Before and After: Healthy Eating and Running My Ass Off to Lose 78 Pounds.

The title says it all. Many folks I’ve talked to about my weight loss journey that began in October of 2017 asked if I had a before and after photo of my progress. To be honest, I rarely took full figure shots of myself back then and didn’t think I had a “before” photo of myself. Turns out, I have one from February 2017.

So, here it is. Looking at myself from then brings up many emotions, the strongest of which is a feeling of heavy anxiety. I never want to weight 256 pounds again. I’m healthy, I’m a runner, and I’m much happier.


Update - 5.13.18:

Many people have been asking me what I did to achieve this. I didn’t really want to write a lengthy blog post about it (Drew Beechum from the Maltose Falcons wrote an in-depth post about his recent 100 pound weight loss journey that's fantastic), but I did recently respond privately to someone who asked how I got into running. So, I'm just going to post my response to that person here. Hope this helps!

I started running, but very slow. I listened to my body and would adjust my pace so I was comfortable, almost to the point where I felt like I wasn’t trying, and tried to maintain that. Usually 20-30 minutes daily (DAILY—I didn’t take days off unless I was sick or injured and literally couldn’t walk). I would “run” for 30 minutes after work, at a 14-15 minute/mile pace, then before bed, I would walk on the treadmill, but at the maximum grade (10%) for 10 minutes.

After every workout, I was drenched with sweat. I gradually got faster and ran further distances. My first 5k was a month after I started and was a 11 minute/mile pace. I also did rowing when I couldn’t run for a couple weeks due to a sprained ankle. I never stopped. Now, running is just a part of my day. 2 miles before work, 3 miles or more after, 4-5 miles or more on Saturday and Sunday.

I use my Apple Watch for recording workouts. It’s a huge help and great motivator. I also have a Fitbit One in my pocket all day (I've been using the Fitbit One for years). I record everything and every activity. If I don’t have tangible data, I feel like I wasted an opportunity to document my exercise. It's really nice being able to reference data.

My advice is this: be really active, but don’t hurt yourself. Really cut the calories and stop eating unhealthy. I’m fully vegan now. I was mostly vegan before I decided to start running, except I’d have cheese or dairy now and then. That is no longer the case.

My diet is plant-based and I eat triple the amount of vegetables than I did before. I still eat chips and have desserts, but it’s limited. I love chips and hummus, but I realize that I’m just using the chips to deliver the healthy hummus to my stomach. So, now I eat baby carrots with hummus and it’s awesome. Stuff like that. The way I see it, if you’re gonna work so hard to sweat and exercise, you don’t want to throw it away by eating crap. I ran and worked hard, so I needed to respect that and my body.

These days, I’m maintaining the running, still limiting my calories (I’m not hungry, but I never feel stuffed), and drinking beer without really worrying about any of it. I am still on a trajectory to get to 175 pounds, but losing that last 10 pounds from 185 has taken about two months. Once I lose another couple of pounds and hit my goal, I’ll be in maintenance mode and focusing on strength training.