Denial. If you look it up in the dictionary, it means disbelief in the existence or reality of a thing. When it comes to what my weight had grown to, I was in the strongest case of denial ever.
All through college, it was always my goal to weigh at least 200 pounds (I weighed a whopping 140lbs when I was 16 and didn't gain that much more going into my senior year). I worked out five days a week and did the protein/creatine thing. I was in great shape. After I graduated and started my career, the time I had to work out lessened and I saw myself gaining a little bit of flubber in areas I wasn't used to. When I was deployed in 2005, it gave me the chance to resume my college workout schedule, where I was working out twice a day when I could. I did a combination of free weights and a workout program called CrossFit, which is the staple of my workout program today. Being a little older, I had gained muscle and weighed 205, which was the most I had weighed, but I was very lean and very content with my body weight and physique. Returning home, I continued to work out on a pretty frequent basis, but I had justified that as long as I was working out I was entitled to eat what I wanted.
Last August 2009, I had ballooned to 216 pounds and had lost the “leanness” that I had attained while overseas. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but I finally realized that I needed to change. Having a family history of heart disease and high blood pressure, it was time to do something. I made a choice that I was going to lose weight. It's funny when you make the choice and commitment to do something and how quickly you can see results. It only took me two months to lose 12 pounds. As I've been committed through the New Year, I've been able to not only keep it off, but I lost an additional eight more pounds. I am holding steady at a total net loss of 20 pounds while weighing around 196. For those of you that are juggling a full-time job and raising a family, here are the tips that helped me.
1. The health shake.
In a previous post, I had shared with you the health shake that I drink religiously Monday through Friday. It is my belief that this is the shake that has helped sustain my weight, and although I had ballooned to 216 pounds, I'm confident in had I not had this shake as a stable part of my diet, that 216 would be a compliment compared to what I think I would have grown to. The shake allows me to get a good a healthy dose of nutrition while on the go, and by drinking half of my shake in the morning and half in the afternoon (just like good old Slimfast), it has helped me to curb my appetite and keep my diet in check.
2. The salad.
I'm one of the rare men of this world that actually enjoys eating salad, but the problem was I didn't eat enough of it. I've made a conscientious effort to buy salad for home so that I can eat a bowl before dinner to help suppress my appetite. When I go out for lunch during the week, instead of ordering the reuben or the heavy pasta dish that I found myself leaning towards, I now make it a priority to order some sort of chicken or grilled steak salad. Am I still hungry later? Sometimes. But I can just hold out and drink the second half of my shake to bridge me to my afternoon workout.
3. Portion control.
This is the huge one. I love white rice! There is no getting around it. I've tried brown rice in the past, and while it is okay, it would never take away my love for white rice. It is something that I refuse to give up, so to make up for it, I had to keep my portions in check. It was pretty common of me to fix two uncooked cups of white rice and consume it all for dinner. Talk about a overdose of carbs. It wasn't always like that. Along the way I had allowed my portions get larger and larger. By limiting the portion of the amount of rice I ate to the fist-sized portion that is usually recommended, it has directly helped me to lose the pounds.
4. Super size me not.
While I had convinced myself that I was eating halfway decent during the week, I had allowed the weekends to get completely out of control. They say that you should allow yourself a cheat meal a week, but I had turned my weekend into a completely “cheat weekend”. And that was a reoccurring event. There were many weekends where I would eat McDonald's at least once. But not just #1 with a Diet Coke. Oh no. I would usually get the Big Mac Value Meal and a 6 piece chicken nugget. On top of that, I would head to Don Taco, my favorite Mexican joint, and get steak nachos, loaded up will all that cheese, throw on a quesadilla and taco, and call it a day. Not to mention that we usually eat out at least one night, either Friday or Saturday. As you can tell, I'm not shy about what I can eat.
When I made the choice to not eat McDonald's or the Don Taco over the weekend, I didn't eat McDonald's for over three months. Other than when I was in Iraq, that was a personal best for me. When I have ate it since, I”m amazed at how salty it tastes. By reducing the amount of fast food in my diet, I'm certain this has had a reducing effect to my weight. Since last August, I've probably had a “cheat meal” at McDonald's a total of seven or eight times (not counting the grilled chicken salads for lunch); which, had it not been for us moving to a new house, would have been a lot less. Nonetheless, that has been the driving force to helping me lose the weight.
5. Working it out.
I consider myself to be an avid Crossfitter, which is one of the most intense workout programs I've ever followed. I started in Iraq in '05, and have kept it up ever since. I kept up the workouts during the week, usually getting at least three, if not four days in. I've also invested into the P90x workout program, and I make it a tremendous effort to at least get one day on the weekend. All in all, I'm trying to average at least four, if not five days a week. I figure having that extra day, is once again, burning off some extra calories, and helping me keep my belt loop in check.
Are You Like Me?
Are you too suffering from the Big “D” regarding your weight? If so, what are you waiting for? It's time to get off your butt and do something about it.