“A rising tide lifts all ships.”
(Kevin’s Note: Today’s guest post is from Kyle Ponder. Kyle has been a good friend of mine for over a decade. He is one of the most charismatic people you will ever meet, and his success has been awesome. I think his story goes exactly with the quote today, even though the quote he picked was, “America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, bad ass speed.” -Eleanor Roosevelt. I vetoed him, that’s the beauty of having your own blog! My hope is that by him sharing his story, people will see that the success I had is not just unique to me. Anyone that follows the system can achieve their fitness goals. I am grateful that Kyle decided to share his story, and excited to see how it impacts the community!)
First of all I just want to thank Kevin Turner for being brave enough to change his life, and with this change he has inspired many people to take their life to the next level, including me. Thank you for allowing me to share my story on this blog. I realize there are a number of similarities to my story and Kevin’s story but we decided that when more people see what the least of us can do (that’s me and Kevin) then more people will realize their true potential. With that said, here is what I have done and learned on my weight loss path. Here we go.
I was once a decent athlete in high school; always in shape, strong, and good looking. You know that guy who can eat a whole Domino’s pizza on Sunday after a wrestling tournament and still make weight a day later? That was me, I was invincible. After high school I still enjoyed working out in college. I loved competing with my friends and learning tons of new sports and always running around. I thought that I could still eat and live however I wanted with no consequences. The problem was that I wasn’t who I used to be and I never looked in the mirror long and hard enough to figure that out, I just avoided mirrors. Fast forward six years. I graduated from college in 2011 with a degree in exercise science, I have a desk job, I lead Young Life, and I was sixty pounds heavier than I was in high school as of February 2012. I just stopped taking care of myself on all levels from physical health to spiritual health and there were definitely consequences. I wouldn’t say I was depressed but I was very insecure with how I looked and who I had become, and this is only in February and it is now August.
I have an accountability group that meets once a week and goes through a list of questions that really evaluates our overall health as a person. As a result of a few months of answering most of these questions about taking care of yourself with “No”, it hit me that I was doing nothing to contribute to any sort of healthy lifestyle. In fact, I felt like I was backsliding. I was tired of admitting to my friends that I was failing every week. I was tired of the progression of insecurities I felt as a result of my image. I was tired living and looking like a slob. Looking back, I think I was mostly tired of being the fat kid in the group. I wanted to look like my friends and I wanted to stand a chance with girls. I hate to admit it so much but I wanted to wear skinny jeans instead of resort to the section of pants for the short and chubby guys. So in March I decided to change. I had no plan, I just told people I was tired of who I was, and It was time for a change of pace. Recalling what I did the past five months and 50 pounds that have come and gone I learned a ton about myself as well as our potential for humans living the life we were designed to live. So here is what I did. Maybe you can take some important points away from this if you are reading and thinking about changing your life too.
First, I told people that I wanted to change. I got people on board to help me out because I know that we cannot do life on our own, especially me. I was weak, and in some ways I still am. So I relayed that message to the people I see most often and they jumped on the bandwagon. Some people even started losing weight with me. I cannot stress this part enough, but it is so very important to have real supporters. Sure I have a bunch of friends that are happy about my accomplishments but some can still have a huge influence on going backwards even if they don’t realize it. I still have those people that I see every day that ask me to eat pizza and fast food every night and then when I say, “No” they give me a hard time. They say, “Dude, just one slice won’t hurt you.” And “Just one sandwich, it’s whole wheat bread.” This makes life tough. It’s nice when I do actually stick to my guns, but it is very hard. Understanding that saying “Just this once” can turn into an everyday phrase and hurt you over time, as it did to me, is crucial. Surrounding myself and staying in contact with people who are aware that I want to build a better me has been very positive and is a necessity.
Next step: It’s all in the diet. I will stand by that whole-heartedly. When I started this adventure back in March all I did was lift weights. I told myself I would stop eating fast food, but my diet never really changed. I just bought the same stuff at the store and ate it at home. I expected lifting weights to do the trick because that is what I could do in high school and then eat whatever was in front of me (my favorite was to buy a stick of cookie dough and eat it all before it got too warm). Until late may I had only lost 16 pounds. This is when I was told to start stickk.com. My goal was two pounds per week which was reachable but hard considering the amount of exercise in relation to what I was eating. Then my world was rocked. I had heard about the paleo diet and primal living but thought it was all just a fad. I heard my friends talk about it for months but I said it wasn’t for me. For all of you paleo promoters out there, “I can’t give up my bread,” was a common phrase I uttered. “You mean walking around a lot and eating fruits and vegetables? No thanks, that will never work.” That is what I thought until I tried it to shut people up and prove that it was not the best lifestyle. Since I started living a more primal lifestyle in early July I have lost 20 pounds in a month and a half. Enough said about that, I think you get that it works and is healthy. If you don’t get it, I challenge you to try it for one week. Go ahead, try it.
Furthermore, I started to make goals to get off my behind. Sitting down at work all day will eventually kill you, so I stand up at my work station. I wanted to run in a race that was 10k or longer, so I did that. Anything to get me out of the chair and get outside was what I did. I love different sports so I started doing those more often with my friends. Playing outside is now a huge part of what I like
to do. I really have no plan other than do anything at all. I won’t tell you a specific exercise program to start or even what I think everyone should do other than get off your ass and do what is fun and challenging for YOU. The only thing I am really confident in is that primal lifestyle is working for me and for other people I know that are doing it. Of course if you want some diet and exercise tips then head to Mark’s Daily Apple and really browse through the site.
I think the most important lessons I have learned is that we, as humans, are capable of so much more than we imagine on a daily basis. Especially after seeing our advancements in just the Olympic games I realized that we can push ourselves to our max and then some more. We keep wondering if we are at our limits and we go beyond that. I have found that unless you are going to puke or pass out, you can keep going. Not only is it true in our diet and exercise regimens, but I look at people like Kevin and myself, and so many more people, and I’m humbled. Then after the humbling I become more confident. No kidding, people tell me I look good and I just say, “I know, I do look really good” because it’s true. I have a new confidence that has spilled over into the rest of my life. I am confident in who I am and who I can become. So for all that are reading and ready to change don’t be afraid to take the plunge. All great journeys start with one step.
Thank you to everyone who has helped me get to where I am now, I could not have done it without you. Thanks so much for reading!