What started the journey was the DECISION to make a lifestyle change which entailed a major diet change and adding exercise to my life.
I also had to STOP making excuses.
If you keep making excuses, the list below and any type of inspirational quote will never help you get to where you want to go.
So I figured I might as well document “how” I did it and I am hoping that 1 or 2 things will help someone with their weight loss journey.
These are not in any type of order. In the comments section, please go ahead and add anything that worked for you or add them on my Facebook fan page.
Now please keep in mind while reading the below that I am not a nutritionist or personal trainer. I am just a person with knowledge that was gained through experience.
1 – Prepare Breakfast at Home
What didn’t work: Back in the day, I would wake up with enough time to just shower, shave and walk out the door. I would then pick up some type of fast food breakfast “meal” on the way to work. Typically the visit would include leaving with at least 2 sandwiches and a large soda. With all those calories, this obviously helped me gain weight and eventually reach 355 lbs. If it wasn’t a breakfast sandwich, it was donuts.
What worked: Started preparing and eating my breakfast at home. Yes, this meant I had to get up at least 30 minutes earlier than what I was doing before I made the lifestyle changes. I stopped visiting McDonald’s or Burger King or any type of doughnut shop. This stopped me from consuming up to 600-800 calories before I even started the work day and then eventually crashing later in the morning due to all the bad food I ate.
Nowadays, I eat foods that will give me energy, have complex carbs, fiber and protein and I always keep the total nutrition value in mind. Over the years I went through phases of having some of these items before I left to work: 4-5 egg whites, 2 full eggs, oatmeal, steel cut oats with berries and veggie/fruit smoothies with my Vitamix blender.
You Can Do It! What I suggest to others is that as soon as they wake up they drink 16-20 oz of room temperature water (with lemon or without) and then eat some type of breakfast at home. Some examples are: 3-5 Egg whites, 1-2 full eggs, fruit, steel cut oats, veggies or fruit with eggs. What to avoid: sugary items or breads. These type of foods do not have a any type of nutritional benefits, will cause a energy crash and they will not help keep you full. Fiber is key here because it will assist with having a “full” feeling. Keep your calorie count in mind. Visit MyFitnessPal if you are not sure how many calories you need to eat on a daily basis.
2 – Prepare and Bring Lunch to Work
What didn’t work: In the 350+ lb days, lunch was about visiting a local fast food establishment and eating what sounded or looked good. Not too many veggies or fruits were involved in these meals. Number of calories were never thought about and extra cheese sounded good to me. Once in a while i would bring in left overs, but I am pretty confident it was not a salad.
What worked: I prepared my lunch at home and brought it to work in a lunch cooler. Yes, I still do this today, even if I have to carry it while taking the train and walking a mile to work. I have learned that the preparation part really does not take too long and at times it can be done the night before. The majority of the time, my lunch meal has been the same over the last 5+ years or so. Nowadays, it typically is a salad (baby spinach, cucumbers and tomatoes) with chicken.
You Can Do It! Find what you like to eat (that is nutritious) and bring it to work. Do you like chicken, fish, meat? Can you have that with some type of salad (lettuce or spinach)? Add some fruit to it and you will have a nutritional meal and you will have a good amount of energy to finish the day. Basically what I suggest is to make sure your meal has veggies and fruit and you decide if you want to add meat or not.
What to avoid: meals with a lot of carbohydrates, sodium or sugar. The good news is that whatever you bring to work should be better than what most restaurants have to offer.
3 – Prepare a Workout Schedule
What didn’t work: Not working out. I never ran before I started on my journey, I rarely lifted weights during my younger years. The lack of movement in my early years is the reason why I was overweight for the first 25+ years or so.
What worked: Setting a workout schedule and being flexible with it. At times throughout these years, I have worked out at a gym and then other times at home. Choose what is best for you and will help you succeed. When I first started I determined what days worked out best for me and at what time of the day.
I stuck with this, unless my wife and I had some type of obligation. If we had an appointment then I switched around the time or day, but rarely skipped my workout. For a while I worked out after work, then I changed it up and I would wake up at 3:30am and complete my workout before my work day began.
Today, I do a mixture. Some days at 4:30am and other times at 7:30pm. My wife and son know what days I workout and what days I rest. The days I rest or workout in the morning, I read to my son at night. The nights I have to workout at night, my wife does the reading. I like to find a balance between my working out and my responsibilities as a parent. The main component of my exercise routine is running because I am a runner with many running goals. I have gone through phases where weightlifting days were just as important. However, for me running is what helped me drop the weight quickly.
You Can Do It! Set a schedule. Determine how many days you want to commit to. Is it only 3 because you are busy with other obligations, then do 3. It’s better than none. Can you do 5? Then pick which days it will be, communicate it to your family, then get going. Are you a morning person or night?
Pick the time and start the journey. The time you do it vs. someone else is not important, just do what works for you. Also, I truly believe after so many hard lessons (injuries), that your body and mind need to rest from exercise. So when you do have a rest day, rest it. Do not force some type of activity on that day. I also recommend you mix up your workouts. If you are a runner, add weight workouts and bike days so your body is building and using other muscles.
4 – Prepare Some Goals
What didn’t work: Not having any fitness or weight loss goals. When I didn’t have any goals, I had nothing to strive for, I lost focus and I wanted to give up some days.
What worked: Setting weight loss or fitness level goals. I knew I wanted to lose at least 100 lbs, but I also knew I needed to break that into mini-goals. So every 3 months, I set a goal of losing 25 lbs. It gave me a good benchmark and pace to meet my goal of 100 lbs in one year (ended up losing it in 11 months). The short term goals pushed me to high levels too. If I wanted to be negative 25 by week 12 and in week 11, I had a total of minus 23 lbs, I did what it took to lose those last two to be sure I met my objective and kept me on pace to lose the next 25.
You Can Do It! What are your goals? Do you need to lose 50 lbs? Do you want to do it this year? If so, then break it over the number of months left in the year, then set mini-goals. Have something to shoot for every 2-3 months. If you only have one goal, it will be hard to be telling yourself you are making progress. Meeting any type of goal, feels great which is why those mini ones are important to have. It does not have to be a weight goal either. It can losing a certain number of inches, it could be running a 5k, it could be anything you want, but make sure you have something to keep you honest with your progress.
Remember, this is a journey.
It is okay to fail. What matters is that you get back up. You can’t lose 100 lbs in 10 days, it is just not that easy.
Let it be be hard, you will learn so much about yourself and what you are capable of.
All the knowledge you gain along the way will make you a better and stronger person.