I recently found out my friend, Liam, lost over 60 pounds and started running! He said he found the Couch to 5K program on my blog and now is going to run a 5K!
I was so impressed and inspired I had to interview him and get his weight loss story. Here it is…
Pounds lost – 63
How long it took – Feb 4th 2009 – Dec 20th 2009
Occupation – Video Production / Software Engineer
Location – Irvine, CA
What was the motivating factor that got you started on your weight loss journey? Was it one thing or a series of events?
It was a series of events… but… It’s always “that last thing” that got me actually on the course to losing that 63lbs.
1) My grandson (6 years old) who I don’t see very often (lives in England). When I saw him in March of 08 he asked me in all seriousness “Grandpa… why are you so fat?”. This opened my eyes to something that I had been ignoring…. And that was the impact that my health and fitness has on my own grandchildren. By the way I answered his very straight question with a straight answer “Because I eat too much”. I saw him in December of 08 – within a short while of him arriving at our house he said to me “Grandpa… you’re still eating too much aren’t you”. Arghh… the truthfulness of children!
2) In February of 09 I was attending a “personal development” seminar. It was a three month course (approx 1 night a week) and in that course we were asked to take on causing a “breakthrough” in an area of life that was important to us. My weight was an area of my life that I had never had any success in managing (ever since High School it was going in one direction only) so if I created a result with this I could definitely say that would be a “breakthrough”. Over the years I had accumulated a lot of evidence that I could not truly impact this. I had tried various diets / fitness programs / personal trainers without really ever getting any long-term results. In the course we were specifically prompted to consider how we mostly go about trying to fix and change problems we have by trying more of what we already know what to do. In this area I had mostly “given up”. I was nearing 300 lbs and I was mostly ignoring my weight and the impact on me and my health. I am clear that I didn’t want all that extra weight… I just did not see how I could have any impact on it. During the course I suspended my disbelief and chose to take this area of my life on as something to work on during this seminar. The seminar focused on looking at the “unknown” for the solution.. more about this later. During those 3 months I lost my first 27 lbs. That was a breakthrough!
What do you think was the one most important change you made? How did it help? Can you keep this up for life?
The most important change is that I became “Present” to the food choices that I make that impact my weight. I pretty much used to just eat whatever the heck I wanted to without any regard for whether I was hungry. I am clear being “present” is what enables me to make responsible food choices… and there lies true power. On Feb 4th 2009 I chose to do something that I had never considered doing before… that was to say to myself “I am responsible for my own body”. That’s something I can maintain for the rest of my life.
How did you change your eating habits?
I joined Weight Watchers. This program provided me with a structure to track and manage what I was eating. I shared my progress with my friends and family and others at weight watchers. I posted progress on Facebook. I tracked my progress week-by-week. It was not a lightning fast result… but it was a steady drop in weight week after week. I found myself really enjoying the “science” of managing what I was eating. I love the fact that restaurants (most of them) now carry nutritional guides.
How did you change your exercise habits?
Up until very recently (last couple of weeks) I had not altered my exercise habits at all (I basically did nothing). I had always said to friends/family who were tracking my weight loss progress that I would be taking on exercise eventually – however it was pretty spectacular to me that I had lost all this weight without doing any of that. However we all know that health is about “eating right + exercise”. So – I’ve finally added that part of the equation. I started doing some brisk walking… and found that my “60lbs” lighter body actually likes the exercise. I am now following the “Couch 2 5K” program to support me in running my first 5K race. I used to be a cross-country runner when I was growing up in England. In just a few weeks of doing the c25k training I am now experiencing “my old self”… I have re-discovered the young athlete I used to be!
How do you plan to maintain these healthy habits?
Well I can no longer pretend that I don’t have the power to manage my own weight. It’s sort of like riding a bike. That’s not something you learn by reading about it in a book. You have to do it so you really “get it”. There’s a moment you achieve balance.. where the moment before that you didn’t have balance… and the moment after you get balance and the world is no longer the same again. That’s how I feel about the power I now have over my weight. In other words… I am simply present to my own power in this area. I am not the same person I was before I started this in February 2009. Life has forever altered. 6. Do you have any advice or suggestions for someone who wants to lose weight?
Listen to all the reasons you give yourself about not being able to lose weight. Mostly those reasons are the excuses we give ourselves to avoid being responsible for our eating. My suggestion to someone who wants to lose weight is simply to realize that you have the power in you to lick this problem. Just get that “You can do it”. How you do it is up to you. I found that weight watchers was a program that helped me in seeing how things worked – sort of like a scientific method to apply to what I was eating. That could be what you take on… but more than that is simply to take on something that you maybe have ever really done in the past… and that is… choosing to be responsible.
For the past 8 years or so I have had Sleep Apnea which required I use a CPAP machine at night to make sure I continue to breath correctly while I sleep. I was told this was caused by my weight and that losing weight would impact and maybe even cure it. That has happened. I no longer need to use the CPAP machine.
Now Liam’s up for his next big challenge…he will be running the Huntington Beach 5K this weekend! Please wish him luck!!
Thank you for sharing your story and good luck Liam