Small Habits, Big Victory. How I Lost 126lbs!
In the not too distant past, I was drastically overweight, to the point where it made me extremely unhappy!
My self-esteem was rock bottom, depression and anxiety made it difficult for me to do normal things without abnormal reactions.
I went from being a very outgoing outspoken person to not leaving the house for weeks on end unless I had to go to work or to a family members house.
I even stopped going out with friends because I was the subject of everyone’s jokes a lot of the time, I was an easy target.
None of these issues happened overnight and I didn’t realize it at the time but a big part of it was because I was surrounding myself with the wrong people and because the environment I was exposing myself to made me unhappy I used food to mask how I was feeling.
The worse I felt then the more I ate!
At my biggest, I was just under 21 stone of untrained body mass and at the lowest point psychologically that I have ever been in my life.
The tipping point came when one night I had plucked up the courage to go out with a new group of people, they were acquaintances but seemed like a good bunch so I had nothing to lose right?
So that while we were in a bar I noticed that all of the group were getting attention from women, but not me!
It was at that specific moment I felt a switch flip in my head and I decided to make a change!
I know what you’re thinking… priorities!
But at 18 years old that stuff is important!
I had found my ‘why’!
Now before I go any further I should stress that this is by no means a blueprint for how to lose weight, I made a lot of mistakes in this journey but what it is, is a very good example of how consistent and sustainable adaptations inhabit over a period of time create success…
My goal was obvious to lose weight.
How was I going to measure it?
- The scales were my original choice but this ended up unhealthy but clothes became a better indicator. (15 stone was my original target weight.)
How was I going to achieve it?
• Reduce calories – but at that point in time I didn’t have to knowledge I do now so would have worded it ‘Eat less food’
• What I was doing/Current habit – Eating and drinking everything I wanted; whenever I wanted
• What I was going to do/New habit – Eat 3 big meals a day, 3 snacks and still drink alcohol
• How long for – I didn’t set a timeline on this.
• Outcome – In two weeks I had lost 21lbs and gained untold confidence I carried this on for about 6 weeks before things slowed down
• Current habit – Eat 3 large meals a day, 3 snacks and still drink alcohol.
• New habit – Eat 3 large meals a day and 3 snacks from more sensible food choices and still drink alcohol.
• How long for – Again I didn’t set a timeline but at this point, I realized nothing works forever so would change the habits when they stopped working.
• Outcome – Another 28lbs down and more confidence gained, I was on a roll.
This approach stopped showing results after about 2 months so I became frustrated and decided to make some more changes
• Current habit – Eat 3 large meals a day and 3 snacks from more sensible food choices and still drink alcohol.
• New habit – Eat 3 moderate meals a day and 3 snacks from sensible choices, drink water and still drink alcohol.
• Outcome – This process was a lot slower but worked and it took me another 6 months to lose 30lbs
That’s 79lbs (over 5 ½ stone) so far – and I didn’t feel like I was limiting myself at all.
I have used the term sensible to describe my food choices but have not specified what they are.
The point is that they were sensible to me at the time.
I had been doing the best I can with what I had.
This went on for two years and my last revision looked something like this:
• Current habit – Eat 2 small meals a day from sensible food choices and still drink alcohol.
• New habit – Eat 1 moderate meal a day from sensible food choices and still drink alcohol.
• Outcome – I was still losing weight but at this point, I was just over 11 stone and had lost around 126lbs.
I had gone from originally being a size 44 waist to a size 30.
At this point I had gone too far, the journey that had originally started out as weight loss had become about control, trying to protect myself from my previous experiences through weight loss.
If I wasn’t fat I couldn’t be unhappy!
Not only was my why becoming unhealthy but my methods were becoming unhealthy, I was sacrificing food during the week so I could drink on a weekend with friends without gaining weight.
I was experiencing a new kind of unhappiness; my goal wasn’t making me happy.
The problem, I wasn’t accountable to anyone anymore. I’d started out with the support and accountability of my mum but as time progressed and I became more confident I then stopped listening to her.
I was able to continue this way for about 2 years before realizing how unhappy I was and decided to make changes again following the same model.
This time making myself accountable to a Cognitive Therapist, somebody who could work through my behaviors with me in an objective and healthy way.
The point here is that at no point did I make any drastic changes, there was no ‘from Monday all I’m going to eat is chicken and broccoli’ moment but I made huge progress with the goals I had set myself and even surpassed them and changed a lot more than I anticipated.
During this journey not only did I lose 10 stone, 14 inches off my waist and a lot of self-doubt, I also completed college, changed my career from music industry to the legal industry, made a two new groups of friends, found a girlfriend and set the base for a large part of the man I am proud to be today.
All of this because I fought lots of small battles and won rather than fighting one big battle and losing. I use this model with most things in my life, it’s especially helpful with clients and training.
Goal: 200 reps in the Secret Service Snatch Test
This week – 20x10L/10R snatches with 24kg bell – 1-minute rest between sets.
Next week – 20x11L/11R snatches with 24kg bell – 1-minute rest between sets.
Next week – 20x10L/10R snatches with 24kg bell – 45 seconds rest between sets.
Both options are small but show progress toward the goal of:
a) improved strength endurance
b) greater cardiovascular endurance
Goal: I’m not happy in my job and want to start up my own business.
Week 1 – Research costings for business start up.
Week 2 – Financial plan brainstorms to try and identify the best means of saving or potential investment.
Week 3 – research potential locations for new business.
Goal: To drink 3 liters of water a day.
Week 1 – 500ml a day.
Week 2 – 1litre a day.
Week 3 – 1.5 liters a day.
Week 4 – 2 liters a day.
If you are able to change one small habit a month that’s twelve new habits a year and drastic progress.
There’s never any guarantees that won’t go off track but you stand the best chances of success if you stay accountable to somebody.
The bigger the goal then the longer it will take to achieve, we live in an instant access world but there is no shame in taking the time to be successful.
As Mark Riefkind says ‘Strength Is An Attitude’ and strong people don’t mind taking their time because they know that, small battles really do equal big victories.
Stay #alldaystrong ladies and gents!