From birth, the odds were always against me from being physically fit. At 13 pounds and 9 ounces, I was already a good 6 to 7 pounds heavier than the rest of the other babies and this trend of always being the overweight kid continued for me throughout my adolescence and well into my college years. It seemed like with every New Year, I would welcome along an extra 15 pounds and by the time I turned 30, I was sitting at 230 pounds. I was unhappy, I was depressed, and I was angry. I was tired of coming up with excuses when all of my friends would go to the beach and I was tired of lying to get out of social events because my suits no longer fit. I began losing friends as I isolated myself from every arena in my life and then at this point of my life I was just alone and miserable.
See, I was always your classic endomorph, tipping the scales at 230-235 pounds on a good day. The only real structure I had in my life was going to school and playing poker, those were my only passions at the time and I never really had any other goals. Physical fitness was something that never really interested me and all of my favorite activities such as poker involved me sitting on my behind for long period of times. I had no drive to do much of anything and my weight was becoming a bigger issue with every new pound that I had gained. As mentioned before, I began ignoring friends and isolating myself from the real world because I didn’t want anyone to see me this heavy. How I had gained an extra 90 pounds and ballooned up to 315 pounds at the age of 31 boggled me, and how I was going to lose this weight was another mystery that was causing me great pain and discomfort. I can confidently say that at this point in my life, I was closer to being dead than alive, and I honestly believe that if I had continued down that path I certainly wouldn’t be here today. I began doing research and surfing the web for health tips, motivational stories, and/or anything else that would help me with this weight loss. I could have either kept going down this road of self-loathing or down a road of recovery and success. I can assure you it didn’t happen overnight but I slowly began to reclaim my life back and found comfort and a sense of purpose with physical fitness.
Challenges and hardships are necessary evils to anything worth having and changing your body is no different. We as humans are creatures of comfort and in order to elicit a change, we must give our bodies a reason to do so and that is exactly what I did. I started slow by walking. My normal routine was taking the bus to and from school so what I did was walk instead. I walked a good 1.5 miles to school and another 1.5 miles back. Yes, it was hard because I had become so lazy but it was necessary. On the weekends, I would try to jog but I could only jog for about 30 seconds before my legs would start to buckle. But, I fought through the pain and every time I went jogging I would try to add an extra 30 to 60 seconds to my time.
Now came the hard part for me. I knew that in order to be successful at this that I would have to change my eating habits. Every article that I read and every health page that I visited constantly stressed that 80 percent of losing weight was proper dieting and 20 percent from exercise. I began reading as much as I could about eating healthy and the proper way of dieting. I began educating myself on reading nutrition labels and educating myself further on the impacts that food has on our bodies. I began to realize that what I thought was healthy wasn’t healthy at all. There were so many processed ingredients and sugars in foods such as cereal and juices such as orange juice and apple juice. When I began doing the math, I realized that I was eating enough sugar daily for 5 people; I knew that this needed to stop.
One of the main principles of eating clean is eating more often during the day. I had become so used to eating 3 or 4 large meals throughout the day but I knew I had to change these bad habits. I began eating more often and by more often I mean 3 main meals and 3 in-between snacks. I cut the fats and sugars out of my diet and replaced them with lean meats, chicken, fish and lots and lots of fruit and vegetables. Also, I began to drink around 8-10 cups of water a day. In fact, the only liquid I would drink was water. I began noticing a huge change with my body in that first month. In fact, I had lost 25 pounds that first month, averaging around almost 1 pound a day. I had raised my metabolic rate and I also felt like I had more energy and I could feel my body burning my meals more rapidly.
My daily routine would look like this: I would wake up at 7 a.m. and drink a glass of water. I would then make myself a breakfast usually consisting of something like steel cut oatmeal, egg whites, and a piece of whole wheat toast with sugar free strawberry jelly. At around 10am I would have a snack. My snacks usually consisted of apples, almonds, celery sticks, carrots, and sometimes a protein shake. Lunch would be around 12pm and I like to mix it up between chicken and fish. Along with either my chicken or fish I would have 1 cup of brown rice and a side of veggies, usually either steamed broccoli, asparagus, or spinach. At 3pm I will snack again and then not eat until dinner, which usually fell around 6pm. For dinner, I would once again choose from chicken, fish, or tuna. Also, I would have a side of vegetables and maybe a small side salad but please refrain from using your typical salad dressings and try to make a fat free oil and vinegar with lemon juice blend. Then again, I will have my last snack at 8pm. It is very important not to eat after 8pm in my opinion. I usually sleep around 11pm or 12am so generally 3 to 4 hours before bedtime should be your last meal. I quickly realized, however, that diet would only be one component to meeting my goals and I knew that I had to increase my activity level. Besides walking to and from school, I picked up swimming as a fun hobby. I would swim 4 times a week for about 45 minutes and along with my walking and proper dieting I noticed that within that first year I had lost a total of 85 pounds. I got back down to my usual 220 but I still was not satisfied. I wanted a new me, I wanted my friends and family to be shocked, I wanted to surprise everyone so I kept going. I had a new goal in mind and that number was 165 lbs. I knew I could lose another 55 pounds but I knew I had to change my diet and increase my exercise and also add weightlifting into the mix.
One problem in my diet was that I was not getting enough protein. I shopped around and tried every protein shake and protein bar on the market. But, I failed miserably with them all. I didn’t know if I had reached a plateau or if these bars were all gimmicks? Yes, I knew I could eat more chicken and more tuna but how much more chicken can one person eat. Was there anything out there that tasted delicious, was convenient to eat, and had protein? The answer was YES and surely enough I was introduced to Quest Bars! From my first bite into that chocolate brownie bar of heaven I became a loyal and dedicated consumer of Quest. Honestly, at that point I didn’t even care if they worked or not, I was just so happy to bite into a protein bar that didn’t have that chalky and stale after taste. I thought to myself I would try them out for a month because the label was to good to be true. With a combination of my walks, weight lifting, and proper dieting, I incorporated the Quest bars into my snacks slot. I would eat 3 a day and after the first month I noticed that I was not only leaner but that I had dropped 7 pounds. And after month 2, I noticed my abs. I honestly never knew I had abs, here I was at 32 years of age and I had never seen or felt a single one of my abs but surely enough now I have a 2 pack. 🙂
Along with the Quest bars I began to add Quest pasta for lunches and dinners and slowly Quest became the single most important meal component of my life. I added an extra bar to breakfast along with either my oatmeal or egg whites and I was not getting an adequate amount of protein in my diet. I currently work out by lifting weights 4 days a week and do cardio 2 days a week. I give my self Sundays off but during my off days I load up on protein, usually meaning around 4 to 5 Quest bars and extra chicken and veggies. I do this because I believe in this product and I know first hand how huge Quest has been for me during my transformation. I am now 33 years old and I have reached my target weight of 165 but most importantly I feel amazing! I have more energy than I did in my teens and I am once again an outgoing and loving person. Quest satisfies my sweet tooth and most importantly it is healthy and nutritious and has become a way of life for my family and I. In fact, recently after our Thanksgiving meal, instead of the usual pumpkin pie, we as a family indulged in Quest Bars and Quest Peanut Butter cups for dessert. I will forever be a loyal Quest customer. I owe every bit of my transformation to Quest. It made dieting fun and easy. And now it is my goal to help those around me and to be a source of inspiration as well as information for anyone who is struggling with their weight issues and fitness goals. Not only has Quest allowed me to feel better mentally and physically, but I have also become a more goal-orientated person in every aspect of life. Physical fitness has taught me self-discipline and patience, which has translated into positive thinking with whatever task I have at hand.
In total, I have lost 150 pounds. I often think about how far I have come, and how if that is possible then the sky really is the limit for anything you put your mind to do. Life is short and you should never put limits on yourself. We are all capable of wonderful things; we just need to believe in ourselves. This process would have been a tremendous struggle without my positive support system, my mom. Thank you mom for caring and thank you for all of your hard labor in that kitchen preparing meals for me and helping me reach my goals. When I ballooned up to 315 pounds I saw those tears in your eyes after you visited my home during the holidays. I never want to see you cry again and I owe you a thank you for every pound that I lost, 150 thank yous to be exact! Thank you for picking me up when I wanted to quit and thank you for stepping in when school and work got in the way of me preparing my meals. I couldn’t have done any of this without your support, I love you!