This past Sunday marks the official end to the weight loss challenge I joined in May and I thought it appropriate to give a recap of the competition and share a few things that I learned along the way.
The winners of the competition have yet to be announced but so far we are holding in 5th place. Even though it doesn’t look like we will be taking home the $10,000 in cash prize, the competition was an overall success. Each member of my team (Baker@ManvsDebt, Brad@EnemyofDebt (and EnemyofFat), Paul@FiscalGeek, and Darren) did an amazing job and lost more weight in the past three months than I would estimate the average American does in an entire year, all without the use of any weight loss drugs or crash diets.
Personally, I am really happy with my progress. I went from a pudgy 227lbs to a much healthier 197lbs (although at the Doctor used for the competition ranking, the scale read 200lbs). I went on a fairly strict diet and exercise program and as a result lost close to 30lbs, and over 15 inches from my body!!
The diet consisted of eating much more protein, less fat and more frequently than I typically have eaten in the past. I eat lots of lean meats and veggies. The only thing I really cut from my diet was processed sugar. I continued to eat breads, fruit and just tried to balance the types of foods I eat. I drank about 64oz of water each day.
As for exercise, the mental aspect of activity was a huge thing for me. I just tried to get as much exercise as I could in my day by doing the little things like parking at the far end of the parking lot, walking out to get the mail, and not hesitating to leave my desk when the chance arose.
I also focused much of my energy on sports as I felt those were more of a total body workout including some strength building compared to just running on a treadmill. I played Basketball, Volleyball and Tennis against my very athletic brother-in-law, which proved to be quite the challenge. There wasn’t a day during this competition that I wasn’t sore in some way or another, and I had no trouble getting to sleep at night.
Here are a couple of action shots for ya! I have always been self conscious of taking pictures ( surprise surprise), but these I am proud of because I know what they are a result of and what doing those activities has helped me gain!
Here are a couple things I learned during this competition.
The little things matter
I tried really hard to focus on the little improvements I could do in my daily routine. I parked farther away from buildings, stopped using elevators completely, and never turned down my daughter when she asked me to play outside. Even though none of these things really made me sweat or sore, I know they contributed hugely to my activity level and total weight loss. All abnormal pain from my body like back aches and leg pain from sitting too long went away, and I felt much younger and healthier just by doing these things.
As for nutrition, I was very strict. I knew that if I broke stride here or there and saw no ill affects on my weight loss, I would be more open to breaking back into my old habits of eating too much and at wrong times. I never eat after 8pm, no matter what. I tried very hard to stay within my caloric guidelines each and every day and I stuck to my meal times religiously. After a couple weeks, my body adjusted to how often and how much I was eating and I could actually feel when I was late on eating, or feel when my body needed more water.
You can’t plan everything
During the challenge, each member of the team had a semi-major problem that realistically should have thrown them each off course, myself included. My problem was that I came down with Shingles. If you haven’t heard of Shingles before, it is the resurfacing of the Chicken Pox gene and it essentially exposes your nerves and hurts like nothing I have ever felt before. For the last month of the competition, I really couldn’t exercise like I was before nor could I go in the sun for more than a few minutes without being in extreme pain.
Despite all of the setbacks we had, each and every member pushed through them and continued doing everything they could to keep the momentum we started moving forward.
Winning isn’t always whats important
After starting this competition, each of us realized that our health was the most important thing regardless of the money or if we won it. Each of us tried to change our lifestyles and create sustainable healthy habits that would carry us forward into the rest of our lives. That’s what this was all about, and I want to congratulate all of them for doing just that. Lifestyle change is incredibly difficult, and each of these guys were able to change their habits for the better.
I learned a thousand more things, but I’ll leave it at that for now. This weight loss challenge really changed my life for the better and I plan on maintaining what I did and learned onward into the rest of my life.
I want to give a huge thanks to my team of awesome guys ( I know without them, I would still be sitting on the couch eating bon bons 🙂 ), the people at HealthyWage.com for creating this competition and Marc@BuiltLean for creating the diet and exercise plan I used in the competition. THANK YOU! br>
Tags: basketball volleyball, body workout, brother, cash prize, crash diets, desk, exercise program, job, lean meats, mail, mental aspect, parking lot, running on a treadmill, sleep, sports, strict diet, tennis, three months, weight loss challenge, weight loss drugs