Change your habits, change your life

I have been getting back in shape again now for two months.

Hold on! Wait a second, you might be thinking aren’t you the gym owner, personal trainer, ultra distance triathlon guy? Yup. I’m also nearly 46 years old, have a three-year-old son, work 80-plus hours a week (mostly at a desk) and live on fat and sugar if I get a chance.

I took last year off from training seriously, and that did contribute to my fat gain, but if I am honest it has been gaining on me for about five years. Just a little each year, but after five years, it was a lot!

I was still fit, still able to race, still able to cover my shame in the right clothing, but the fact remained; I was losing the battle again.

At Christmas I tipped the scales at nearly 220 lbs. (My ideal weight is 185 lbs.) I have about eight pairs of pants in my closet, and a dozen or more shirts that I simply cannot wear any more.

I knew I was unhappy about it, and I talked about it a lot, did a few things here and there, brought things in a little, then let them out again.

Then work would get crazy, I would forget to bring food with me to the office, and before I knew it, it was another fast food lunch out.

Even though I made statistically good choices, they were bad choices. Stressed every day by deadlines, events, managing a business, working too much, sleeping too little and starting to rely on coffee to get me through the day and I was headed in the wrong direction.

Christmas Day I woke up and knew I was getting sick. I took some herbal remedies and held it off for a day to put on a brave face for my family, but by the afternoon of Boxing Day, I knew I was really sick. Two weeks with full blown Influenza.

I didn’t eat for 10 days and could hardly move. As I started to slowly recover, I figured this was the time to get serious about eating well and dropping some weight on purpose, since I had a head start by dropping 14 lbs from being sick.

Some of that weight came back once I started eating food again, but the decision was made. A meal plan was created and an accountability partner selected, with an agreement in place and consequences for failure.

Since the start of January to now, I am down to 201 lbs.

Still a ways to go, but remember, progress, not perfection. I am dropping around a pound every 10 days. Yes, I could drop faster, but I am also training for an Ironman, and the Ultraman World Championships again, so I do not want to enact drastic fat loss at the risk of muscle and power. I am dropping weight the way I recommend my clients do, safely, effectively and long-term.

I’m here to tell you that it’s hard to deal with sensible fat loss. I see it my clients all the time, we all want FAST results! I do too, but I remember that in the late 90s when I was really fat and sick, I followed this protocol of steady and smart, and the weight stayed off for over 12 years. Then it took five to creep back on again.

Crash diets will see a fast weight loss, but then a quick rebound and therein lies the difference. I am in this for the long haul, not the quick fix.

Still, while 1 lb every seven to 10 days doesn’t seem all that spectacular, by June I will be at my ideal weight of 185 lbs and on the way will have retrained my eating habits, my cooking habits, my work habits, etc, and that is more powerful than anything! More than anything, our habits make us fat. Change your habits, change your life.

Plus, while I am eating so well, I am reaping the rewards through better workouts, more energy, increased muscle tone and better sleep.

Instead of forcing my body to drop weight, I am gently working with it to readjust back to normal. As long as I continue to focus on progress, and let go of perfection, I will reach my goal in no time at all, and be right back where I look and feel amazing!

I recommend you do the same thing.

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.

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