Five years ago, in September 2009, I was morbidly obese and addicted to eating, weighing close to 450lbs. Nine months later on my 23rd birthday I weighed less than I did in junior high, 187lbs (at 6’2 with a big frame) and I had developed a different type of eating disorder; I went from eating over 4500 calories a day and struggling to get out of bed, to eating less than 300 calories a day and often passing out when I stood up too fast.
I had become so focused on the numbers plummeting on my scale that I disregarded healthy nutrition habits to see how much lower I could go. I had a healthy sensible diet most of the nine months, but when I hit plateaus and my progress slowed, I would switch up my diet to lower and lower calories in order to bring my weight below normal healthy levels.
In the last month of my diet I restricted my food intake to a ridiculous low amount, often permitting myself to eat only 1/2 a cup of dry cereal a day and spending hours in the sauna at my gym every night so I could continue to drop weight. I had overcome a lifetime of obesity only to find myself now battling anorexia: until I discovered lifting.
Lifting weights and resistance training to increase muscle mass as well as strength requires proper nutrition and a abundance of calories. It also requires a lot of control over your body and mind to accomplish, and after the transformation I went through I knew I had enough control over both.
I realized I had done a unimaginable thing by losing 236 pounds, but now my health was in a different danger and I needed to focus on living a healthy lifestyle and actually gaining some weight back to reach my recommended weight for my age and size. Lifting helped with all of that, it gave me a massive appetite after the gym, goals to focus on that were productive and healthy, and a support system of like minded lifting partners who want to see me succeed.
When I first reached out to Quest, I was weighing in at 300 pounds for the first time in almost six years due to the high calorie demands of my strength training; in order to efficiently increase muscle mass you need to eat more than necessary. Thirty days later, I am now 32 pounds down and hope to reach 250lbs by the end of January, so I can begin making more progress in the gym again.
Losing weight can be a challenge, but it can be a enjoyable challenge once you realize you are in control of your body and food doesn’t control you. Once you stop making excuses for starting a healthier lifestyle next week, or the week after, or the next; if you are waiting for the “perfect time” to arrive so you can change your life it is not going to happen, you have to make NOW that time before you can talk yourself out of it. It’s comfortable to not change and enjoy your unhealthy lifestyle, but getting out of your comfort zone will make you realize things about yourself that you never knew.
It took multiple attempts for me to stick with a diet, I gave up early on all of them because the progress wasn’t immediately apparent and I didn’t believe I could actually succeed so I talked myself out of it. I hit many, many plateaus and got frustrated a lot; but it only made my resolve to change my life all the stronger and now I can definitely say it was worth all the frustration. I want to use my experience of being at both ends of the spectrum, from obese to anorexic, and the awesome healthy part in between to help inspire people to reach their goals.
I believe from my experience of going beyond my goals and actually into the underweight category, that anyone can reach their desired weight if they are motivated. Motivation is what drives people to want to succeed, it varies from person to person and is the most important tool in your arsenal when you feel like you want to quit. A lot of things motivated me to do what I did, and a lot of people tried to demotivate me along the way telling me I couldn’t do it or I’d gain all the weight back once I stopped dieting.
But what motivated and drove me the most was someone telling me I couldn’t do it, that someone else was putting a limit on my life and saying that I had to stay in the boundaries that they set for me. Nothing made me happier than to prove them wrong and much, much more. What motivates you?
Stop postponing your start day waiting for the perfect time: Make today your perfect time, there is no better time than now.
Put down the fork and pick up the weights: Every single person at a gym wants to help and see you succeed.
Keep a food intake journal: Nothing is more important than knowing how much you are eating and holding yourself accountable for not staying on your diet.
Weigh and track your progress constantly: I never really noticed I had lost weight until after I dropped the first 100 pounds, doing this keeps you on track even though you may not visually see the results.
Keep motivated: People who you may be doing this for come and go, do it for yourself and you’ll never find yourself wondering why you are doing it.
Team Quest – We are here for you! Share your transformations and triumphs with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or email them to us at [email protected]. Remember that these transformations took hard work, discipline and a plan. Quest products are a delicious component of, and not a substitute for, an exercise regimen and effective diet. The Quest Community is always there for you if you need help, inspiration or motivation!