Participating in this fitness challenge, I was able to lose 30lbs in 3 months. It was more due to desperation, rather than inspiration, which made me want to join the contest and lose the weight. My increased weight was dramatically affecting my health, work, and lifestyle. I was suffering from chronic allergies, high blood pressure needing medication, and bouts of dizziness /headaches which leaves me bed ridden for days. I was passionate for Brazilian jiu‐jitsu but do not have the physical ability to even do the warm ups. In other words, there were too many things being taken away from my life because of this excessive weight and terrible lifestyle.
The 30lbs I lost was a goal I was able to reach largely because of the help, training, education and support of my instructors and team mates at Kodokan YYC. Furthermore, my wife was my rock and was there 24hrs to help and support me.
My weight loss journey is one of many that is heard on a daily basis. I am certain there are other routes and ways to do it, and mine is just one of them. I will share some insights on what I have learned and worked for me.
1) Know your body type (ectomorph, endomorph, mesomorph): each one of us react differently to weight gain and weight loss (e.g. People can eat the same items but will have different weight gain). Knowing your body type can make it easier for you to select the appropriate plan and maximizes the efficiency of your diet and workout. To know your body type, check this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_z7Pg9KAWE
2) Establish an end goal and develop a daily plan and routine: After I found out my body type (endomorph), my end goal was to lose about 2lbs a week (which was achievable per my doctor). My plan was simple and only divided to DIET and EXERCISE specific to endomorphs. Diet wise, I can eat as much as I want, as long as it is green vegetables. No processed sugar or carbs. Clean carbs (e.g. Banana) is limited to the morning and before exercising. Exercise: I did mostly Brazilian jiujitsu and cardio at home (rowing, HIIT training or treadmill). I stuck with the Bruce Lee principle of training “long term consistency beats short term intensity”. I go 70% of my max effort which enables me to work out on a daily basis if needed to. As time goes by, I noticed an increase in my max effort and the 70% limit increases. Most of my breaks are mental breaks but I am never physically sore or worn out.
3) Passion and motivation will kill you: I am sure people have heard of the “New Year Resolution curse,” where people are extremely excited, pumped up, and motivated that they promise that they will lose weight this year and get into better shape. Gyms get an influx of members at the beginning of the year but dwindles as the months go by. This is because people lose motivation as time goes by…when you ask, most would say…”I do not feel motivated to go like I did before”. That is because people are seeking the “feeling of passion” which they had initially to motivate them to go to the gym. Counting on passion and motivation is like relying on the wind to blow and move the sail of your boat which is never dependable. A better plan is to use the oars to move your boat. If the wind blows while you are rowing, it is a bonus, and makes you arrive to your destination faster.
4) Treat your goals like work: If passion is the wind on your sail, consistent work is the oars of your boat which you can rely on to move you closer to your goal. Whether you feel like it or not, you must do what you planned to do. Most of us have some sort of work (school or career). Personally, I do not know many who say “I am so excited and motivated to go to work today”. Majority of people go to work because, it’s a responsibility and they get paid by the work they do, and the results they provide. Always remember that changes occur with what you do, and not what you plan to do.
5) Trust the process and do not lose your way: By being consistent, the work becomes second nature. You start developing a habit or lifestyle. Trying to eat well and exercise regularly becomes routine like bathing, brushing your teeth, and showering. To keep track of my progress and challenges, I kept a daily journal which outlines my daily weight and daily goals. At night, I chart to indicate if I achieved them or not. This was a reminder of the struggles I had faced and how I fared..which leads me to my next and final point.
6) It would suck on a daily basis: Change is simple but not easy. Even though I have developed a habit, everyday was a struggle. The exercise was a struggle and the diet was even harder to manage. I had many days that I do not exercise due to work or just being lazy. Trying to stick to my ideal eating plan was even a bigger challenge. I would say that, most of the time, I was only able to follow about 75% of my diet. I would be cheating on a regular basis by having small bites of chips or eating dirty carbs.
Since I was not able to comply to my planned goals, it felt that every day was a disappointment. But, I accepted that I am human and will fail many days. I still tried my best though on a daily basis and never gave up. In that process of continuous struggle and disappointment, I was able to lose 30lbs.
To sum this all up, I think Bruce Lee said it best on two of his quotes:
1) “A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at”.
2) “Not of failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious to even fail”.