How I Lost the Weight: Eating Less and Moving Around More
In March of 2011, a friend of mine gave me a Reeses Egg weighing one pound in two pieces. It was a large amount of chocolate. He bought it for me as a joke, because of how much I loved confections and specifically Reeses. I was 245 pounds and 6’1”. I was overweight, but I loved sweets.
I took it home and showed it to my wife who laughed at how ridiculous it was. I still don’t remember how many servings or calories the entire thing was, but I do remember that I ate over half of it in about 20 minutes.
I felt awful. I couldn’t believe I ate so much chocolate so fast. This was not the path to health. When my wife saw how much chocolate I ate, she was shocked in the same way any reasonable person would be. I believe she was disappointed I had made such a horrible choice.
I vowed I would not eat sweets for 90 days. My wife didn’t believe me, and I thought that was a reasonable response to someone who had just consumed a half pound of chocolate. I would have to work hard to show her I was serious.
The next day I started running. I was never good at running, but that seemed to be the best way to start in my opinion.
It was awful. I couldn’t even make it a half of a mile before stopping. My feet hurt, my side hurt, my ego hurt. How was I going to do this? I walked most of the rest of my 1.5 mile “run” and got to work trying to determine how I could tackle this.
I found two applications to help. The first application was MapMyRun+. With it, I was able to track my runs consistently and see how fast (err…slow) my runs were. The second was MyFitnessPal, a free calorie tracker. I knew that losing weight required me to use more calories than I took in. Exercise could play a part in that, but diet would be the most important.
The sneakers I owned were far too old and heavy to serve as proper running shoes. Once I got rid of them and found some good ones, I was off to the races. I remember the first time I ran 1.6 miles without stopping. It felt like an incredible accomplishment. That took about two weeks. I was really out of shape.
This was harder than I thought at first. For the first month, I would think about sweets a lot. I even dreamed about eating sweets. I felt proud that I was able to go without sweets. When my friends heard about it, they probably put that in the “really, that’s sort of strange” category. This included giving up sodas. I stopped drinking normal/sugar sodas the same day. A year later, I would stop drinking all carbonated beverages.
Finding Time and Motivation to Run
My wife was a huge help with this. Each day when I woke up she encouraged me to get my running shoes on and get out of the house. I always feel accomplished when I complete a run. It is a great way to start the day. This also brought a bonus level of encouragement as I would weigh myself after I run. The extra pound or so of water weight lost during the run didn’t actually mean I lost fat, but it felt good to see a lower number each day.
After a few months, if I woke up and saw that I was not at a lower weight than the day before, I would run an extra mile or so and weigh myself right when I got back from the run. Even before I took a drink. This seems silly looking back on it, but it was a big deal to me seeing a lower number on the scale.
Success is a Journey
I wanted to stop being overweight so I could be more active for my kids, but I found motivation from a number of areas. First, the best motivation for losing weight is losing five pounds. Once you lose five pounds (which only take between two and three weeks), then you know you are able to do it and keep it going. Continuing in the changes you have made are important. Working with friends who have the same goals or are willing to keep you accountable can be invaluable.
Second, I had a work related goal that was impossible to accomplish at my heavy weight. I had to lose weight so I could get there. I do not shy away from working hard for things, especially if it is something I want to do. I will not become J. Alfred Prufrock.
After about 90 days, many friends told me I looked drastically different than before. I got down to 194 pounds, losing just over 50 pounds. This was a great time to sign up for some term life insurance and save a large amount of the premiums each month.
I continued to eschew sweets until about 130 days, when my beloved sister made some banana pudding and I had some. The thing about starting to eat sweets again (at least for me) is that once you have given up on your sweets embargo, it becomes increasingly easier to justify consuming more sweets.
When I was overweight, I couldn’t imagine being a runner or even signing up for races. Now, I do love running. I ran a half-marathon a few years ago, and I plan on running the Cowtown Marathon this upcoming February. In order to assist in this, I intend on losing a bit more weight. I started not eating sweets yesterday, so I will be keeping track of that in future blog posts.