9 February 2016

My weight loss journey - The Middle

When I last left off, I had managed to lose enough weight to utilise the Wii Fit and was looking at getting back into Martial Arts. If you require a refresher please click here.

From past experience in Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Shorin Ryu Karate and medieval weapons fighting I knew what I was looking for in a new gym. I didn't want high impact as I had several back and knee issues. Thankfully I had a best friend that trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and we spent time on the carpeted floor or back yard having a wrestle and going through techniques. Side note, don't do BJJ on carpet, learn from my stupidity.
At the time my friend's coach had moved to another city and I had one choice of training centre. It had mixed reviews from people I spoke with but I didn't care as I wanted to train in BJJ. I signed up to my only option and began classes. Within two weeks I knew this was the sport for me and upped my attendance from two classes a week to all five that were on offer.

Infinite MMA logo
Through this I lost a further 10kg and was steadily progressing in BJJ. I was still 140kg but had a vastly improved stamina from just a year before. Through a chance conversation with a more senior student I found myself renewing a connection with John Campbell. Currently he is the owner and head coach at Infinite MMA but at the time he was teaching select students out of his shed. I knew John from Tae Kwon Do years earlier and we crossed paths a few times in the intervening years, but it wasn't until the midpoint of my journey that we established a strong friendship.

The old adage that when the pupil is ready, the master will appear applied directly to my meeting with John. I was gaining control of my health and thirsted for BJJ knowledge, and from every source I had even spoken to in the sport, John was The Guy to see. I was in the correct mindset for exploding my knowledge and John helped in every way.

I received advice not only on techniques, but how to stretch, how to train without injury, how to warm up and down again, eating tips and establishing a training mentality. Without even knowing what I was looking for, I found exactly what I needed.

John helped me establish the BJJ way of life and I dropped a further 10kg in a few months. I had changed from training every day at the old gym, to once a week with John due to the travel time and work. But I gained more from that one 2 hour session that I did from five 1 hour sessions at the old gym. I have nothing against my former gym however it wasn't a good fit for me. From being a life long lazy addict I needed a push to train hard and John provided that in spades.

I reached a new plateau in my weight loss again not long after that. There were several reasons I kept losing momentum in eating right. There were always snacks in the house such as chocolate, chips or ice cream. I figured one can of Coke is OK, and it slowly crept into two or three. I remember thinking that since I was over my daily food budget I may as well eat more of the bad stuff so it wasn't there tomorrow to tempt me. My weekly gaming session with the guys included copious junk food and I wanted my share, I could always train harder later. Through all of this I put weight back on, but thankfully it was only 6kgs. On balance, losing 45kg and putting 6kg back was a win, but I saw it as a failure.

The backslide lasted about 10 months. I would tell myself, starting tomorrow I'll get back to staying on points budget. I would do well for the day when at work, but blow it at night when at home. I'd increase that to sticking on target for a week and blowing it at my weekly games session. I'd lose 10kg then gain 12kg. I struggled constantly with temptation and hated myself for failing.

I couldn't see the good I had achieved and only focussed on the negative. It is still something I struggle with but the effects are less severe. This is an important area to get right. If your mindset is negative you will look for excuses to fail. Positive reinforcement is a big deal for a reason. Celebrate your victories and review your failures so you can learn from them. Don't forget to also review how you succeeded and emulate it in the future. Check out my posts in Goals & Motivation for more details.

Dan Backslide is wrong
Don't listen to Dan Backslide's advice
My backslide ended within weeks of John opening the doors of Infinite MMA. Instead of travelling 80 mins each way for training, I now had access to a gym every day again. The extra exercise helped
focus my efforts. I needed energy to continue training at a high level and my current diet didn't allow it. With my previous time training under John I was propelled into a senior role at the gym. I was now a model for others to look to for guidance, and I wasn't about to let John's business falter because of my fat arse.

My determination fuelled a drop of a further 38kg in 18 months, dropping me to 99.7kg for the first time since I was a teenager. My weight loss journey had thus far taken about five years and I dropped 75kg. My weight would begin slowly increasing over the next few years but I'll get to that next time. For now I'll sum up with some lessons:

  • You never know the form your mentor and corner man will take. Keep an active lookout
  • Don't feel failure if you gain some weight back. It will come off again as you already know the blueprint to getting rid of it
  • Understand weight loss takes time. You spent your entire life putting the weight on. It won't be removed in only a few months
  • Increase your activity levels by finding a sport you love. Find a coach that understands your requirements and can help shape you into your ultimate form
  • Just one Coke or Tim Tam is never enough. Remove the temptation by not having junk food in the house. Walk down the supermarket isle with all the chocolate goodies. Actively say No and shake your head as you see each of your favourite treats
  • A good substitute for a chocolate treat is a muesli bar. Just ensure there aren't any choc-chips. Try the health food isle for the better muesli alternatives
  • Never stop, just pause. When you lose a good chunk of weight and feel stressed, take a break. Set an upper limit of weight gain. So if you dropped 30kg to 115kg and feel at a plateau, allow yourself to increase up to 122.5kg. When you hit that you know its time to start reducing again. This can give you a much needed break from constant weight loss. It should take a month or more to gain that, which is a body holiday and ample time to de-stress
  • Find others earlier in their journey you can help. You have experience at losing weight and have been in their shoes. You got past it, help guide them to your shore and you'll see just how far you have come

Next time I'll catch up to the present and reveal where I am now and what my current goals are. Hope to see you in the comments.

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