Naturally many of my interests are sedentary: reading, writing, gaming (yes, I play World of Warcraft), computer programming, social media, you name it. In my last two years of college I started getting a slew of food intolerances. I had no idea what the problem was, got frustrated and just kept eating. Coupled with the sedendary lifestyle, I gained seventy-five pounds in two years. When I graduated, I weighed over 230 pounds–and I’m all of 5’4″. While I was looking for a job post college, I remember being in a dressing room trying desperately to find size 14 business suits that would fit me. At that point, I was easily in a size 16 if not higher. That about did it for me.
I spent the year after graduation relearning how to eat and shedding the weight. It took a lot of willpower, determination, and just sheer stubborness. I was sick of looking as I did and wanted the weight GONE. At the end, I had lost over 100 lbs. I was extremely active at that point, doing yoga, aerobics, working out on an elliptical, and dancing every Friday night for 3-4 hours straight. I had zero muscle tone to speak of, but I was skinny, and it rocked.
Here’s a photo containing my before and after:
For many years after, I kept the weight off by staying active. Then I bought a home and got prematurely laid off from a long term job contract. My income for all of these exercise pursuits dwindled to nothing. I bought an elliptical, but my body got bored of the steady state cardio (and so did I) and it did nothing for me. I slowly began to pack on weight, and before I knew it, I had gained about twenty-five pounds in about a year. It was so slow I never saw it until it was too late, and only a few pairs of jeans actually fit me. I also went through a significant lifestyle change, as I went vegan due to all of those food intolerances I now see the signs of having back in college and never knew I had. Meat and dairy were out the window, poultry was soon to follow. Later came fish and eggs. Research convinced me that becoming a lifestyle vegan versus merely a plant-based diet would be the best one for my health, the environment, and for the animals.
However…and I will say this now: do not listen to PETA. Going vegan will NOT instantly make you lose weight. And don’t listen to some of the idiot celebrities out there too: it’s NOT an elimination diet. You need to completely revamp your concept of what to eat and how to eat it. It’s entirely possible otherwise that you will either gain weight, lose a dangerous amount, or rely solely on overly processed food which contains minimal nutrition.
Well…as for me, I wound up gaining:
Then I discovered these awesome workout programs you could do at home. No gym memberships, buy the programs once and use them forever. I started out with Slim in 6 and shed lots of inches, and doubled up the last few weeks of the program with another program called Hip Hop Abs. I then saw another program that came out which looked awesome: Insanity. But I knew I wasn’t quite in shape for it just yet! So I gave a more intermediate program, Brazil Butt Lift, a shot. I did a round and a half of it before jumping into the Insanity program.
After the Insanity program was finished, I did a hybrid of it and P90X. Then winter hit, job stresses hit, and I kept getting sinus infections. The weight began to creep back on again, and I spent the following year losing it–again–this time using Turbo Fire. Not only was it a program I never got bored of, but I LOVED the music, loved the moves…I had found my soulmate workout.
Before long, I finally dropped the weight I kept putting back on and am happy to report I have FINALLY kept it off. It required a lot of relearning how to eat–again! It turned out I had one more food intolerance which caused the nasty bloating, pain, and eventual weight gain: wheat. I am now a mostly wheat-free, low fat vegan and reaping the amazing results. The majority of my carbs come from sprouted wheat in moderation (Ezekiel 4:9 bread is my staple!), lovely, delicious fruit, quinoa, and brown rice. If I indulge in my favorite vegan pizzeria joint, ice cream place, or what-not, I keep it to a once every few months type of visit. Cooking for myself and prepping meals in advance has not only proven to be lighter on my wallet, but healthier too!
Here’s me now:
I still play World of Warcraft, write, read books on my Kindle, and engage online in lengthy debates on Doctor Who, Star Trek, Firefly, and Star Wars. But I also keep active, working out 5-6 day per week doing a mixture of both cardio AND strength training, and I’m far, far healthier than I was back when I at my skinniest.
And I’m also now only NOT fitting into a couple of pairs of jeans versus the exact reverse.
I love interacting with fellow vegans, vegetarians, people who struggle with food intolerances, those who have a very sedentary lifestyle, and of course other geeks. Helping them out with their own health and fitness goals is a labor of love, and I often make new friends along the way. Basically I love reaching out to anyone. If you have a desk job, don’t listen to the hype that all hope is lost for your health. I am proof that you can work in a 9-5 job sitting at a computer all day and still get (and be) healthy.
Right now I am studying for my fitness training certification with NASM and am a P90X Certified Independent Beachbody Coach. I am also a Certified Life Coach via the American Union of NLP and will be undergoing my Insanity certification in June ’13. Helping others to live a healthy, fulfilling life is a passion of mine as I know firsthand what it’s like to succeed, what it’s like to fail, and ultimately how to set yourself up for the best results. If I can help you in any way, please feel free to reach out to me.
If you want to hit me up with questions, advice, or what-have-you, please feel free to contact me.