I would like to start off by telling you that I love to eat. This love for eating propelled me to my heaviest weight of 279 the summer before sophomore year. Currently a junior and weighing in at about 175, I can tell you that things never change and I still love to eat. Whether I am fat or skinny, the thought of food will always consume my life. The difference between then and now is where I focus these thoughts. Instead of feeding the fire and eating whenever and whatever, I focus my energy on being healthy. I will be honest with you, I think about food more at 175 than I ever did at 279; however, I now focus these thoughts on the preparation, timing, and health benefits of food rather than fulfillment of my cravings. The key to my success was taking the “diet” aspect out of the process, and instead making it a transition to a healthy lifestyle.

There are three aspects to getting healthy: eating well, lifting weights, and doing cardio. The first mistake people make is trying to incorporate all three at once. Before I got into the physical aspects of getting healthy I wanted to start eating right. I consider the best approach to be a well balanced, low fat diet. The only way to truly know what you’re eating and the amount of calories you are consuming is by doing your own food shopping. You cannot always trust restaurants, for you may think you’re eating a healthy turkey and cheese sandwich, but you fail to realize that the bread itself is 500 calories coupled with the fact your sandwich is saturated in excess butter and salt.

As for the actual consumption, I recommend starting out with a 2,000 calorie diet for the first few days. By the end of two weeks, slowly but surely work yourself down to a 1,500 calorie diet. This may seem like a small number of calories, but by spreading your calorie intake over 5-6 meals a day you will learn to control your appetite as well as increase your metabolism. After you have sustained a 1,500 calorie per day intake, it is time to incorporate weight lifting and cardio.

Start off slow again: begin lifting weights 3-4 days a week with cardio on your off days. Gradually increase your weight lifting and cardio over the next two months to 5-6 days a week each. The biggest aspect in succeeding in the gym is to get a dedicated partner. If you are able to find somebody who is committed to weight lifting it will make it much easier to get the gym every day. Personally I found a partner who was fairly new to weightlifting. This made it very interesting for me because I was able to train my friend and at the same time develop a dedicated partner. I broke my workouts into three days: 1) Chest, Biceps, Triceps 2) Shoulders, 3) Back and Legs. My strategy was three days of lifting in a row followed by a day off. During each work out I would also incorporate abs and my cardio for that day.

I recommend cardio in three different facets: stationary bike, elliptical, or running. At 279 pounds, I obviously had no business running, so I started off with the stationary bike. For me, the stationary bike is extremely boring, so I decided that I would need entertainment for this work. I decided to buy a $ 100 dollar stationary bike online. Although it was a piece of shit, it did the trick. For my entertainment, I purchased the complete series of the Sopranos with 70-90 hour long episodes I could ride to. Even when the show keeps getting better, you have to force yourself to only watch the show for bike riding material, not personal entertainment! However, my favorite thing to ride the stationary bike to is sports. Riding to sports makes for a great ride, and combing all this entertainment allowed me to stretch the Sopranos series for four months.

When I got to about 220 pounds I added in different cardio measures that I was now able to do. The elliptical was great because it took less time than the bike to burn the same amount of calories, and running was the best because it was always the most rewarding after. Today, I primarily run about 2 miles a day, and on Saturday and Sunday I bike to football. However during your transition I recommend either 45 minutes on the stationary bike, 30 minutes on the elliptical, or a 2-3 mile run.

I was able to lose 100 pound in 10 months starting the summer before my sophomore year and ending in May of that year. I was able to do this all without giving up drinking or having fun with my friends. In the beginning your friends get a little annoyed with your eating requests, but after they see your dedication they really adapt to you. People will start asking if they can work out with you, and your friends who are getting fatter as you shrivel up will ask your secrets. If you stick to the 1,500 calorie diet and put the time in with weight lifting and cardio 5-6 times a week you will be able to lose weight quickly why’ll drinking two nights a week with your buddies. What I noticed is that after a weekend of drinking, my metabolism would speed up and I would lose more weight in the next few days. Now if you do not drink, I recommend that you eat an extra 500-600 calories one night a week to give your metabolism a jolt. If you drink, you are already getting those extra calories that will jolt your metabolism.

After having finally gotten to my goal weight, I have upped my calories to about 1,800-2,000 a day while lifting and doing cardio at the same clip. At this point I have really worked on toning and chiseling out my body. No matter how hard you work out in the gym, to truly get cut you must eat healthy. If your goal is to get cut or just to get healthy, eating right is the most important aspect of your endeavor.

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