Saturday, April 18, 2015


 A couple of weeks ago, I posted the question online, “What are some things that you (the readers) want to know about weight loss?” I got some really great responses so I thought it would be a good idea to set up this blog as a Q&A and answer some of the questions that I got.

Q: How much do you eat on cheat days without it being too much?

A: The good thing about cheat days is that there isn’t really a set limit on what you’re allowed to eat. With that being said, the best rule of thumb is to not overdo it. My diet plan consists of eating clean 6 days a week so I can have my one cheat day. If too much bad food is eaten on the cheat day, it can be way more difficult to come back to clean eating because you still want more of the bad stuff...or good stuff depending on how you look at it ;) What I usually do is snack throughout the day on things I like but make sure to give myself one big meal. As long as I get my cheat meal out of the way, the light snacking throughout the day helps carry me through without over-consuming junk.

Q: What kind of food did you eat during weight loss? How hard was it to drop junk food?

A: There are a few things that I really enjoyed eating during weight loss. One of the main things was brown rice and chicken. It’s so easy to make and tastes really good. Especially when you throw in some hot sauce and BBQ sauce. The main thing to look for in BBQ sauce is sugar free because most sauces are packed with sugar. The most consistent thing was always water, even now. Drinking only water does so much good for your body and, after a while, it just becomes the only thing you really crave. As far as dropping junk food goes, it was really hard to give it up. But, knowing why I was dropping it was enough motivation to keep me going because I knew what I wanted for myself. Plus, having the cheat day to look forward to helped because I knew I would still get SOMETHING, just not nearly like I had been used to before my diet began.

Q: How important is meal prep? Or how important is changing your diet?

A: I’m really happy someone asked this because it’s a good question. Basically, everyone is different. I think meal prep is fantastic if you’re the type of person that can slip if they’re not put on a schedule. For me, I had a general idea of what I was going to eat throughout the week, but I mainly decided what I wanted when I got home from work and would make it then. Most of my meals take around 20-30 minutes to make so it’s not so long that I don’t feel like doing it at all, but also not so short that I can’t give myself something else to do while I wait for it to cook. Since I bake most of my food, a lot of the times while it’s cooking is when I do my workout.

Changing your diet for the sake of weight loss is huge because about 70% of your results are going to be based off of your nutrition. If your workouts are on point but your diet is atrocious, it will eventually catch up with you. When your feeding your body good things on a regular basis as well as keeping up with it physically, you’re setting yourself up for success with much faster results as well as getting used to  life after you’ve lost the weight and are maintaining.

Q: How did you stick to the diet? What are tips to make it easier to keep up with?

A: Honestly, there are some days where I ask myself how I stuck with it in the beginning. I think I just knew what I wanted and I wanted to prove to myself that it could be done. Once I knew I wasn’t afraid of the process of losing weight, I just went for it. Over time, it didn’t feel like a process anymore. It just became my new way of doing life. A lot of people just like the idea of losing weight, but don’t want to go through the process. It’s once we’re willing to go through the process that we’ll see the results we crave.
One of the biggest tips I can give is drinking two glasses of room temperature water before you eat a meal (especially a cheat meal). It’s natural to want to eat more than you should because you don’t think about it in the moment. The water will help you realize that you don’t need to overly eat and will get you full faster.

Q: How do you avoid plateaus? Or, how do you get out of them faster?

A: During my weight loss journey, I hit quite a few plateaus. I don’t know if they’re avoidable or not. They occur because your body is adjusting to whatever routine you’re setting for yourself. Our bodies are incredible and they adapt naturally. The best way to get out of them in my experience is once you realize you’re in one, change up your routine. If you do arms on Mondays, chest on Tuesdays, and cardio on Wednesdays, then change it to chest on Mondays, cardio on Tuesdays, and arms on Wednesdays. Tricking my body by changing my workout schedule definitely helped me get out of the plateau quicker because it’s now trying to readjust to those areas being targeted at different times.

I hope this helps to all of you reading this and thank you to everyone for all of your great questions. I appreciate your input. My hope for whoever is reading this is to learn things about themselves that they didn’t know before.

Never be afraid of pushing through towards your goals. Like an arrow, remember to keep moving forward.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Consistency is Key

This blog entry wasn't written to come off as putting anyone down who may have failed a diet or weight loss journey. It was solely written to help those who struggle to find consistency in their weight loss. I hope this helps.

There was a study that was done back in the 1950's to determine the success rate of those who started dieting. Of those tested, 95 out of 100 failed. I realize this is some pretty old data to go by, but in my research, I haven't found any new statistics that are very different from this. That shows me that in the last 50+ years, it's still been the same type of struggle.  Why is weight loss such a hard thing to stick to? Especially for 95% of people to fail?  I think I've found a couple of different reasons.

A lot of people love the idea of losing weight. Beach season is here and many people like to daydream about being fit and looking good in a bathing suit. I used to daydream about being able to hang out with friends at the pool or beach and not even think twice about my shirt being off. Once I started thinking it, I would eventually remember that I was overweight. Then, overweight Josh would come into the daydream and I imagined everyone's disgusted faces at the fact that I would have the audacity to think that I could physically fit in. Not everyone is like that, of course, but when you're sad and overweight, the theater of your mind tends to go to the extremes.

Back to the daydreaming. Before I made the realization that I was overweight, I would imagine that I WAS fit and attractive and could do everything that everyone else was. That idea made me feel SO good. I'm sure for others, it's that same idea that convinces them they should start a diet. They're inspired. Inspiration is a powerful thing. However, inspiration can also be fleeting and temporary. It's the inspiration that makes the individual sign up for a gym membership or buy the newest weight loss plan. Two weeks later when the inspiration has left, you're right back where you before. Daydreaming but not wanting to put in effort.

Losing 170 pounds is the most difficult thing I've ever done. It took time, dedication, but most importantly...focus. Inspiration gets us to start something. It's the focus that will see us through to the goal and beyond.

The other reason why I think people give up on weight loss is the infamous plateau effect. In case you don't know what that is, the plateau effect is what happens when, after a period of time where you're losing weight and seeing results, everything stops. You're still working as hard as ever, you're sticking to your diet plan, and then boom. No more results. The plateau can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. It can also happen more than once in a weight loss journey. I know of several people who hit the plateau and then give up. They tell themselves that they're just not meant to lose anymore weight and convince themselves that it's ok when they really don't believe it.

I had quite a few plateaus in my weight loss journey. The cool thing about a plateau is that it means your body is preparing for a big change. I remember being in a plateau for about two weeks. One morning, I tried on pants that had fit me just a few days before, but now they were way too big! As strange as it may seem, the plateau usually represents that your body is gearing up for a big physical change. Once you're through the plateau, your body begins steady weight loss again.

The reason for the plateau is kind of a beautiful thing because it shows how complex but incredible our bodies really are. Let's say you run four 100 meter sprints everyday for a month. While you might tell a difference for the first couple of weeks, if that's the only physical activity you do, your body will eventually adapt itself to it. So much so that it will stop losing weight the way that it was before. It's a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is that part of your body has become strengthened. The bad thing is that the one specific workout you were doing no longer has relevance for a certain amount of time. Thus, the plateau occurs. 

To get through the plateau quicker, change up the sprints for other types of cardio. It's still the same type of workout category, just a different way of doing it which will trick your body and allow continued progress with less prolonged pauses in between.

The above also applies to dieting. Certain food may be eaten more than others. When the plateau happens, change up some of the food you're consuming. It's still the same type of nutrition but the new taste or texture will make your body believe that it's something completely different.

You were made to be extraordinary. If you're reading this and are considering a weight loss journey, are already in one, or maybe have given up on one before, the only thing that I can say is that you've got to stick with it. I've been there and I know how tempting is to want the results without going through the process. But, now that the weight loss portion of my journey is over, I'm realizing more and more that the process is just as important as the weight loss. It's where we grow mentally while shrinking physically. It's where we learn the most about our character and how much we're really willing to go through to fight for what we want.

You have it in you, now it's just a matter of proving it to yourself.

 Like an arrow, you've got to keep moving forward.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Difference Between Skinny and Healthy

During my weight loss journey, and even now that it's over, I love hearing from people and how they are planning on starting their own weight loss journey. One thing I've been hearing more and more is that people are wanting weight loss because they want to be skinny. When I asked them about being HEALTHY too, some people said that wasn't a focus of theirs. Everybody is wired differently and I totally get that, but if all we want is to be skinny, then the weight loss is only going to be temporary.

When I first began my journey, I was told that if I really wanted something that was going to last, then it had to be a lifestyle change. The biggest challenge I faced was my nutrition. But, I was also told that as long as nutrition was my primary focus, I would be able to start working on my fitness as time progressed. As long as I had a goal for better health overall, not only would I eventually become skinny, but I would also have built a foundation that would stay in place after my journey was finished.

Many people think that if you have a goal weight, once you hit it, then the maintenance should stop at that point. You got what you wanted all of this time! Now, go back to the way things were before. Throw nutrition out the window, forget about your exercises, and have at it! I always thought that, at least. As someone who had never been in good shape before, I truly believed most of it was genetics. Someone who is fit probably was just fortunate enough to be born that way and doesn't have to worry about what they eat or how often they move around. I didn't like the idea of having to "work" the rest of my life to become the person that I wanted to be. I wanted it to just happen.

At the beginning of my weight loss journey, I didn't exercise for probably 3-4 months. I wanted to learn how to have my nutrition down, yes, but I honestly was also too big to do anything other than walk. So, I worked up a diet plan that was comfortable for my taste buds, something that I thought was achievable, and I worked on that for the first few months. I drank lots of water, and I juiced once every other day. Just by doing these things alone, I probably lost around 40 pounds. (I was also VERY big so the weight was going to come off faster anyways just because of my size and because I had more to lose than an average size person)

One reason why I'm sharing that is because a lot of people think in order for you to begin a successful weight loss journey, you have to get a gym membership and workout for hours, all while doing nothing but clean eating 7 days a week. You certainly CAN do that, but eventually it's going to become overwhelming. The best way to look at a healthy lifestyle is ask yourself, "Can I do what I've planned out for myself for the rest of my life?" If you don't think you can continue doing what you're doing now at the intensity that you are now, then dial some things back. The idea is to have a long-term focus, not a short-term.

Over time, as I lost weight, I was able to start incorporating small exercises into my journey. They grew into longer durations as time continued. My body's ability to handle more was growing. Eventually, I started craving to be active because I wanted to do things I couldn't before. Now that I'm out of the "journey" stage and in the "lifestyle" stage, a regular week for me looks like this: clean eating 6 days a week and 1 cheat day. 4 days a week of 45 minute workouts and 1 day of a 30 minute workout. It's something that I know I can do long-term without wearing myself out.

Find your niche. Make sure it's something that is catered to what you like. Enjoy the process. Don't forget to have fun. Push yourself and always remember that, like an arrow, you've got to move forward.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My Story

For my first entry of this blog, I kind of wanted to explain what got me to this point. As much as I want to start doing writings on the future and write about things that are current, I think I need to explain the past to get to the present. So, here it goes.

On July 1st, 2013, I was approximately 370 pounds. I've always been tall, but the weight was overwhelming and the height didn't do nearly enough to offset my width. Getting to that point was a gradual decline that happened over a period of twenty one years at that time. I had always been big growing up so for the longest time, I just wrote it off. If I saw something, I ate it. If I was hungry or not, I always knew that my stomach would find room for it. I craved the feeling of being full more than the taste of the food. For me, if I felt full, then my heart would be happy.

I try to think of the one epiphany people have in movies that completely overtakes them and helps them transform into the person they were always meant to be. Some incredibly inspiring conversation between Uncle Ben and Peter Parker. Unfortunately for the story's sake, I'm not NEARLY as cool as those guys so I hope this will still do.

For me, it was multiple things that happened very quickly. 

I was a size 48 in pants. I refused to admit that I needed to get bigger pants and so the ones I had continued to shrink on me. It was definitely the pants shrinking, it couldn't possibly be me getting bigger! Well, my continually shrinking pants began to rip on me. Whether it be the inside of my thigh, or if the button was popping off from the continued stress of keeping up with my belly. My incredible wife would try to sew up these rips (often secretly) to help prevent me from being embarrassed. Even though they were all sewed up, they were just no match for my increasing girth. The rips continued.

While dealing with pants I had no business wearing, I found myself getting out of breath over the smallest things. A flight of stairs was my sworn enemy. A walk outside left me winded, sweating profusely, and questioning why people would ever see walking as a hobby! It was a disgusting thought.

I remember a photo session that my wife had planned for pictures of her and I. We didn't have any nice pictures of us so she was really excited. I hated the idea. Not because of her (she's gorgeous) but because I knew how much I would take away from her shine. Here, you have a girl who is so naturally adorable, and then you have this gargantuan just taking up space in the picture. On top of all of that, the shirt that I wore in the pictures was the largest we could find but still wouldn't button. So, I wore it unbuttoned. When I look at those pictures now, I can see the defeat I felt. I had quickly become the saddest I've ever felt in my life.

I wanted to look the way I thought I could. I wanted to be the Josh that I knew I could be, but nobody had ever seen. So I decided it was time for a change. My wife definitely deserved a husband who took care of himself, but I also did it for me. I knew that I needed to want it if I would change. And I wanted it. Badly.

I started small. I knew salads were things healthy people ate. I heard water was good for the body. So, with those two things, I started the most difficult journey I've ever experienced and within the span of one year and six months, I lost a total of 160 pounds.

It was a tedious process. Learning about nutrition, juicing, exercising, fighting severe depression, all while still trying to find the Josh I've never been able to be. I'm thankful for the process. I've pushed myself to do things I would become nauseous thinking about before. I've run 5k's, I've biked for miles and hours, I've cried and bled in order to make my dreams a reality, and I fought hard the whole way. 

When the weight loss portion of my journey was winding down and my goal weight was in sight, I got a tattoo of an arrow on my arm. It's to remind myself that an arrow, once it's shot, won't change its course of direction by its own volition. In the same way for me, I'm not turning back. Like an arrow, I'm moving forward.