My Weight Loss Journey: Mind Over Matter
If you read my first weight loss journey blog or follow me on Twitter, you will probably notice that my weight loss routine is a little unconventional. You’ll often hear somebody talk about the diet program they are using, the gym membership they joined, the workout class they are apart of, the personal trainer and dietitians who are helping them, or some other type of program aimed at keeping you on track. I’ve certainly considered doing all of these at some point in my adult life. It wasn’t too long ago that I was seriously considering putting myself on some kind of program in order to keep myself on track. However, a few things have changed in my life over the past several months that have made me rethink my strategy.
The past two years have been nothing short of interesting. My former company, a major tv network that I had been with for 10 years went through a major restructuring. As a result, I was offered a buyout package that gave me the opportunity to leave the company and get paid for 9 months. After talking it over with my wife and thinking about how I felt about my job, the stress, and the sedentary lifestyle that comes with it, I decided it was time to take a leap of faith and end that era of my life. From July 2016 to now, my life has been full of self discovery and change. I’ve worked on exercise and diet change, i’ve been in and out of freelance gigs, and have spent an enormous amount of time on job boards. Through it all, I managed to land a contract job through another big media company in my area, but I also found that I was extremely unhappy. The company culture was the complete opposite of my values, I found myself reverting back to a sedentary lifestyle, an isolating job, and even went back to some bad eating and fitness habits I had at my previous full time job. Life certainly wasn’t all bad last year. My wife and I took two amazing vacations, built our first home, and celebrated our first anniversary. We have been building a nice life together, but as an individual, I just wasn’t where I wanted to be spiritually. Luckily for me, once December rolled around, things started to change for the better.
Leading up to my departure from my contract job, I didn’t know that the company I was working for was about to go through yet another merger. Anybody who works in my field these days will tell you it can be pretty brutal. I didn’t know much about what was going on around the office since I worked late hours and barely talked to anybody. This is why it was so surprising when they let me out of my contract early. Especially a few weeks before Christmas and right before my wife and I were supposed to close on house we had been building for months. Thankfully it all worked out for the best since we were able to close on the house and I picked up more freelance work a day after I left out of my contract. Although I was very upset that all of this had happened to me, I have to admit that it came at a great time. It gave me a chance to focus on my new house and the blog you are reading right now. The past few months have given me a lot of time to focus on my goals and take care of myself. But before I did that, a few more things needed to happen in order to get me truly motivated and in the right mindset.
About 24 hours after I was laid off, I logged onto Facebook and noticed a post from an old colleague of mine that talked about his recovery from a stroke he recently had. Considering the fact that this guy is only a few years older than me, it really struck a chord. Not only did it put my career stuff into perspective, it also made me think a little harder about how I was taking care of myself. Although it didn’t cause me to make immediate changes, it did motivate me to go back to my doctor for a yearly checkup, something I had been putting off for quite a few months. A few weeks after I went to my appointment, I logged into the MyChart app and noticed that the result of my physical were in. Some results were pretty good, but the fact that my cholesterol levels were high definitely caught my attention. Especially since I came to learn, thanks to google, that high LDL levels can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other cardiac issues. Knowing what a history of heart issues my family has, plus the fact that I will be turning 40 in 2019, I knew I needed to start taking my health habits a little more seriously. Although I am still pretty young, I took this plus my old colleague’s issues as a sign that it was time to really buckle down and get serious.
More than just a New Years Resolution
Due to the timing of everything, I had to convince myself that what I was doing meant more than just throwing out a New Years Resolution that I would act on for a few weeks and then forget about. For the first few weeks of the changes, I wasn’t sure of I was serious or not. I had cut back on eating the cheesy egg sandwiches I love, replaced that with oatmeal, and really cut back on eating out at my favorite restaurants. Not only that, but I found myself taking advantage of some very nice weather days we happened to have over the course of the winter. Once I got into February I began to notice that I was eager to take walks around my neighborhood, even on some colder days. I also started running more and more which is totally unlike me. If anything, I think i’ve become more mentally locked in to my goals as I’ve gone through these changes. Basically, by the time I had lost 20 pounds I looked in the mirror and said to myself, “Yes! I am actually doing it!” It was confirmation that I had proved to myself that not only could I do it, but I could get into the right frame of mind to keep it up.
One of the big news stories on Twitter yesterday was the announcement that actor/director Kevin Smith, a man who is only 10 years older than me, just had a massive heart attack. As a fan of his work and the fact that he is one of those people I typically view as being fairly young, this news really struck a chord with me. I certainly can’t claim to know what his eating and exercising habits are, but this news did serve as a reminder as to why I decided to make all of these changes this year. Personally, I want to defy the odds of my family history. I don’t want to be yet another guy in my family lineage who has a heart attack while their young. I don’t want to go through the same life changing experiences they went through. I want to wake up every morning and feel just as good as I do today when I am 60-70 years old. I didn’t need much motivation anyway, but I will admit that I was out the door and doing my walk/run within a half hour or so of hearing about it. Just writing this blog today makes me eager to get out there and run, but most of all, I just want to maintain the same quality of life I have today. I am all for signing up for any program that people may think will help them reach their goals. If I can find time in my life for it, I may eventually try a personal trainer or dietician just to see if I can do better. Until then, I have all of the motivation I need to keep this health kick going strong. Speaking of my health, I think this would be a good time for me to finish this blog and head out for my daily run!