Well I’ve been planning on adding a lil “inspiration” section to this website for a while. The plan is to feature ordinary guys like you and me. Working class stiffs with mortgages and families who are making a difference in their own lives and others. I couldn’t think of anyone better to kick this off than my good buddy Jason. He’s done an incredible transformation and he’s a great inspiration. Well take er away bro……
Jason’s Road to Health and Fitness
Let me begin with an introduction. I’m not your typical fitness junkie, athlete, or runner. I’m not being paid to write this either. This is not an endorsement (although I can easily be bought and I’m definitely a much better choice than Jared Foggle).
I am a personal friend of Joe’s and, from time to time, we chat about work, life, and reminisce on what it was like having the biggest boobs in the room!
We often compare notes, and enviously tear down people with the metabolisms of gazelles while secretly hating. Kidding…well not really! I was surprised and excited to find out that he had started this site and I was even more surprised when he asked if I would do a piece on my weight loss journey, to which I happily agreed.
I’ve known Joe for approximately 12 years. I never knew Joe as a fat kid but as a young guy with broad shoulders and a good physique who smoked too many cigarettes. As we progressed through our flight training, I watched Joe chain smoke cigarette after cigarette, while he watched me chain eat Mickey D combo after Mikey D combo. After flight school, our paths would go in different directions. I went to fly the “bush” up north and Joe went and did his own thing. Fitness and health were the furthest things on my mind at this point in my life. Yet, unbeknownst to me, my body was changing. My metabolism wasn’t what it once was. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I played sports as a kid and teen and I never had any weight issues but I was 24 and starting to put on the pounds.
Fast forward to my early 30’s, and I’m married with a mortgage and, like Joe, a Captain at the same airline and, also like Joe, a working stiff. This should’ve been a happy time. We had made it. We were Captains! While I was proud of this, I still wasn’t happy. I was 5’9” and a solid 250 lbs. It was and still is a constant battle. I had given up so many times and just tried about every fad exercise routine that exists. P90x, Tae Bo, Insanity (box still unopened btw), soccer, hockey. These are all great activities for weight loss. But there was only one problem.
When my daughter was born, it was supposed to be the time that I got my ass in shape. If not for me, then for her, right? Nope!
Happy to be a dad! Lets celebrate with a Cigar and scotch on a summer night. Oh there’s cake? Sure, why not? Or Sunday’s favourite There’s an NFL game on. Shall we get some ribs on the smoker?
Did I mention I love food? Pasta, steak, sweets, but “my crack”, my absolute love is for southern BBQ. If I had one last meal, it would definitely be some BBQ ribs and brisket. I’d take it from either side of the Mississippi. Just make it smoky, tender, and good. So it’s safe to say I was only getting bigger and trying different activities with no results. I lost the little motivation I had and stopped exercising and caring altogether.
More Ribs Please!
The Catalyst, The Turning Point, The Final Straw
The date was June 17th, 2014. I had a Dr’s appointment, a specialist to be exact. I had done some blood work a few weeks prior and I was called to follow-up. This would be the first time I met this “Dr. Feelgood”. I walked into her office, she sat me down, and got right to the point. She looked at my file, put it down and said, “I don’t know you from Adam. I really don’t care if you take my advice or not, but if you don’t get your act in gear, lose the weight, and slow down on the drinking, in about five years, you’ll need a liver transplant. Your liver isn’t built for this punishment. “ I just kind of nodded as what she was saying sank in. All this shit was running through my mind.
I’m gonna be a burden on my loved ones. My daughter won’t even be ten years old by then. How will this affect my life? My career? What kind of example am I setting for my daughter? What is involved in a liver transplant. WTF??!! How did I not see this coming? WTF!!!!!!
She was saying some other stuff, but by this time I was just watching her lips move like from a scene in a movie. I had other shit on my mind and just wanted this asshole to shut up and make this go away. She was gathering her things and she was yapping about the Canada Food guide and how Weight Watchers was the closest thing to it…..blah, blah, blahhhhhhhhhhh. Sorry, I forgot one little thing. This was the heaviest I have ever been. I was 275 lbs. I do look like I was having a blast though right?
But, the party was over. I walked back to my car and made a phone call to my wife. After all my swearing and cursing, I told her what was up. She’s heard it a million times before, but this time I meant it. I really do….no seriously. You get the idea. I also told her I’m joining Weight Watchers. When she asked me when, I said as soon as I got home. I didn’t even take off my shoes. I grabbed the computer and signed up.
Basically, what it boiled down to was that I needed to learn HOW to eat.
Sounds ridiculous but I was eating everything in sight. I needed to rethink my idea of food and the role it was playing in my life. I needed to understand that if I wanted a burger, I could have it but that’s all I would be eating for a while. There had to be consequences for that burger. I needed to learn about moderation and better eating habits. So I signed up just for the mobile app portion of Weight Watchers. I didn’t want to do meetings.
I couldn’t sit there and listen to someone tell me how the dressing they made was only 1 point and how delicious their kale chips were.
I already knew starting this thing was going to suck a big one but I needed to do this. My life depended on it.
So there I was in week 1. Learning the system. Coming up with a plan. Eating a lot more fruits and veggies (they’re free meaning no points. Go ahead and eat as much as you like). Sometimes I would hoard my points for an awesome dinner/drinks with friends or just spend them throughout the day. But I always stayed within my budget. I could do this. Eat like a bird during the day, linebacker by night.
By the end of that first week, I had lost 8 lbs. The journey had begun and I was on my way! The second and third week was much of the same and so on. The more I lost, the more motivating it became. I was doing it! I was actually doing it! But then the plateau hit. What the hell is wrong? Why didn’t I lose this week? I’ve been doing the exact same thing. What gives? I plateaued around the 40 lbs mark.
This lasted a few weeks. I had a hunch at what the problem was. I needed to get moving. I needed to get into something that I would stay interested in and would motivate me to keep at it.
It changed my life. Conditioning, stress relief and, most importantly, I get to hit people. I would walk out of the boxing gym feeling awesome and ready to take on the day.
Fuck you mortgage!…..Jab
Fuck you car payment! …..Jab
Fuck you work!…..Jab
Fuck you liver transplant!……uppercut….lights out!!!!
This was my motivation. I needed to reinvent myself. Learning how to throw a punch is cool, but learning how to throw combos is badass!
“There are few things I hate more in life than plateaus. But yet, life is always full of setbacks to remind you not to rest on your laurels.”
For myself, it’s a trial and error thing (tighten up the diet, change the activity). In fact, I’m fighting through one right now. I’ll get through it cause I’m a combo-throwing- healthy-eating-food-tracking motherfucker and I made a promise to myself that I wont go back to the way I was.
I started taking a boxing class every day at 10 am and I ended up falling in love with the sport. Sage advice I had always heard was that if you want to lose weight, join a boxing gym and I couldn’t agree more. I started with classes which were awesome because they would be led by boxing coaches and allowed me to get a feel for the sport. But my one-on-one with a boxing coach is where I got my “real” taste of the sweet science. I was having fun! I blasted through my plateau and the weight was coming off again. But what about weights? Ya, let me get to that. One of the coaches suggested that I incorporate a weight-training regime into my routine. Now I know this is gonna make some of you squirm, but I’m proud to say I have a mancrush on THE ROCK.
Yup, I said it. The ROCK aka Dwayne Johnson is my hero. He is my fitness hero. Anyone who has seen his Instagram or Twitter accounts can attest to his dedication to fitness, motivation, and his awesome results. He is a clean eater, going over 150 days of just pure strict clean eating. On another note, his cheat days are legendary.
Check it out if you haven’t. If he can do it, so can I! At least that’s what I keep telling myself. If you track what you lift, you will see results. WHO KNEW?!!! Is he on “roids”? Don’t know. Was he? Yes. He admitted to that. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that he still had to put in the work and dedication.
Regardless, find what motivates you and run with it. If it ceases to inspire or motivate, find something new.
It’s been 452 days since I began what started as a weight loss journey and has now become a healthier lifestyle. Today was a weigh day for me. 198lbs. (77 lbs lost) Do I face criticisms today? Absolutely. From the “don’t lose anymore weight” people to the “you’re good at this weight” people. Funny thing is, it’s motivating when people notice. Now its become a game of “hey look, a new vein is popping” or my personal favourite ”holy fuck!!! Is that a six pack?”
It took years for me to get off my ass and, make no mistake about it, it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. But, it has also been one of the most rewarding.
Am I done? HELL NO!!! I’m just getting started. Next on my plate is a half marathon. Not too long ago the only marathon I ever participated in was a Soprano’s marathon. After that….who knows.
Stay motivated and remember if you’re not kicking ass and taking names, you’re not doing it right.
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