Hey there. Call me “Yossif.” Have we met yet?
So do you want to hear a story about my weight loss journey? OK, cool.
My story is one of ups and downs, failures and successes, despair and hope. If nothing else, I hope it might provide some people with inspiration.
I was the proverbial fat kid in school. I’ve been big for most of my life. I was more or less raised on McDonald’s food. I still remember getting, on average, 3 big macs and 2 large fries and eating it all in one sitting. Yet, I was ALWAYS hungry. It wasn’t just a rumbling stomach, I often felt like I was starving. I also spent most of my time playing video games. I spent hours upon hours at a time sitting there staring at a screen. Eating, sitting around doing nothing, getting fat . . . Yep, that was the life of young Yossif.
As a kid, I always hated Physical Education (PE) class. I remember quite distinctly the horrific day that came twice a year, every year, when we had to run the “Mile.” Oh god, it was so embarrassing. I always, always, ALWAYS finished in the last 10%. You know the last 10% type: the fat kids and the kids who didn’t give a schyt. I was both. Failure is the destiny of the lazy fat kid. I had all that stored energy sitting on my frame, but alas, had no idea how to use it. Obviously, a steady diet of McDonald’s didn’t help either.
I remember really trying one year, just to see if I could really push myself to succeed. (Or, rather, to try to prove to myself that I was not such an utter failure.) I went through periods of actual running, losing my breath, getting side stitches, and being forced by my body to walk. Ultimately, I was able to shave maybe a few minutes off my time. When I finally finished, after pushing myself to actually RUN to the goal, I was rewarded with an overwhelming shortness of breath, shame, and humiliation. I literally collapsed to the ground, gasping for air.
I figured it would always be like this.
Along the same lines, I always feared the physicals. (As in, having to show our physical prowess using various tests.) My most hated one was the pull-up bar. Virtually everyone, even the skinny-arse little girls could do at least one. Just a single pull-up. Not poor little fat Yossif. Nope. I could not do even ONE. Struggle as I might, I could at best do half of one. No matter how much grunting and groaning and struggling I did, I was simply too weak and too heavy. This trend continued for most of my young life: Back to videogames and overeating fast food. I ballooned to 300 pounds.
So goes the story of my life, eh? Nope.
As of recently, I can do 15+ pull-ups almost effortlessly. I also enjoy running now, even 5K’s are fun. Yes, you read that right. FUN! (How the hell is that even possible?!) I went from being the fattest kid in elementary school at 200+ lbs to being the sexy, lean, athletic bastard I am today. I once had no desires other than to eat and play video games all day. Now I actually ENJOY exercise! WTF?
I was ignorant of all this knowledge that now seems obvious to me. I know there are millions of people out there who would kill to know what I know. I had to get to this point the old-fashioned way: through research, experimentation, failure, and eventually success. It took me years to get here. In my case, I had to literally reprogram my brain to get to where I am today. I should also say that without experiencing the worst day of my life, or as I call it, “The Catalyst,” I wouldn’t have been able to push myself to get to this point. I’ll write about that someday. Thanks to that event, my desire to reach a goal and succeed overrode my desire to be a lazy little schyt. I realized that life is too damn short.
What have I learned so far?
Disillusioned by the popular ideas surrounding “healthy eating,” I began to search for alternatives. My first exposure to a new way of thinking was the Paleolithic Diet. The idea of eating to compliment your ancient genes immediately made sense to me. It is obvious that we are meant to eat certain foods for optimum health benefits! The modern-day bastardization of our foods are slowly poisoning us and making us fat and unhealthy. The concept of Paleo eating revolutionized my approach to food. By eating Paleo, I suddenly had more focus and mental clarity, as well as a slimmer waistline. It was an excellent starting point.
After a while, I discovered the wonderful ketogenic diet. It was exactly what I was looking for. The keto diet helped me understand how a person can directly attack those fat stores without having to run on a treadmill for an hour. Not only that, but it was a huge stepping stone that allowed me to undo some of the damage of all that crappy food I ate for years. One of my favorite effects of keto was a drastically reduced appetite. I would prepare a meal and then when I sat down to eat it, I suddenly was not hungry anymore! Also, bacon can be good for you. Seriously.
What I consider to be my biggest discovery so far is intermittent fasting or “IF.” Fasting isn’t just for hippies and holymen, and it isn’t anorexia. Anyone can do it. I just don’t feel hungry most of the time, so I fast most of the day. Doesn’t it make sense to eat only when you’re hungry? It is amazing how alien that concept is to modern Americans. We technically fast every night when we sleep. I just go longer than most people. I can now easily fast for most of the day, just because I feel like it. It’s a great feeling! There is no sense of deprivation whatsoever once you get used to it. It just feels natural to me. My body is using my natural stored fat for energy so I don’t feel hungry.
During the process of learning about IF, I also stumbled upon my most respected health blog, Leangains. Martin Berkhan on of the few who truly “talks the talk and walks the walk.” He taught me the fundamentals of nutrition and exercise, no bullshyt allowed. I became absorbed in his methods, and I remember thinking, “So you’re telling me I can build muscle and lose fat at the same time? While eating the foods I love? Holy schit!”
On the most recent part of my journey, I have learned more about the immune system and gut flora. I am convinced that both of these impact body weight, mental clarity, and overall well-being. It is obvious to me that the immune system is a grossly underestimated body-function that everyone should utilize to their advantage. The Weston A. Price Foundation has good information on all that. One of the mainstays of their dietary philosophy is to include plenty of fermented foods (kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and other lacto-fermented vegetables, etc.) in the diet. They’re easy to make and delicious. I rarely ever get sick thanks to these little guys protecting me.
Where do I go from here?
So here I am now, 120 pounds lighter. I am stronger, wiser, and happier. I plan to continue losing fat and build more muscles. More importantly, I want to spread the knowledge that’s helped me so much. I want to give guidance to other people with similar goals. If I can help improve one life, the life of someone who wants to change but doesn’t know where to start, I can die happy. If you want to change your life, let me help. I’ve spent years researching how to help people and now I need to put my knowledge to the test.
Achieving any life goal is never as simple as taking a magical pill.
The sooner you realize and accept this, the better. You cannot expect magic overnight, otherwise you will fail over and over. You will go through periods where everything seems hopeless. Hard work, knowledge, and perseverance are the only ways to get to your goal. I know how to be successful and I want to help you.
The question is, are you just going to continue giving up and wondering “what could have been?” Or are you going to take the first steps to a better life? True happiness and fulfillment cannot be stumbled upon. You have to fight for it! There’s only one person who can help you reach your goals in life, and that’s you. You want something done? You gotta do it yourself. You’ll find that this applies to all aspects of life. Get your schyt together or give up, there is no middle ground. Start today.
We’re all in this together.
“There is no satisfaction that can compare with looking back across the years and finding you’ve grown in self-control, judgment, generosity, and unselfishness.”