Imagine this - you walk into apartment #213, sit down on the couch, and the first thing that catches your eye is two $50 bills taped to the wall. This was the bet that started it all…
Growing up, I tried every single fad diet on the market: Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Slimfast, Atkins, South Beach, you name it, I tried it. I always experienced initial successes, but I would either plateau or slowly lose interest, give up and gain back any weight I had taken off.
Going back to college after my winter break in 2007, I came equipped with a massive box of Nutrisystem prepared meals and a sense of determination: I decided this was finally the time I was going to take it all off! Like many college students, I felt as though my weight was something holding me back from living my best life. In particular, I felt my weight was getting in the way of my dating life -- everyone “liked” me as a friend but there were limited feelings beyond that from the opposite sex. 11 years later and happily married to my amazing wife, I can look back and laugh on the thoughts going through my mind then.
When I walked into the apartment in January 2007 with my box of Nutrisystem in tote, my college roommate (who would later be my best man at my wedding) looked at me, chuckled and shook his head. He seemed to doubt that I actually had the follow through and determination to handle this and see this through to the very end. This time was different though, I was tired of being the “nice guy” and tired of being overlooked by people. Over a beer later that night I got so annoyed with him doubting my follow through that we made a bet of $50 each - that I would stick to the plan perfectly for 30 days. It took me a few hours to realize this meant no “cheat” meals and definitely NO ALCOHOL either, 100% just the Nutrisystem pre-made meals and foods that were part of the plan like fruit and vegetables.
For those first 30 days, I didn’t die, I certainly survived the challenge. It was tough not drinking an ounce of alcohol, it was challenging and kind of awkward packing a cooler to go see the groundhog in Punxsutawney PA, and it was not terribly exciting being the DD for every single party during that month. I still managed to have a life and the weight flew off - 30 pounds in 30 days.
I was feeling better, more confident, and celebrated with a massive burger, pizza and fries - just kidding!! This time instead of celebrating with junk food, I bought a shiny new pair of workout headphones. One thing led to the next with all this momentum and I began exercising - 30 mins of running (ok, fine, jogging), followed by 30 mins of weights. If I had a big meal or drank anything, I was on the elliptical the next morning “sweating it all out”.
Over the next 18 months, I continued to shed more weight and I transitioned off of Nutrisystem. I started cooking for myself and focusing on vegetables and lean protein. Running made its way into my life as a form of exercise and an outlet. I slowly began running 5ks and 10ks. By the time I graduated college, I had lost approximately 190 pounds and was ready to conquer life with my degree in Finance!
I tell this as one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my life, not because I lost 190 pounds or didn’t drink for 30 days, but because I did all of this while at college where temptation of junk food and alcohol seemed to be everywhere and there wasn’t anyone asking me if I wanted to meet up at the gym then grab a salad afterwards. Without absolute focus and determination (although the $50 bet definitely helped!), this would not have been possible. This is why it is so important to find the real reason, find your “why”, and remember that everyday. I found my why: it lied in looking how I felt on the inside, not how I was perceived on the outside. I kept thinking about that and the effect it had changed my life.
What in your life have you been meaning to change? What is your why?
Until next time…. Catch me in the comments with topics you’d like to hear me talk about!