Why I decided to transform
In November of 2013, I reached my heaviest weight of 297 pounds. At 6 feet tall, I managed to carry the weight better than some people, but my joints, back, and bloodwork had a different story to tell. At the age of 29, I was already on medicine for high cholesterol and also taking Propranolol, a heart medication for my abnormally rapid heart rate.
It became a seriously scary situation, having seen my 45-year-old father pass away from a massive heart attack. He was also overweight, and for the first time in my life I was nearly the same weight he was when he passed away. I realized that I didn't want my family to suffer the same fate of losing me.
Due to my weight and family history, I had to see a cardiologist on a regular basis. In 2011, after testing positive for a possible blockage during a stress test, I was forced to undergo an angiogram, a procedure in which a very small catheter is inserted into a vein through your groin and worked all the way into your heart. The procedure is probably one of the scariest things I had ever gone through. The good news was that the stress test was wrong, and there was no blockage in my heart.
The angiogram was my wake-up call. I had finally realized that eating carelessly and being inactive were very comfortable for me. In order for me to change—and more importantly, make a lasting change—I had to force myself to become uncomfortable. As I heard it put once, "Get comfortable being uncomfortable."
How I accomplished my goals
When it came time to take action, I began my exhaustive research on weight loss methods, the psychology of weight loss, and positive-thinking philosophies. I began to discover the ever-growing community of YouTubers who used video journaling—or "vlogs"—as a way to document their weight loss and fitness journeys. These were average people going through the same journey as I was who provided a wealth of information through their experiences.
That's how I learned about BodySpace. I learned to start reading and researching products on Bodybuilding.com and reading other user reviews of products. Once I felt ready, I made a simple workout split and began my journey.
I relied heavily on cardio in the beginning of my journey. The elliptical and stationary bikes were both nice because they were easier on my joints and less jarring to my body. I gradually began to jog and then transition into weight lifting. I cut my calories to around 1,800 per day, which allowed me to lose around 2lbs per week. Soon I lost 40 pounds. It was around this time that I began incorporating intermittent fasting as well.
What aspect challenged me the most
Intermittent fasting was definitely challenging at first, although I was encouraged when I found out Hugh Jackman, one of my personal heroes, used this particular eating habit while training for the role of Wolverine. Sticking to any routine—whether it is weight lifting, cardio, or strict eating—is challenging at first.
I think it's important to remember why you are making this intense effort. Never forget your goal; never go to sleep at night without visualizing your success in your mind.
My future fitness plans
I soon found myself becoming comfortable with my weight-loss progress. I thought I'd revert back to my old eating and sedentary habits, so I sought out a new challenge that would push me to my limits. I decided to set the ambitious goal of competing in the NPC Novice Men's Physique Contest in 2015.
Now I feel that I have recaptured my initial excitement for fitness, and am hungrier than ever to chase down my dreams. I even started my own vlog as a way to inspire others, the way so many YouTubers inspired me.
Suggestions for aspiring transformers
Being overweight and obese for the majority of my life taught me many life lessons. I learned that people can be very inconsiderate and rude to overweight individuals, even though their intentions are sometimes not meant to be hurtful.
Some people think that relentlessly teasing overweight people will empower them to do something about it. Unfortunately, the exact opposite is true. When an obese person feels bad about their weight, they usually seek comfort in food, as I often did. Friends and family might have the best intentions, but their comments and criticism are both hurtful and counterproductive.
My goal is to inspire at least one other person to make a change and turn their life around. They have the power to change their lives. By making positive choices and healthy lifestyle changes, they can be around for many years to come, spending precious time with their loved ones.
How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals
When I first started this journey, I knew nothing of supplements or workout methods. Bodybuilding.com allowed me to research products and supplements before I purchased them. It also allowed me to begin to feel like I was part of a community. My BodySpace profile became a source of pride.
I enjoyed being able to record my weight loss or strength gains. I also have to admit that there was probably not a single day that I did not check the Motivation tab of Bodybuilding.com. I loved reading the stories of people who chased down their dreams and made them happen. Not through some magic pill, but through hard work and determination. In the back of my mind, I always dreamed that one day someone might be reading my story on here.