Friday, April 22, 2016

Big News! New Nick!

This is going to be a really long post. So for those who just want to skip to the end: I have gone through a rigorous self-imposed diet and exercise regime that has resulted in me losing about 35 lbs in the last four months. From 120kg (265lbs) to 105kg (231lbs) The goal was to be under 100kg but I realize that goal becomes harder and harder to attain as my workouts change from just intense cardio to now weight training and muscle workouts.


Anyhow, this post is about my weight loss and the journey it took to get to where I am today. With all great stories, there's a prologue. 

Growing up, I was taught to not walk in one of my dad's footsteps. To not be like him and gain a bunch of weight. His peak was 100kg as a freshmen in university, which he lost almost immediately. I unfortunately broke that peak by the time I was a sophomore or junior in highschool. From there I didn't stop. I justified my unhealthy lifestyle as: this is my body and my life. I wanted to enjoy my life in the way I deemed it. I didn't care about living healthily, or about working out. All I wanted to do was live a good and fruitful life.  

Fast forward to last year. I posted this super inspirational post about this weight loss regime that I was attempting. I was working out 4 times a week and actively building muscle mass. Yet, by the time I posted that, the motivation had died. At the lowest then, I was about 117kg. I felt ashamed any time someone brought up that post, because it felt like a personal failure for not continuing. I hated that as soon as I posted, I basically stopped.  This year, my peak weight flirted around 120kg (265lbs). At this point I've had numerous doctors appointments and blood tests all telling me the same thing. This life is unsustainable. In my last few blood tests, the biggest concern was a high ALT and AST, basically liver enzymes that said that I was developing a fatty liver and that if I continued down that path, I would develop liver disease within the next 20-30 years. Even with this diagnosis I didn't stop.  

Come this January, I'm at our Spring IV leadership retreat and we are studying a parable about how Jesus is the True Vine and how He prunes the vines to sustain the True Vine (John 15:1-11). In our way of responding, us leaders were asked: what can we do to prune our own vines. In that one moment. I committed. I publicly declared to my leaders that I wanted to lose weight and become healthier as a way of pruning my vine. The analogy I used was: "downsizing the mega church" (our body is a temple...etc). So right there and then, I committed.  It was such a spur of the moment commitment, but it stuck.  I started eating significantly less and eating more fruits and vegetables. I cut out sweet drinks completely. I started exercising 4 times a week. Soon I began running 4 miles every other day. 

It was rough. The first few weeks, I was cranky and annoyed. The caloric drop made me angry. I was eating significantly less than what my body was used to.  It made me tired. Made me easily irritable. I no longer could enjoy food like I used to. I no longer could drink sweet drinks and just live this wanton life of enjoyment. Working out was a chore. I hated it. It was a legitimate struggle. What was even harder, was I decided to keep this lifestyle change to myself and to not post about it or talk about it that much. I didn't want to make a big deal out of it like last time and lose motivation. Yet, week by week. It worked. Within the first month I had lost 15lbs. I didn't feel different, but friends started noticing the difference and noticing a slimmer Nick. I personally could hardly tell, but I persisted. Then something happened. 

I woke up one day with severe abdominal pain and drove myself to the emergency room. To make a long story short: I developed early onset appendicitis and required surgery. While my recovery time was quick, I wasn't allowed to exercise for a month. That really killed the momentum. For the longest time, I was stuck. For a whole month and a half I struggle at this one weight and hated myself for not making any progress.  When that month finally rolled around, I hit the ground running. Literally. 4 miles every other day, every other workout smashing personal records. 

You may ask, why are you posting this now? Have you reached your goal of under 100kg? The answer is no. In the last few weeks, I've come close, but I've also increased my weight training and so I've come to the conclusion that being under 100kg and gaining muscle mass will be a whole new challenge. No, I write this as a celebration for tomorrow will be a milestone for me. Tomorrow I will be attempting something I never thought I would ever do. Tomorrow I'm running my first race. 

Granted it's only a 5k, which is about 3 miles, but for me, this is huge. I never imagined this year that I would be "healthier" and a runner and just someone who would do these things. But yea, tomorrow, I will be running my first race. I'm super pumped.

So yea. That's my extremely long post. I'll try and update this as I continue working out and eating healthy and just continue this pursuit of a better lifestyle. I just want to thank some people who have really supported me in this journey. Specifically my friends, Lisa, Eileen, Maxine and Liz.

Lisa: You were the one who always reminded me about my diet. "Are you sure you want to eat that?" and other questions similar kept me in check early on. Seeing a grimace, meant I should reevaluate the choice. 
Eileen: You were the one who always listened. Whether it was: "this workout sucked and I hate my life. Can I just go back to eating fried chicken...etc" or "dang, that felt great. That run was amazing."  You were there listening to me and offering sage kinesiology advice that I promptly ignored. 
Maxine: You were the optimist. Every time I saw you, you would say: "Nick, you look good!" And every time I would deny it, until finally, one day I saw it too. I saw the change and the progress. You reminded me to celebrate no matter what. 
Liz: You, for some unknown crazy reason, decided to take up my offer about running early in the morning, and while I never had a workout buddy, just having someone to run with on the track was pretty cool. I'm glad we got to do it every other day!

While they weren't the only ones who were supportive, they really helped me along the journey. I don't know how successful this venture would've been without them. I'm extremely grateful for their care and I don't know how to repay them. 

So yea, that's what's happened in the last few months. Today, I'm 105kg (231lbs) and have felt amazing. These days, I run/weight train: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while I swim Tuesday's and Thursday's. I run about 3 miles and do a series of different weight exercises. The goal is still to be under 100kg, but I'm taking it step by step. 

P.S. I didn't really think abou taking before and after pictures, but this is what I have. Yellow is in January, Red is today.