Why I decided to transform
Three years ago, I was a miserable 33-year-old food addict who weighed 309 pounds and wore a mask of happiness every day. Other than my job, I was completely sedentary. It took every ounce of effort and energy I had to do my job each day. I couldn't even play with my kids! I was the butt of jokes from others and even myself. I tried to pretend I was satisfied with my life, but I knew the truth.
Food controlled my life. Each day, I feasted on 12,000 calories of garbage. I stayed up late watching the infomercials of drastic life changes and wished I could do it, but thought I was too far gone. One morning, I bent over to tie my shoes and blacked out. It was such a frightening experience that I went to see a doctor and get tested. The doctor discovered that I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and prediabetes. I was told that if I did not change I would not live another five years. That was my wake-up moment.
I wanted to be there for my family, walk my two daughters down the aisle one day, and keep my wife from becoming a young widow. To say my family has been a huge encouragement is an understatement. My wife and two daughters have pushed and supported me throughout my journey. They are my motivation for a new life and to not give up!
Right now, my body fat is 4-6 percent. I am now carrying lean muscle instead of fat. I get asked questions about fitness or my workouts all the time now instead of being asked about the best place to get a doughnut! I love it because it gives me a chance to share my story.
My family has bought in too! We live a very active life. Instead of sitting around eating and watching TV, we take hikes, go to the gym, and do other things that keep us moving and active.
How I accomplished my goals
I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym." This is so true! If your diet isn't under control, you will never achieve the goals you desire. The bad news is you will not change your life watching television and gulping down Twinkies while wishing you could be different. However, the good news is that after a couple of weeks of working out, eating right, and seeing the results, you will want to go to the gym and be more active.
I kept my diet plan fairly simple, drank two gallons of water every day, and planned ahead for my meals. When it came to snacks, I stayed away from anything that was really high in sugar. If it has 9-10 grams of sugar, I don't eat it. I love Quest protein bars because they are relatively low in sugar and satisfy my sweet tooth while still being high in protein!
There were plenty of tough days, but my support system—my family and friends—helped me out a lot. I have also found that you need to have that innate hunger to improve every day. Surround yourself with people who know more than you do and have the same kind of mentality as you. I can't tell you how many times my wife has pulled me from the pits of despair when I was injured, ate too much, just had a bad workout, or missed one altogether. Your support system is key to reaching the finish line!
Along the journey, I also got my inspiration from the doubters. I love it when I hear "You can't" or "You won't." This pushes me. Even after I had lost 100 pounds, I had someone tell me that it was no big deal, that I would just gain it all back in six months and be even fatter than before.
I used this negativity to fuel my passion to be the best me I could possibly be! You will find that the negative folks do not hang around long when you prove them wrong time and time again.
What aspect challenged me the most
The food was definitely the toughest part for me. After three years, I have finally made it to a point where I really don't have cravings for stuff anymore.
My future fitness plans
I would love to be able to speak to groups, to challenge them and show them that through hard work and self-discipline you can achieve what you think is impossible! I would also like to get my CPT certification to train others to reach their full potential. Getting a sponsorship at some point would be great, too!
Suggestions for aspiring transformers
Set realistic short-term goals. By setting a goal that is short-term and realistic, you will be motivated more every time you reach that goal.
Plan ahead. I prep all my meals to take to work on Sunday and I know what I will have for supper after work. This helps me avoid making bad choices on snacks and lunch.
Water, water, and more water!
Surround yourself with positive people. Nothing can derail you quicker than negativity. Find people who support your desire to change. Get a workout partner, and definitely find someone who is more advanced and knowledgeable about fitness and nutrition so you can ask questions.
Remember you go to the gym to work, not socialize! When I am at the gym, my headphones are on and I am there to put in work. Keep rest periods between 45-60 seconds.
Don't focus on what the other guy is lifting. Push yourself. Don't worry about the people who are around you.
Don't panic if you get off track. Being too restrictive can be counterproductive. If you mess up and have an extra dessert or a couple slices of pizza, move on to the next day.
Remember, what you do 5 percent of the time is not going to affect what you do 95 percent of the time.
Eat right, work hard and never quit! You can do this.
How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals
When I started my fitness journey, I didn't have a very large knowledge base. I am kind of a nerd and research things to death. Bodybuilding.com had all the information for my diet, supplement, and workout needs. I have learned a lot about diet. I understand now how food works to help with my training rather than just stopping me from being hungry.