From Sedentary to Superhuman, How To Lose 115 Pounds & Keep It Off, and More Stories From Inspired BenGreenfieldFitness.com Readers & Listeners.

Articles, Fat Loss

Today, I have three stories to share with you.

These stories are chock-full of inspiring pictures and practical tips to start your week the right way, whether you’re digging for inspiration, looking for a realistic idea of what’s possible for your body, or simply wanting to see proof in the pudding that my recommendations work whether you’re trying to do an Ironman triathlon or just shed a few pounds.

Let’s jump right in. I think you’ll find the third story in particular hits home for you…

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#1: Mori’s Story: “From Sedentary To Superhuman”

Let’s start with Mori. Mori is a 29 year old member of the BenGreenfieldFitness Inner Circle, and here is Mori’s story:

“I just wanted to show what me implementing Ben’s advice has done for me.

I’ve been funneling a lot of Ben’s advice through to my parents and brother who lived a similar lifestyle to me. In the last 6 months between my mom, brother and I we’ve lost over 125lbs and are in the best shape of our lives (mentally and physically).

On November 2012, I ran my very first mile of my life at 29. I now run 40-100 miles each week and am registered for a 50 mile ultra marathon in May 2013. This will be my first athletic or competitive event ever.

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September 2012: Smoker, sedentary life-style, night owl, never been to the gym, takeout 2 x a day, ramen once a day, didn’t eat vegetables, 60hrs+ wk on the computer, 20hrs+ wk on the couch playing video games, depressed, taking 90mg of Ritalin a day, resting heart rate of 100 BPM, no energy.

Today: I basically try everything that Ben talks about in his podcasts. I’m in sync with circadian rhythm, workout 5-6 days a week (short HIIT on weekdays, strength 1x a week and long slow distance on weekends), i eat 95% superfoods, utilize a lot of the “extras” when needed (maca, chlorophyll, spirulina, b5, beta alanine, glutamine, trace minerals, tyrosine, 5-htp, bitter melon, etc. etc. etc.), wear Gunnar glasses, wake up and stare at the sun in the morning, my dog is on BARF diet (his coat is shiny!) and I feel awesome!

Mori in September 2012

Mori in September 2012, on his 29th birthday.

Mori 2

Mori’s 120 day photo timeline (15 days between each picture, first picture take on Oct 15th, 2012)

mori3

Mori’s Body Fat and Weight Progression During 2012-2013 – click to get a zoom in…

A lot of crazy s*&it has happened to me mentally and physically because of these extreme changes in such a short period of time. My senses are heightened, my sense of time has changed, I’ve become more social, I’ve become a much better person in general, I’m 10x smarter, I make more money, I can read faster…I could go on and on. Going from a decaying fat blob my entire life to whatever it is I am now literally feels like someone gave me superpowers.”

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Robert’s Story: How To Lose 115 Pounds & Keep It Off

Next is Robert Wadhams. Robert is a BenGreenfieldFitness reader and listener, runs the blog “From Mailboxes To Miles” , and also writes articles for SparkPeople.com, such as “How To Lose 100 Pounds On A Crazy Schedule”.

In 2008, Robert started his journey at 385 pounds, and since then has gone from a size 52 to 38, losing over 115 pounds and running a marathon in the process. Robert is currently training for his first Half-Ironman triathlon…

“What did I do this time that helped me succeed when, at other times, I’ve failed?

I have asked myself that question often.

I was caught in a vicious cycle. I would experience a measure of success, then mysteriously self-destruct and find myself right back at square one again. At that point, I would lose hope and then lose interest altogether until the next health scare would jar me from my apathy.

How did I break the cycle? The foundation of my success boils down to four key concepts.

Robert Wadhams

Robert at 385 pounds…

1) I Made Small Changes

How many times have you and I started some diet with radical fervor and rigid adherence, only to have our resolve collapse after a month or two? I learned the hard way that trying to make sweeping dietary changes is like leaping from one speeding train to another headed in the opposite direction. I experienced success when I started right where I was with foods I was already familiar with and made them as healthy as I knew how.

For example, simple swaps such as drinking water instead of sugary soft drinks, lean sandwich meats instead of salami, thin crust cheese pizza instead of a deep dish supreme. While there was certainly much room for improvement early in my journey, I had to start somewhere. As I established a base of healthier eating, I slowly began to expand my horizons to adopt new practices and foods. Gradually, the results began to show as I patiently experimented and found what worked for me.

Take home lesson: Keep it simple. Establish a base of healthier eating and allow yourself time to grow.

2) I Looked for Opportunities

Exercise: Working a demanding or non-traditional schedule can leave us feeling like we are sitting on the sidelines, while our goals seem miles away. I needed to adapt because my situation was not going to change. Rather than allowing myself to feel controlled by circumstances, I took action by making a list of those things I did have control over and focused on that. I quickly identified gaps in my schedule that would allow a solid 15 minute workout before work or in between naps when preparing for night shift. By committing to short, intense workouts, I was able to maintain and even build my fitness in between my long sessions during my days off.

Nutrition: I succeeded by making my diet as “grab and go” as possible. For example, I made meals in bulk and pre-portioned them out by serving size in sandwich bags. By doing this, I was able to quickly assemble a lunch and run out the door when demands came calling. This allowed me to have better control of my calorie intake when my schedule was hectic. As a result, I became more consistent with controlling my calories in situations where I previously would have just guessed, or worse, grabbed something from the drive-thru.

Take home lesson: If you make it easy, you will make it happen.

3) I Learned The Power Of Consistency

For a time, I worked with a personal trainer and it was the best money I ever spent. Besides learning proper form and how to create my own workouts, I learned the value of commitment to training. For every time I “felt like it” there were probably five times I didn’t. She held my feet to the fire and would not accept no for an answer. We worked out when I didn’t feel like it, when I was tired, and even after a bad day. Thankfully she endured my complaints until I finally learned to discipline myself. As I pushed through it, the fog would clear. For those times the fog didn’t clear, I still burned more calories than if I allowed myself to stay in a slump.

A person who has a serious illness never quibbles with the doctor about finding the time for treatment. Obligations or not, the job gets done. Life’s priorities are upended and everything revolves around the next appointment. If I was to have any hope of overcoming my obesity, I had to make exercise and nutrition a priority.

Take home lesson: Do not wait for some elusive “I’m motivated” feeling. Just do it and the results will follow.

Robert Wadhams

Robert after running his first Half-Marathon…

4) I Abandoned My “Goals”

This sounds counter-intuitive, but hear me out. My motivation would plunge if my progress did not meet my expectations. I had what I call the “paycheck mentality”. I would work hard, then expect a “paycheck” at my weekly weigh-in. Unfortunately, no one informed the scale that it was time to pay up. After several weeks of mixed results, I would get discouraged and that is where the trouble would start. I finally came to an understanding that changed my whole perspective.

No one who is seriously ill goes into a hospital with the idea that they can set a timeline as to how fast they will recover and return to a normal life. The only thing that can be done for them is for the doctors to stabilize them and then create the conditions that will promote healing. After they have done that, it is up to the body to heal itself on its own schedule. The same applies to weight loss.

I had to quit setting unrealistic goals and focus on the only thing I had control over, the environment I created every day. Once I focused on creating the conditions for weight loss to occur through exercise and nutrition, I was able to relax and allow my body to respond. By letting go of my preconceived notions of what ought to happen, I was able to lead my body beside the still waters rather than beating it into submission. Instead of making empty promises of “I’m going to lose 40 pounds by summer”, why not say, “Today, I will commit to the choices that will create the best environment for my body and let nature take its course”.

Take home lesson: Create and maintain an environment where weight loss is possible. Then, just let it unfold.

This list is hardly all-inclusive. I am not the only one who has ever succeeded at losing a significant amount of weight. But these are the key concepts that I personally found helped me in my weight loss success.

Robert Wadhams

Robert at 269 pounds and still going down…

What made me a loyal listener of the Ben Greenfield podcast is the sincerity of his effort in bringing us well researched information week after week. When a man puts his heart into something, it shows. It was through his podcast that I understood my need to find a better fueling protocol. When I trained for my first marathon in 2011, I flew by the seat of my pants.  I used tons of gels, sports drinks, and what ever else the popular running culture promoted. At the same time, my weight loss came to a screeching halt.  

I continued on this path of frustration for almost a year until I started tuning into Ben’s low carb approach and became aware of the hazards of high carb fueling. The light came on and I realized that I was creating havoc in my body with my blood sugar spikes and the resulting insulin response. Small changes in my fuel choices began to pay off, and since then, I have lost another 15 lbs.  I have grown to appreciate the wealth of reliable information that Ben puts out there week after week.  When Ben’s podcast is on, class is in session.”

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Story 3: You.

That’s right. It’s your turn.

What has worked for you, in training, weight loss, diet or life in general?

Have you gleaned anything from this website, or the BenGreenfieldFitness podcast?

Please share. You’ll find that by inspiring others, you feel really, really good, and just like Robert and Mori, you’ll pour even more fuel into your own inspirational fire. Give it a try, and if you like this kind of stuff, check out these inspiring video testimonials shot at my recent Become Superhuman live event and listen in to this story with a 55 year old man who I helped shed 130+ pounds in his quest for Ironman Hawaii in Kona.

You can share your story in the comments section below. Or if you’d prefer, you can e-mail me your story. Or better yet, if you’re really brave, you can go post your story on the BenGreenfieldFitness Facebook wall.

14 thoughts on “From Sedentary to Superhuman, How To Lose 115 Pounds & Keep It Off, and More Stories From Inspired BenGreenfieldFitness.com Readers & Listeners.

  1. howard says:

    Great story you got here! I had been pretty overweight most of my adult life. Tried everything under the sun without any real results. I eventually stumbled upon different beachbody workouts and tried both, Insanity vs P90x. After doing both, I am a p90x guy. I don' really like cardio stuff.

    Cheers!

  2. Jackie says:

    I just joined this site, here is some vital info- 5'8, 265 lbs, 26 F.
    Im currently a physical therapy technician and LMT.
    I started running 5k's this year, have completed 3 so far and loved every minute of it. For anyone considering a 5k- DO IT!!!!!!! My biggest fear (and why i didnt start till january) of participating in these events was that I would be the fattest/slowest/most pathetic and everyone would be judging. Much to my surprise and delight- there has been NO NEGATIVE JUDGEMENT!!!!!! at ANY of the events Ive done. The last was a mud run 5k (the survival race) and it was the most fun thing ive ever done in my life! So for those of you looking to get healthier (and I mean healthier, NOT thinner), go find a 5k (I prefer night runs! Glow sticks galore!!!) and sign up. Paying for it adds extra motivation too! And GO DO IT!! There will always be someone passing you and you will always be passing someone else. The feeling of accomplishment after you finish is an amazing tool to KEEP YOU GOING!!!!! I'll admit, every race I do, I spend the race wondering why I signed up for this torture. When I finish, I have something to brag about and take pride in. My goal for 5ks is to be able to run one in its entirety, someday. I didnt put a timeline on it because in my past, a specific timeline to a certain goal isnt motivation, its a way to fail, and the mental cycle of abuse repeats itself. I havent lost any weight yet, but I am changing dimensions. I feel awesome, and its excitement for the next race that keeps me going.

  3. Jeremy Keller says:

    I have lost 30 lbs since September, do something like a HIIT workout using bodyweight exercise 3X/week and just signed up for a 5K which I’ll run in June. I follow what is what I like to think of as a compromise between the Perfect Health Diet and Ben’s nutrition recommendations (basically a few more healthy grains and legumes).

    One of the things I’m most amazed by is how good I feel, with none of the nagging hunger and cravings that I had when following a low fat/severely calorie restricted diet. I also like that when I do eat something that’s not nutritionally beneficial, I know exactly how to get back on track.

    1. Robert Wadhams says:

      Hi Jeremy…. great post… I love reading the successes of others, it helps keep me moving too… make it EPIC today!

      1. Jeremy says:

        Robert, your story was the one that inspired me to throw my hat into the ring here. Thanks for your insights!

  4. Brandon Lee says:

    I have a success story of my own…

    In the past ten months, I have lost 70 pounds and counting. My views on food and exercise have changed radically. And mentally…its like night and day. It is absolutely amazing what the mind and body are capable of when given the right fuel! Oh and my dad (who is in his sixties) as long as I can remember has taken a fist full of pills every day for blood pressure, blood sugar, etc etc etc. And always tested his blood sugar twice a day to make sure it was within a "safe" range. Now he takes one pill per day, a multivitamin, and doesn't have a need to test his blood sugar frequently because he knows that if he does the right things, it will be fine. We often talk about how empowering it is to be in control of our health. As we continue this journey, we share it with everyone who will listen. Most are taken aback at first when I tell them how much butter I eat and that whole grains are "the devil". But most eventually come around. For example, one of my college professors asked me just last week "Can I get grass-fed butter at Schnucks?!?!"

    1. Awesome story, Brandon. Amazing what the right fuel can do.

    2. Robert says:

      Way to go Brandon… Now that is what I call EPIC!!!!… We are not the only ones with epic stories…. I hope more people share their stories and keep the encouragement going. We can do this!

    3. Morimasa Igarashi says:

      Sounds just like my mom and I. We share it with anyone who will listen as well. It's a beautiful thing to experience and it just makes you want others to experience it as well.

  5. Frank Cording says:

    Congratulations Robert – nice story and some sound advice. I think your abandoning of goals is very important: create the right environment and the rest follows.

    Mori, I have some trouble with what you wrote. Clearly you have achieved a lot. But, I can't square the statement "I now run 40-100 miles each week" with "workout 5-6 days a week (short HIIT on weekdays, strength 1x a week and long slow distance on weekends)".

    So, you do HIIT on weekdays and on the sixth day of a six workout-day week you run hundred miles? I think something is missing here.

    1. Perhaps Mori can hop on and give his perspective. Bear in mind that he is an ultrarunner…and that does require mileage that goes a bit above and beyond what most of us would consider to be sane.

      1. Frank Cording says:

        All I can say is that if he is doing what he says he's doing, then he is quite literally superhuman!!! :-)

    2. Robert Wadhams says:

      Thank you Frank, I really appreciate the encouraging feedback. :)

    3. Morimasa Igarashi says:

      Here's what the average week looks like to me. Keep in mind I'm training for 50-100 mile ultramarathons so my primary focus is core, back and running far. I've only been an "active" person for 7 months now and running for 6 months so I'm doing a lot of tweaking as I learn more and more about my body.

      Monday: Strength (PM)
      Tuesday: AM – 8-16 Miles (Zone 2), PM – 30 Minutes of HIIT/Super Sets
      Wednesday: AM – 8-16 Miles (Zone 2), PM – 30 Minutes of HIIT/Super Sets
      Thursday: AM – 6-12 Miles (Zone 4/5)
      Friday: Yoga or Core
      Saturday: 25-40 Miles (Zone 2)
      Sunday: 16-30 Miles (Zone 2)

      Most of my weeks are 60-70 miles. I did 100 miles 3 weeks ago and am not scheduled to do another one until June.

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