My Weight Loss Journey
I could give you an excuse for why it has taken so long to post this blog, but the truth is I'm easily distracted. There's so much I want to say and, in wanting to make sure I say it all, end up over thinking the entire post, which leads to wandering thoughts and zero productivity. My solution? Coming up to the station and removing those distractions. So far, it's working! Now where was I? Oh yeah, the weight loss…
How about some background? I weighed 175 pounds when I graduated high school, which wasn't because I worked out and ate right, it was because I was a teenager and I had the metabolism that went with it. When I started at OU, I actually did work out but just the first year or so. Then, college life happened and working out took a back seat. It's a little scary how quickly I gained weight during my last couple of years at OU, but a bad diet coupled with not having a workout schedule or active lifestyle does that. Thankfully, I decided to do something about it when I moved to Wichita Falls. I joined Gold's Gym and managed to go a few times a week. I didn't have a set schedule or routine, I just went and did whatever I felt like. Admittedly not the best workout regime, but at least it was something. After my Gold's membership expired, I joined the YMCA. It was a lot cheaper and had an indoor, Olympic-size swimming pool. I quickly became addicted to swimming and for the first time since high school, I saw results! Not much, but some. However, my diet was still full of food you don't eat to lose weight so as soon as my membership ended, what little results I had seen vanished. When I moved to Oklahoma City, working out/find a gym was the last thing on my mind. It's one of those things always in the back of your mind to do but is easy to delay. Working out wasn't a high priority and I just kept telling myself finding a good gym wouldn't take long. Before I knew it, three years were gone and I weighed more than ever, hovering in the vicinity of 225 pounds. Then it all turned around.
I'll set the stage. Halloween, 2012. I'm attending my church's Trunk or Treat (dressed as Tony Stark, no less) and as it winds down, my pastor, small group leader, and myself are shooting the breeze. Our conversation bounces around for a good half hour before we start talking about Crossfit. I find out my small group leader, Joey, has been doing Crossfit for about a year and actually has a garage gym full of equipment (weights, bars, a weight rack, and even a rowing machine!) he uses on a daily basis. Pastor then chimes in about his workout routine, which was everything from P90X to Insanity. Then out of nowhere, right then and there, the idea was pitched that the three of us should meet once a week to workout at the garage gym. We picked what I consider to be the best time of week: Sunday afternoon, when I'm at my laziest.
I'll never forget the first workout. Sunday, November 4, 2012. I weighed 225 pounds, was morbidly out of shape, had a horrible diet, and hadn't seriously worked out in about 4 years. (I tried P90X at the beginning of 2012, but like everything before it, I never saw it through.) I distinctly remember feeling like I was going to die after that first workout. Thinking things like, "What have I done?" and "There's NO WAY I'll stick with this." Now, here I am. 4 ½ months later, still working out, and actually ENJOYING it! Some days, the workouts SUCK. They're tough. They're hard. They hurt. But they're worth it. And I love it.
So what's the difference? Why have I managed to stick with Crossfit? The reasons are three-fold: I'm coupling it with healthier eating, no workout is the same (in both movements and weight), and the biggest one of all: accountability. Every other workout routine I've tried, I've failed because I never had someone keeping me accountable. No partner. No one checking in on me making sure I complete the workout. No one pushing me to my limits. Now? When Joey sends us workouts (5 days a week!), we send him back our reps and/or times, depending on what kind of workout we're doing. He keeps me honest. He checks in. He can tell if I were to fudge some reps or cheat on my time as he programs the workouts specifically for us. I'm a bit spoiled in that way. A true accountability partner. And he's not just our Crossfit guide, if you will, but he leads our Young Professionals small group at church, is a huge superhero nerd, and most importantly of all, one of the most solid Christians I know. Needless to say, in about a year's time, he's become one of my closest friends.
While accountability is easily the biggest reason I'm still doing Crossfit, I did mention two others reasons, both of which play huge roles. Crossfit, in a sentence, is best defined on the official web site: "A regimen of constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity in a communal environment [that] leads to health and fitness." No workout is the same. Everything changes. The weight, the reps, the movements, EVERYTHING. Joey told me we'll likely never do the EXACT same workout (movement, reps, weights) in a year. If we do, it's intentional. Some workouts are used as benchmarks so you can revisit them in the future to see how you've progressed, especially ones that are all bodyweight movements (pushups, situps, pullups, air squats, burpees, etc.). After 6 months or a year of doing Crossfit, it's good to revisit a body movement workout to accurately gauge progression. Your body never acclimates or gets used to a certain workout if it's always changing.
The final reason: my diet. Prior to that first workout on November 4, my diet was downright awful. Not only was I not exercising, but I was eating fast food 2-3 times a week. When I didn't eat fast food and managed to actually cook for myself (which doesn't equal healthy), I always ate portions large enough to feed two or three people! My metabolism isn't what it used to be, even if I wish it was. So for starters, I completely cut out fast food. I've had it maybe 2 or 3 times TOTAL in the past 4 ½ months. I also started following the guidelines of the Paleo diet. While I'm not a huge fan of strict diets, I've treated this one as more of a lifestyle change. The whole "everything in moderation" aspect is KEY. I still eat carbs, just not NEARLY as much as before. Same with sugar. Both are now consumed in extreme moderation. I'm eating a lot more protein, more nuts and seeds, and a lot of steamed vegetables. Cutting out sodium is something I'm aware of now as well. I was amazed at how much salt processed foods contain. It's a little scary. I started preparing single portion meals once a week, refrigerating them, and having them for lunch and dinner and fitting in light, healthy snacks in between them. And one food I never thought I'd crave that I can't get enough of now is salad. Put the right kind of dressing on it and I devour it. You have to be wise when choosing the dressing (again, in moderation!), but having a salad before a meal will help fill you up a bit before the main course. It's been a bit of work to find the right groove with food, and I'm still fine tuning it, but once you change the way you eat and make it a point to eat cleaner and healthier as a lifestyle, you will notice a difference.
So what's the end result? As I type this early in the morning of March 14, 2013, just under 4 ½ months of my healthier lifestyle, I've gone from 225 pounds to 195 pounds, a 30-pound drop. It's one of the greatest feelings in the world to go out and buy clothes that are smaller. I've dropped sizes in both shirts and pants. I've had to buy new suits because all the ones I had when I moved to OKC were too big. It's a good problem to have. I feel more comfortable during my weathercasts, taking pictures, and just being out in public! I've never had high self-esteem or self-confidence, so this has helped boost both tremendously. If you have any questions, I'd encourage you to ask me! I never thought I'd be in the position to answer them, but if you want to be serious about making a change, I am living proof it can be done!
Oh and I almost forgot to mention, this journey isn't over. My goal weight is still 20 pounds away. I'm shooting for 175 by summer's arrival.