By: David Dodrill
I was raised in a very American home as a kid. My family ate out every single night growing up and I developed a huge dislike for vegetables and fruits. Fast food restaurants and pizza parlors were the only kind of food I ever got as a kid. As I got older, my taste in food did not change, but I did notice I was getting bigger and bigger. At the time I did not think twice about this, as everyone in my family is overweight.
Emotionally the weight always got to me. In high school, I developed a personality where I would just make jokes and laugh at everything else so people would not have a chance to make fun of me and sense my insecurities. I started dressing in all black because I felt like an outcast. In high school you notice that people your age can eat and eat and not gain a pound, I knew that would never be me, I cried every time I ate because I knew deep in my heart the foods I were eating were not the answer but I didn’t think I could eat anything else, because I did not have the will power to do so. I was diagnosed with arthritis in both of my ankles and I could hardly ever breath. I, in no way, thought I could lose weight.
During my junior year in high school, I reached the weight of 362 pounds. For a 16 year old to weigh double the amount of healthy adults, I knew something had to change. I got a job at McDonald’s to start making money so I could try to make my own money to buy my own food. However, that plan backfired when I was around food all day. On January 1st 2011, I had enough of it. In one day, I quit my job, and the money I had saved up from it. I went to the local World Gym and bought a year membership.
My main goal when I started was thinking about my future. I had no idea what I wanted to be. I did not know my options of what I could be. Starting out, I just did cardio. I didn’t really change my eating habits at all. Weight came off a little but not nearly what I wanted. About two months into my program I opened up a Bodybuilding magazine and I walked one morning for an hour just reading it. I loved everything about the struggles and how dedicated these men were to their sport. I knew instantly that is what I wanted to try and do.
As my research went on, I read what to eat and what not to eat. I tried to focus more on whole foods and stopped going to fast food restaurants. That did not work at first so I did the next best thing I could think of, and that was for every meal, at least have a sub. I knew it was a lot better for me and could be made with a simple trip. It was a hard drawn out process, I tried to stay off the scale daily and focused more towards weighing myself every Sunday. That was the motivation at the end of the week. Every single Sunday, my weight would drop. I would jog for one hour in the morning before breakfast and then right after school – I would do my weight training. I had no days off. I truly put my mind to this as I felt time was ticking away for me. After 7 long hard months, it was official I had gone from 362 pounds to 240 pounds. I was beyond happy with my progress.
My biggest supporter through it all was myself. I had made a complete lifestyle change. I counted my calories, made a bed time for myself so I would not snack at night, and prepared my food every Sunday for the week. However it did not stop there, I wanted to know how far I could push my body. My mind was so focused in being a competitor, and to this day still is.
Now I weight 182 pounds and I am training to be a competitor. I try to read and listen to everyone’s knowledge about fitness. It is such a unique world that I feel everyone should be a part of. Every single time I am in need of some new motivation, I can just log right onto my computer and see all these people with a changed life. My biggest supporter currently are my internet followers. The fact that my story can have an impact on so many people amazes me, but it does show me that we all do have the same goals in life. We want to feel healthy, we want to look healthy and we want to be the best possible selfs we can be. When people ask me how to start, I always respond ” believe in yourself” because that is who gets you through it all. I know now that one day I can be a great competitor, and I have come so far already there is no turning back now.
David’s Five Tips to Becoming a Better You:
1. Never say “I can’t.” I am living proof that anyone can do this. I have learned more than anything that if you tell your mind it can do something, your body follows, it only gets better with time.
2. Be patient. It is not something that can change overnight, you get out of it what you put in. It might not happen the next day, the next week, or even the next month, but you are always a step closer than you were before.
3. Plan your meals. This has helped me greatly. I can go out and have quality time with friends and family, because every Sunday, I make my meals for seven days, and I can always bring them with me.
4. Do not torture yourself. Giving up the bad foods does not mean giving up everything you love. There is always an alternative to what you can eat that will satisfy your cravings.
5. Learn from your mistakes to help yourself. This is my own most important thing. No matter what life throws at you, you can achieve greatness. Yes, you are going to make mistakes, but you need to learn what is best for your body and what works for your body. You are not the same as anyone else, so find what works for you.
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