A few week’s ago I had an interesting opportunity. Two people in my relatively small gym lost dramatic amounts of weight over a short period of time. One woman, Tammy Stephenson, lost 25 pounds in three months, working out only 35 minutes, 5 days a week. Last week’s podcast featured my interview with her.
This week I interviewed Kevin, a 25 year old man who lost 53 pounds over that last 5 and a half months. Kevin was too shy to tape a podcast but allowed me to pick his brain about what motivated his weight loss and exactly what he did to transform his body.
Below are Kevin’s answers to my questions. You can also listen to me summarize, in depth, the information from Kevin and my insights from both interviews here:
What motivated you to begin your weight loss journey?
Kevin laughed when I asked him this. His original motivation for weight loss began when his company had a weight loss competition. He said, “I’m competitive and I wanted to win the prize, so I started working out harder.” Prior to the competition, Kevin said he never really pushed himself during a workout. He put on 40 pounds his freshman year of college and had never taken it off. He described “always being overweight.” Once there was a prize on the line, he dramatically upped the level of his workouts and started running 3-5 miles several times a week.
How did you sustain your motivation after the competition was over?
Yes, Kevin won the competition. More importantly, Kevin created structure to his weight loss. Once he started losing weight, Kevin set short term goals. That way, he felt successful more often. He started to see definition in his muscles that he liked. He was feeling better about himself and other people were giving him positive reinforcement, lots of it. “I know you are supposed to do things for yourself, but I have to admit, I loved all the nice things people were saying. It really kept me motivated.” All these factors kept him going.
How, exactly, did you do it?
Kevin exercised almost daily! He started with lots of cardio; running 3 times a week and bumping up his mileage when he reached a plateau. He also did 3 classes a week with his co-workers that combined weight training and HIT (high intensity training).
Food was a huge component of his success (like we all know but wish wasn’t true)! Kevin started weighing and measuring his food to understand exactly how many calories he was eating. “I couldn’t believe it when I actually realized how caloric the food I ate was. I was easily eating 4,000 calories a day before I started this and I had no idea.” Restaurant food, in particular, had kept Kevin from losing weight in the past. Through research and education, he dramatically cut portion sizes and increased his fruit and vegetable intake.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get healthier?
“Use all the resources out there.” Kevin used several apps to track his workouts and his calories (My Fitness app). Another app, Strong, provided information on how to do strength training workouts. Technology gives access to information, motivational tools and weight loss communities. It was clear that Kevin approached weight loss in a wholistic manner. He educated himself, developed a routine and found the exercise he enjoyed; running! He loves running now. It isn’t a chore, it’s a pleasure.
The final piece of advice was heartfelt. Kevin shared that you have to be willing to adjust your program if it is too extreme. When he started, he was eating 1,800 calories a day and working out hard. “I was hungry all the time. I knew I couldn’t sustain it so I bumped my calories up to 2,200, ate smaller but more frequent meals, and that worked. I wasn’t hungry all the time so I knew I could keep it up. You have to do something that you can maintain.”
What I loved about my discussions with both Tammy and Kevin was that the phrase, “lifestyle change,” became clear to me. It seemed obvious, but I hadn’t really taken it what changing your whole lifestyle looked like until I had the privilege of talking to these two amazing individuals.
The amount of work they did was much bigger than I thought and not just about eating less and working out more. It was education, research, cooking, portion control, prayer, consistency, habit change, and technology support. It was an all day, everyday effort that led to change much deeper than the number on the scale.
These two people are not the same. They feel better. They look better. They are empowered and glowing. They haven’t even taken it all in and they are still on their journey. I want to thank them both for their willingness to share their inspiring stories. I hope the information will motivate someone else to start their own journey.