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.