Lifestyle Prior To Change
Our lifestyle prior to making the change was everything you would expect from 2 very overweight people. My level of activity could be described simply as "none what so ever." My life consisted of work, which included desk and light walking, or sitting at home playing video games on my computer. Eating habits went something like this...McDonald's for breakfast, McDonalds for lunch, a huge dinner often at a restaurant where portions were generous and then finally a late night Wendy's run complete with frosty...in between those meals included all the basic snacks, chips, cookies and colas. To put it simply... I just didn't care what I ate or when I ate.
What was your turning point?
A couple things contributed to deciding to finally make a change. I was 28 years old and on cholesterol and blood pressure medication. My doctor was obviously concerned with diabetes and every other weight related ailment that exists. I was very very disgusted with what I saw in pictures, and my sister had recently lost a large amount of weight which we drew inspiration from. We were back home in Michigan for a weekend and we both decided enough was enough. When we went home we would change or lives and lose the weight...We had made that same commitment before but somehow this time it felt different.
What Was Your Exercise And Diet Plan?
I did a lot of research online (including Muscle and Strength forums) trying to determine what would work and what wouldn't. One of the biggest things I learned is that advice is plentiful and often contradicting. It was hard to sort out all of the points of view. The most important thing I learned was the effects of calorie intake. Everything I read stated to reduce your caloric intake by about 500 a day to lose a safe amount of weight. I learned that an adult male should not eat less then about 1800 calories a day at a minimum and that 3500 calories roughly equaled a pound of body weight. There really isn't much I can say about how or why I chose the route I did, but everything I read about "fad" diets and "don't eat carb" diets etc. always led to failure once you re-introduced whatever it was you cut out to lose the weight. Eating all forms of food but counting calories and thus controlling portions seemed to me like the most efficient way to lose the weight. It was simple math, at the end of the day.
I chose to get as close as I could each day to 1800 calories intake. Calorie research became a hobby for me. At this point I can tell you the rough calorie count in almost any food, I've done that much research. And you need to do this to ensure your not fooling yourself when it comes to hitting a calorie number. Trust me - it's easy to fool yourself, and 1800 calories in a day is simply not a lot of food.
I included 45 minutes a day, 6 days a week on a treadmill walking at as brisk a pace as I could manage for 45 minutes.
For me, the results were immediate. I lost 20lbs a month for the first 3 months. Before you object, I was fully aware of the health risks losing that much weight that quickly could pose...I went to my doctor at this point and asked for a full battery of tests. After he lectured me on the potential risks of doing what I did he took blood tests, primarily concerned with possible cirrhosis of the liver. Tests came back, my blood pressure was within acceptable range, no more blood pressure meds, my cholesterol had evened out into a good place, no more Lipitor and my liver was fine. With his blessings I continued my weight loss plan.
What supplements did you use?
What Is Your Life Like Now?
Life now is nearly indescribable. Right or wrong, I chose to lose most of the weight with minimal strength training. For the last year or so I have focused on building and toning. I have been using Shaun's 3 Day split for the last year and have been happy with the results so far. I have rediscovered my passion for hockey, and have begun playing again. It had been nearly 13 years since I last hit the ice.
I stay active and have the energy to do anything I want. I am amazed nearly every day with what I can do physically when I think back on years of being tired and exhausted after even the slightest physical activity. We continue to watch what we eat, I hit my goal weight roughly in January 2009 and almost a year later have stayed near that weight with the obvious increase in muscle mass adding a few pounds back. I couldn't be any happier as I hit my 30th birthday last week.
Advice For Others
I was fortunate enough to have been recognized by Men's Fitness Magazine (August 2009 issue, page 20). They asked me to submit my top 5 advice for others to accomplish massive weight loss. They only published one of the 5 but I will give you the complete list here!
- Recruit your Partner - It's hard enough attempting to lose weight alone, it's even harder when your significant other is working against you by continuing to eat poorly! Losing weight together is the way to go. It provides an activity you can share and and you never have to watch the other person eat a burger and fries while your eating a sub!
- It's not a diet - it's a lifestyle change - you need to commit completely to changing your habits in every aspect of your life. "Starting a diet" lends to the belief that there is an "end to your diet" once you've met your goal. A lifestyle change means there is no going back to the old ways, fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner is a thing of the past!
- Don't forget to indulge - It's easy, once you start to see results of your weight loss to become obsessed with continuing to stay laser focused however this can ultimately lead to burnout, don't forget to treat yourself to the things you love (steak, burgers, even fries!) occasional and in moderation. Doing this can actually help with beating plateaus and kick starting the metabolism!
- Take the Stairs! - Activity is essential in losing weight. Besides, what else are you going to do with all that extra skin? building muscle helps to burn fat and keep your metabolism high.
- Sets goals and reward yourself! - Make weight loss fun, set short term and long term goals and provide yourself with incentives to reach each goal! When I hit 100lbs lost I bought myself a new Blackberry Storm! Nothing like a new toy to help motivate your weight loss!