I wanted to share a little bit of my experience and my transformation in the hopes that someone out there can relate and make a change for a healthier lifestyle too.
I have always been super active with working out, playing volleyball and golf and other miscellaneous sports. Like most, I had my periods over the past 10-15 years where I didn't do as much but I always bounced back and got active again. My goal albeit a superficial one was always to get ripped, have a six pack and have big arms. How lame, right? I worked extremely hard at times in the gym to get to that perfect body but I never got there. I researched, I learned different lifts, I watched videos and talked to guys in the gym, but the progress was slow, if any.
Although I was doing the physical stuff, I never fully embraced the lifestyle that would get me the results that I was hoping for. I was working hard in the gym but I was also working hard at the bar and fast food joints. On top of that, my mind was all about the physical, I could care less about my health, I just wanted abs!!!
As you can see all of my "hard work" didn't lead to the abs that I had always wanted. The picture above was taken January 2013 before I really committed to the lifestyle of living a healthy life. My turning point was about 1 month prior to this picture when I had to go to the doctor for extreme back pain and she told me that based on my BMI I was obese. Part of me laughed it off, how could I be obese, I'm athletic? After really thinking about it I wasn't in a good place. I remember at night sitting on our couch eating my ice cream and my stomach would pop out of the bottom of my shirt. Yeah it was just Laura and I around but it was still embarrassing.
So as the title of this post suggests, before I made any changes to my lifestyle I first had to change the way I looked at food and a healthy living and to some degree, exercise. I'll start with exercise because that is the easy one. Prior to all of this, even though I was working towards that 6 pack, kind of, I often justified my crappy food binges by saying I worked out or I will work out. Working out was a way to offset something. It was to burn calories. When I started looking at exercise as something that made me feel awesome, rather than something I needed to do to offset a cheeseburger or pizza I ate, my world changed!! (Yeah I would eat entire pizzas!!!)
With food, I found out really fast what could happen when you ate right. The picture above is actually taken the morning of Day 2 of the Ultimate Rest, which is a 21 day cleanse that Beachbody sells. I remember this vividly because I burnt the crap out of my hand making chicken breast at 6:30 in the morning for Laura and I's salads that we were supposed to have for lunch that day. This program laid out exactly what I was going to eat daily, and after 18 days, (yeah I stopped 3 days short due to a work trip) I lost 15 lbs. I still didn't have my abs but I saw what eating the right foods could do and I felt incredible after that. I was ALL IN!!!
My mindset shifted from needing to workout to counteract an unhealthy eating lifestyle to wanting to eat clean and workout because it made me feel awesome. I no longer was trying to play catch up. My goals changed from 6 pack abs to overall health. I won't lie and say I didn't want the abs still but that wasn't my focus. Low and behold, once my focus changed the abs came. It's amazing the correlation between your body getting stronger and your mind getting stronger...and for me my confidence. I was a new man inside and out!!!
You've all heard the concept out there, what came first, the chicken or egg? That can be debated around and around. In the health and fitness world, what comes first: a healthy mind or healthy body?? Without a doubt, I can say your mind has to be right first. Without the right mindset you will likely be influenced by magazine covers and stay in a state of constant self doubt and insecurities.
How do you change your mindset then?
You need to forget what others think and learn to love yourself for where you are in that moment. You have to stop thinking that you are stuck the way you are and there's no changing that. Tear down the walls that you have built up that have stopped you from becoming the person you and I know you can be.
The person you are right now is not the person you always have to be. You have to understand that being healthy and fit isn't for someone else out there, it can be yours too!
The Cook & The Coach
Healthy is a LIFESTYLE.