There were a number of reasons why I finally did something about it, too. Talking about my weight with others was getting embarrassing, and there was a new, local gym that offered a very affordable membership. But the exact moment I realized I'd had enough was the day my mom looked me in the eye and asked if I’d been putting on weight? She wasn't joking or criticizing, but was genuinely concerned. Leave it to my mom to deliver such brutal honesty.
So I started heading straight to the gym after work. I’d hop on a treadmill, and like Forrest Gump I’d start running relentlessly. I’d run until I was light-headed from over-exhaustion and loud music. Some days I’d even go lift weights in back, but I was seeing limited results. I plateaued at about 190 after the first year, even when I’d upped my regiment to three hours a week on the treadmill. The problem? My still-poor diet.
It wasn't sudden, but eventually, as of this past August, I was down to 156 pounds, nearly 60 pounds gone. It was something I never dreamed I’d achieve. People started coming up to me and asking if I’d lost weight, which if you've never had the pleasure, is an unbelievably amazing experience.
There were a few tricks that I think get overshadowed in the mainstream discussion about weight loss. Firstly, the changes have to be small and incremental. I began by swapping items in my lunchbox for healthier options, one at a time. I started slow on the treadmill, and gradually increased the speed and time. I've also switched to a largely organic diet. It’s expensive, but extremely healthy and far cheaper than unexpected hospital bills. And the last thing I did was learn to see processed sugar as an enemy. Take this for example: there are 12 grams in a cup of 2 percent milk, which is not only a lot of sugar, but exactly the same as in a cup of skim. Sugar is technically fat-free, but in large doses, it gets turned into fat inside the body. Natural sugars like honey and agave nectar break down much more easily, and can still satisfy the most discerning sweet tooth, when used properly.
Sure, I still get cravings for junk food, but they’re not as intense. If you can find mock recipes, they’ll help curb most cravings. And if you go long enough without the high-fat and high-sugar original foods, you’ll actually begin to crave those mock recipes.
These days, I’m happy, energetic, limber, and no longer pretend that my metabolism is the problem. “Goal weight” is no longer a part of my vocabulary. And my mom, needless to say, is very proud.