I feel great.
Long gone are the digestive issues, chest pains, general lethargic feeling, and shortness of breath I would have from just walking up a flight of steps. There is no longer a need to ask the flight attendant for an “extender” when boarding a plane… did you know there is such a thing?
Gone also are the nerves and mini panic attacks I’d have when I’d meet people at a restaurant and find them sitting at a booth rather than a table. I can’t speak for anyone who is or has been overweight, but these moments where I was uncomfortable or embarrassed were worse than any of the physical issues.
An email sent to the wrong address changes everything
Last January I met with a lady about selling her home. I arrived, and she greeted me at the door and invited me in. The kitchen table she would have me sit at to discuss her needs was old and not well built. The chairs were wood, lightweight, aged, and didn’t look like they would hold me up. On that day, I weighed 365 pounds.
I was very nervous and uncomfortable when approaching my seat and made sure to straddle it in a manner that would distribute my weight as evenly as possible. Fortunately for me, the chair sat strong and nothing broke.
I listed her home that day and was proud to represent her. Days later, an email she meant to send to her sister arrived in my inbox instead. She described her encounter with me much how I would have expected her to, except for this:
He is a really nice young man but very fat and overweight. This concerns me because if he can’t be disciplined enough to take care of himself, how can I trust him to take care of the sale of my home?”
I was heartbroken by what I read. I had really connected with this person the day we met and although I know she didn’t write the email with the intention of hurting me, it did.
That was the day I decided I would never feel that way again.
11 lessons that have helped me crush my goal
So what would I do this time that would be different than every other time before? How about everything.
On Feb. 1st of this year, I weighed in at 365 pounds. I was embarrassed and living with insecurities. Today, I weigh 250 pounds. I am alive, full of energy, and on my way to my goal of weighing 230 pounds by Jan. 16, 2018. Here are some of the things I’ve learned along the way.
1. What and why?
You have to get absolute clarity around what you want to accomplish, and it has to be impactful. We all have things we want—a nice home, financial security, an exotic vacation. I’ve found that to hit a huge goal you have to look deep and be specific. Ideally, you create an emotional attachment to it. The brief story I shared above helped set the stage for me to define my goal. Dig deep, focus, let go of insecurities, and set that goal. #thewhy
2. Do the crime, do the time.
Remember you didn’t wake up overweight, you got there by making choices. Remember when you ate half of that extra large combination pizza? Or took down four or five See’s candies, and the animal style Double-Double? Unfortunately, the calories don’t come off as quickly as they come in. Get your head around the fact that this is a marathon not a sprint. #marathon
3. Stop cheating.
You can’t allow yourself to do it—not even once. I’ve fought with my weight for several years now and no matter what diet I was on, working out or not, I have always allowed myself little cheats. Maybe it’s the food or drink at a special occasion or holiday party, maybe it’s the tiny candies at the office receptionist desk, or in my case, my daughter’s amazing homemade chocolate chip cookies.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve walked through the kitchen and took one just cookie with the thought that one didn’t really make a difference. Well guess what? One cookie does make a difference. By itself, is it the reason I failed in all my previous attempts to shed the weight? No. Though It did contribute to the failure, for sure. I didn’t learn this lesson until about five months ago but as soon as I did, the rate in which I lost the weight increased. #sugarispoison
4. Let everyone know.
Scoreboarding and accountability. My friend and coach Tom Ferry speaks to these ideas often. In fact, they are two parts of his 5 Disciplines of Execution, a concept I follow that has led to me having my best professional year ever in 2016, and crushing my weight loss goal in 2017.
The concepts are simple. First, put your goal up in front of yourself and everyone around you. I put mine up in my office on a large wall that everyone walks past daily. Next, tell everyone what you are trying to achieve and why.
On Aug. 11 of this year, Tom challenged me to get down to 230 pounds by Jan. 16, 2018, and he did it live, on stage in front of 20,000+ people. He asked that I commit to the goal right there in front of everyone. At the time, I was 295 pounds (down 70 pounds from February). An additional 65 pounds to lose in 4.5 months? Eek!
I’m not one to back down from a challenge, certainly not in front of 20,000 of my peers, so I accepted. Many people felt he was out of place to put me on the spot in front of so many people. I was never upset with him because I knew he was coming from a place of love and that he knew that if I put all of the people there in my circle of accountability, I would never let them all down. #accountability
5. You gotta F’n want it.
I mean really want it. You gotta want it deep down in your core. Losing a human body worth of weight is not easy. To paraphrase one of my favorite motivational speakers, Dr. Eric Thomas, who has said often during his story of “The Guru”: You have to want it as bad as you would want to breathe if you were being held underwater and drowning. Imagine that, being held down under water by an assailant and gasping for air. Live or die… it’s that moment! Do you want to live? Do you want it that bad? If you want something that bad, anything is possible! #breathe
6. Be willing to own it.
Stop being willing to accept that you can just try again tomorrow. If you fail one day then yes, please get back on your plan the very next moment (don’t wait a day or till Monday or after Christmas), and make it happen but don’t allow yourself to accept you or anyone saying, “It’s okay, you can just start again tomorrow.” Living with the mindset that it is okay to “try again tomorrow” is a losing one that won’t get you anywhere. #growthmindset
7. Time matters.
You’re busy, I get it. No, truly I do—you should see my calendar. Busy is an excuse for people who don’t want it bad enough (see #5). We all have the same 24 hours. Are you willing to use up as many hours as needed to get what you want? My weekdays begin at 4 a.m. and end at about 9:30 p.m., and I use every minute with purpose. What can you do in 15 minutes? Can you go for a walk? A 15-minute walk one day won’t do much for you, but a 15-minute walk every day adds up to a whole lot of calories over the course of a year. #1440minutes
8. Calendar it.
Tom Ferry has preached that, “If it’s not on your calendar, it doesn’t exist” for as long as I can remember and there is a reason for that—it works. This is one of those life rules I really wish I had learned several years ago. I used to put “go to the gym” on my calendar or my to-do list each day. Did I go? Yes, sometimes I did, but mostly I didn’t.
Later I learned to live by my calendar and, like magic, my life changed. Commit to what you are going to do and put it on the calendar with the specific details—location, start time, stop time—and make it non-negotiable. Be only where your calendar says you will be. #schedule
9. Rise and shine.
A powerful morning routine is incredibly important and is the catalyst to me having a great day. My morning begins with a glass of water and a cup of coffee. I read, I reflect, I remind myself why I’m up, what my goals are and why. Then I call into The 5am Club.
The 5am Club is a group of over 1000 entrepreneurs and high-achievers that dial into one number each weekday morning at 5 a.m. to hear a five-minute story or tale given by my friend, mentor and founder Sharran Srivatsaa, that inspires and gives reason to pause. Joining this group was a real game-changer for me (I’ve even been able to present my ideas during a call!). Prior to joining, my morning routine was somewhat zombie-like—it was me roaming around the house just going through the motions until I made it to the gym. Now my day begins inspired and full of energy. I actually go to sleep thinking about how excited I am for tomorrow. #5amclub
10. Haters are fuel.
I cannot count how many people have pulled me aside this year to tell me that my goal was impossible and too big. That I should choose a more realistic number. That losing 135 pounds in 11 months can’t be done. I had someone approach me just a few days ago that knew how much I have lost to date and how much more I had to go, and still insisted that I needed to get my head around the idea that I won’t hit my goal. “Give up and enjoy the evening,” she said. “Don’t be too hard on yourself when you don’t make it.”
Are you kidding me? Who does that? Who tells another person they can’t accomplish something and to just quit? Ugh, certainly not me! I celebrate these people, though. Seriously, I appreciate that they are around. Them telling me I can’t do something really lights a fire inside me to prove I can. Do you get motivated when others tell you that you can’t accomplish something? #youcandoallthings
11. Are you trending?
I weigh in each morning and my scale connects to my Fitbit app and records the weight for me. I know some people believe it is a bad idea to weigh in every day, but for me it worked. I tried throwing away my scale but it drove me crazy not knowing where I was, and at the end of a month without it, I had actually gained over 10 pounds.
I’m a firm believer that when you track and measure, you can improve. That said, you need to be prepared for the ups and downs that come with tracking your weight every day. Our bodies are smart—they adapt to what we put them through. Sometimes the body holds on to water or we don’t digest as frequently as we should or maybe we ate a bit more protein and worked with heavier weights and gained some muscle. *shrug*
All kinds of weirdness can happen when you are trying to lose a lot of weight. As a result, sometimes the scale goes the wrong direction. Don’t freak out when this happens, instead keep your focus on those activities you know are in line with your goal, and keep going. If you need an extra reminder, take a look at the overall weight loss trend line. If it has continued to move in the right direction (despite the occasional spike), you are doing fine. #trending
If you’ve read this far… thank you! I hope I have inspired and given you some tips to help you achieve your own goals. I’ve learned far more than what I’ve listed above—maybe I’ll write about the others in the future. For now, I want to end this by taking a few lines to thank my trainer, Felix Gonzalez, and his assistant trainer, Ralphy Ortega.
Felix owns Fitness Grind and Performance. He offers private and semi-private training and is very knowledgeable about nutrition and different styles of athletic training. He has worked through my injuries and helped discover the metabolic damage I created from years and years of yo-yo dieting. He isn’t your average trainer—he is a beast that will push a person to their limits. Exactly what I need.
And also, a shout out to RIDE54 owners Melissa and Layne Lev, and all the instructors that push me each and every evening to do more even when my legs say no. RIDE54 is a cycling/spin studio that opened their doors when I began my journey in February. I go at least three evenings a week and every Saturday morning. Gotta get that cardio in!
Thanks again for reading. If you want to know more about any of the above 11 lessons, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.