I usually use these “Spotlight” blog posts to highlight client success, but every once in awhile someone comes across my path with a story too great not to share!
My husband Michael knows Chris through professional circles, and knew that Chris had made dramatic life changes to focus on his health. I am always intrigued about what really “works” for people (i.e. for more than a week or a few months), and I love to investigate how “success leaves clues.”
Thanks to Michael’s suggestion, I was able to get Chris’s thoughts on habit change, weight loss, and motivation. Here’s Chris, in his own words!
At 288 pounds I was having trouble walking up the steps at work. I have an 11-year-old daughter that I would like to at least walk down the aisle someday and possibly play with grandkids (no pressure, Em).
On recognizing the scope of the process…
My change had been 53 years in the making. I’ve lost the same 30 pounds over, and over and over again. I had tried shakes, Weight Watchers, and specialty frozen meals. Due to my asthma, I had never tried the workout portion with any success. I had only tried walking.
I started late January 2018 and lost 52 pounds by August 1, 2018. I have maintained that weight loss for 5 months. In 2019 I plan to start working on the next 50 pounds with a goal to lose that within one year (wanna come to the party in January, 2020???). Giving yourself grace over the holidays and practicing maintaining your weight over an extended period of time is an excellent discipline for permanent weight loss.
On the lifestyle changes that mattered most…
Plant-based eating, smaller meat portions (my nutritionist would love it if I became a Vegan), regularly working out, and taking care of my mind. I also gave up soda and a reliance on carbs. I’m still struggling with potato chips and pizza.
A big issue for me was facing my past, my asthma and allergies. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s I was taught to not be physically active. We didn’t have rescue inhalers. Being able to calm down when you did too much was our only “quick fix.” I’m also allergic to over 29 environmental things. As a child, I slept in an oxygen tent until I was five years old. My parents were told I would NEVER go to a regular school. By the way, with the help of a good asthma doc, things are under control now without significant meds – which means I can push myself a little harder during workouts.
On the importance of a “team”…
My health savings account was a godsend. I acted like the money wasn’t mine to use any other way than to get healthy and take care of myself. Interestingly enough, I’ve spent MUCH less time at the doctor.
After my divorce, I went to therapy, got a superb nutritionist/lifestyle coach, and got an amazing trainer. I finally had balance. By the way – my trainer has asthma too – go figure. By the way, I made sure the members of my team shared a similar policy to weight loss AND were some of the best in our area of the country. The HSA helped that to happen.
This mindset took time too. I was always led to believe by many, and had also convinced myself, that taking care of myself was selfish. I quickly learned that there is a HUGE difference between self-care and selfishness. I could care about and for myself and still be an empathetic “nice guy.”
I remember that self-care is essential, that occasionally not eating organic is OK. Eating what I want, within reason, and having fun around food and friends is a part of life and OK. I also know that when I do have fun, I make plans to work a little harder to keep off the weight.
By the way – the fun foods change. For instance, fruit has replaced chocolate for me. I believe allowing yourself a few “cheats” is OK in the short run. My goals is to replace the chips and pizza with something else. I’m in the process of figuring out what those things are now.
Be good to yourself. Believe that, no matter what the tapes playing in your head say, that you are worthy of self-care. That it isn’t selfish to take care of yourself. Some of us givers are really good at making sure everyone around us is OK.
I still believe the adage: “You can’t give away what you don’t have.”
I really can’t live a life of healthy relationships and true love if I don’t find a way to love myself.