My entire childhood and teenage life was spent being "the fat kid". Always picked last for sports in gym class. Always the butt of any fat joke. Always the one who must have farted in class! I was a fan of midnight burrito runs with my friends, and I always took seconds and thirds around dinner time. Never once would you catch me on a treadmill, in a gym, or godforbid a yoga class! (funny how that changed...)
I think the main reason I stayed overweight for so long was due to how overwhelming and complicated losing weight seemed. When I began noticing my weight affecting more than my appearance (I was on the fast track towards juvenile diabetes) I tried the first thing that came to mind. At the time, slimfast was rising in popularity, so I began substituting meals for these chalky, weird tasting nutrition shakes. Needless to say, this didn't do much in the long term. I graduated high school in the dark about what I could possibly due to shed the excess weight from my 302 pound self.
If I could go back in time, I wish I could give my high school self a no BS summary on how to lose 100 pounds. There's so much crap out there today, what with all these magic pills, weight loss programs, special diets, crazy fitness contraptions...Losing 100 pounds was the easiest and the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I'm gonna give you the secrets to how I managed to go to a Big 10 University, party like a rock star, eat greasy dubs (GO GREEN) at 3 in the morning, and at the same time go from 302 pounds down to 190 in about a year and a half. No special diet BS. No special p90x crossfit mango tango routine. After I lost this weight 4 years ago, I've since graduated college and am in my first career. I feel like I have a whole new life ahead of me and you know what? It feels pretty damn awesome. Here we go.
1. REALIZE that this is't going to happen overnight.
It just isn't. Sorry. But I'm being REAL with you. You need to understand that if you're carrying 50, 60, 70 pounds or more of excess weight, that stuff took years to pack on. If you're determined enough, anything is possible. I had about 110 pounds of excess weight on me. I was eating crap food for as long as I can remember, and I never exercised. Once I changed a few things in my life, I had lost all excess weight in less than a year and a half.
2. Make small changes.
When you lose 100 pounds of excess weight, it's not due to some Hollywood fad diet, Dr. Oz pill or magic workout system. It's due to pure, simple, LIFESTYLE changes. The changes you need to make to get rid of that weight need to be changes you are prepared to commit to for the rest of your LIFE. How do you do that? You make these changes small, simple, and easily attainable. For example: When it was time for me to embark on this voyage to a new life, the absolute first change I made was that I was going to eat an apple and a banana before every meal. Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner. It all started with an apple and a banana. Thinking back, the only reason I did this was because I thought fruit was healthier than some of the other dining options available in the mess hall. Now that I dig deeper, I've realized that the fruit I was eating was filling my stomach with healthy fiber and carbohydrates that were going to fill me up and keep me energized, so I didn't need to eat as much other food afterward. The other small change I made was that I was going to get more active. No, I'm not talking about joining a gym or purchasing a fitness DVD (although later on, those are incredibly valuable tools). I made a promise to myself that I was going to start jogging 4-5 nights a week. No speed goal. No distance goal. Just get out and go for a jog. Once I began jogging, I started to challenge myself and go further each week. The first jog I ever went on must have been for 3/4 of a mile. By the end of my journey, I was running 4 miles a night, 5 days a week. Start small, and dream big.
3. Consistency is KEY
This is by far the most IMPORTANT point. If you want to change your life for the better, you need to COMMIT to it. So you just got invited to a party Thursday night, and you know that the cute girl from your Biology 110 class is going to be there. Guess what? You're going to arrive to that party a half hour late. You have your jog to fit in. Nobody is going to go anywhere. The party will not stop because you aren't there, trust me. Maybe you have a jog scheduled for Saturday, but you just know that the football game and tailgating is going to take up most of your day. Guess what? Set your alarm clock baby. Get up a half hour earlier and get your jog in, or walk, or whatever you may be starting out with. You have to be consistent. On the flip side, you also need to know how to enjoy life. If you get invited out for pizza or wings, get on out and go enjoy. But be mindful. As long as you aren't eating that stuff day in and day out, a little splurge once in a while is healthy and fine! Just get back on track with your new lifestyle the next day.
That's it folks. A new life doesn't happen in one week. Or one month. You WILL however start noticing a difference in your body, mind and spirit after you commit to these small changes. A week into your new lifestyle, you'll start to feel more energy, and maybe a month in you realize clothes start to fit better. It's an incredible experience. What are you waiting for?