At my heaviest, I was 660 pounds. I loved going to the shooting range with my friends, but in January 2019, I remember getting home and thinking that I never wanted to do that again because of how much pain I was in.
My first step, and probably the most helpful, was buying a food scale. I had no idea what a portion looked like. I ate anything and everything, and whatever went on my plate was a portion in my mind. For breakfast, I would either have chocolate milk and donuts or a real sugary coffee mocha and a breakfast burrito or two. Now I have a post-workout protein shake and then a couple of hours later, have a 5– to 6-ounce meal with protein and very low carbs.
The first month of learning to eat better was bad. I was constantly hungry and not in a great mood. Cravings were bad, and I was in a foul mood. But I kept eating foods that I knew were good for me, lots of veggies along with turkey and chicken. I ate baby carrots with lunches and dinners for the first few months, they taste good, and they are filling. I also started having low fat Greek yogurt to take the place of the sweets I was used to having every morning.
By measuring foods, counting macros, and reducing daily calories to 2,000 and eventually 1,200, I lost a total of 160 pounds in a few months prior to having gastric sleeve surgery.
Surgery can be part of the solution, but not the whole solution
It seems a lot of people go into surgery with the mindset that the surgery will solve their problems. It will not. All their eating issues will still be there. I think that changing my diet ahead of it made things much easier for me; I developed discipline and the stress about not getting my favorite foods and having cravings was behind me for the most part.
I started working out a few minutes every couple of days before surgery; now I work out six days a week (and I often post on social media after the gym). I walk at my local high school track on Saturday mornings—I would be in the gym on Saturday except it’s a 20-mile drive to get there. I live in a small rural town and that is the closest gym. My weight training to cardio split is even. I start with a 15-minute warm-up on the elliptical machine, move to the weights and then come back to the treadmill and do a 30-minute session.
The art of staying disciplined
Discipline is very important. Motivation will fail all of us eventually. I developed my personal discipline simply by not wanting to go back to the I was living before my weight loss. Before I lost the weight I wasn’t really living, just existing, waiting for the end. When I started working out, I thought, I have to go to the gym, now it’s I get to go to the gym. Once you have been 660 pounds and then found life after weight loss you find the discipline to not go back easily, I think. On days I don’t want to work out or track macros, I tell myself, “Don’t let your inner bitch win. Get up. Do the work.”
I’m 255 pounds now and the daily pain and struggles from being morbidly obese have gone away. I don’t need to have a nap before and after work every day and I don’t need my CPAP machine. With that much weight loss, I have a massive amount of loose skin; the next chapter is saving money to get this procedure done, and I started a go fund me to help with the cost.
Everyday gets a little easier and every day I get a little more confident. Since starting my journey, I reconnected with a friend, and we fell in love. This last month, we got married. I don’t think I would have put myself out there, had I not started this weight loss journey.
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