The first 16 years of my life are best described as a dirty bulk. I was encouraged to eat healthy foods, but I couldn't be kept away from sugary cereals and Pop-Tarts. My parents used to hide junk food around the house to keep it out of my hands.
I usually found it when they were out of the house and ate as much as I could in anticipation of the next dry spell. Eventually I grew to be a plump, inactive, unhealthy boy. Everything about my body made me feel ashamed. I never took my shirt off at a beach. I changed in the bathroom while all the other guys changed in the locker room.
I practically ran away when I saw someone holding a camera. I typically found myself short of breath after walking up a flight of stairs. Occasionally I saw my reflection in the mirror and thought, "Oh my God, how did I get that fat?"
There's a lot more to being overweight as a child than being heavier than other kids. Aside from all the hazing and embarrassment, I always felt isolated and unwanted. I got an earful of fat jokes every day from basically everyone I knew.
Occasionally I would try to lose weight with a fad diet or something short term, but I always reverted to the old me before I made any progress, which only deepened the lack of self respect I had developed. I think my breaking point came when someone's father cracked a fat joke at my expense.
Click Image To Enlarge. My Breaking Point Came When Someone's Father Cracked A Fat Joke At My Expense.
Normally a friend would make the fat joke and everyone would chuckle, but this time it was a complete stranger. I can't tell you how upsetting it is to feel that trivial. I had only met this grown man five minutes ago and already I was his own personal resource for witty jokes.
I don't think I ever looked at my body the same way after I realized the lack of respect it earned me. I started to see it as an obstacle, and that was the foundation for my desire to change.
How I Did It
I tried to lose weight several times before I got results. I tried drinking weight loss products and taking weight loss pills, but saw no significant results. I tried playing football, which was a step in the right direction, but it didn't change my nutrition.
Although I was building muscle, I wasn't losing any fat. Eventually I left football and got interested in weight lifting. I slowly learned proper nutrition from great sites like this one and regularly went to the gym to lift and do cardio.
Everything in my life came together when I immersed myself in nutrition and fitness. I got better grades, made better friends, and developed a strong sense of discipline and self respect. My body has changed a lot in the past four years, but the deepest change I've gone through has been in my daily habits.
Click Image To Enlarge. Everything In My Life Came Together When I Immersed Myself In Nutrition And Fitness.
I stopped eating junk foods and dug into whole foods like oatmeal, egg whites, chicken, fish, potatoes and vegetables. I learned how to cook and kept my diet interesting by mixing and matching clean foods to see what I liked. In the end, I believe the key to my success was developing a disciplined approach to weight loss that focused on strong nutrition and consistent hard work in the gym.
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The sad fact is few people want you to succeed. Your success in the gym is just another reason for somebody else to question their failures. Throughout my 4-year transformation, I hit a lot of obstacles simply because I surrounded myself with unsupportive people.
I've been told that my desire to change myself is my way of overcompensating for various other shortcomings. I've heard numerous times that my interest in nutrition is an unhealthy obsession. I'm used to hearing at least three annoying comments when I order food in restaurants because 'dudes don't eat salad.'
I don't even want to talk about the cr@p I get for eating protein powder. I don't think anything can be more helpful in the long run than someone who motivates you when you feel like you can't keep going.
Click Image To Enlarge. Your Success In The Gym Is Just Another Reason For Somebody Else To Question Their Failures.
On the other end of the spectrum, nothing can hurt you more than someone who trivializes your attempt at self improvement. If I could give just one suggestion, it would be to surround yourself with people who won't persecute you for eating nutritious foods.
Find friends who won't be threatened by your success and might even give you support when things get tough. That, in my honest opinion, is one of the keys to success in fitness.
Keep up the good work. You're doing the right thing. I guess I'm lucky to be in the military because I'm surrounded by people who are supportive of healthy habits. Almost everyone I know consumes protein powder.
Always remember that there are millions of other people like you who are trying to live healthy lives. Congratulations on your progress!