Going from 260 pounds to 175 pounds was not an easy task. I didn’t create some master plan and stick to it without any mistakes.
I can’t remember the exact day I decided to begin this journey but I do remember my thought process. I was trying to sleep and it occurred to me that everything I’ve tried in the past was focused on losing weight. It hit me, perhaps I should have a goal that has nothing to do with my weight.
I analyzed what I was willing and unwilling to do and decided that I was not willing to pay a lot of money and was not willing to diet. I found I was willing to commit time and energy. This meant I was willing to workout but not change my eating habits. At the time it made sense to me. In the end as you’ll see, I did end up changing my diet slightly but not as drastically as most diets require.
Set a Goal
The most important aspect of my weight loss journey has been goal setting an achieving. My goal was to run a half marathon. I chose the Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon in Duluth MN. I chose this race because I lived in Duluth and it seemed to be the easiest choice.
I started my training in mid January of that year. Several months before I had begun running with a friend in the evenings. My friend was a key ingredient in learning how to run properly to maximize my energy and minimize the strain on my body. Our first run I made it about 1/4 of a mile before I had to stop and rest. I didn’t want to continue but he convinced me the pain was worth it in the end. He was right.
By the time January rolled around I was able to run a full mile without stopping to walk and I had already lost some weight.
Exploit Your Interests
At about the same time that January my roommate got me interested in ice hockey. Living in Duluth, I was already interested and quite a fan of hockey, but that was just as a spectator. My roommate convinced me to buy a pair of skates and go skating with him. I did, and even though I was not very good at skating and even worse at hockey I loved it and started going to the local rinks in town on my own.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
I ended up joining a small group of guys that would rent ice time at some of the local hockey arenas and play for about an hour and a half 2-4 times a week. After playing I would often head straight out to the local outdoor rink and play for another couple of hours. I loved the game and couldn’t get enough of it. Hockey was a huge factor in my weight loss.
Looking back, though, I realize that hockey and running weren’t the answer to my weight problem. There were a few things I did differently from my usual personality that fueled the change.
- Set non-weightloss goals
- Analyzed what I was willing to do
- Found an activity I was interested in
As a result of these changes I was willing to push myself out of my comfort zone by socializing with people I had very little in common with. The majority of the people I played hockey with had played hockey nearly their entire lives. That was very intimidating for me. After a while of playing with these guys I started booking and managing ice time myself. This was not my personality at all before but it became my personality.
So I started running and I started playing hockey, what else did I do? Eventually I did join a gym. I was very committed to going to my gym. I went at least 5 days a week, sometimes even twice a day. I will note that with my lifestyle now as a married father with a full-time job I don’t think I could commit to 4-5 hours a day of working out, but I still can commit at least 30 minutes to an hour. I just won’t see nearly as fast of results as I did several years ago, but that doesn’t stop me.
I mentioned that after a while I did end up changing my diet. My diet change wasn’t exactly what most dietitians or nutritionists would ever recommend. I don’t think I would recommend this to anybody either. I decided to create my own diet if you will. I looked at what meal I was over-eating at consistently and decided it was lunch. I found where I worked was situated in such a place that I ended up going out to eat with co-workers more than I should have. I decided I would adjust my lunch eating habits to save money. I started bringing my own lunches. I found just deciding to bring lunches was too hard for me, though.I just woke up too late each morning to have time to make a lunch. This is where the “Waffle Diet” was born.
The “Waffle Diet” was 4 waffles that I brought everyday to work toasted in the toaster with a little bit of syrup. Every weekend I would go out and buy a couple of boxes of waffle mix and make the entire contents and froze them in 4 waffle packs. This way everyday I was able to wake up and grab a lunch from the freezer in no time.
It’s easy to see why I can’t recommend the “Waffle Diet” to you or anyone else, but the concept is what I would recommend. The essence of the “Waffle Diet” is to keep it simple. Find one or two items you would be willing to eat every day at lunch and can prepare ahead of time so you have no excuses for eating too much.
Allow For Failure
Many of the diets I tried in the end I quit because I couldn’t maintain the strict requirements. 1000 calories a day was all fine and dandy the first 2 days but come day three I didn’t have the will power to do it any longer so I would quit. A true lifestyle change allows for failure but doesn’t label it as failure, it’s called life.
Put it Into Perspective
Too often we beat ourselves up if we don’t follow a diet plan perfectly. Put things into perspective. I like to look at my success a month at a time, not day by day. It’s too easy to have a bad day, but it’s a lot harder to have an entire month that is bad. Make it your goal to have 15 good days or even 20 good days in a month. This way you can look at your bad days as bonus days. As you get further into your lifestyle change of fitness and nutrition you’ll find you want less bonus days naturally.
Overall that was all it took to lose my weight. Too often people see weight loss as being too difficult. They want it to happen right now. There is no get rich quick scheme that will truly work in weight loss. It is a lifestyle change. It takes hard work, commitment, goals, will power, and sometimes even some pain, but in the end it is worth it and anyone can do it.