My weight loss journey began in the shoe aisle at Target. Yes, you read that correctly, the shoe aisle. It was a Saturday and my wife, Victoria, and I were doing our weekly grocery shopping. Looking back, I never imagined a routine grocery shopping experience would so vastly change the course of my life. We were perusing through the shopping center when suddenly I felt my heart pounding, back aching, and knees throbbing. I knew something had to be wrong.
Thankfully, we were passing through the shoe aisle and there were seats to my left and right. What is wrong with me? Why am I feeling this pain and heavy breathing so suddenly? Something must be wrong I continued to tell myself. And then it hit me. Nothing was “wrong” per se – The pain, the aches, and heavy breathing were all a result of my being overweight. Here I am – Twenty-five years of age, newly married, and three hundred and twenty five pounds. Something must change. And it did.
A few weeks prior, I visited my doctor and was informed of my diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure, along with numerous ailments all relating to obesity. He immediately referred me to a local bariatric surgeon and within the same week I received a consultation and was approved for gastric bypass. I became increasingly excited for the surgery because I felt like it was my last and only option. I remember telling my wife and best friend that if I don’t get the surgery, there was no way I could lose the weight again. It was surgery or bust – Until I saw pictures and learned more about the operation. Considering my legitimate hatred for flu shots, cuts, and blood in general – surgery was out of the question.
At this time I asked myself, “Where do I go now and what do I do from here?” I was unwilling to put myself through yet another diet, another exercise, and set myself up for another failure. Thankfully, Victoria took the reins and helped change my entire perspective. She began measuring and preparing meals for me to bring to work, as well as cooking healthy, tasty dinners at home. Within the first month the scale shifted down, my attitude towards weight loss changed, and I felt better already!
About eight weeks into the process I began lifting weights and following the various programs on bodybuilding.com. The bodybuilding.com super site has loads of free information that can be utilized by beginners to advanced weight lifters. Many people decide to leave weightlifting out of weight loss. However, weight lifting is what keeps motivated due to its competitiveness and ability to push my body to limits I never imagined possible me.
Without a doubt, my weight loss journey has been the hardest thing I have ever done and the last thing I want to do is make it seem like all of this was daisies and dandelions – because it most certainly wasn’t. In the beginning I was sad, angry, and depressed. These emotions took weeks of late night talks with my wife, friends, and family to recognize and get over. There have been times that I didn’t want to make the healthy decision, or that I didn’t want to go to the gym. I can guarantee that anyone who loses a large amount of weight will have those days. However, the way we manage and overcome those days will build our character, make us better people, and place us a step closer to reaching our goals.
I am often asked for my best advice in regards to losing weight, maintaining fitness, as well weight training and nutrition. In no particular order, here are my five best pieces of advice.
1. Track your food. The very thought of counting calories can be annoying, overwhelming, and tedious to some. However, keeping a log of what you are eating can help in so many ways. If and when you hit a plateau, you can look through your diary to double check your caloric and macronutrient intake. It is very possible that the plateau is caused by over or under eating and could easily be fixed by minor nutrition adjustments.
2. Lift Weights! No, no, and no. Weight lifting does not make you gain weight. Conversely, your body burns fat with the more muscle you have. In order to gain weight, you have to be in a caloric surplus, which won’t happen if you are tracking your food. Sign up for a gym and enjoy the benefits your body receives from lifting weights, listening to loud music, and watching overzealous muscular guys yell and throw dumbbells.
3. Write down your goals. Share them with others. My friends and family have been major accountability partners for me during my journey. I have shared my dreams, goals, and desires with each of them. Because of this, I am held to a high standard of achieving these tasks I have set out to accomplish. Sharing them puts positive pressure on myself to work hard and get it done day in and day out.
4. Don’t go on a diet. Wait? What? Don’t go on a diet? Exactly. Going ON something indicates that at a point in time you will be getting OFF said something. This can easily lead to yo-yo dieting, binging, and mental disaster. Instead, make changes to your life inside and outside of weight loss. Why are we making healthy choices? Because we are on a diet? No, not at all. We make healthy choices because we have committed ourselves to living healthy, well-rounded life styles.
5. It’s time for the cliché tip. Have fun. Yes, have fun, have loads and loads of fun. Losing 150 pounds may very well be one of the hardest things I have done. If I am being honest, I didn’t “get it right” until well over half into the process. My biggest mistake is that I neglected the fun that can come from losing weight and being in shape. Go out and meet new people. Find a hobby. For me, weight lifting and cycling have been lifesavers. Go find something that you love to do and can have fun doing.
So, how does Quest Nutrition tie into all of this? Quest provides individuals with healthy, well thought out, and nutritious on the go food. Quest Bars are often my “go to” source when I am out and about and need something tasty and quick in my stomach. However, Quest Bars are not only the best because of their nutritional superiority to other products. They also taste absolutely amazing! Quest allows me to indulge in a clean fashion, while digesting a product that not only taste good, but also great for me. There have been countless times during my journey that I bypassed the Reese’s and opted for a Quest Peanut Butter Cup. There have also been moments that I grabbed a Quest Bar and followed one the baking recipes, rather than over indulging in a dessert from a restaurant that has nearly 1500 calories.
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