. That is not exaggerated, that is the reality I knew was coming.
Even knowing my health was going to lead to an early death, I still continued doing what I had always done. I had a ton of excuses. My biggest was that I didn’t have enough time. I was so busy working and coaching, I just didn’t have time to eat healthy. That was a cop out then, and its a cop out now. If you truly are that busy, then you either have to cut something out of your life, and make your health a priority, or work a lot faster because you’re going to die years before you should. So, I tentatively set out on my journey to transform my life, and although it hasn’t been perfect, I am proud to say that 4 months and one week in I am down 50 pounds. I am over 80 pounds lighter than I was last year at this time, but 50 since I really started getting committed to this lifestyle transformation. Initially, the goal was to lose the weight and my ideal weight was the prize.
However, sitting at about half of my goal, I have learned that their are a number of lessons to be gained along the way.
1. I have more energy. This was unexpected. I bought into the belief that if I eliminated grains from my diet, I would lack energy. And, for the first two days of my quest, it was true. I was miserable, felt tired, and wondered what I was doing. But, I stuck with it, and when I woke up on day three I felt more energy than I’d had in a long, long time. Is it 3 days for everyone? No. In my experience it differs from person to person, some shorter some longer, but eventually, EVERYONE experiences the same thing. I look back on how I was living my life nutritionally the past 30 years and shake my head. I wonder how much more I would have accomplished if I had been eating primal from the beginning. And, before I get ahead of myself, if you don’t know what I mean when I say I eat primal, check out: Mark’s Daily Apple. I have followed his nutrition and fitness suggestions almost to the tee with amazing results.
2. I sleep better. I remember taking a trip with my mom a few years ago, and we shared a room for a night. She asked me in the morning, “Do you have sleep apnea?” I had no idea because I was afraid to go to the doctor because I knew he would give me bad news about my present medical state. I said I didn’t know, and she said I heard you stop breathing a few times last night when you were sleeping. This is how Reggie White died. Scary stuff. Again, I made no changes at that time, but I remember this incident vividly. Really after the first 10 or 15 pounds I really started sleeping better. It was crazy. I had not expected that to be the case, but have been pleasantly surprised by this added benefit.
3. The destination is the journey. I think that’s been said before. If not though, I’m trademarking that. But, it is really true. When I first began, 185 pounds was the mission. However, as I work toward that goal, I am seeing how much all of the added benefits are just as enjoyable as I imagine the ultimate goal will be. Every week as I see the weight coming off and I get positive feedback from friends, family, and co-workers, I am inspired to keep going and feel so good about where I am at.
4. I am not average anymore. I lived my life as a mediocre man(just FYI, this is not a superhero) for much of my adult life. I was content to be like everyone else. I thought it would be weird if I went out to eat with friends and ordered something different than I usually got, or different than what other people were getting. News flash, it doesn’t matter. Some friends will initially comment about it, but once they know what you’re about it will not be odd to them at all. What a dumb excuse to keep yourself unhealthy. I used it a bunch though. And, in the grand scheme of things, what people think about you is really not important.