How I lost the Weight – Part 1

When I talk to people about my weight loss, they are often overwhelmed with the transformation I am telling them about.  They cannot reconcile the old image with the new.  In a past blog I talked about my HoHo Moment – my epiphany.  So if you want to understand a little better my mindset give it a read.  I want to walk you through what happened next – the exercise routine and my diet.  I will also share some of the nuggets I learned along the way.  I certainly hope a few of them can help spark something in you.  After all, this is your journey.  The process of self-discovery cannot be rushed or gimmicked through.  Lasting change cannot come in a bottle, food plan or an exercise routine.  Desire and personal growth are where you must start.  Know that with each new step taken, (even bad steps!), can lead to new knowledge.  When I started all I wanted was to keep it simple.  Blog 1 starts with my exercise routine.  Come back in a week or so for Blog 2 – The diet.


That first morning after my HoHo Moment all I had on my mind was to go to the gym.   I was so determined not to let my thinking or that of others come in the way of what I had resolved to do. I was determined to go to the gym so I did that one little step. I walked around and tried to figure out what machine to use.  I was never a weightlifter nor a runner.  I also had sore knees and hip, so anything that was going to cause me more pain was out.  I found myself walking around the gym thinking that time was running out.  I had to try something, so I decided to get on an elliptical machine.  Day one was 20 minutes.  I made it to the gym and worked out – that was HUGE for me.  Walking out of the gym on a really big high, I thought to myself I could do this, “this” one thing.  So that one thing is what I did 7 days a week, without fail.  I used this elliptical machine to burn calories. Over time I built up from 20 to 30, 45, and then 60 minutes a day.  That was my daily exercise routine until I had lost about 140 pounds.  At that point I added in some core workouts but was still doing 60 minutes a day on the elliptical.      

That’s it?

You might think you are missing something but that is all I did.  My goal was to burn calories and burn the weight away.  Right wrong or indifferent, that is all I did.   You must understand that a big part of me thought I was going to fail anyway.  My epiphany moment was a tenuous moment.  I knew if I had finished my HoHo moment with “I will set an appointment with my doctor, and then resolve to lose weight”, the moment would be lost.  I also know that if I tried to add other exercise routines at the gym, I would have gotten discouraged and quit.  Do you understand the struggle of desperately wanting to change and then fearing that you lack the strength of character to change?  Can you feel the Fear of the ridicule for trying and failing?  My routine had to keep it simple, keep it quiet; anything else frightened me.  


Success became the duplication of that successful first day.  As the weight fell off my thought was “why change the routine?”  I had a winning formula and adding complexity might lead to failure.  Many questions I get asked focus on the rapid weight loss.  Was I burning muscles with the fat?  Is it healthy to put that physical toll on myself after being sedentary for so long?  I asked myself those questions and many more.  I also had family members tell me that I was doing wrong, how bad I looked, and that I should stop because I had lost too much weight.  It was all very hard to hear, but there was this little voice in my head that said “NO! I feel fine and I look great”.  I weighed myself daily and the scale became my friend and a source of power.  At the 100 pound weight loss mark, I did speak to my doctor.  In my twenties he had told me that if I did not change my life around, I would be dead by forty.   Despite the changes, I still feared that meeting and the thought that there was something else wrong with me that was causing me to lose the weight?  In reality seeing my doctor was the boost and confirmation I needed.  I was not only ok but getting pretty darn healthy. My lab report was far better than it had been all my life.  ALL my lab work was normal.     While confirming the great physical shape I was in, he recommended that I see a Cardiologist because of my family history.  Both doctors were ecstatic about the transformation they saw before them.    


My Nuggets:

  • Keep it simple.  Start slow and build as you learn and grow.  To begin with it’s about the process, not the end goal.  
  • Know what you can handle.  Do not focus on what you think you ought to be able to handle or base it on what others are doing.  The worst thing you can do is try too much too early and hurt yourself.  That will be a de-motivator and lead to failure.  
  • Step back and assess where you are.  Understanding where you’re at, mind and spirit.  I was amazed how my mind wanted to give up and maintain the status quo under stress.  Saying you want change and then believing in the process required to change are different worlds.    
  • Listen you your body not your brain.  Up to this point you have trained your brain to be heavy.  Your brain, when stressed, will want to go back to what it knows and is safe.  Not exercising and eating are where your old thinking felt safe.  Listen to your inner skinny person.   
  • Just as Nike says.  “Just do it”.  I had to force myself through the first 10 to 15 minutes of every exercise.  “Just do it” was the mantra.    
  • When you have a bad day it’s ok.  The important thing is what happens the next day.  Your journey is for the rest of your life.  The next step after a bad day is far more important than the next step after a good day.    
  • For good or bad, you WILL learn who your friends and family are.  The amazing and sad thing that I learned was that my family members were not always out for my best interest.  Even after losing 100 pounds with another additional 70 pounds to go, my family was against me losing more weight.  They told me to stop, told me I looked sick and I was going to be anorexic.  They even went as far as to call my doctor (their doctor also) a quack!  Others saw the true change in me and gave me encouragement and support I needed.  
  • This is your journey.  You are the only one that can be successful or fail, there is no middle ground.

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