The Healthy Lifestyle Change

I get asked a lot about diet. Honestly, it is one of the greatest feelings to help someone reach a healthier lifestyle. A diet is useless. Losing 10 pounds for the beach in two weeks, only to gain 15 back a week after does not make any sense. If you’re considering losing weight, focus on a LIFESTYLE CHANGE, rather than drastic, short term goals which are not beneficial in the long run. The ultimate goal is to lose the weight and keep it off by learning a more effective strategy. Once you understand the routine, it becomes very easy.

1. If something isn’t working, keeping on the same track will not get you anywhere. I always get a charge out of people who continue with the same routine, but would rather complain, than to make a change. Before I mention any tips, your mind set to change has to be first in order to be successful. I am not a doctor. I am not an exercise psychologist. I am not a dietician. I am an average, common man. The difference is the mind set I’ve developed over the years to be determined in my goals. I know what it is like to weigh 265 pounds (2005), 190 pounds (2009), 235 pounds (2013) and 185 pounds (2015). My weight has fluctuated across the board due to my athletic challenges, and each of these ‘weights’ had a purpose. Since I’ve graduated college, I’ve lost the equivalent of well over 125+ pounds through different fluctuations. I know how to lose weight, and I know how to gain it. I’ve always listened closely to people who have led by example.

265lbs, 2005, Penn State

2. My metabolism is, and has always been poor. The older I get, the slower it becomes. That’s science. If I chose, I could easily be 300-pounds by my wedding day in September. The most important tip is to analyze how I eat throughout the day. I could care less about calorie counting – way too much work. You know what is good for you. Beer, pizza, large sandwiches, fine meats and cheese, desserts or heavy salad dressing are a few examples – while taste great and satisfy our craving, are not in the least bit healthy. Did I eat all of these examples at times? Sure. How did it make me feel after? Terrible. Herein lies the problem. How much of the poor diet are you willing to give up to achieve your goal? If you are only going into this choice at 50%, you won’t be successful. This will require respect, and will take your best effort.

190lbs, 2009, Pittsburgh

3. Healthy lifestyles fail because people have drastic, and often unreasonable goals. If your body has been accustomed to a certain level of caloric intake, drastically cutting that 50% or more is a shock to your system, and will result in binge eating. Ease into a healthier diet, and slowly incorporate exercise as well. This is not a simple fix. We are not taking a pill here. This is a lifestyle change. It will not happen overnight despite how impatient you are. Get that in your head!

4. My knees, back and other joints hurt when I weighed 265. I was carrying around way to much size for my frame, and my body was rejecting it. “My knees hurt because I have genetically bad knees.”Your knees and back hurt because you are over weight, not because God gave you poor knees. Trust me, I know how that feels. I can only imagine what it is like for people who are significantly overweight. Can’t run? Jog. Can’t jog? Swim. Can’t swim? Bike. Can’t bike? Kayak. Can’t kayak? Lift weights. Can’t lift weights? Yoga. Can’t yoga? WALK. Got kids? Run with them in the stroller. Too big for the stroller? Have them run beside you. Won’t run beside you? Put them to bed and run, or wake up 30 minutes early. Don’t have time? You got time. Any other excuses? Quit being lazy. I’ve heard every excuse in the book…

5. The hardest part, is how to effectively communicate how much better one feels when they are living that lifestyle. How I currently feel at 185, versus 265, is complete night and day. I feel ten-times better than I did when I was heavy. If someone has always been large, and has never felt what losing that weight feels like, they cannot visually or physically feel that inside. An established routine takes roughly 3-4 weeks to accomplish. Therefore, the toughest times of achieving a healthy lifestyle comes in the first month. If you can mentally prepare yourself, and give this change everything you have for a few weeks, you will be amazed how easy it becomes. You can see the weight off in the mirror – this makes you feel great, and more motivated. People begin to tell you look better – another motivating aspect. You begin to FEEL healthier, more energetic and evenMORE motivated. Now you are on track and doing something which will not only benefit you, and your family, but how awesome would that be to motivate someone else who is struggling? That’s powerful.

2013, Scotland, 10-min after the North Channel

6. Think of metabolism as the fat burning catalyst. When your metabolism is up and running throughout the day (body builders will get up in the middle of the night to eat) you are a bonfire of energy to burn that excess weight. If you choose to eat a few (2-3) meals a day, your metabolism will slow down. As an example, take everything you are going to eat tomorrow, and space it out over 5-6 meals. You are eating the same amount of calories, however, you are eating them in more manageable portions that are much easier to burn off than 2-3 large meals. This is how I lost weight. When you eat less, more often, your metabolism is stronger and faster. Once you start adding muscle, the excess muscle burns fat much quicker, and when combined with a strong metabolism… well, you get what I’m saying.

185lbs, 2015, Sub-3 Marathon Training

7. The large portion of my diet is composed of healthy proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts and eggs. I get all the carbohydrates I need with fruit, protein from meat, and fats from the nuts, eggs and olive oil. There are other things I eat, but this is primarily what I consume. I love pasta, white bread and butter more than anyone, but that isn’t going to get me achieving my goal anytime soon. Remember, how dedicated you are to make a lifestyle change is how powerful the will-power will be to avoid it! Prepare your meals ahead of time so you don’t have the urge to go out and eat. If you go out and eat, once you receive your food, immediately ask for a to-go box, and pack up half of your portion. Eat half of it at lunch, eat the other half for dinner. Utilizing a crock pot is a very efficient way to make multiple meals throughout the week. Portion out half of the crock pot contents, freeze the other half. A few days later, thaw, and portion out the remaining amount.

In conclusion, I am not a medical professional. The vast majority of people who want to lose weight are perfectly able to do so, however, chose to make excuses as to why they cannot achieve their goal. They would rather take a pill, than put forth the physical effort. I write because I have a passion for helping others by leveraging my life experiences to give you a difference viewpoint. No one is ever willing to change without the desire to do so. You have to WANT that change, and I am here to remind you that you can. It will not be easy, it will at times be very rough, but if you haven’t figured it out yet, life will never be easy. Today is a great day to take that step. I believe in you, and you should as well.

Cheers to LIFE. It is a beautiful world out there!