[Update: I continued to lose more weight through even better food management and capped out at over 30 pounds lost! I am in the best shape of my entire life thanks to a wholistic approach to my diet, exercise, mental, and spiritual health! As of right now, December 26th 2016, I’ve lost nearly 34 pounds and have kept it off, going from 194 to 160 pounds!]
2013 has been an incredible year for me as I’ve walked through and overcome some significant personal and professional challenges that have changed my life quite literally.
I’m sure I’ll share a bit more in detail of many of these things in my upcoming Year in Review post for 2013 (you can look at my 2012 here) but this event deserves its own blog post entirely.
To cut to the chase (or the fat) one of the most significant events of 2013 was the fact that I was able to lose over 27 pounds this year and improve my overall health and lifestyle in ways that I did not believe was possible.
I am, without question, the healthiest that I’ve ever been in my entire life. I am eating better and have been exercising consistently for over 7 months, perhaps the longest stretch that I’ve ever been able to accomplish post High School. And even then when I compare my overall lifestyle habits from HS I am far exceeding that bar with little question (when you’re young you can kind of get away with murder on your lifestyle and health decisions).
My journey with weight loss was not my decision but rather my body’s decision. In the last quarter of 2012 my body was systematically shutting itself down and I found myself in the emergency room multiple times fighting what was ultimately a lifestyle that was simply unsustainable.
My body was calling it quits and I don’t blame it as I was attempting to finish out a double Master’s degree, exit a startup that I had started with my brother, make a significant pivot with another venture (including a possible capital raise), as well as develop a secret project that had eventually became a major focus for the next year.
The stress and anxiety of all of those things in addition to the responsibilities of being a father and husband were too much. I was also overweight and the heaviest I had ever been. Tack on a non-stop 1,000+ mile road trip with my family and my body (and mind and spirit) had had quite enough and to the emergency room I went.
To make a very long story very, very short I underwent a battery of exams and tests and a comprehensive look at the entire ecosystem(s) that I was a part of. Among other things I was also was finally diagnosed with Aspergers which also fundamentally changed my life and what came out of that diagnosis was a firm commitment to execute the changes that were absolutely necessary for me so that I would not “die young,” as my physicians would say.
I had no choice as I could either continue on my obviously-destructive and unhealthy lifestyle and trajectory and thus face a severely truncated life or make radical changes that could create a much different story. I decided (with a bit of kicking and screaming) on the latter.
Part of that transformation was seeking a real dietician, getting help from a real personal fitness instructor and trainer, and following a system of controlled exercise and eating plans that was, on all accounts, death defying. It was a customized plan of a lifestyle reboot and it wasn’t never even about weight loss. Instead the goal was much bigger: I had to create a new framework of how I saw and managed my life and all the components within it.
I began, in earnest, at the end of May and started a long 6-month program of health rehabilitation. To say that it was difficult would be the understatement of the year. My eating habits were terrible and a detox was in order.
I swore off of all gluten, dairy, and sugars of nearly all types (only certain natural berries were allowed). I was on a strict dietary plan that had my body in pain for the first few weeks. I would also begin sleep training (e.g. getting more sleep) and continual daily exercise. I was in the suck and at times I wanted to seriously quit.
On the professional side of things I removed nearly all of my contractual work and closed down/exited two companies. I limited my travel to almost nothing and even removed 90% of all my meetings scheduled. I spent more time offline, more time reading, and more time with my children outside and at the playground. I was rehabbing everything so that I could make the effort to make this life pivot as best as I possibly could.
And I avoided the scale at all costs. It was only until near the end that I weighed myself and discovered, to my amazement, that I had shed an unbelievable 27 pounds. I had no idea that it was even possible on my already-smallish frame. I went from 194.4 pounds to 167.1 and was shocked, speechless really. Looking in the mirror was like looking at an entirely different person (I even began to show a bit of muscle that was apparently hidden beneath all that fat).
Again, the weight loss was never the point but rather a natural byproduct of a significant lifestyle change. I wasn’t trying to “bulk up” or “get ripped” either. I just wanted to be the healthiest version of me!
Naturally I had expected there would be some sort of weight loss but I never focused on it exclusively or specifically. Instead I concentrated on eating right (really right – a hybrid paleo/primal-esque method and concentration), exercising continually, and getting sleep and limiting my professional responsibilities maximally.
My health, in all its facets (emotional, physical, psychological, spiritual), is the greatest win of 2013. There is nothing even remotely close for second place. I am in the best shape of my life and the consequences of my decision to pursue it have impacted most everything. Honestly, it would make this blog post far too long to count all the impacted elements (although I may entertain a few here and there in the future).
I couldn’t have done it, though, without an army of health professionals, tons of professional counseling and therapy, and my wife who re-arranged our entire family’s schedule and grocery trips to account for the dramatic changes. She was my #1 fan and supporter and without her I could not have achieved this transformation. In many ways I owe her my life as I will live a much longer one as a direct outcause.
A lot happened in 2013, enough for a lifetime of stories, but if I am to mark this year with a defining event (or process) it’s the year that I finally turned my health and lifestyle into one that was sustainable. More than that actually as it has made life much more enjoyable as well.
If I can do something as significant in 2014 then I’ll be very surprised – here’s hoping.
Also published on Medium.