For nearly two years I was unhappy with the way I looked, felt, and ate. Going from one of the most athletic and in-shape people I knew to turning into someone who was really only useful at being a human forklift, weight loss plagued my mind each day I woke up at a weight just shy of 300 pounds. Change was necessary.
Thinking back, I can't name a specific day when I started my journey. It just seemed like something that had to be done. I was tired of the aches and pains associated with the additional weight as well as the constant shortness of breath.
Starting the transformation, I really had no idea of what I was doing, I just figured I need to 1) Eat Less and 2) Exercise more. There wasn't any specific time frame in which I expected to drop the weight. No special drinks or supplements. In my mind it would simply be a matter of persistence.
The Small Victories
If there is one distinct memory I have of my weight loss it is when I first began running. My weight loss journey really began at the end of summer of 2012. I had recently turned down an opportunity to attend the University of Cincinnati to play football and I found myself back at home looking to drop the unnecessary weight. As I had previously mentioned in past blog posts, running was something I was fairly strong in throughout high school. (Even though I hated it.) I would wake up each morning before a school day and run a mile as fast as I could. It was a task that seemed to be fairly simple at the time. The hardest part was typically getting out of bed rather than the running itself. That soon changed when I was nearly 100 pounds heavier.
I have always had some sort of anxiety of having people see me exercise, even still to this day. If it is warm enough for a run outside, I will either do it incredibly early in the morning or in the late hours of the night. I do not like to be seen. In this particular case, it was a hot summer night, nearly midnight. I was too ashamed to have people watch me struggle through my first run outside in nearly a year. It did not go well.
The furthest managed to make it was the end of the block. My guess would be around 30 seconds of actual running. (Even that may be a generous estimate.) I was committed to completing a mile, and it was eventually completed through a handful of attempted to run with a large amount of the time "speed walking".
It was then I decided my goal was to be able to complete the mile without stopping once. It didn't actually happen for a number of weeks, but when it did..it was more meaningful than any of the miles I had run before school. It was progress, and more importantly a small victory.
Patience & Perspective
As you can imagine, the expected changes I had imagined came much faster than the reality of the progress I was making. Transformations require time. You can't rationally expect to lose the weight you gained in less time than it took you to put it on. My weight gain was rapid. I went from 230 pounds to 290 pounds in the first year at college. How could I possibly expect to lose that weight safely in just a few months? It is imperative to stay patient. Progress will come if you stay disciplined.
Each day I would see the reflection looking back at me in the mirror with less than noticeable results. At times, it was incredibly frustrating, but also it was a product of my perspective. You are around yourself 100% of the time. You are watching the transformation in real time. There were numerous occasions where I would run into someone and they would notice the changes that I couldn't see because they saw a month's worth of progress rather than the small changes each day. Progress can be a simple matter of perspective.
Once I began to trust the plan I stopped looking for changes. It was a relief not having to search for small changes each and every day. Once I arrived back at West Virginia University, I weighed myself for the first time in months at the student rec center. I had lost 40 pounds. That feeling alone was much more satisfying than watching my weight fluctuate over the course of time. If you are not weighing yourself consistently at the same time each day with the same amount of food eaten prior to weighing in, you can expect constant increases and decreases in your weight. Watching this over and over can be incredibly discouraging. Trust the process because in some cases, the numbers can lie.
Losing weight properly is an incredibly hard task. Waking up each day and having the willpower not to overeat as well as exercise enough to create progress is no small feat. If you are on a weight loss journey, stay disciplined. Coming from someone who has lost a considerable amount of weight, there was not one occasion where overeating felt as rewarding as climbing a flight of stairs without being winded or going for a run without suffering from the pain of shin splints.
Being physically fit is not the most important thing in the world, but getting through your day with a sense of feeling healthier is a wonderful experience.