By: Carter Williams, Director of Xperience Growth Coaching & Consulting
Health is a common theme this time of year. Historically, the majority of new years resolutions have centered around going to the gym and losing weight.
With that in mind, knowing that health is on a lot of folks mind this year, I am sharing my journey. It is a journey, because unlike a “diet” I have created and kept up a lifestyle choice for over 5 years.
This is my journey. And 5 of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
I never thought I had a “problem” with my weight, body or health. In college and through my 20’s I simply didn’t prioritize my health. I ate what I wanted and did what I wanted; didn’t give it too much of a thought.
By the time I got married in 2008 I was just over 200 pounds. At 6’0”, that is certainly not a number that would grab headlines, yet I was overweight by the medical standard. Most importantly for me, I didn’t like it.
Lesson #1: Seek what you want and not the agenda of other people. I was ready to make a change because I was ready.
Soon after our wedding, I decided that I would take up running. The thought at the time was “I will run so that I can eat.” In the span of 5 years, I ran 5 half marathons and 1 full marathon. And that worked somewhat. Over the course of that time, I went from being around 200 to being around 190-195 pounds. I stayed at that weight for a few years – basically a plateau.
I was still not satisfied. I didn’t feel healthy. Again, no major problems or even feeling judged by others about my looks. I simply wasn’t satisfied with where I was at weight-wise, health-wise, look-wise.
Lesson #2: Figure out what activity is going to really move the needle for you. While running helped, it alone didn’t really provide what I wanted, which was feeling better about my health.
In 2015 I was ready for a real change. In the spring of that year I weighed in the mid 190’s, a snug 36” waist and a size L to XL in clothes.
My first step for change was to hire a trainer. I went to the gym 2-3 days a week starting that spring.
Lesson #3: I needed the accountably of someone/something waiting on me to get me there. A gym membership is not enough for me, I wouldn’t go. Having a person expecting me to show is the motivation I needed to get me there.
The second step that summer was with food. Kristen and I bought a nutrition program that was designed to kick-start a transformation. It was a 30 meal plan that required us (me) to cook 3 meals per day plus snacks and adhere strictly to the plan. I followed the instructions probably 90%. Honestly, I didn’t have any expectations of how much weight I would shed during those 30 days. For me, it was the process of a new routine that I was going to use as a kick-starter.
In that month, I shed 15+ pounds and ended in the month in the upper 170’s. I had not been in the 180’s, let alone 170’s since college. My clothes were baggy. I had to tighten my belt on all my pants and they were beginning to look a little like MC Hammer (yes, an 80’s-90’s reference: 🪂👖).
I wasn’t done at the end of 30 days. As I said, this is a journey. I knew I needed a lifestyle that I use to help me get even healthier and one that I could maintain.
I turned to “Eat Right for Your Blood Type.” The overarching theme in eat right for your blood type is our bodies metabolize & use foods differently primarily based on your blood type. So, for each main blood type (O, A, B, AB) there are foods that are like healing foods, foods that are neutral and foods this are detrimental. My blood type is A; therefore, I should eat mostly vegetarian and stay away from red meat and a handful of fruits. Vegetables, whole grains and low sugar fruits with some white meat and fish sprinkled in is my mainstay. Plus, coffee and red wine are on my healthy list! I’ll cheers to that!!
I made a lifestyle change and started choosing the blood type suggestions. The weight kept coming off and by October of 2015 when I turned 35, I was weighing in at 165 pounds – down about 30 pounds from my starting weight. I had to buy a new wardrobe to fit my new waist size of 32” and medium shirt size. The coolest part for me is that before I changed my diet, I had the occasional heartburn. Nothing that a Zantac couldn’t knock out, yet it would flare-up from time-to-time. From that summer on, I’ve not had heartburn symptoms AT ALL!
Lesson #4: I was empowered to make good daily choices. I had a guide not a directive. I knew (based on the lists) what I should eat, could eat and avoid eating. Now I was empowered with the knowledge to affect my health.
So, fast forward to the end of 2020, over five years later. My weight is now between 165-170. I’m good with that. I stick to the blood type guides 70%-80%. Plus, I am able to make conscious decisions about what I eat. I can decide to eat a cheeseburger every so often – and I do… still love a good one. And now it’s special. Plus, I can keep a constant watch over the scale. If the number begins to creep higher than I like, I can refocus on the plan and shed the extra pound or two so that I can stay within my boundaries. My diet, paired with virtual workouts 3-4 times per week, has kept me at a goal that I’m happy with.
Lesson #5: This is a journey, not an event.
My health has become a lifestyle for me. It’s a journey that I choose each day. Like with actual roads, you can take detours and then get back on the highway towards the destination. When I take the long view of my health, it becomes that much more sustainable to achieve my long term goals.
This is my journey. I wish you much encouragement on yours!