Ninja Turtle Torso…….

Health is a thick topic, more so is losing weight.
I often feel like we focus so much on losing weight that we don’t remember to be healthy.
My friend, Robert O, shares his journey of weight loss and being healthy with us on the blog this week.

My journey started out in December 2013.
I had gone for a medical check-up and realized I was 210lbs at 5ft10. I was shocked. I had gone through a rough patch of my life where I was not watchful of my diet and very infrequent at the gym but the reality never set in thatI was that much bigger.
At that very moment, I decided to make a change.
My reasoning was simple, if I was over 200 pounds in my early 20s; what would happen later on in life when things got even more busy and responsibilities piled on?
The thought instilled fear in me. I was always off and on with the gym previously and never really put much thought into what I ate. I transitioned into eating healthier smaller portions, cutting out junk food, drinking primarily water and thinking about my meals in advanced. With that approach and working out 3 times a week (I did a men’s health HIIT workout called Spartacus similar to the popular p90x and insanity but less tasking and incorporating a little bit of weights), I was able to achieve results faster than I had ever achieved.
In 5 months I went from 210lbs to about 170lbs.
It was not easy and this summary might make it look like it was a 1 plus 1 equals 2 type deal but in all honesty it took quite a bit of effort. The major thing that helped with fighting my emotional eating and constant want to skip working out was the fact that i wanted it and that consistency paid off. I fell off the horse multiple times but I always picked myself up and got back on it
There are two major takeaways I have gotten  from my journey thus far, the first being the importance of diet and nutrition and the other being the need to find intrinsic motivation.
There was a certain point in my initial weight loss where I plateaued at 170lbs and I really wanted to go lower to make sure I cut out the last bit of stubborn fat.
The approach I had been using, was successful for 5 months but at that sticking point I decided to step it up to the next level. I found some program online that was a hybrid of weight training and intense cardio consisting of two sessions morning and evening on workout days. After a week of the program, I was miserable. I was at a point where I felt-“if this was the amount of effort I needed to get to my goal then maybe this fit fam life was not for me”. 
I didnt quite throw the towel in though, I did another round of research and discovered MyFitnessPal and different resources on how to count calories and decide on macro nutrient ratios. After a few weeks of trial and error, I broke past my plateau (reaching the low 160s) with the same workout regime but smarter food choices (things like eating leaner meats, opting for lower calorie more volume food sources and dropping my consumption of healthy snacks that I felt I could have incredible amounts of). I found that weight loss was a factor of the calories consumed and the calories expended. Once that clicked and I got a handle of my nutrition and discipline, it became easy to manipulate my body composition. Counting calories however, is not for everyone, but I always advise that you try it out for about a month to get an in depth understanding of your meals and apply that knowledge to everyday life afterwards. You would be surprised what actual serving sizes for some of our favourite foods are supposed to be!
Motivation is an integral part of any journey.
It is said you have to find a WHY big enough to carry you through.
Before you begin, you have to find a reason that comes from within that will help you weather through the storms.
Weight loss has a lot to do with changing habits, cultivating a healthy relationship with food and a good amount of discipline. It is very easy to get derailed and stray off one’s path if the reason you are doing it doesn’t push you daily. I have always been on and off with the healthy lifestyle. Many times my reasons ranged from getting girls, having that summer body to take pictures and other superficial “on the surface” reasons but what happens when you get the summer body? or go for that vacation? fit in that dress for that event? or find out that relationships go deeper than having a great body? What pushes you to go to the gym that week or not to have that second serving?
You have to find a reason deeper than the surface to maintain the lifestyle.
Another thing is to also set realistic goals and keep updating as you reach them. Chasing a goal is very motivating and if channeled properly, the process can get you to reach places you can only imagine. What I discovered is that being stagnant or doing the same thing over and over gets old really quick. Fast forward close to 2 years after my initial turnaround and I have gone from maintaining my low weight to slowly building my body to a healthy 190lbs. My current goal for the next few months will be to get to 195lbs by the end of the year and proceed to drop by down to about 170lbs maintaining the muscle i built while shedding fat.
It is not about the destination but the journey and this is for life for me and I choose to have fun along the way. Here’s to being a 60 year old that looks better than most 20 year olds of my time.
Thanks so much Robert for sharing your journey with us!
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