It’s Transformation Tuesday! Today, I am sharing a guest post written by my husband, Jamey. I asked him to write about his weight loss journey because over the course of 24 months, he has lost 92 pounds…and he’s still going. I cannot be prouder of him for taking the steps to get healthier. Below is the first part of this three-part series.
When I run into people these days who haven’t seen me in a while—former co-workers, friends, even family—I’m often met with a similar reaction: “Whoa, you look great!” Like anyone who has lost weight, it fills you with pride to hear that. I grin from ear to ear and thank the person profusely for just noticing. Inevitably, though, the second part of the conversation occurs and addressing that question is where I really struggle. “So, what have you been doing?”
“What Have You Been Doing?
That’s a tough question for a number of reasons. To those observing it may seem like it happens quickly, but I obviously didn’t take a pill and wake up skinnier. The response isn’t easy because my story isn’t short or particularly sexy. And, frankly, I think this question is a bit loaded.
A lot of people looking to improve their health are looking for a shortcut—the next prescribed meal plan, the next macro overcompensation plan, the next “diet.” Maybe the question is completely innocent, but when I give an answer and that is not about the latest trend diet, eyes tend to glass over and interest quickly wanes. But the truth is, it’s taken me a while to learn how to get here, to learn some critical things that most “diet” gurus don’t tell you, and how to discover and put them to work in my life while not being overly restrictive and unsustainable.
When Kerrie suggested I write a guest blog about my journey, I was excited for the opportunity to sit down and journal how I got to the fork in the road, why I took it when I did, how I got started, and how the ride on that road really was and continues to be. Spoiler alert: the road is long, scary, winding and bumpy. And for you running nerds reading this, it involved me—ME!—training for a race. I’m excited for this opportunity to give the less distilled version of what I normally tell people in just a few sentences.
It was October 5, 2015. I remember, not because it was a particularly memorable day, or even the exact day that I decided to take control of my health. I remember it only because it was one of those “Know your Numbers” health events put on by my employer each year. They pair it with their annual free flu shot offering, and I decided since I hadn’t had a physical in a few years, to just spare the extra couple of minutes and find out what my numbers were. My thought process was, like the scale, I could use this as a baseline for when we go through this exercise again next year.
As I sat in the waiting area, filling out the obligatory waivers and forms, one of the questions was intriguing, so I checked the box for yet another “extra.” The question: “Would you like to discuss your results with a coach?” I’ll just call her “the coach” because, while she was quite pleasant and helpful, there was nothing particularly discerning about her that sticks out in my mind. Not even a hint of her name.
A Place to Start
And so I moved through the routine with the nurse: take off your shoes and stand on the scale *scribble scribble*; let’s measure your height *scribble*; blood pressure *scribble*; waist circumference… finger prick for blood for cholesterol, blood sugar… hand-held body fat tester. With all of the numbers taken, I was handed a form with all of my information and then was sent back to the seating area to wait for “the coach.”
Now, I know what you are probably thinking—the numbers were terrible and it was enough to scare me straight. I didn’t know what any of the numbers meant until I sat across the table from “the coach.”
As it turned out, some of the numbers were downright bad, like BMI and body fat percentage. Some were in categories that were called variations on “borderline,” like HDL and blood sugar. But there were enough normal results to give me confidence that on the inside I wasn’t a complete mess, despite what I looked like physically.
Four Important Words
The reason this day is so memorable is not what the numbers said, but what “the coach” said. The coach’s job wasn’t to lecture me on what my numbers said, or the destructive path I was on, but to give me easily achievable goals to make my numbers better. There were no dietary restrictions or exercise prescriptions. She explained the importance of finding something that works for me, that I enjoy doing, and start small.
I didn’t realize it in the moment, but she breezed by four simple words that resonated with me. What she said to me that day is the same advice I give every person who is asking me about how I got started: “Just move your body.”