As with many weight loss stories, there tends to be a period where we may or may not gain some of that weight back. For some, it’s a complete 180 degree turn and they gain it all back due to many reasons: lack of sustainability, lack of continuing motivation, traumatic event, poorly developed habits, or pizza. For me, it was a gradual gain of weight over the span of 3 years after losing 75 pounds. But first here’s a recap of my weight loss story.

July 2014, my starting weight was 210 lbs. After my post graduation trip, I gave up alcohol for 90 days straight. Lost about 20 lbs from removing alcohol and the accompanying late night foods that normally followed.

October 2014, I started P90 with Jay Flores as my coach. Went from 188 to 164.

February 2015, I completely give up alcohol FOREVER.

April 2015, I start 21 Day Fix Extreme. Finished around 154 lbs.

May 2015, I run my first OCR – Spartan Stadium Race at Miller Park in Milwaukee.

June 2015, I start P90X3. Even though it was a 90 day program, I think it took me about 4 months, because I had to repeat a few weeks from skipping workouts.

September 2015, I hit my leanest weight at 134 lbs.

By the end of 2015, I had run 3 OCR races.

In 2016, I had run 8 OCR races.

In 2017, I did 15 races and had a perfect season — all races with 100% obstacle completion. I also qualified and raced at Obstacle Course Racing World Championship in Canada.

In 2018, I did 3 races, and began doing CrossFit in August.

April 2019, I’m weighing in at 169.2 lbs.

My weight gain story isn’t as dramatic as others’, but it’s one of the most relatable. We gain a few pounds here and there and we think nothing of it. We tell ourselves, “it’s just water weight” or “I had a big meal this weekend, that’s all.” Pants get a little tighter, shirts a little more snug, but we don’t mind it too much. Then one day, we get tagged in a photo on Facebook, and it’s like WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED.

I mean I definitely noticed that I was gaining weight each time I stepped on the scale. My friends and I even have an accountability group where we check in on each other to make sure we’re eating healthy and working out, so I thought I was doing the right thing. For the last year, I tried to lean out, but my lack of consistency meant that I would also have a lack of results. I knew I was putting on muscle from doing more heavy weight lifting due to CrossFit, but at the same time, I also knew that my body fat was increasing too. I didn’t want to be another one of those guys that say, “it’s bulking season” but really, they’re just giving themselves an excuse for their current state. I would always look at them and think in my head “well I didn’t know bulking season lasted all year.” But now I’m the person in the mirror I’m saying it to.

So what was the trigger for me to kickstart this new run to lean out? After I started going to classes at CrossFit Citrine and developed that desire to want to become a coach, it clicked.

Previously, I lost weight to prove to myself that I could do it. This time, it’s to prove to others that they can do it.

Like most gyms or group based fitness, there’s the committed athletes and then there are those who are trying, but don’t fully believe either in themselves or the process. There are hundreds of books written to help someone believe in themselves, and usually it’s something that is developed intrinsically. But to develop belief in the process, one of two things needs to happen.

  1. They see the results of the process for themselves.
  2. They see the results of the process for others.

Since I can’t control the actions of other people, I decided to focus on what I can control.

And so, I set myself up similar to how I had done it in the past.

  • I took my before pictures.
  • I set up my accountability system with my friends.
  • I decided my workout routine: one hour afternoon class at CrossFit Citrine, 5 days a week with Thursday and Sunday as rest days.
  • I had coaches to help guide me to make sure I was moving well and showing up.
  • I decided to retake control of my eating habits by following a Renaissance Periodization Diet Template — to simplify it, I just ate whole unprocessed foods for 80-90% of the time (eat meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no added sugar).
  • I established how long I would strictly adhere to this: 12 weeks (just under 90 days).
  • And most importantly, I had a strong why: to prove to the athletes at CrossFit Citrine that if you CONSISTENTLY eat well and just show up to class 3 to 5 times a week for 1 hour, the results will follow in time.

Like many, I sit at a desk when I work. If you have just one hour of your day to workout, that’s enough. And you don’t have to be 100% perfect when eating, but you have to at least try to eat well for 80% of the time. The goal is to keep it as simple as possible so you can be consistent in showing up. Consistency is key.

I also wanted to do something that was sustainable so I don’t get burnt out which happened to me during my OCR career. I got bored of the workouts and so when my routine of exercising was broken, all the good habits that accompanied it also dwindled. It’s important that once you get the momentum going, you only need to add small pushes to keep the wheel turning. And just because these 12 weeks are over doesn’t mean I’m going to throw all these good habits away. I’m here to play the long game.

Starting April 9, 2019 and “finishing” July 2, 2019, I have gone from 169.2 to 158.0. My pants aren’t as tight anymore. My energy levels are higher. My eating habits are in check. My shirts aren’t as snug. Performance in the gym has noticeably increased. And my hair is shorter.

To end this post, I’m going to leave you with a graph, because who doesn’t like graphs.

Image result for the plateau of latent potential
We often expect progress to be linear. At the very least, we hope it will come quickly. In reality, the results of our efforts are often delayed. It is not until months or years later that we realize the true value of the previous work we have done. This can result in a “valley of disappointment” where people feel discouraged after putting in weeks or months of hard work without experiencing any results. However, this work was not wasted. It was simply being stored. It is not until much later that the full value of previous efforts is revealed. – from Atomic Habits