By the middle of 2013, I weighed in at about 308 pounds and was a bit of a loser in my own eyes. I'd developed a bad smoking habit, terrible eating patterns and I was generally unhappy with myself. I had turned into the guy I never wanted to be: a walking health risk.
Growing up, I had battled fluctuating weight constantly, finally stabilizing around 165 pounds in 2007. But then in 2010, I started to pack the weight back on, gaining well over 100 pounds in three years. It killed my spirit and I was constantly angry at the way my life had turned out. By early 2013, I'd visited the hospital more times than I care to admit due to issues ranging from sleep apnea to shingles, appendicitis to ankle injuries ... all of which were related to my obesity.
That summer, I started to feel as if I'd die at age 26, laying on my bed, wheezing because of a chest infection, thinking about how much better my life would be if I could just get a good night's sleep.
That's when I decided it was time to take action, to actually make a change. I started small, using an app to help me quit smoking. For the first time in years, I was taking control of my situation and it felt liberating. The next thing I did was buy a juicer. Over the next few months, I migrated from pizzas and processed foods to a plant based diet. I started walking outside, then jogging.
My success built upon small achievements each day, always knowing that it was my decision to change my situation. It was a snowball effect: the healthier I became, the harder I pushed myself, knowing that the small results would all add up eventually to a big change. I knew that every little victory and goal I achieved built my confidence and made me feel accomplished.
Since successfully changing my habits, people always ask how they too can see results. Here are the three things I always tell them to keep in mind, the three things that truly changed my life:
1. Decide to make a change.
No one can change your life except for you. It has to be a decision that comes from within and for the right reasons. Decide to change because YOU want to, because YOU need to, because YOU know life will be better when you're healthy and happy.
2. Create some distance from the situation you're in.
If you're constantly thinking about losing weight or when your next meal will be or how terrible you feel, you'll mentally and emotionally weigh yourself down. Taking the time to step back from your situation will give you ample space to plan. To set goals you can follow, to list what you hope to achieve and why. When you know exactly what you're working toward and why you're doing it, your mind will be so much healthier and willing to participate.
3. Focus on attaining small goals — they soon add up and lead to your vision.
Like I said earlier, it's the small victories that count. Focus on one pound at a time, or one step at a time ... anything one at a time, and before you know it, you'll see that all of those "ones" have come to add up to a monumental win.
No matter what you hope to achieve, be it weight loss or something else, I'm sure you'll start to see results by applying these three approaches to your life. Your confidence will bloom as you start to see that you can reach goals you set for yourself.
Photo courtesy of the author