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tranforMATTion 08-18-2016 03:21 PM

Hello all, here is my TransforMATTion
 
Hello everyone! My name is Matt and I have made a lot of changes in my life, overcame a lot of hurdles, and challenged myself in a lot of ways I never thought I would over the last 5 years. I went from hinging on morbid obesity to being a healthy BMI. I went from a life of stasis to one of running, roller fitness, CrossFit, and weightlifting. I went from absolutely no knowledge of healthy eating to eating a paleo diet and understanding the multifaceted world of nutrition. Over this time there have been many highs, many lows, injuries, doubt, fear, success, and many more emotions that cannot be described with words.

Over the last year, I have cataloged my pursuits in fitness, detailing my failures and successes, sharing my story, and offering my thoughts to those who may be undergoing their own journey. Over the years, I have documented my progress through a blog. I have recently started a YouTube channel as well (same namesake), hoping to inspire, educate, and motivate others (if interested check out that site, but want to make sure I am following the forum rules as well about posting :)

Starting Weight: 276 lbs. Lowest Weight : 164 Current Weight: 175 lbs.

The story is as old as time itself. I grew up learning little to nothing about health, nutrition, fitness, or anything remotely connected to taking care of myself. I grew up in a small rural town, living in poverty, and with parents struggling with their own health, obesity, alcoholism, and turmoil, imbuing any type of healthy habits or behaviors were lost, unfortunately. In many ways, looking back, not only did my parents fail to give me the skills I needed to be healthy, but my school and community did no better of a job. Despite having some hardships growing up, I always kept focus on my academics, as I knew, for me, it was the only true way to achieve success and leave my dead-end town.

Fast forward many years to college (the first 20 years of my life are like a broken record when it comes to health). My first year in college, I got very ill with something doctors never even diagnosed. During this time, I sustained my entire life on powerade, as I could not keep solid food down. I ended up losing about 80 lbs. in the 9 month period I could not eat, but it just wasn't time for the healthy lifestyle to click in for me. I ended up gaining all of that weight and a whole lot more. Over time, my unhealthy eating increased. Fast food, junk food, soda, chips, pizza, brownies (my favorite), everything. It was the norm to indulge in a 6 pack of soda a day with candy on the side. Looking back now, I can't believe the food I used to put into my body. My mindset is so polar opposite now, I can see now that it was def. a form of abuse to stuff all of my arteries with fat and my blood full of sugar. With two diabetic parents, I was well on my way to a diabetic destiny.

So how did it all change? Part of the reason why I started the blog I am writing in is because I am still figuring out what all of this means or how I tapped into the very necessary resilience required to lost over 100 lbs.. I think people who end up changing their lives in this way are always navigating the world around them. The process is very mental and I just try to process it through writing. The hope is that someone relates to even one thing I say and takes something away from the story. I feel fortunate to have a lot of people in my life that have given my positive feedback on my weight loss and improving my life for the better.

When I was 24, I decided it was time to do something about my weight. Although there wasn't a big click in my head, I just knew I was getting bigger, so my roommate and I joined a program at the gym that emulates The Biggest Loser (challenges, weigh-ins, etc.). The program felt like it worked and I lost 12 lbs. over the course of a semester (at about 240 lbs. at this point). We decided we had the tools we needed and did not sign up the next semester. Big mistake; we never went back to the gym, and we both gained the weight back, plus more. A year later, still unhappy with my self-image and lacking the self-confidence to do most things besides school and work, I ventured back to the weight loss program at the gym. I knew it was time, once again, to try and fight to lose a little weight. Again, nothing profound, I just knew I was getting bigger. In preparation for our first weigh in, I weighed myself (to be prepared). Thinking, at most, I had gained maybe 10 lbs., I stepped on the scale to see 276. A number exceeding the highest weight I had ever been at. I was struck, sad, angry, and lost. Even during our first weigh-in, I felt like I needed to try hard, but there was still some time before everything came together for me.

For the next year, my trainer, who has become a good friend, helped me learn what I needed to lose weight. My group members were stuck at their weights, and slowly my weight started coming down. Eventually, this created a rift in our friendships. At first, I just went to the gym when I had to and just cut down on the foods that I ate (3 cans of soda instead of 6 a day, etc.). After 11 months, I lost 36 lbs, which felt good, but one day I sat there and I thought to myself, "you could have done so much better". Instead of blaming myself and turning to food like I normally would, I started going to the gym more on my own time. It was the first time I stepped into the gym by myself and with a new purpose. I started going 6 times a week during our winter break, and I started taking inventory of my food intake. I started counting calories with MFP and sought other stories online. I started watching shows like Biggest Loser and Extreme Weight Loss for inspiration, and I started reading blogs about nutrition and fitness. Knowledge truly is power, as without these tools and resources, it would have been much more difficult to tread the path I have been on. Change happens over time, as does grow, so at first I changed things to diet soda, oatmeal, lower carb snacks and breads, etc.

5 Years later, here I am. It's still difficult, but 100lbs+ lighter, I've had so many physical and mental breakthroughs, it has been great! There's not better feeling than taking your life back!


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