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Taking Back Control of My Life
Cgvaters was determined to be fit and healthy for his children. In his story he explains that changing his mindset and incorporating healthy food choices with exercise has helped him shed 126lbs.
He contacted us through our Share Your Story feature and provided the following answers to our questionnaire.
1. What prompted you to begin this weight loss journey? Did you have an
It was a collection of moments, actually. I'd see pictures of myself and delete them so I wouldn't be reminded of my weight. I hated it because I have tons of pictures of my kids, but not that many of me with them. I wanted them to look back at the pictures and remember us as a family, not just a collection of kid pictures.
Also, my clothes we getting smaller by the week! I have always been a big guy, wearing XL for most of my adult life. Before I started my program, I was into 3X and some of that wouldn't last much longer. That's when I knew if I wanted to be alive to see my kids grow up I had to make the change, and NOW!
2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I had lost 50 lbs prior to meeting my wife so I knew I could do it, I had just gotten complacent. Other than that, I have eaten what I wanted, when I wanted it. Over the past few years, I had gotten into the habit of sitting in front of the TV with a large bag of potato chips and a chocolate bar. It had gotten completely out of control.
3. Please describe how you reached your weight loss goal. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude? Did you implement any other strategies besides Calorie Count? What was the most important change?
Well, I am still working towards my weight loss goal. My true goal isn't a final number, but maintaining a healthy weight that I can continue with for the rest of my life. I am aiming for 190 lbs and when I reach it (yea, I said WHEN, not IF) I will have lost a total of 161 lbs. As of today, I am down 126 lbs and loving it!!
I had to completely redesign my life. I joined a martial arts club. Now both my wife and I along with our oldest son all participate in taekwondo training twice a week. Also, I started an at home cardio program. Usually between 40 - 60 minutes of elliptical training at high intensity 3 - 4 times a week. Along with that activity, I feel that my eating habits are what have contributed the most to my success.
I have almost entirely cut out a lot of the refined carbs, and am eating mostly lean protein (chicken breasts or fish) and a lot of green mixed salads and steamed vegetables.
My attitude towards food has taken a complete 180. It's true that to succeed, you need to eat to live, not live to eat! Treat food as fuel for your body, like the gas you put into your car.
4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss.
Calorie Count has been a treasure chest of information from the forums to the food logs. The community support reaffirms you when you are feeling like giving up. Whenever I make a meal I am ever conscious about what I am putting into it and I know exactly how much I am eating. It is so much easier to stay on track when you know where you stand on how many calories you have consumed. If you have a light lunch, you can make up for it and dinner, or if you have overindulged early in the day, you can see quite easily that you need to rein it in over dinner.
5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?
I haven't seen much in the way of difficulties on my journey. I know a lot of people are going to hate me for that, lol. I can attribute it to shear will power. I have been strict on myself, making sure I stay on track, because my life depended on it. At 351 lbs, I don't think I would have had too many more good years left so it was an easy decision, that cheeseburger meant nothing to me versus my family.
6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success?
I never noticed it until others started saying how much better I was looking. That started happening after the first 30 lbs. Now, I look and feel like a completely different person. I get a rush when I pass those milestones. It started at 50 lbs, then 75 lbs. The big one was 100 lbs!!! Now, when I look at the total amount of weight that I have lost, it amazes me. Shock, would be how I would describe it in one word.
7. How do you prevent relapse?
It's simple. I keep a picture of my kids in my wallet. I am doing it for them, so that they will have their father around. It's also for me too, but I have always had a hard time doing something for myself. My kids are my life, so all I need to do is think about them and the urge to cheat passes. It just isn't worth it to me anymore. I have broken the spell that food has had over me. I have taken back control of my life...for good!
8. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?
I have an insane amount of energy! I can keep going from the time I wake until I go to bed. I have found a level of self confidence and inner peace that I had never felt before. The process changes you, not the results.
9. How long have you maintained your current weight?
I am still losing, so that really doesn't apply to me, yet!
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- Buy a kitchen scale. It makes life so much easier when you are figuring out how many calories you consume!
- Make you a priority. If you don't have the time, make the time. You are the only one who can control what you do, so take charge.
- Every morsel of food you eat, no matter how small or insignificant, must be logged. Even if it's only 5 calories, they all count. If you skip this step, it can sabotage even the best plans.
- Get active! Cardio is great to burning energy but to give your system a boost, mix in some strength training. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so bulk up if you can.
- Surround yourself by a great support system. There will always be times where you feel down about a bad weigh in or tempted by the wrong choices. A spouse, sibling, close friend, anyone who wants you to succeed as much as you do.
My final thoughts: Everyone has heard if I can do it, so can you. It's so cliché. The fact is, it doesn't matter what the guy down the street did. Everyone is different, everybody's metabolism is different. Take the knowledge you get and apply it to you. Make the changes, and don't look back. It will be the best decision of your life. From me to all of you good luck on the future, congratulations on the past and keep working in the present.
If you would like us to feature your success story, you can submit it here. The most insightful stories will be featured on this blog and in the weekly "Success Stories" newsletter.