As a high school athlete, I let myself believe that eating junk food was OK. I would eat anything and everything from whole boxes of pizza to platters of Chinese food. And as the pounds crept up on me, starting in my sophomore year, I just kept saying to myself, “I need to be this big to play football.” I knew I was gaining weight, and everyone around me noticed too, but I would lie and say I only put on a couple pounds.
The excuses got out of control
I would try to lose weight by cutting out certain foods and it worked… sometimes. I would lose 20 pounds, then gain it right back with a couple additional pounds. I continued this cycle throughout high school and into college. It wasn’t until I finally decided to step on a scale, after not weighing myself for a year, that I realized I gained the sophomore 60 instead of the freshman 15: I went from 225 to 285.
In January, 2019, the second semester of my sophomore year, I reached my heaviest weight: 291. But it wasn’t just the weight, I couldn’t run for more than a minute without gasping for air. I was miserable. I stopped looking in mirrors because all I would see is the weight. I felt judged by everyone.
Even after feeling all those terrible things, I continued to eat an unhealthy diet. It was like I was addicted to junk food. But I didn’t want to feel the way I felt anymore. I wanted to look in the mirror again and be happy. So, I knew I had to make a change, but I didn’t know how.
So I turned to my older brother who was already a gym-goer. He asked if I would try this no-sugar diet with him to see if we both could drop a couple pounds. (I needed it more though!). I agreed to cut out high-calorie drinks and processed food for one month.
I bought healthy foods in bulk
I started to see results and was motivated to do more. I researched how to cut body fat, and it turned out this is done “in the kitchen.” When I learned this, my whole diet changed drastically. I ate only chicken or beef, rice, and veggies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and drank over a gallon of water a day.
In order to keep up with my new diet, I had to start buying foods in bulk. I prepped meals for the following week, which sounds like a lot at first, but you get used to it. I stopped eating out as much because it’s hard to find the right foods in most restaurants. Luckily, there are so many ways to prepare chicken with rice and veggies. If you’re on a budget like me, know that a rotisserie chicken can go a long way.
I made gym-going a routine
I never had a problem going to the gym, but when I got there, I wouldn’t do any real exercises. My friends and I would just compete on who could bench press the most.
I joined my brother’s gym and we started going six days a week, working two muscle groups a day. (For example, chest and triceps, back and biceps, and legs and shoulders.) Sundays were for recovery (light stretching and cardio). I picked a reasonable time during the day that worked around my schedule. This way I could gradually add going to the gym to my daily routine, and when it becomes a routine it tends to stick. The process was grueling but after the first month I began to see significant results, which motivated me to do more.
Success is all about commitment
Within three months, I dropped 30 pounds. Then, I had to slow down for a bit because I was dropping weight too fast, and in order to play on the defensive line at my college I had to be over a certain weight. I lost a total amount of 53 pounds over the course of a year, bringing me to 238. I am more than satisfied with not only how I look, but how I feel. I’ve never felt this good and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
I learned through football that consistency and hard work will always guarantee a chance of you succeeding in whatever you want to do in life. You’re promised nothing in this world but in order to achieve your goals you must work hard. My advice to anyone getting started is don’t be afraid to fail and don’t ever quit. Don’t listen to outside noises, either. Stay dedicated and stay focused and I guarantee you will see great results.