Dave’s Top 5 List: How I lost Close to 100 Pounds of Body Fat
For my second “Dave’s Top 5 List” Blog I thought that I would come up with a list of ways that helped me recently lose close to 100 pounds of body fat.
The equivalent of more than 1/3 of my body weight.
People hardly recognize me these days.
The first question they ask me is “How did you do it?” Then they tell me, “You are an inspiration”.
Well actually, the first question many ask, often a bit hesitantly, is,
“Its good weight loss, right? You were not sick, I hope?”
No. Thankfully, it was not due to illness. I lost the weight using a healthy approach.
Losing the weight was not even what I had set out to do in the first place. It was a by-product.
Although I believe that the change in my weight and resulting physical appearance is nothing compared to some of the other changes that I have recently made to what I call the inner me, I have decided to focus this blog on the weight loss.
The other stuff will have to wait for my future blogs.
So, by popular demand, and in the hopes of inspiring others to lead healthier lives, here I go.
Before I share with you how I lost the weight, I thought that I should share with you how I put it on in the first place.
In coaching we often refer to the power of a formula to communicate a message.
So, here is my magic formula for gaining weight;
Eat crap. Lots of it. Often. Drink crap. Lots of it. Often. Don’t exercise. Never, Ever.
This formula (a.k.a. lifestyle, a.k.a. habit) allowed me to hit a high of 264 pounds on January 1, 2011.
That is a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 33. FYI, a BMI over 30 is obese.
I used to be in good shape when I was in my youth and up to my early thirties.
I am not sure when I started my journey into nastiness. The earliest record of my weight that I could find was 248 pounds on January 5, 2001. I was 36 years old. That is a BMI of 32. Obese.
In hindsight, I am not surprised by my weight gain.
I would eat a whole McCain’s deep and delicious cake for dessert followed by a large bag of chips and dip and a litre of chocolate milk on Friday movie nights. You can just imagine what I had for dinner.
My bed time snack was a couple of chocolate bars, chips and a big glass of milk.
When I traveled, there was nothing yummier than gorging on as much of the room service menu as possible while watching TV in bed all night.
And Booze. Don’t get me started on booze.
I was drinking “mucho” bottles a week at one point. Can anyone say sugar bomb.
I paid my son Shayne 25cents on Sundays to make sure I always had a full beer in my hand while I watched my typical 3 NFL games.
My exercise routine was pretty much limited to visits to the bathroom from all the beers.
Luckily for me the washroom was close by.
Somewhere along the way my cholesterol levels went out of wack.
Good cholesterol too low. Bad cholesterol too high.
Nothing some meds could not fix so I added them to my daily routine.
I did have a good excuse though.
I often traveled for my job so exercising and eating well was difficult but even when I was not traveling, I was pretty busy with work and other things, after all, the chores were not going to get done by themselves.
Now, before I explain to you how I lost the weight, I must warn you that it is an expensive undertaking.
The accountant in me constantly reminds me that there was a large cash outlay to replace my wardrobe when I went from an extra large shirt size to a medium. My pants got a little loose as well and to be replaced.
He also reminds me that I have likely added at least 10 years of life expectancy which needs to be funded.
Oh well. Too late now.
Besides. You can’t put a price on the energy that I feel every day from being fit.
It is like night and day.
And by fit I mean the polar opposite health and energy wise of where I once was.
How did I do it.
Basically I changed my habits.
I changed my formula.
Here is my new formula.
Eat healthy. Drink in moderation. Exercise frequently. Enjoy.
What was the catalyst to get me to do it? To get me to change?
I am still reflecting, but I think that it was shortly after my wife told me that she was moving on to “greener pastures”.
That really got me thinking about where I was in my life and where I was heading.
I looked at myself in the mirror and it was not a pretty sight.
But what really got me going, more than that nasty reflection in the mirror, was the thought that I was likely to die sooner rather than later if I kept treating my body this way.
That would deprive my 2 beautiful children of their father, earlier than was fair to them.
So I decided then and there, not to lose weight per se, but to try and eat a little healthier and maybe even do some form of activity, even if only for a few minutes a day, as a start.
There you go, that was the goal. No target weight loss goal. No weekly weigh ins.
That was the approach. No diet. No personal trainer. No magical remedies or sports equipment.
I was closing in on the big 5-O so I was starting a little late in the game, but hey, better late than never.
So I got going.
I took my roller blades out of storage and dusted them off.
The next day I actually put them on and went around the block.
Within about 6 months, I joined a gym close to my house.
3 months later, I actually went to the gym.
When I joined the gym I received a free session with a trainer.
During the session she took my weight and body fat percentage reading.
The date was March 14, 2014, about a year since my separation from my now ex-wife, and the stats were as follows; Weight 236, BMI 29.5 (still overweight but no longer obese) and 30% body fat.
On the food front, progress was also, shall we say, slow and steady.
Instead of 2 chocolate bars and chips before bed, it was one chocolate bar and chips.
I tried not buying chips but that did not work out well since I could always find my kids stash.
So I found something else that I liked to snack on instead, in this case, hummus and pita.
After a while I actually started to lose my craving for chips. My kids don’t have to hide them anymore.
Speaking of kids.
One of the side effects of my new approach was that it was rubbing off on my kids, especially my son.
He became quickly very proficient at reading food labels and reminding me when I might be cheating a bit on some of my purchases. He also started eating healthier without me even having to ask.
They really are like sponges.
He recently made a presentation to his grade 6 class on nutrition, powerpoint slides and all.
Quite the transformation from his days of keeping me supplied with full beers.
I continued to slowly increase my exercise and improve my eating habits over the next few months and then something just clicked.
It was like all of a sudden, things were coming together all at once.
I was really enjoying the physical activity and wanted to do more.
I was really enjoying eating well. I enjoyed the taste of the new nutritious food that I was eating.
I stole a chocolate from my son at one point and actually found it too sweet and could not finish it.
I noticed something happening now at my periodic weigh ins.
I was losing about a pound a week. A pound a week!
That was early fall of 2014. I weighed 219 on September 6.
By my birthday, my 50th birthday, on January 22, 2015, 5 months later, I weighed in at 198.5.
I had broken the 200 barrier. My BMI of 24.8 was at normal weight. Body Fat at 22%. Happy Birthday 🙂
The funny thing was that the weight loss and effort during that fall period, during which I had lost over 20 pounds in 5 months, paled in comparison to that first year when I first started out.
Talk about the power of momentum.
When I first decided to make a change to my health back in 2013, I had no idea that I would end up where I was at age 50 and where I am today.
When I went to see my doctor for my annual checkup recently, he smiled at me and asked me if I recognized the guy that I see in the mirror these days.
So, I had the food down.
The exercise regime was shaping up nicely, both weights and cardio (both of which I enjoyed)
The booze was the last to go.
I felt like I should be allowed to at least keep one vice (despite my doctor’s protests 🙂 )
Besides, what fun is a cocktail or a get together with friends if you don’t have at least a bit of a buzz on.
But I guess I was starting to become more open to change, so when one of my friends challenged me to stop drinking for 30 days straight, although I initially put up a fight, I soon succumbed.
Although I did not give up the booze completely, I no longer feel the need to drink more than 2 glasses on any one occasion.
The result was, not only I am I more engaged and energized by supplementing my glass of spirits with a couple glasses of San Pellegrino, I ended up losing another 15 pounds.
Oh, and I have just as much fun at cocktails as I did before. Who would have thought.
So here I am. July 2016. It has been well over a year since I lost my weight.
Over 1 year since I last had a buzz on from booze.
So how do I do it? How do I keep the weight off? The energy level high?
After all, most people are not able to maintain the weight loss.
I recently read that some people followed up with the contestants from the U.S. show “Americas Biggest Losers” and almost all had regained their initial weight loss.
Some gained more than they had originally lost.
So how do I maintain it?
Well 2 words sum it up, really. Healthy Lifestyle.
Turns out what I did was set out to change my lifestyle and not lose a specific amount of weight.
Changing my lifestyle was a result of changing my habits. Lots of them 🙂 One at a time.
The weight loss was a by-product. Very motivating at times but not the ultimate goal.
I had often in the past tried to diet to lose weight.
I even hit 240 a few times over the years, but it was only a short term fix,
I could not maintain the weight loss.
Now I can. Now I have.
So enough with the background and context.
For those of you who are still reading this long winded post 🙂
Here is my top 5 list of:
Ways that helped me recently lose close to 100 pounds of body fat (and keep it off)
- Build momentum. Slow and steady wins the race. Start slow. You will be surprised how quickly you will build momentum.
- Enjoy what you do. It should be fun and not hard. I don’t do any exercises that I don’t enjoy doing. I am not a big believer in “no pain, no gain”. I don’t force myself. I would rather spend 30 minutes doing something I like than 5 minutes on something that I don’t look forward to.
- Enjoy what you eat. I actually like kefir and chia seeds or I would not eat them. I did not even know what they were a couple of years ago. The food has to taste good. There are plenty of nutritious foods out there that taste good. I rarely eat in a restaurant that does not have something delicious to eat that is also healthy.
- Make it a habit. I instinctively reach for my shorts when my alarm clock sounds in the morning as opposed to debating whether to get up or sleep in. I am already up and dressed before I know what happened. It takes time and effort to change habits. Trials and tribulations. Discipline. Encouragement. Compassion, especially from oneself.
- Just do it. Make it easy to make it happen so that you don’t have time to make up an excuse. I keep some barbells hidden in my kitchen so I can do weights while watching the hockey game if the urge strikes me. I read on my exercise bike now instead of lying on the couch. I always take the stairs and never the escalator.
So there you go. That is my story. That is my journey.
As we say in coaching.
Every one is unique.
Everyone has a unique situation.
Everyone needs to come up with their own goals and solutions.
But by sharing my approach, I am hoping that others can leverage some of the ideas for inspiration.
I would love to hear ideas from others as well.
For both my benefit, as I continue to maintain my new healthy way of living, and for my clients, many of whom are trying to do the same.
BTW. My most recent stats, as of June 13, 2016, are as follows; 191.2 weight, 24.5 BMI, 17.3 % body fat.
My lowest weight was 183.8 pounds on October 27, 2015.
I have since started to develop more muscle which weighs more than fat and hence the higher weight which I prefer and find healthier.
In total, I lost over 80 lbs of weight over the past 3-4 years.
I gained muscle at the expense of fat.
Since muscle weighs more than fat, I figure I have probably lost close to 100 pounds of fat and hence the title of the blog.
I will leave the math to the accountants.
The important thing for me is how impactful this change has been.
It has helped change my life (and extend it 🙂 )
Looking at making a positive CHANGE in YOUR Life?
What would that change be?
MAKING THAT CHANGE A REALITY!
Make that change a reality and explore Life Coaching at the same time by participating in my “Life Coaching with Dave Experience”. A great opportunity to experience Life Coaching in a very timely and cost-effective way. The details are on MY website in the 1to1 Coaching Section.
And NO, that is not a typo in the $ rate of the offering. It looks low because it is. I am really trying to encourage YOU and others to give Life Coaching a try.