Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How I Lost and Kept Off 30 Pounds of Fat

It was 1993 or 1994. I remember clearly going to Texas Children's Hospital. I was scared because I knew I was going for tests and it must be serious because I was driving to downtown for said tests. I don't remember much about the day except for the explanation of my results I had high triglycerides and I would suffer from this for the rest of my life I was told. I was considered obese for my age and this was something I would struggle with through adulthood. I'm not 100% sure how I felt about the news at the time, but it probably wasn't like a million bucks.

I remember going home and being limited to two soft drinks a day (wow). Around May of 1994 my parents got a divorce. They fought all the time, and it was hardly amicable. It was really quite sad and painful. One effect of this divorce was that there was little time or attention to meals. I remember getting lots of fast food, which in an odd way was comforting. The turmoil of life around me was balanced out by the consistency of a meal. I can remember around this time getting egg mcmuffins on the way to school frequently. Looking back now I see that food became a sort of emotional crutch. If we were upset we got food, it's just what we did.

In 7th grade (1995) I believe I was somewhere around 5'4 or so and 180 pounds. This would be the largest I would ever be even to this day. It's tough being overweight in school, you get made fun of, girls aren't really attracted to you, and you just don't feel that great. Then things started to change. I started football which I loved with a passion. No matter what was going on at home, I could take it out on the field, and I would go hard. Playing made me start to at least think about athletic endeavors such as weight lifting and nutrition. I didn't make any drastic changes just small ones. Occasionally I would have a salad at lunch and I stopped drinking soft drinks. I recall just cutting out soft drinks made me lose ten pounds. I started to lose weight due to my increased activity and very minor changes in my diet.

By the end of junior high in 1997 I was leaner and more athletic than I had ever been. I had my first date and all that. Even though I was still technically overweight the loss I had already achieved 10-15 pounds gave me a huge boost in confidence. At the start of tenth grade I weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 160. In highschool I began to increase my lifting due to football. I didn't lose much weight, but slowly started to replace fat mass with muscle. Diet started playing a role and I started to remove things from my diet such as fast food. By the end of highschool I weighed about 155.

When I started freshman year of college in the fall of 2001 I would play rugby for Texas A&M as a wing; which is reserved for the fastest players on the team. I was the third or fourth fastest guy out of about 50. I hadn’t turned into an Abercrombie model, but I was in better than average shape. It took 6 years. I went from one of the most overweight kids in my class to one of the fastest on my college team.

If you fast forward to today I weigh about 160 and have roughly a 12-14% body fat percentage. It took all six years. Diets don't work. I didn't do a fad diet. I made small measured changes over six years that I knew I could sustain for the long term. To this day I have an extremely healthy blood count. I apologize for not knowing my numbers, but my doctor told me they were "excellent". My triglycerides are in the extremely low range. My resting pulse is 72 or so and my blood pressure is around 76/112.

This isn’t unique to me. My brother had his own journey. He got up to 230 and now weighs 170, and he didn't play sports in highschool. You don’t have to copy exactly what I do, everyone’s path is different. He was as committed, and found the slow minor changes he could make to get fit.

Changing your lifestyle is not easy. It takes dedication and a commitment. You can’t 180 your lifestyle and all of a sudden be fit. It’s a commitment to small quantifiable changes. I don't know if anyone is in the midst of this, but if you are I understand. According to what doctors told me in 5th grade I should be extremely overweight (top 5%) for my age group. I should still have high triglycerides and be extremely unhealthy. Instead I chose my own path and changed my life; you can too.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
-Lao Tzu

1 comment:

  1. Further proof that consistency with a lifestyle change can do amazing things to your body. Most people lack the dedication to make it happen. Information is so readily availible that knowledge shouldn't be a limiting factor. _james