Its the end of November in 2008, US Army Basic Training and AIT (Advanced Individual Training) was coming to an end after a grueling 14 weeks. We were only a few days away from graduation and we couldn’t wait to get the hell out of Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Like many soldiers, I didn’t show up to Basic Training in the best physical condition. But, by the end of AIT, I had lost a little over 20 pounds. As a result, I could do a ton of push-ups, sit-ups and run two miles in under 16 minutes.
One of the main reasons new soldiers are able to get in such great shape during basic training is because of the rules against contraband. Contraband in Army Basic Training includes candy, tobacco products, non-prescription drugs, and alcoholic beverages. Letting go of these products allows soldiers to clear their minds and lower calorie intake.
Why Would You Want To Go Back?
One night, we were all standing outside in formation for roll call. Everyone was excited to be going home in a couple of days. One soldier from my platoon blurted out loudly for everyone to hear, “I can’t wait to get home, eat a Snickers, chew tobacco, and drink a cold beer!”
One of our Drill Sergeants heard him from the back of the formation and responded, “You just spent the last 3 months without that junk. For some of you, you’re in the best shape of your life! Why would you want to go back?“
That question, “Why would you want to go back?” stuck with me. Even though I did go back. Falling into my old habits almost immediately after leaving basic training and arriving at my new unit. That was only the beginning. I would continue to struggle with my weight throughout my time in the US Army.
I’d diet, lose a bunch of weight, only to gain it all back in a few months. It was a constant rollercoaster of bad eating then strict dieting.
This rollercoaster would continue even after leaving the Armed Forces. As I’ve gotten older, its not so easy to just drop 20 pounds. In 2014, when I moved to Baltimore, MD, I had lost control and really let myself go.
I remember weighing in at a whopping 256 pounds. Way more than I had ever weighed in my life. It was noticeable to all of my friends and family. I decided to make a change and after about 4 months I lost 42 pounds.
After losing the weight I was able to fit into my old clothes, I felt good about myself again and, of course, I went back to my old eating habits. As a result, I gained back every single pound and then some!
For the past two years, I did everything I could to try and lose the weight to no avail. Until July 2016, when I weighed in at a record high for me, 260 pounds. I didn’t like the way I looked, I disliked how I felt. To put it simply, I wasn’t happy. It was time for a serious change.
Stop Dieting and Change Your Lifestyle
On August 1, 2016 I made the decision to change my lifestyle for good. I am done with the temporary diets. I’m now on month 6 of my lifestyle change and I’ve lost 46 pounds. For the first time in the last two years I’m below 220 pounds. But, this time I’m not stopping there.
As a result of my new lifestyle, I’ve made the decision to give up sweets and alcohol for good. A majority of my meals now are healthy, I do some type of cardio daily, and I strength train a minimum of 3 times per week.
My family members are noticing my success and I was recently asked, “When do you plan to stop dieting?” My response now is, “I don’t do diets anymore. This is my lifestyle now.” Then I say, “Why would I ever want to go back?”
Don’t get stuck on a rollercoaster with your old habits like I did for so many years. Make the decision to live a healthier lifestyle and quit dieting.
Keep this in mind, diets are temporary and a change in lifestyle lasts forever.
One more thing, I never want to go back to the aches and pains I had when rolling out of bed. I’m never going back to feeling sluggish and having low energy. And, I’m never going back to thinking how I might be shortening my life as a result of the foods I’m choosing to put in my body.
Why would you ever want to go back?
What lifestyle changes have you made in the last year that have benefited your health? Comment below.
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