Back in February I wrote about some of the things I wanted to accomplish in 2015. At the time I thought I only weighed 105kg. I wanted to lose about 10kg. As it turned out, I weighed 113kg and went down to 88kg. That’s 25kg gone. I did this in a 3-4 month window. While on the surface it seems like a relatively small change, this experience has made me a completely different person.
How did I do it?
Some of you might be interested in how I did it. Quite honestly, in hindsight: how doesn’t matter. You can read all about losing weight all over the internet. I suggest going to a dietitian; that’s what I did. These people know their stuff, they look at your habits and point out where things go wrong.
- I ate smaller portions. Apparently I used to eat enough for 2 grown-ups…
- I cut out all the unnecessary candy and soda stuff. No candy. Drink water. If you really are bored with water, drink light stuff. I don’t drink alcohol but that stuff get’s the candy-treatment: None at all.
- Eat several pieces of fruit to crush your candy needs during the day.
- Drink coffee (no sugar, no milk); it helps to energize your body and accelerates your metabolism.
- Drink lots and lots of water.
- Eat lots of steak and chicken instead of other stuff. (Also: Start dieting during the summer. Enjoy the barbeques 😉 )
- No bread. Stay away from potatoes, pasta’s and rice as much as possible. Same goes for pizza’s, french fries & co.
- Look at the nutrition charts on the products you eat. You don’t need to know every detail but you should have a clue about what you’re about to eat.
Because I was fat. That’s why. I didn’t really look as fat as some people who are seriously overweight but I was way out of shape. And I didn’t feel very good being who I was. I actually felt fat to a degree where I felt like I could be bullied like back in grade school. Also, I kept getting those massive headaches that seemed to be somehow related. Another reason for my choice to lose weight was to feel sexy again. It didn’t really show as much as it does on some people but I felt 100% unsexy. I was pretty ashamed about my body. Especially because I did this to myself. I couldn’t blame anybody but the guy in the mirror. And last but not least: I had started to snore, much to the enjoyment of my girlfriend who would wake me up on multiple occasions during the night because it kept her awake. I had several reasons to do something about it…
What was the final trigger to get this thing going?
One morning, I was in the bathroom and found out that I weighed in fact 113kg instead the 105kg I made myself belief. Only a few years earlier, it was way less. But I never noticed. But clearly this thing was getting out of hand. I felt compelled to do something about it but I know myself and without any sort of decent guidance this wouldn’t happen. So later that same day I decided to get this on the road. So when I had a moment later that day, I googled a dietitian, phoned her and asked for an appointment asap. From that point on there was no turning back.
Was it hard?
Yes and no.
At my first appointment with the dietitian, we talked about my eating habits, recorded some numbers (weight, measurements etc) and then I was given clear instructions as to how to move forward. Then I had to go 7 days without ever checking my progress and go back to my next appointment.
Those were the 7 hardest days I’ve ever had. I started to realize just how addicted I was to eating candy, drink soda, eating fast-food etc. I wouldn’t call it detoxing but I felt very much stressed out. I was considering giving up but I felt I had to stick to the rules laid out by my dietitian. I felt this was important. The difficulty was that I didn’t believe this would work. I was always led to believe that going on a diet was insanely hard. And while this week was ‘hard’, it didn’t feel as hard as some people made it out to be. And because of that, I didn’t believe it was going to work. So I felt like I was wasting my time and I felt detox-like in the meanwhile.
Then at my next appointment, I stood on the scale and it showed my progress: 2.5kg gone… And this was a week where I wasn’t even committed. I never looked back. The next week I stripped off an additional 3.5kg. Already my body looked a lot different. And I was only 2 weeks in. Those first 7 days were the most difficult ones I have ever lived through. Because I was committing to something without believing it would work. As soon as I had proof it worked, everything got easier. This is why a good dietitian matters. Because they make sure the first week works and you’re motivated to make it to 12-15-18 weeks without slacking off.
What did it teach me?
I wanted to lose weight for a long long time. It never materialized because I didn’t really pick up the project and just do it. The most important moment in this endeavour was me not fucking about and just picking up the phone and making the appointment. Important life lesson: If you want to do something: don’t put it off. Pick it up right away. If it’s a large-scale/time-consuming project: do something to get the project started. Once the ball is rolling, things will go a lot smoother. By getting started right away, you’re setting yourself up for success. If you postpone things, you might just fail -not because you didn’t try hard enough- but because you might end up not trying at all.
This would not have been possible without the support of my amazing girlfriend (and just about all of my other friends who supported me during this time). Don’t get me wrong, this was fairly hard. I had to resist a lot of temptations during those months. But having an amazing girlfriend that reassures you from time to time that it is actually working, is huge. I’m pretty sure I would have given up halfway through if it hadn’t been for her.
The other thing I learned is more a confirmation of what I always said but never really knew: This life is my own. I can do whatever I want. I just need to make it happen. But this was the first time that I actually made something huge happen for myself without anybody or anything accidentally being in the right place so I can just pick it up. For you, I might just have lost 50 pounds. For me, I changed my life in the matter of weeks. I rediscovered myself.
Another one was this funny thing about accountability. I visited my dietitian fairly often and I had to bring my food-log (a book where I wrote down what I ate and when). Whenever I sinned with candy or fast-food, I had to own up my fuck-ups. The cool thing about this is that I get to take credit for the successes just as much. The trick is to –very publicly– take blame for when things go south… Blame won’t kill you. Blame is fairly common. As long as you don’t give up, it’s just a bump in the road. You just have to work hard to fix everything. Then -when things start falling into place- you get to take credit for when things go well. Nobody can ever take that away from you. Accountability as motive for success. Cool, right?
Last but not least: Going on a diet to lose weight is not some temporary effort you put in. It’s not something you can just quit doing once you hit your target and then go back to ordering pizza’s all day long. People need to stop talking about ‘going on a diet‘ and should really talk about ‘changing your everyday lifestyle‘.
How did this change me?
So what did I rediscover about myself? I feel sexy again. I feel self-confident again. I didn’t realize just how ashamed I had become of myself; or about how I looked. That’s finally over.
I can run as far as I want again. At one point, I had difficulties making it to 4k. These days I can run 10k anytime without preparing. That sense of ‘fitness‘ feels fantastic.
I started wearing different clothes. I finally can wear the things I have wanted to wear for so long but couldn’t because either I couldn’t find a size that fit me or it just looked weird on me. Now I wear medium and large. And it looks pretty nice actually. That’s really cool 🙂
I have proved to myself that I can do this. I feel like I can do anything from now on. I feel like I unlocked a secret feature of my personality. A new tool that allows me to get shit done.
I feel positive. Motivated. Energized. I find myself more and more talking to people and pushing them to do what they want. Because I feel so blessed having gone through this process of pushing myself and the results I got from this. And I feel like the key ingredient to success -which is ‘just getting started’- is missing in a lot of people’s mind while they really want to get something done. I swear: I have never been so powered up! And I feel like spreading this vibe to everybody around me.
So why am I telling you all this? For the same reason I push people around me to go after their dreams or do better work: I feel compelled to share this vibe that I feel ever since I lost so much weight. I feel so motivated; it’s as if I weren’t to share my positive energy, I might explode.
So long story short: If you want to do something huge/important?
- Don’t postpone. Pick it up; get the ball rolling asap. Once you’ve got momentum, keep it going.
- Basic rule in life: If you can do something and finish it within 5 minutes: Do it right away. No excuses.
- Surround yourself with great friends. Having them around was a key motivation for me as their feedback was new fuel for me to keep pushing.
- You can do this. Zuck started Facebook. Jobs put an iPhone in everybody’s hand. Musk made reusable rockets. Those are huge ventures that were once no more than an idea in somebody’s mind. Whatever it is you want to do, there is a very real chance that you too can make this happen.
Whatever you want to do, make it happen. Go.