Why I Got Started
I was heavy all through my teenage years. People teased me and called me names; it hurt a lot. I was tired of always being the fat kid and being picked last in all the sports I played because I wasn't fit enough. College didn't help any. I gained three stone (42 pounds) in the first year. Something had to change.
I noticed that my cousin Shane was training hard and had lost a lot of weight. I was jealous. At the beginning of my transformation, I used him as my inspiration and asked him loads of questions. We still talk about weight loss every week, and now we even chat about the prospect of bodybuilding, which is my next goal.
I was studying adventure tourism management in college, so I was doing a lot of outdoor sports like rock climbing, kayaking, hill walking, and mountain biking. I could do those things with all of that extra weight, but I wasn't able to excel at them like I wanted to. So with the help of my cousin and my drive to change, I began to transform.
How I Did It
I decided to join Weight Watchers in my hometown of Killarney with the support of my sisters and family. I followed the Weight Watchers program, which gave me great discipline and opened my eyes to how simple it is to implement a healthy lifestyle into a busy college life. Even though I was juggling a part-time job, studies, and a healthy lifestyle, I still managed to get back into the sports I loved.
I cut out all the junk food. Before my decision to change, I ate takeaways, pizzas, chocolate, fizzy drinks, and crisps. You name it, I probably ate it. I started to prepare my own meals from scratch and introduced more fresh fruit and vegetables to my daily intake. Preparing my own meals gave me great control and insight into what I was fueling myself. It led me to discover that I love cooking. I have begun baking healthy muffins and bread from the recipes on Bodybuilding.com.
I was always active in sports, but because of my poor diet and lack of real effort, I could never be my absolute best. So, I started really simply and worked my way up. I started walking with my dad, sister, and our dogs Sam and Odie. Every week, we went a little longer and a little faster. After I built that base, I got out on my mountain bike or road bike for various spins. I always set a target of how long I would cycle and how far. The next time I rode, I would try to better the time and distance.
Once I had lost about 30 pounds, I got a gym membership and started swimming. Every week, I did more lengths. I did a lot of interval cardio on the treadmill and I completed spinning classes to get me in shape.
After that, the weight started flying off. In a short 8 months, I had lost more than 100 pounds. I haven't looked back since.
The only things I regret through this journey were that I never kept a photo journal. I wish I did because I could have looked back for changes in my body. I also regret not finding weights from the beginning. I'm going through Steve Cook's Big Man on Campus trainer and I absolutely love the feeling weightlifting gives me. I have set new goals to transform my body and be more muscular. So keep watching!