“It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” – Rocky Balboa
One day you look at yourself in the mirror and decide that you hate what you see. Binge drinking became a problem to the point it was affecting my relationships and my health.
My diet was so poor that I had piled on nearly 30 pounds of unwanted body fat. Heartburn was becoming more frequent, my lower back hurt and I often felt lethargic.
I didn’t like my appearance and I didn’t feel confident about my body.
The worst part is that I didn’t know who I was anymore. I lost my passion and my excitement for living. I knew right then and there that I needed to change.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
It was December 2014. I decided that fitness and healthy living was a good path to take.
I had worked out in my twenties and remembered how good it made me feel.
I started formulating a plan based on research I did online. I knew not to over analyze because it often leads to paralysis by analysis.
The first workout I did was very basic, consisting of full body workouts done twice per week. I didn’t lift too heavy and I wanted to get a feel for the movements again.
I also realized that this was a marathon, not a sprint. I didn’t become out of shape overnight so I gave myself one year to change my body.
This time frame would let me go at my own pace. I knew if I rushed and pushed it too hard I would only end up discouraged and injured.
That is what made me quit in the past. And this time I was determined I was going to do it no matter what!
Progress Not Perfection
So I made a plan and each day I stuck to my plan no matter what. Inspiration is often overrated.
If I said it was all easy I would be lying. Sometimes situations came up where I had to juggle my workouts around and fit them in.
Other times I would have headaches or be really tired. However, I always found a way. The only time I missed a work out was one week when my daughter was born which is perfectly understandable. I wouldn’t have missed that for the world.
Another factor that really slowed down my progress in the past was “all or nothing” thinking. If I missed a workout or cheated on my diet I wanted to throw in the towel.
I have now learned to be relentless. As humans, we are not perfect and things we don’t expect will always happen.
If someone brought doughnuts to work, I’d smile, enjoy one or two and not beat myself up over it. It’s what you do the majority of the time that matters.
Abs Are Made in the Kitchen
I also knew that exercise alone wasn’t going to cut it. If I really wanted to change my body I needed to change my lifestyle too.
At first I struggled a lot with this. Let’s face it – food is one of life’s pleasures.
The first thing I did was to start making healthier choices. Instead of pizza for example, I would have rice and chicken.
I started learning how to cook and make things as tasty as possible. I marinated my meats, used spices and cooked a lot in bulk to minimize cooking time.
Processed foods became a thing of the past and I really liked clean eating. I could eat a lot more food without gaining weight.
After six months I started becoming really comfortable with my new way of eating and was ready to take the next step. That’s when I started tracking calories along with protein, carbs and fats.
When I first set out to make a change my goal was to weigh 145 pounds. In fact, I kept a sticky note on my fridge to remind me of my goal whenever I wanted to cheat or became discouraged.
It simply said, “I want to weigh 145!”
Since I was so focused I actually hit my goal just after the 6-month mark. I finally got down to 140 pounds from 163 pounds and decided I was lean enough.
So altogether I lost 23 pounds! Not only did I look better, I also felt much better.
I have more energy, I am less stressed out, I have a more positive attitude and have a better outlook on life as a whole.
The discipline that fitness has given me has carried over into other areas of my life. It has been an incredible journey and the best part is that it’s just beginning.
My wife said she is proud of me and my friends are starting to notice my results. I am even having people asking me for advice!
The take home message here is that it’s never too late change your life for the better. I am living proof of that.
If you haven’t done so yet, what’s stopping you?
Photo by Wikipedia