Saturday, December 3, 2011

Get Motivated

It was about a year ago when I hit rock bottom.  I weighed over 330 pounds.  I wasn't happy, and I wasn't being a good husband or father.  I hated my job and lacked the confidence in myself to even go look for a new one.  I sat behind a desk all day at work and then came home and played videos games until very late at night.  I knew I needed to change, but I was afraid.  I didn't really know how to start.  Then, I saw a video created by Ben Davis.  It was his story of going from a 360-pound overweight, lazy gamer to losing 120 pounds, running a marathon and completing an Ironman.  WOW...  That sounded a lot like where I came from, and if he could do it, so could I.

Christmas 2010, 333 lbs.
That is when I became inspired.  I wanted to change but still had no idea how or where to start.  I decided I was going to run.  My family laughed when I said "run!"  I would not run a mile in high school.  What made me think I was going to stay with it now?  I was determined to do it, though.

I started telling everyone that I was going to start running and getting healthy.  I have tried to lose weight before, but nothing stuck, so I planned.  I wanted to start after the new year and to be really ready.  I started researching what works.  I talked to a nutritionist.  I found a beginner's running program.  Because I was telling everyone what my goals were, friends started giving me tips and advice.  I asked for running shoes and a scale for Christmas. January 3rd came, and I felt prepared and went for it.

This coat was a 3XL.
It has not been easy, and I still have a little ways to go. But it has been almost a year, and I am still doing it.  There have been several things I wish I knew before I started, and I wanted to share some of them with you.  I hope my story has motivated you like Ben Davis motivated me.  If I can do it, anyone can.

This is all from the point of view of someone who started at a beginner's level and is still progressing.  I am not a professional by any means, but these seven tips below are things that helped me and things I hope help you.

Make a Plan/Goal
Plan it out.  You can't just wake up and say you are going to start being healthy and expect to stay healthy without a plan.  Do not get me wrong; it is a good thing to be inspired as a start, but you need to put some pen to paper.  Plan out meals, workouts, and strategies to keep you going when it gets hard. Put your plan/goals where you can see them. Read them daily.  Remember how you felt when you set them!
Tell Everyone
You will be surprised at how willing people are to help you, how ready they are to be a motivator and a support.  You will also be surprised to find out how many people have been there and have lost the weight and changed for the better.  Some of the best advice I received was from friends who knew what it was like to start running extremely overweight. I would've never known it if I didn't tell people.  Part of my telling everyone was starting this blog.  It has turned into much more, but it started out as a way for my friends and family to check up on me and make sure I was getting my daily workouts and runs in.  If I didn't post, people asked me about it and checked if I worked out or not.  Also, a lot of people sometimes just need someone to do it with.  Several of my friends started working out the same time I did to support me and get their health in order.

Join a Gym or Club
The best thing I did was join a gym and find a running club.  It was very intimidating for me when I first joined the gym, because I felt like people were judging me, but I made friends quickly.  For the most part, people do not judge you. They mostly do not even notice you, and if they do, they are excited that you are working out.  I made friends quickly in my boot camp class, and they were a major support to me.  I joined Nixa Running, and they are all a bunch of running crazies that love me for me!

Plan Out and Buy Your Meals In Advance
Jenn and I make a shopping list every Thursday and shop for a whole week's worth of groceries.  We plan out breakfast, lunch, dinner and healthy snacks.  That way we are not tempted to go out to eat, and we know how many calories we are putting into our bodies.  Plan healthy meals and make sure your portions are under control.  Talk to a nutritionist or research online what you should be eating.  I am still learning how much I should eat for how much I run.

Sign up for a 5K
Once you sign up for something, it will help you stay motivated to get every training run in.  I started the Couch to 5K program.  I knew I had to run 3 times a week.  I wanted to be ready for my 5K and was really motivated to run every single training run. Once you run the 5K, sign up for another. When a 5K becomes easier, look for bigger races.  I remember my first 5K; I prepared for it like it was a marathon.  I carb-loaded the day before.  I created a facebook group and invited all my family and friends.  Now I sign up for 5K's all the time.  Always have something to work towards, and it will keep you out there on the road getting your miles in.

Do Not Let A Bad Day Ruin You
You will have bad days.  You will feel like you have failed sometimes.  Do not let that get you down.  I have had days where I felt like garbage and wasn't good enough.  Why am I working out? It isn't helping me...  I am so hungry...  Everyone does so much better than me.  Guess what? We all have bad days.  Get up and keep going.  Do not look for excuses to quit.   Remember where you came from and the big picture.  You didn't put that weight on overnight, and it will not come off overnight either.  I have to remember this daily.  As my good friend Shannon would say, "Suck it Up!"

Treat Yourself
I am not talking about with food.  If you reach a goal, go get that thing you have been wanting.  You have worked hard.  This helped me a lot.  I knew that if I reached a weight loss goal or a running goal, I was going to get something cool.  Treat yourself!
I treated myself with a Do Life sticker.
I am so glad I have changed my life.  I love living healthy.  It has improved me in so many ways.  I am a better father, employee, and friend.  I have met so many people I would have never known otherwise.  My son talks about running marathons now instead of video games. I got a new job.  We eat healthy as a family.  My wife discovered a natural talent for running.  (1:45 half marathon!)  So many great things have happened because I decided to change.  Your health does affect so many things in life.  Get motivated, and start today!


Mike said...

Great post, great tips, and great job Chris! You are truly #FitFluential and inspiring!

Emily faliLV said...

So inspiring!! Love this post and the tips! Pretty much everyone can get something from reading this!! Rock on and keep running!

AlexandraFunFit said...

You know why I love teaching fitness? Because of people like you. Do you know how inspiring and humbling it is to meet people who are brave enough to put it all on the line like you do? I think the best part of your whole story is the bit about your son. You are passing on a longer life to him too, because he'll grow up to be like you, which is healthy and active. Do Life? You already are!

Eric said...


Running, Loving, Living said...

Great post! You changed your life. For the better and I know your story will inspire others to do the same!!

Heather @ Side of Sneakers said...

You are so inspiring & motivating- congrats on being such a rockstar! I love that it's influenced your wife, your job, your outlook... And I love the Do Life attitude (and sticker). :)

Samantha said...

Your story is an amazing one Chris. Congrats on everything you have done, you've taken the steps necessary to be the best you that you can be.

I love the Do Life stickers, it's so inspirational and motivational.

And you're right about this: "if they do, they are excited that you are working out." When I see people at my gym that are clearly working to improve their life, I want to walk up to them and congratulate them for taking a big step in the right direction (but I think they'd think I was crazy...)

JP said...


Anonymous said...

Wow, Chris, we have almost the same story. I have just started and I weighed in at 330 when I did. I am now at 302. All I have done so far is change my eating habits, but I know I need to exercise. I have to admit that I am scared to death. I have done a couple of 5Ks, but only walking. Thanks for this post, it has really shown me that I can do it and don't have to be scared. What I am most scared about is not stretching properly. What works for you?
Thanks again.

SarahLynn said...

You are a true motivation Chris your journey has inspired me and so many others.

Heather Iacobacci-Miller said...

Very inspiring post!!!

Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said...

This is so great and you have come so far! Congrats on your progress!

Jessica said...

Great post and way to go on your progress to date! So much more to come!

vtbRUNSsav said...

Great post! Keep up the great work!

TriGirl said...

This is so great! I'm sure your family is incredibly proud of you! It seems like it's easier for the people who were athletes growing up to jump back in to exercise because those habits have been ingrained. Taking on a whole new way of living as an adult is a major achievement. Awesome!

Julia Gabriel said...

Awesome, Awesome post!

Karien said...

Very inspirational! Awesome job!

robinbb said...

Awesome story. Congrats on your weight loss and your running. You are amazing!

Kristina @ Love and Zest said...

Thanks for sharing your testimony. It is very inspiring and encouraging. Something you began for yourself, is leaving it's mark on more lives than you know.