How I Lost 200 Lbs.
diet and weight loss | sports & fitness
Richard used to weigh 435 pounds and has been obese all of his life. He's tried all sort of diets over the years and nothing seemed to work until 2009 when he did something a little bit different. In this talk, he discusses how he lost a lot of weight by making small changes to his diet and his lifestyle guided by reflective writing on his blog.
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Hello, my name’s Richard and I used to weigh 435 pounds, that’s 198 kg or 31 stone and that’s pretty big. And my talk today is about how I lost a lot of weight by making small changes to my diet and my lifestyle that have been guided by reflective writing on my blog.
This is a picture of me in 2008. So that’s me at my biggest, and that’s pretty much been me for my entire life. I was the fat kid at school who grew up to become an obese adult, and I’ve tried to lose weight or my life and I struggled a lot. I’ve been on all sorts of diets over the years and nothing seemed to have worked, until 2009 when I did something a little bit different.
So previously I was trying to make a big change straightaway. I knew what a really bad diet was and I had a terrible lifestyle and I knew what a healthy diet was and I knew where I wanted to be, but I couldn’t change. How do you make that transition when it’s a really big step?
So I was doing the traditional diet starts Monday, let’s change everything at once, and that didn’t work. So this time I just made a small change. I cut out takeaways and a week later I had lost five pounds, and then the next week I had lost another five pounds and I thought wow, this is pretty easy. I’m losing weight, and my diet is still terrible, but this feels easy. So that’s in contrast to that big change, which was really hard to maintain. This was something that I thought that I could keep going with. And that’s exactly what I did; I kept it up.
I made more small changes, I slowly evolved my diet and lifestyle over the following weeks and I continue to lose weight. 18 months later in that process, I had lost 215 pounds, and you can see from this graph, it was really consistent. This is the first year and there are only six or seven points where I gained weight. Whenever I gained weight in a week I immediately lost it the following week, so I had the ability to course correct straightaway and it was very consistent.
The most that I had ever lost in a week was just under eight pounds, so it wasn’t like massive amount every week, it was just very consistent. So my story and my process is tied to my blog; it’s all about my blog.
So I set up this blog, and it was semi-anonymous, which for me means I wasn’t trying to hide who I was, but I didn’t share this with anyone I knew. So, no friends, no family, this was just my thing and the Internet.
So every week I would post my weight and I would write a reflective diary entry, saying how this week has gone, was it a good week, what are the things that I struggled with, what are the things that I could do better. How could I change and what is the next step for me. This enabled me to develop self-awareness of what I was doing and it was like I took my head out of the sand and I kind of took responsibility in what was going on for my life.
But it was still difficult, it was still difficult to make behavior change even though when those changes are small. But, the key difference for what I was doing now was I was trying to make that easier. I was conscious of this, I was aware of this and I was seeing the bottlenecks and the roadblocks in this process, so I could come up with strategies that would make this easier for me.
So an example, I tried to become a runner when I weighed 320 pounds, and when you are a 320 pound man, and you start running you quickly realise that your body starts going all over the place. So my man boobs are shaking up and down, and my belly is kind of laughing at me like bounce, bounce, bounce and I hated it. I hated that feeling. Like physically it was uncomfortable, and I thought people were looking at me and that was just like a real turnoff for running.
But, I realise this, and through this reflectiveness process, I was kind of like, okay, what can I do, what can I do to change this to make this easier on myself. So this was an easy one, I bought a compression shirt, which just kind of sucks everything in and that made it comfortable for me to go running again.
And that’s just one example of dozens and dozens of personal strategies that I could implement because I was aware of where I was going wrong, what I was finding hard, what I was struggling with. So, it was kind of like a continuous process of making these behavior changes easier. So the easier a behavior change is made, the more likely it is that you are going to perform that action. The more often and you perform that action, the more likely it is that you are going to have the ultimate success of implementing habitual change, one that is no effort to maintain and that’s exactly how it happened for me.
So, over the weeks I was making these changes, and the changes might start out to be hard but I was kind of reflecting on this process, and implementing strategies that made it easier and over time, I redefined what normal meant for me.
So normal used to be eating loads of food, or just sitting on the couch or playing computer games. But normal now means going running, eating healthy, and being happy.
So I just want to re-That process again, so I set up a blog and that was my feedback loop and kind of accountability. I started to make small changes and I figured out where the resistance was with those behavior changes and then try to make it easier. Over time I practiced and practiced and practiced and I kept iterating around that loop and my wife just shifted into a new place.
This has been amazing for me, I have completely changed my life in every conceivable way, but I wish somebody had told me this sooner. I wish I hadn’t wasted 10 years being obese. I wish someone had told me that it’s not just about diet, it’s about diet change and that’s the real key message I want to get across.
I’m looking to take this forward a little bit. I would like to help other people go through a similar process, so I’m going to be coaching a group of people and kind of blogging about this as I do it. So this is another group of obese and overweight people. If you’re interested in following that I would love to get your advice and feedback.
Thanks a lot.