Life happens to everyone, COVID happened to everyone. It seems like all our lives were turned upside down and inside out. Most of us have not experienced anything like it before. I went from working at an office and in the field to at home in a lock down state. I was working from the dining room table. Couple this with a pending divorce at home and twin 5 year old boys in the house with school closed, the gyms closed. Difficult, hectic and disastrous doesn’t begin to describe life at that moment. I was in the best shape of my adult life before COVID closed the gym. Top this with a completely shattered nose on Easter day in 2019 followed two days later by a reconstructive surgery and 2 months of no strenuous physical activity, another curve ball.
My wife and I reunited and worked through our issues rather than taking the easy way out. My focus was on our relationship, our family life and trying to find a new sense of normalcy amongst all of it. Summer of 2020 turned into fall and hunting season. A successful season it was for both my wife and I. Then the focus turned to the holidays and trying to find time with our families. New Year’s Eve 2020, my wife and I both tested positive for COVID. Which brought a 2 week lockdown and 4 weeks of the kids not being in school. When we came out of lock down I returned to helping coach my boys in wrestling. I noticed just how bad of shape I had let myself get into. I lost my focus on my physical shape and self; amongst all of the things happening in life. I remember a motivational speaker say this; “Before a breakthrough you will go through a breakdown.” This was my breakdown; now it was time to work for the breakthrough...
Now was the time to start working on the change. Why do I need to change? The easy answer is to lose weight, but the real why is bigger than just the number on the scale. On February 16, 2021 I joined the Built4theHunt Built4Life Challenge. I was disgusted at my weight and my appearance at 219.4 pounds. I went into this and had set a goal for myself to reach a more healthy weight of 195 lbs. at the end of the challenge. The weather that day was cold and rainy. I joined a local Crunch Gym. I thought to myself this will be easy. Who was I kidding? I got on the treadmill that day and walked a quarter of a mile and then told myself I was going to run a mile. I got a half a lap into the run and had yet another breakdown. Then I remembered that speaker. I pushed through that mile at a brisk walk or slow jog at very best. I joined a HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) class at the gym on night two. Again I thought, this can’t be that hard. I did CrossFit for two years. Heck, I was two weeks from taking my Crossfit instructor course until COVD closed the world down. Another eye-opener. I couldn’t get through the workout without feeling like I was going to vomit, pass-out or both. This was the moment when I knew I had to make bigger changes.
I was taught to be successful in reach a goal you must do the following:
- Establish Your “Why” and Write the Associated Goal Down
o My Goal – 195 lbs
- Circle the date on the Calendar when you want to reach that goal
o My Date – April 16, End of my 60 Day Challenge
- Develop a plan for yourself
o My Plan – Minimum of 1 Cardio session daily and body weight exercises; Minimum of ½ gallon of water per day
- Dedicate Yourself to the Plan, Put in The Work and Track Your Progress
o My Tracking – I used an app called Running for Weight Loss for my Cardio and weighed myself daily every morning
I dedicated myself to this workout plan and after the first week I wasn’t getting the results I had expected. This was the time to add in another layer to the plan, dieting. I changed not so much what I ate but how I ate it and when. I did cut out all sugary drinks, soda primarily. I pushed more water and unsweetened tea and black coffee. I moved my bigger meal to lunch time during the weekdays and changed my portion size on lunch and dinner meals. I pushed myself to try and find a way to get more than 1 cardio session in per day. Sometimes this meant a run and an evening walk with the family. This was an excellent way to keep focused on my weight loss journey as well as spend time with the family and get them involved with the healthier habits.
As I got a few days into this I began to get more motivation. How, you ask? By seeing the fruits of my labor on the scale in the morning. Now the weight was beginning to come off. Good results drive me for better results. Knowing that extra run, walk or those games of pick-up basketball at the YMCA or the local park were having an impact. This motivation also works in another way for me. How? Seeing the numbers drop on the scale makes it easier to stop after that smaller portion size, to not drink that soda, to order a healthier meal when we dine out, to order a smaller steak or a healthier side with my meal. Losing weight is as much of a mental mindset as it is doing the physical work.
So now what? You guessed it. Time to set a new goal. Can I get to 30 lbs in 60 days? Time to make my new plan and dedicate myself to it. A week into that and I worked as I always had but I was on a plateau. It seems as if no matter what I did the number on the scale wasn’t moving at all, or like I thought it should; and sometimes in the wrong direction.
I made the goal and I am dedicated to it so it's time work even harder to make it happen. The days dwindled and finally the weight started coming off again. I worked my body through the plateau and am getting closer to the goal. “It takes work, hard work, Real Hard Work”; “It takes focus to lock in on your dreams, your end result, that one big target”; “No setbacks, no obstacles will get in my way”; “It takes consistency, because you will never be great if you only work when you feel like it, if you only give 100% when you feel 100% you will never reach your potential, You must give You will never be great if you are OK with average.” These are some of the quotes from the Motivation music and speeches I listen to during my cardio. These things drive me, drive me to push harder, to run faster, run farther, get that second workout of the day in. These things also designate when the temptation of a cheat meal, cheat snack or whatever it may be tempts me. You not only cheat yourself if you give into the temptation, you cheat your goals, your plan, your progress but also your standard. Giving into a cheat makes the next cheat easier, the next easier and you see where this is going. Cheat doesn’t only apply to food, snacks or drinks it also applies to your workout. You only get out of it what you put into it. If my app says run and I choose to walk, I cheated. Do not give into the temptations. Remember what you wrote down and that date you circled on the calendar. Cheating will not help you get there. Also remember to focus on the bigger picture. Don’t focus so much on the daily weights but the trend. Learn from the daily weight but don’t let them discourage you.
Let me end by saying this, Success can be measured in many ways. The number on the scale is the obvious one when people think of a weight loss challenge. That one is easy to measure but how about the other successes that come along with it? The jeans that I need a belt to keep up that I could barely button two months ago. Look back at the New Year, having COVID, barely able to move or even get out of bed for 2 days. Look back when I started this and couldn’t run half of a lap to now running a mile in 8 minutes and averaging low 9 minute miles in my Run for Weight Loss app where it’s a mix of running and walking. More ways to measure success. How about things that you can’t really even measure? Because of the way our minds work it’s easy to not even consider these without a measurement. But what about my more permanently appropriate appetite to maintain this weight, the extra energy I feel throughout my day, the clearer mindset I have while working, the better version of me I am for my family. That right there ties this all together. Look back a year ago when my life was in ruins, no clear direction to saving my marriage and our family, to now. I’m a better version of my; physically, mentally, a better husband, better father, better friend, better coach and the list goes on. These are the real results. This is what matters to everyone around me. This is my “Why”. What is your “Why”?