So if you followed us back in January, I sent out an announcement entitled “I’m Going to Lose Weight” – a message that not only announced my intentions over the next several months, but also set up our first ever 12-week Nutrition Challenge at Synergy, our fitness community located in Johns Creek. So once again, I am going to make an attempt at being completely open and vulnerable, updating everyone on my own personal progress (as well as the progress of many others in our community), and explain what we are doing here at Synergy to bring these kinds of results to the community at large.
So full disclosure, this is actually hard for me to do. By now, you’ve probably already looked at the before/after photo that is attached to this post. And I feel weird about that. Although I’m certainly happy with the difference, I don’t enjoy vanity photos like these being out there for everyone to see any more than anyone else does. I felt like an idiot every time I stood in front of the mirror taking them. But it had to be done.
In the photo in the left, I was about 240lbs. For reference, I’m 6’2. In all honesty, my heaviest was probably a month prior to this, where I was consistently 245lbs, and even creeped close to 250. As I said then, the entire premise of this journey for me is that no human my height has any need to be that heavy unless they are getting paid by someone like the NFL.
And I certainly am not. I was pudgy, and well on my way to fat – and I’m not afraid to say that. Any life insurance underwriter would have certainly categorized me in the obese category.
The funny thing is, in the CrossFit world that I work and train within, you can actually get away with this…at least for a little while. We don’t really talk about weight much – it’s seen as taboo. We mostly focus on performance. Even though I was so heavy, I was certainly strong. I could snatch close to my bodyweight, deadlift twice it, and I could row, bike, and move a light barbell with the best of them. I could even still get by at pullups, pushups, and a few other bodyweight movements. For a man that size, carrying that much fat, I was still relatively fit.
My feet and calves constantly hurt from carrying that weight on them all day. Running or jumping was a chore. And every afternoon, I would pass out on my couch, exhausted and frustrated, while my 3-year-old son was begging me to go outside and chase him around the yard. Sure, I could still throw a decent time up on the board for a 12:00 workout at my gym every now and then. But for what?
Something had to change – and the good news is, I already knew exactly how to do it.
So before I tell you what I did, and what I’m still doing, let me tell you what I didn’t do.
I DID NOT buy any magic pills, supplements, oils, or special food products that my “friends” might have been happy to sell me on FaceBook. I never put a “Crazy Wrap Thing” on my body. I DID NOT eliminate processed foods, dairy, animal products, sugar, carbs, or anything else from my diet that I might have once enjoyed. I never “ate clean”. And I certainly never took part in a detox – whatever that means.
So here’s what I did. I went back to the actual science of nutrition, not the bro-science. I knew the simplest way to achieve the results I wanted was to accurately track the food I was eating, or planned to eat, and make sure it fits into an appropriate amount of macro-nutrients (protein, fat, and carbs) for my body and my goals. Instead of solely focusing on what I should and should not be eating, I needed to equally focus on how much I should and should not be eating.
My first step, and this is an important one, was to hire a nutrition coach. Now I didn’t have to do this. If it were as simple as running some macros calculations, entering my food, and making adjustments along the way, I could have certainly done this by myself. I’ve had plenty of training and experience with it. But having that coach in my corner is the magic-sauce that I knew I needed to truly succeed.
You see, having a coach with you every step along the way means you have an objective set of eyes, an accountability partner, and educator, an encourager, and an enforcer! It’s the same reason I do my CrossFit workouts in a coached class. Sure, I could easily do them by myaself, but we all know it simply isn’t the same.
For those of you new to this approach, it’s often referred to as “flexible dieting”. You see, this approach to nutrition goes in the opposite direction of where 99% of diets out there ultimately fail. Most diets are elimination diets. They tell you to cut this or that out of your diet, never eat it again, and then you’ll have the results you are looking for. But the reason these fail is they are never sustainable in real life.
Remember the Atkins Diet? You know, the one we all tried in 2003 and 2004 when it caught fire? How many of you, 14 years later, never ate another carb? How about Whole30? We’ve all done it…at least for 30 days, if that. But how many people do you know that have kept it up since then?
My point here is this. The world is filled with enough negativity already, let’s quit adding food(s) to that list. If you think you are really going to be the kind of person to never eat a processed food or drink something with sugar in it again, then be my guest. But for most of us, that simply isn’t realistic. It connects foods with negative emotions and demonizes many of them.
Don’t get me wrong – what you put in your body is certainly important. It’s very important. But allowing flexibility in your life to where eating is actually enjoyable is also important. Instead of focusing on things to cut out of my diet,
In short, it’s about guidelines, not restrictions. It’s about eating like a responsible adult. Previously, I have been eating like an idiot…
So for the last 6 months or so, this is what I’ve done. Although I am no longer working with a specific coach, I still track everything (if it has calories) that goes in my mouth, which actually isn’t as hard as it sounds. I meet certain nutrient goals. And I make adjustments as needed. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been perfect in this. Far from it. There have been vacations, evenings out on the town, and other situations where my tracking wasn’t perfect. But as with everything, if you are doing things right 90% of the time, you will see great results.
And all this to say that I am certainly not finished yet. I have lost about 20-25lbs since that picture on the right, but I still have a little bit to go to truly get to where I think I want to be. I feel great. I can move better than I have in a long time. And even my strength hasn’t dropped as much as I feared it would.
And my performance, both inside the gym and at home, has seen a dramatic improvement. It hasn’t always been easy, but at the same time it hasn’t been that hard. The flexibility in this approach keeps me engaged. And since I get to eat, for the most part, foods I actually like, I think I can easily sustain this type of diet indefinitely.
And I’m not the only one in our little CrossFit community that has had success with this. This approach literally works for anyone and everyone willing to put a little effort into it. Feel free to check out the Nutrition section on our website (synergyjohnscreek.com) for some stories of people that have done even better than I have. It is truly inspiring.
Do you have questions about this approach to nutrition? Would you like to speak with a coach about your goals and see if you think something like this might be for you?
Please reach out to me anytime – I’d love to help in any way I can. Today, we are excited to announce that we are officially launching Synergy Nutrition, the latest in our program offerings here at Synergy: A Fitness Community.
Our goal is to come alongside individuals in our community, whether a member of our gym or not, and help them achieve their goals from a nutrition standpoint. We will custom-tailor nutrition plans for any individual, regardless of what their fitness or lifestyle goals might be. And we will hold your hand every step along the way – making adjustments, answering questions, holding you accountable, and being the constant source of encouragement you need to see the results you’ve been looking for.
Synergy Nutrition is a 12-week renewable program available to both members and non-members of Synergy. To inquire about pricing or interest in the program, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can be found here: