As you probably know, I have had this weight loss blog for about 2 years now. During the first year, I had a lot of weeks where I did nothing to try and lose weight. I had a lot of plans and wishes regarding losing weight and getting healthy, but the execution of those plans rarely lasted for more than a week or two.
I issued a challenge to myself (and my wife as well) back in May/June 2011 and lost 15 or 16 lbs in 31 days. However, by the time November came around, I had gained it all back. On November 12, 2011, I worked out with a friend who was a marine. Then on November 15, 2011, I weighed in at 287 lbs.
It was at that moment that I decided to stop making excuses and to finally take control of my health and my life! This was the beginning of my current weight loss journey.
For the record, I weighed 236.4 on November 15, 2012, which gave me a 1 year loss of 50.6 lbs and bringing me to 55.6 lbs down from my highest recorded weight!!!
In looking back over the last year, I have come up with five words which I think perfectly describe my journey so far.
Not only have I become more open and willing to talk about my weight loss efforts with my close friends, but even with people at work and church. I always kept my struggles with weight a private matter. Of course, I can’t hide being 5’6″, 292 lbs (at my heaviest recorded weight); but I never talked about just how much it bothered me and how many times I have failed at weight loss.
I decided to write more often on this blog. I started to talk about my workouts, injuries, struggles, eating, and even some of the temptations that I faced. I felt as though I was beginning to be accountable to people through my website. Sometimes I would actually avoid eating something unhealthy or would push harder in a workout, simply because I knew that I would have to report back to the Fat Guy, Skinny Wallet readers.
In addition to my blog, I started to become more active on my Facebook page. Here I would post pictures of meals, brief updates, helpful articles, motivational pictures, and even screen shots of some of my runs. Next was my Twitter account. I began to share quick updates about my workouts, meals (with photos), asked and answered fitness and dietary questions, and even organized workouts at the Financial Blogger Conference through Twitter.
I’ve also started to post pictures of my meals on Instagram (username: fatguyskinnywallet). I managed to assemble a good list of healthy recipes, great workout ideas, crazy unhealthy recipes (for later ;-)), informative articles about health, and anything else that interests me on Pinterest.
By far, the addition that has had the largest impact on my weight loss journey is YouTube. So far, I have uploaded about 115 videos to my YouTube weight loss video channel; and in them, I have talked so much about my struggles, my victories (especially those which didn’t involve my weight). I have even put up videos of my wife and I cooking, I’ve filmed workouts, showed clips of my running, and even shared helpful information with others. I have met a lot of wonderful people who are trying to take control of their health, and I even found an amazing staff writer in the process!
I have so many people involved in my weight loss journey, and that has really helped to get me through potential discouragements.
I love beating up my body! I could just end it right there, but this discipline is about much more than that. I have done so much research on nutrition, hormonal responses to foods, types of eating protocols (including intermittent fasting), the best eating schedules, food combining, and other things related to my diet.
This hasn’t just happened over the past year, but probably over the last half decade! I would find out something, make the necessary changes, and then “peter out” within a very short period of time. However, this past year was different. I was able to set up a plan and stick with it long enough to see how it worked with my body/schedule/lifestyle.
The same is true with working out. I have come across a lot of workout routines that focus on intensity, rest time (or lack of rest time), timing of exercises, and other variables. I have also discovered many routines that are based on sound research into how the body works, and vary based on the ultimate goals of the individual.
As with my eating, I have been able to show the discipline to apply what I have learned over time. This has led to many changes in my workout routine, based on how my body reacts to certain exercises and also new information that I receive. I plan to go over the details in a series of future articles, but I can say now that my workouts are much more targeted and efficient (and shorter) than they have been in the past.
I think I have found what works well for my body, and I hope that I can continue to exhibit the necessary discipline to carry it through. Now, when I decide that I won’t eat a certain thing for a week or two, or that I will follow a certain routine for the next 60 days, I am confident that I will follow through.
Sometimes it’s just as simple as determining to do something. Other times, I have to make a very detailed plan in order to avoid things that will stop me from executing my plan. I am far from perfect, but my life is much more disciplined than ever before! I’m even waking up at 4:30 each morning to read the bible, pray, and work out…and I am not a morning person!
With my weight loss efforts in the past, I have always hit a wall and become discouraged. This would be from an injury, a lack of progress, or simply falling off the wagon and not being motivated enough to get back on track. I would start off well, losing 15 or 20 lbs and starting to notice a difference. But once anything came up that would throw me off of my game even a hair, I would throw in the towel.
This time has been different. I still had to deal with getting injured a few times (my shoulder is still recovering), my wife being ill and making it hard for us to follow through with our planned meals, getting so busy at work and with my tax preparation and financial counseling business that I couldn’t wake up early enough to work out in the morning, giving in to temptation and failing, putting in tons of hard work and seeing the scale refuse to budge, and a myriad of other things.
However, my response has been completely different this time around. When any of those things have come up, I have been able to fight them. Unfortunately, that fighting response doesn’t happen immediately – the old reactions come up at times – but during this last year, I was always able to bounce back and fight through them.
This determination was apparent to me after watching some of my YouTube videos over. I was able to see how I reacted to adversity, and I realized how different those reactions were as compared to all of my prior weight loss efforts.
I am determined to take control of my health, and that means that I have to roll with whatever comes along on this journey. I think the biggest thing that has helped fuel this determination has been simply having a back up plan. For instance, my wife makes batches of soup and chili, so that when she isn’t feeling well, we don’t have to run out and get fast food (because we don’t keep those quick, processed foods in the house)…we just thaw out some soup!
In the past, I would have buckled under the weight of these setbacks; now I just see them as bumps in the road, and things that will make victory that much sweeter!
I would be lying if I told you that disappointment hasn’t played a huge part in my weight loss journey over the last year. There were three main areas that caused the most disappointment regarding my journey…
I think the biggest reason for any disappointment in my journey comes from my own wasted opportunities. When I have a great week or two with both eating and working out, it frustrates me to throw most of those efforts away on a weekend of poor eating. I have had times where I have built up a lot of momentum along my journey, and then allow a momentary lack of discipline put things in reverse!
I am pretty much addicted to working out. I love coming up with workout routines, challenging my body with new movements, tweaking my workouts to increase the level of intensity and overall effectiveness, and I even love researching, learning about, and talking about the subject! I put so much time and energy in my workouts, and I know that I give my all every time. If losing weight were based solely on working out, I’d probably be at my goal already!
However, being consistent with eating is much more difficult for me. It’s not that I think about bad food often, or I don’t like eating healthy, it’s just that if I don’t have a plan for each meal during the day or if my plan gets thrown off, I will immediately return to my old eating habits. Since we no longer have unhealthy items in our kitchen, that usually means eating out. The disappointment usually comes the next day when I realize that I could have made a much better decision, and I set my progress back a few days or more.
This hasn’t happened too much in the last two months, but it was a pretty common occurrence before then. There were so many times where I would weigh myself and know that the number on the scale was not as low as it would have been if I had exercised discipline throughout the week.
Dealing With Injuries
I suffered a number of injuries during the past year. I hurt both hips, a knee, my ankle, back, and wrist. None of those injuries lasted for more than two weeks or so, and most of the time I was able to switch up my workout so that I could exercise while trying to heal.
Unfortunately, the cumulative effect of all those small injuries was probably about 2 months of altered workouts. I was definitely disappointed by these setbacks, but they were nothing compared to my shoulder injury. I hurt my shoulders back in the early summer and I’m still dealing with the impact. I went from doing 33 push ups (a lot for me) in a row and 150 per workout, down to 0 until 2 weeks ago (I’m at about 12 now)! I wasn’t able to do any upper body strength training, and I had to put my interval training on hold.
This was a huge disappointment, because many of the exercises in my routine involve the shoulder. At first, I was tempted to use it as an excuse to stop working out; but there was no way that I would let this opportunity to finally get healthy slip away and simply add 2011 to the growing list of failed weight loss attempts!
I had no choice but to focus more on my eating and I started to get serious with my running. This lead to another disappointment – the fact that I waited about 8 months before I started running. Now, I would run/walk for less than a mile as a warm up and cool down from my real workout; but I regret not using running as an actual exercise until my injured shoulder forced me to. Don’t get me wrong…I still hate running, it’s just that it provides another option for me when I’m sore or even injured.
Not Enough Physical Progress
This is probably the area of biggest disappointment for me. Let me be clear about this, I am not disappointed with “only” losing 50 lbs. Anyone who has done this or even gotten close to it should be very proud of those results – I know how hard it is to do, having failed so many times! However, I am disappointed in myself because I know that I could have made a lot more progress.
Honestly, I don’t know how much weight I could have or should have lost (since everyone is different), but I knew that it would be slower than many because I simply made lifestyle changes, rather than doing a fad diet or exercise program. My ultimate goal is to be healthy, and losing weight will simply be a result of that. I know that with my love of working out and how heavy I am, that I should be able to lose more than 1 pound a week. So, for that reason, I am very disappointed with only losing 50 lbs.
As I said above, the weight wasn’t the primary reason for working so hard over this past year. I wanted to become healthier and seeing my body change was a big part of that. So since I wasn’t happy with the amount of weight that I lost, I was looking forward to seeing pictures, so that I could get an outside look at the progress that I had made.
Unfortunately, when I looked at pictures taken at my heaviest and put them side-by-side with pictures taken exactly one year after I started this journey, I didn’t see much of a difference.
And here is a video with more pictures…
It was very disappointing to have spent so much time and energy – making tons of sacrifices – over the past year and to pretty much look the same. I think it took two full days and talks with my wife and a couple of close friends to bring me out of the funk that I was in after seeing the pictures!
Now the disappointed about my lack of progress is motivating me to take care of business over the next year. I am planning to do everything necessary to undergo a massive transformation in my body by this time next year!
I have learned so much over the last year. As I said above, I have learned a lot about fitness, nutrition, and overall health. However, I have learned a lot more about myself! No, I’m not going to get all mushy and sentimental here, but I did surprise myself with a couple of things this year.
My Level of Discipline/Determination
As I mentioned above, I didn’t realize how much discipline and determination it would take in order to get to this point. I knew that it would take a long time, but I always thought of it as more of a daily battle (which is definitely a huge part of it) – just eat well and work out each day, and the weight will come off. However, I never really thought about the cumulative impact of being on a weight loss journey and having to deal with these struggles multiple times a day for weeks and months without a rest period!
If someone would have told me how hard it would be to continue on this journey day in and day out, I wouldn’t have believed them. What I discovered is that I was a lot more determined, disciplined, and motivated than I realized. Because I have failed so many times in the past, it was encouraging to see how much I have changed in this area.
When I first started out I assumed that I would have 2 or 3 people really behind me on this journey. I had no idea how many people would be behind me though each step. I have so much support in my church, my friends, the Fat Guy, Skinny Wallet readers, my YouTube subscribers, and all of the people connected with me on social media.
I have had so many people come up to me to give me encouragement over this past year. I’ve had neighbors who I’ve never met stop me outside and tell me how much I inspire them and how they are motivated by seeing me run and work out. It’s crazy because I had no idea that anyone was even watching me.
I have had people come up to me in church and tell me that they are proud of me or even ask for advice about certain things! Again…no clue that they were even aware of what I am doing. It is amazing to have so much unexpected support.
I also discovered just how much of a mental battle losing weight would be. I figured that I would just have to burn more calories than I eat each day, and then the weight would just drop off. I didn’t realize just how much of this battle would be won or lost in the mind.
For instance, my long workout sessions typically burn over 1,000 calories. Since I usually eat in a calorie deficit of at least 500 below my BMR, I would normally burn 1,500 more calories than I took in on these days. However, my mind will usually tell me that I “earned” a high calorie meal because of my intense workout. I will conclude that since any level of deficit is good, I can have a 1,000 calorie meal and be happy with burning 500 extra.
I didn’t realize that my mind would constantly be bombarded with that type of thinking. I have to constantly fight the urge to justify giving in to the various temptations to either not workout (or to not give 100% in a workout) or to eat something that won’t help me on this journey.
Losing weight is so much more than just going through the physical mechanics. It would be extremely easy to lose weight if you only had to worry about counting calories; but since we have to worry about being addicted to certain foods, associating eating with many events, emotional eating, and the laziness that comes with an abundance of technology, the task becomes difficult.
We have to change our mind about and our relationship with food in order to become healthy. I jumped into this journey knowing the mechanics of weight loss, but I wasn’t prepared for the mental battles. I think that was the biggest discovery of all. You have to continually check your motives and desires to make sure you are making the best possible decisions in light of your goals.
I want to thank everyone who has supported me so far on this journey. I know that I couldn’t have done it without the prayers, encouragement, suggestions, motivation, and accountability! God willing, I will be able to write to you a year from now about how the 2nd year of this journey was 100 times more productive than the first year.
© 2012 – 2016, Khaleef “Fat Guy” Crumbley. All rights reserved.