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Back to the gym for more weight loss with friends
January 28, 2016 - Andy Flynn
I’ve searched and searched for the keys to successful weight loss, and I’ve found a few that work for me. So why do I continue to gain weight after successfully losing more than 100 pounds?
The reason? I let emotions take over.
Back to the gym
It’s time to re-focus. That’s why I’m heading back to the gym next week, and I encourage others who need the help to work out with me at Fitness Revolution’s 12-week weight-loss program starting Tuesday, Feb. 2. We meet three times a week at the gym on Saranac Avenue. The 90-minute classes start at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Saturday’s one-hour class begins at 9 a.m. Call head trainer Jason McComber at 518-523-4127 for more information, including the cost.
The benefits of a guided fitness class with professional trainers, designed for people who need to lose weight, are many. Over the past two years, I’ve learned a lot about exercises and equipment and met many new friends who are now the core of my support network. Above all, because of the successes I’ve achieved in the Fit Revolution class, I’ve gained a confidence in my abilities that I never had before.
The Fit Revolution course is not like any other. It’s not a Biggest Loser program where participants are pitted against each other and made to feel bad if they don’t achieve their weekly goals. Some people need to lose a lot of weight, but some only need to lose a little. Others just want to get stronger. It’s a nice mix of people, all with the common goal of improving their health.
The roller coaster
At my heaviest, I weighed 493 pounds in 2011. After starting the Lake Placid Diet in December 2013 when I was 470 pounds, I dropped 80 pounds in about six months and walked my first Lake Placid Half-Marathon. By the end of the first summer, I was down to 382 pounds.
Since then, I’ve had my roller coaster moments, including gaining holiday weight in 2014 that never came off, completing a second Lake Placid Half-Marathon, shaving off one hour from my first year’s attempt, and gaining even more weight in the fall and holidays 2015.
I feel as though I’ve lost my way, like I’m out of control. Indeed, I was out of control, coming home from work and the only thing I looked forward to during the day was eating dinner at night. I’d sit down for hours at a time, eating, drinking and snacking until I was fuller than full. This happened for months, and it was emotional eating at its worst. But a body can only take so much self abuse. Once the weight comes back, it deteriorates the mind, weakens the confidence, and the self hating and self doubt returns. Every day is a new low.
Eventually, you have that “get ’er done” moment, and something clicks, usually at a point when you think you’re at your lowest. The truth is, you can go lower and you know it. That’s why you need to turn things around before the worst happens: death. Every day I think about it, yet every day is a battle against the weight, and I usually end up the loser.
7 keys to success
I’ve had yet another “get ’er done” moment, but experience has shown me that all the planning in the world, all the support and tools, can’t help me lose weight if my mind isn’t in the right place. It’s a head game. Here are some tips that work for me.
1. Mild obsession. In order for me to lose weight, I have to be mildly obsessive about it, tracking my calories and exercise on my smartphone and weighing myself regularly. I don’t listen to others who say otherwise. There are a million opinions on whether to count calories, go to the gym or weigh yourself every day. I can only speak for me when I say that counting calories and monitoring my weight and exercise regularly, every day if possible, works for me. When I don’t do it, that’s when I let emotions take over and gain the weight.
2. Commitment. The mild obsession keeps me focused every day, giving me the commitment I need. Keep those promises you made to yourself.
3. Perseverance. When you get knocked down, get back up. Try and try again. Never give up.
4. Make goals and stick to them. At the beginning of every year, I draft a list of goals or resolutions. They include a list of races I will walk, including the Lake Placid Half-Marathon. Keeping my focus on training for that race in June gets me through the first half of the year. There’s a power I feel when I say, “I’m training for the Lake Placid Half-Marathon.” Knowing that I can finish it — and get better from one year to the next — gives me the confidence I need to climb out of the hole I’m in right now and get things done.
5. Support network. Don’t forget that you’re not alone on this weight-loss journey. Tap into that support group, even when you feel like hiding behind closed doors. There’s always someone in your network feeling the same way. Even if they look and act OK, they may not be. Help each other.
6. Do what works. If something has worked for you in the past, do it again. If something isn’t working, stop doing it.
7. Stop, look and don’t listen. Whatever you do, don’t listen to the advice people are willing to share because they think they know what’s best for you. There is a lot of crap in the media about weight loss, more than you could ever consume in a lifetime, and more gets added every day. What works for some people doesn’t work for others. Put your earplugs in, close your eyes, and do what works for you.
There are other keys to my own successful weight loss, but these are the big ones. And they don’t include specifics about nutrition or exercise. I could easily say, “Eat healthy foods, stay active, drink plenty of water and get enough sleep.” But most people already know that.
I encourage people to write down their own keys to successful weight loss. When the time comes, dig them out and keep them handy. You’ll need them when the emotions take over again and just in case you begin gaining weight.
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Andy Flynn, after a workout at the Fitness Revolution gym in 2014 (Provided photo — John Nicholson)