Today I have a guest post from Chris, who just recently went through a drastic life transformation. He’s sharing his story of how he finally got fit once and for all. Enjoy
On the 20thof March, 2011, I found myself driving to a friend’s house, not far from where I used to live; a journey I’d made countless times before.
Why was this time different?
I’ll tell you: because I was, for all intents and purposes, homeless.
That day the relationship that I’d given four of my 23 years fell apart, leaving me with nowhere to live.
I slept in a friend’s spare room for a week, and in that time, I stepped back and took a good, hard look at my life… I was overweight (and quite considerably so), I was a far heavier smoker than I cared to admit (I had quit some years previous, which had turned into only smoking with a drink, which turned into only smoking with friends, which turned into only smoking outside of work, and was dangerously close to becoming “smoking” again), I suffered from awful insomnia, and my confidence in myself was at absolutely rock bottom.
I thought, there’s nowhere to go but up.
Well, that’s not entirely true: What actually happened was I spent a few days crying, eating grapes and smoking non-stop – and if you can think of a better way to get over a nasty breakup, then please let me know in the comments – but after that, I decided it was time to make a positive change.
The first thing I did was get fit – I was morbidly obese, so it was long overdue.
I started by changing my diet. Gone were entire tubes of Pringles, takeaways, fried food and sweets, and in their place came a simple but effective diet that made sure I got my fill of lean meat, fruits and veggies, and plenty of fiber and calcium to help my body crunch through it. Breakfast used to consist of some kind of cooked meat in a bun, slathered in ketchup – I replaced that with a cornucopia of fruit, and lunch became a jacket potato with salad instead of pastries, crisps and chocolate. Evening meals became grilled chicken and salad, or tomato curries, or Quorn Bolognese – all cooked from absolute scratch; gone were the pre-prepared meals and jars of sauce, with their preservatives and salt.
I coupled this diet change with some serious exercise: I hadn’t done any proper exercise for a very long time, and clambering on the exercise bike that was in the apartment I was living in at the time took a huge amount of convincing myself to do – but I decided I was going to do 90 minutes a week, and I stuck to that doggedly.
I won’t lie, the first few times I did this I struggled to walk the few steps to the shower afterwards, but by the second week things were starting to get easier – I actually found that before too long I was – gasp – enjoying myself. I would look forward to popping a pair of headphones in, turning the music up loud and powering through a session on the bike, and the sweat and the pain was more than made up for by the endorphin kick I got afterwards.
So, how did this change in lifestyle affect my weight?
Quite significantly, is the answer. In my first week I lost 5lbs, and over the next 26 weeks on average I lost around 3.5lbs a week, including one crazy week in which I dropped 7.5lbs!
Seeing these drops really helped to motivate me, and in time I moved from my exercise bike to an actual outdoors bike, as well as quitting smoking (which I achieved back in September, and have kept up with since then – looks like I’ve beaten it for good this time!) and finally getting my sleep and body clock in order.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any great tips or advice, I really don’t: All I can tell you is that if you really want to achieve something, you’ll put the work in. I admit that my diet probably did take over my life a little bit at one point, but I needed the focus and the commitment to keep pushing, to turn down the sweets, the cake and the chocolate, and the sheer will to drag myself back onto that exercise bike, regardless of how little I wanted to.
So, here I am, just over a year later: Healthier, happier, more successful and fuller of life than ever. I lost 101lbs in six months altogether and it absolutely changed my life, and my advice to anybody out there who wants to get out there and drop those excess pounds that you feel are holding you back is this: Do it now– never let yourself sink as low as I did before you start picking yourself back up.
Chris is a writer who has spent years telling people to lose weight and get healthy in order to save money on their life insurance premiums. Twelve months ago he decided to actually take his own advice, and you’ve just read about his escapades since then.