Unlike most that have embarked on this magical, life-changing journey, I don’t have that one moment in time that I can look back at. Nothing special that made me start dieting, or changing my life. I made slight changes ever so slowly. Five years ago, my last soda pop. Three years ago my last alcoholic drink, or any other types of drink that contained any calories for that matter, other than milk of course.
Three years ago is about the time when I started to try to cut weight. I felt I owed it to my family. I was kind of sick of myself I suppose. I was an athlete growing up, and there I was somewhere in the 220 pound range. I knew I had to change, but how?
The first year and a half were pretty slow going as I tried to find my groove and what worked for me. I’m not a fan of vegetables, or fruits and so that wasn’t a great start for my journey. A lot of trial and error, gaining and losing, and I ended up with maybe 10-15 pounds gone. Better than nothing, right?
Then a wonderful and very tasty light bulb clicked on and entered my life – Quest! I had heard of them on a couple of sites that I visited, but remembered the old days of protein bars and was skeptical. I was immediately proven wrong, and immediately ordered variety boxes to get every flavor! I finally had a plan.
Step two of my daily meal plan took form in my second favorite, and least likely, way. I bought a juicer. Suddenly things I had never heard of were part of my daily life. Kale, swiss chard, chia seeds, flax seeds. What are these things? Fruits and vegetables all mixed together in one shot in a juicy meal? I can live with that!
Things were starting to click and I decided to get really crazy. This past fall, I started running! I was never a runner. Not even when I was an athlete. Distance running? Only if I’m being chased! I was in horrible shape. I took some good internet advice (the internet is never wrong, right?) and started the Couch to 5k program. Much to my surprise, it worked fairly well for me.
I even entered my first race this spring, a 5k. I have to admit, I almost cried crossing that finish line the first time knowing all that I had gone through to get there, and to make it. My time was 34:13. Certainly not good, but I didn’t walk. What felt the greatest – I actually did it. Those were my only goals for my first 5k. I’ve slowly gotten better, and am gunning for that 30-minute mark in my next one. After that, it might be time to try a 10k?
I even picked up a running partner along the way – my 8-year-old daughter. She loves to go with me and to try to beat me. She has run several Kid’s K races now and is very proud of how she does in them! My oldest daughter has even run a 5k and she has no interest in running at all! That was both of their first 5k’s. We did a family trip to the Twin Cities to do this years Run or Dye. That was quite interesting. It was freezing that day, but some 10,000 people had a blast with us nonetheless.
Now the pounds were really coming off, and I was truly earning those daily Quest bars! 190 pounds. 185…. 180? 175! 170!!! When I started, my goal was 190. I had no idea where I could really go. But I am absolutely shocked where I am today. 165 pounds, 55 pounds lost.
The biggest change, other than the obvious of course, has been in my wardrobe. Every single section of my wardrobe has changed, except my socks and shoes. My pants have slimmed down to have the size they once were.
I’m even amazed at where I am now. Especially when digging up old pictures for this story. I can’t believe that is who I was. But it damn sure is who I will never be again.
This lifestyle change that we go through isn’t just for ourselves, it’s for our families and kids too. We are setting examples and don’t even know it. My youngest even helps me with calories sometimes. How adorable, right? Don’t worry, she gets plenty of calories each day for herself. She even picks out snacks at the grocery store that I don’t like so I won’t eat them.
I definitely couldn’t have done this all without Quest by my side each day. Thank you Quest for being part of my #OnaQuest.
You can find Erik on Twitter at: @jessejames3ball