They say that if you can keep the weight off for over three years, you will likely succeed. I remember when we hit the three year mark, Sherry and I had a very muted celebration that went something like this:
Me: “Hey, Sherry, you know we hit three years with the weight loss, right?”
Sherry: “That sounds about right.”
Me: “They say that if you keep the weight off for three years, you’re more likely to be able to keep it off.”
Sherry: “That’s what I hear.”
Really exciting, right? There was no huge cheat meal, no alcoholic toasts, or anything like that. It was literally just a conversation next to our coffee maker in the kitchen.
There are a few points I’m trying to make. First, it’s that for Sherry and me, Whole30, Paleo, and exercise have worked. We dedicated ourselves to a permanent lifestyle change which has led us to far better health. Second, it’s that these milestones are important, but they are not finish lines. They are nothing more than mile markers on a long road.
This health journey is just that; a journey. I don’t know when it ends (and hopefully not for a long time!), but the entire time I’m on it, I’ll be eating well and getting my exercise in. At this point in my life, it’s not something that I just like to do; it’s something I need to do.
I enjoy feeling physically able to handle anything that life throws at me. This past weekend, for example, I needed to cut fire wood into smaller pieces. I pulled the axe out of the back of the 4Runner and chopped it all up. I joked with Sherry that I was going to be sore the next morning, but guess what? I didn’t have the slightest hint of soreness. All that weightlifting and PT I’ve been doing prepared me for the wood chopping and I was able to get it done without any pain or soreness afterward. Even my hands didn’t get blistered due to the weightlifting I do without gloves.
As for the lower weight, it is much easier climbing up the ladder to our rooftop tent, and for me to climb the stairs in our house. It goes without saying that with me being in the National Guard, I need to be able to do things like pass the Army Combat Fitness Test and to do road marches (carrying a 48 lbs pack, a rifle, and wearing a helmet) in boots. Of course, not everyone at my age needs to be able to do these things, but I do, so I keep working hard at my fitness.
Will I continue my fitness after I leave the military? Absolutely! The benefits far outweighs the time I put into exercise. Once I got into shape, exercise becomes more of a time investment than anything else, as the post-exercise pain becomes nothing more than a comfortable feeling of knowing I am staying fit. My muscles feel it, but it’s not pain. It’s a warmth; that’s the best way I can describe it.
So, it’s been over five years that we started the new lifestyle, and here we are. To say that my life has changed for the better is an understatement, and I honestly don’t recognize myself in old pictures anymore. I look and feel so much healthier now, and even my medical exams would agree with that; I have fewer health problems now than I did 10 years ago!
Just remember: weight loss happens in the kitchen and fitness happens in the gym. Don’t confuse losing weight with fitness. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. I lost 130 lbs without a single drop of sweat without suffering or starving. I used no surgical procedures, powders, pills, or paid plans. It was just a change in my diet for a year followed by adding gradual exercise. Feel free to message or email me if you have questions, need help, or want some motivation. I’m happy to answer!