My closest friends know that 2020 was a particularly trying year for me (for reasons completely unrelated to COVID). At the end of 2019, I went through a devastating breakup, was experiencing a dependence on alcohol as a coping mechanism, and was significantly overweight. I took it upon myself to use 2020 as a catalyst for change in my life. This change led me to adopt a lifestyle that focuses on physical and mental health–and boy am I glad I did. Hopefully you will find some inspiration from my fitness journey in 2020.
The Backstory: Before My Fitness Journey
I wasn’t always overweight; in high school, I ran track and field for four years and indoor track and field for three years. I think the pounds started accumulating when I finally moved out and started living on my own. A couple summers of living in Old Forge and subsisting on pizza rolls and fried food did a number on me, and college in between summers certainly didn’t help with the drinking. By the time I entered the real workforce, I had gained a ton of weight, and five years of a sedentary lifestyle only made the problem worse. In short, it was a combination of a shit diet, minimal exercise, and moderate-to-heavy drinking that created the majority of my health-related problems.
Long Story Short: It Was Time for a Change
One day I took a look in the mirror and hated the man I saw looking back at me. I started going to the gym with a friend from work, but a couple months later, COVID struck and I had to shift to at-home dumbbell workouts. I supplemented my lifting with cardio, which took the form of walking around my rather open kitchen. It sounds crazy, but it worked. By April I had lost about 50 pounds and weighed 183.6 pounds. This is the first weight recorded using the Fitbit I bought. I had reached my goal of 185, but I knew that I could go lower and make even more progress.
So that’s what I did. I kept at it for another several months. By the time my birthday came around in August, I was down another 30 pounds. People were telling me that I needed to gain weight! For the first time since high school, I fit in 32” waist jeans. I gave myself permission to let loose a little bit and enjoy the rest of the summer. I rediscovered the occasional beer and binge eating, but for the most part, I eat pretty healthy these days. My weight has remained consistent at less than 160 pounds.
One Year’s Worth of Progress
As of January 1st, 2021, I was about 154 pounds with 11.8% body fat. That percentage is probably not accurate–I don’t really feel that lean–but as long as I am on the right track, I don’t care. I have come a long way over the past year, and I plan on carrying that success throughout the rest of my life. I NEVER want to be that overweight ever again.
This is part one of a two-part blog series about my fitness journey in 2020. The second part of this blog will focus on key takeaways and lessons learned during the process. In the meantime, I hope my journey inspires you to work toward your fitness goals this year. After all, we are in the middle of a pandemic, so what else do you have to do? Focusing down your health might just be the best decision you’ll make in your life.