My Journey to Health & Fitness
About a year and a half ago I went through a pretty big transformation. In the process I learned so much about food, exercise, and general health. Many people I know, including clients have asked me “What did you do to get into shape and lose so much weight?” So, I thought I would share a few things I have learned, some of the things I did, and some of the tools I used along the way.
It was the middle of summer and I had come home from work after a particularly stressful day. I decided to go for a walk to get some fresh air to clear my head and I ended up walking 1.5 miles. It had been years since I had done any kind of exercise and when I was done I felt so much better. I remember thinking “wow that really felt good” and the next day I did it again. When I was finished, I again felt so good that I decided to make this my ritual when I came home from work.
After about two weeks I realized I had dropped a few pounds and was really excited. I have never really paid much attention to my weight but I started to notice that I had more energy and felt better. One afternoon I was on my daily walk and I thought to myself “I wonder if I could jog this?”, so I started jogging at a very slow pace. My walk had turned into a jog, and a few days later that turned into a run. Eventually I was running 3-5 miles a day. Each day I stepped on the scale and saw a lower number. Before long I had lost over 30lbs!
Around this same time a friend suggested that I read a book called Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss. This book was a life changing read for me. Moss pointed out how food manufacturers engineer food that tastes so good, it makes you want more. He goes on to explain that there is a point where the salt, sugar, and fat stimulate the brain in a way that is similar to cocaine and heroin; the food manufacturers refer to this as the “Bliss Point”. Moss also points out the many pitfalls that this can create for someone trying to watch their weight. The book gave me a different perspective on food and empowered me with the knowledge I needed to make a lifestyle change when it came to my diet.
One of the things I learned from this book was the importance of calories. Fundamentally I knew that being overweight was a direct result of the calories you consume and the calories you burn, but I did not have a good understanding of how many calories I was eating, and to make things worse I had no idea how many calories I SHOULD be eating.
I began working with a nutritionist here in Tacoma that helped me understand this. She helped me figure out what my daily required caloric intake should be and taught me about the different macro nutrients; fat, carbs, and protein. I started tracking my food intake, and learning more about what I was actually eating. I installed an app on my phone that allows me to track my calories. I went all out, and I began tracking every piece of food that I consumed.
I also purchased a $20 digital scale and started weighing my food to help me learn portion size. This helped me learn what 6 oz. of chicken or 1 oz. of peanuts looked like. You may think you know the amount you are eating, but I believe that unless you start weighing your food, and tracking it in a log, you really don’t have an accurate idea of the calories you are consuming.
Once I started doing this, and keeping to my goal of 2100-2200 calories a day the weight started coming off. Throw in a little bit of exercise and I turned into a well-oiled machine. My body responded really well and I noticed many different benefits. I now sleep better, I have more energy, I feel better about myself, and the biggest surprise…. my taste in food has changed as a result of changing my diet. I now like foods that I never would have enjoyed in the past, like avocados and roasted Brussels sprouts.
In August of last year, I decided to attempt a Spartan Race! This is a 3-5 mile run that has 20-23 obstacles along the way. The obstacles are challenging and include a 15ft rope climb, 75 yard barbed wire crawl, 8 foot wall climb, and 70lb bucket carry at waist level down a hill and back up to the beginning where you dump it out. If you fail any of the obstacles you are required to do 30 burpees in order to advance. This is no easy task! My goal in doing this race was just to see if I was able to complete it. I wasn’t really competing with anyone but myself and my goal was to just finish the race. Finish it I did, and to my surprise I actually finished in the top 15% of racers in my age group!
There are a few major takeaways from my story. First, it’s not as hard as you think! If I can do it so can you. Ultimately we are all in control of what we eat, and our level of physical activity. Look for something fun that gets you out of the house and off the couch I promise you will feel better both physically and emotionally. There is so much information out there. It will give you the power to make a lifestyle change that will make you healthier, feel better, and improve your life in ways you never realized.
This is something I have really become passionate about, and it has become a way of life. I enjoy sharing my journey. If you would like to know more, I welcome the opportunity to share with you more of what I have learned in the last year and a half!
The views expressed by the author are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network or its affiliates.
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