How did I lose over 20 lbs in 2013

Personal Updates

2013 was a very interesting year for multiple reasons. Probably one of my major victories was the fact that I lost almost 20 lbs (approximately 10Kg) during the year.

My first thought to mind was: how did I gain all his weight in the first place?

After I was able to reverse my H1-B visa denial in 2011, with the help of SendGrid and a letter of recommendation from a federal senator (thank you Michael Bennett), I knew I was probably not that excited to go back to Boulder as I was to get back to my job at the time.

I just love big cities way too much and think that I got into a spiral of bad eating habits in 2012, more specifically from June until December. During that time, I probably put on 25-30 lbs in my body, important to notice that I was barely doing any physical activity.

As I look back into the reasons why I got chubby (no more!) in the first place, they have to deal with the fact that, during my second period in Boulder I was not able to develop any meaningful relationships outside of the business context. I hanged out with friends and dated multiple women, but nothing was actually building real value, and I knew I had to change locations.

I was just overeating every night until I would pass out streaming Netflix.

Today I can securely say that I have transformed my life and habits regarding exercising and eating.

A program called Retrofit was extremely important in making those changes happen.

The first thing that probably motivated me was how expensive this program was. Every time my card got charged there was a mental reminder on why I've decided to make those changes a reality. I knew that once I got into the program and was super conscious about using it as a motivational trigger.

Retrofit takes the approach of "you can't improve what you can't measure" and it works extremely well. I got a FitBit, a Whiting's scale, and a Polar to start tracking all my activities. In addition to that, I began using RunKeeper for all my runs. I also gave the Jawbone up a try.

This was probably the most important aspect of habit change experienced. Tracking what is going on is as important as eating the right food and exercising. This way you can focus on repeating what works and drop what doesn't. It also holds you extremely accountable to yourself. 

The online coaches and Skype sessions that the program offers were pretty fantastic. I am extremely grateful to Jaime, Matt, Val, and Brandon for all the assistance support, and patience with me. You guys rock and I want you to know that you've made a big difference so far in my life. Thank you for that. 

Here are some of the changes that I incorporated in my life that led to good results on weight loss:

Log your food in the first 3-5 months

I mean, log everything you eat. This will give you visibility into portion control as well as make you more thoughtful when you are about to devour some fat-sugary-salty piece of food. Because of that, I was able to balance my meals better and reduce by 20-30% the amount of food I was eating.

Start an extremely easy exercise routine

Today I'm happy to say that I will exercise 4 to 5 times every week if not more. This certainly was the most challenging habit to form. In the early days, I would set challenges like "if I do 30 push-ups before I shower every day this week I've exercised". Usually what would happen is that I would be able to do always more than the plan. Even though it was not a lot of exercises, it gave me a feeling of accomplishment and created discipline. After 4-5 months of small goals, I was already addicted to the gym and began actively running.

Share progress

I connected my scale to all my Jawbone up friends so every time I weigh, there is a group of 40ish people that receive a chart on how I am doing, regardless of the quality of the progress. The scale itself is already perfect to track that, but I found this extra step to be very effective

Positive Triggers

I would read motivational quotes every day I woke up (I still do that). My social media channels were then flooded by fitness, determination, and nutritional channels. Of course, I didn't read or watched everything, but it was still a great way to surround myself with a positive influence

Learn your bad habits as fast as possible

This is a fundamental piece of evolution. I've realized that my worse habit was that I used to do a high caloric snack between 11-12 PM and that whenever I had more than 3 drinks, I would just eat anything. For the first 12 months, I didn't try to control all bad habits I just went after the ones that I knew would bring the best ROI, once they were eliminated

Start cooking some of your meals

Probably the best way to control what you'll eat. I found myself eating much healthier when I cook the food than when I buy it. It will take almost the same amount of work in preparation, cleaning up, and shopping, so why not make great choices for your body while at the task of cooking?

Do it with a friend or somebody that will hold you accountable

In this case, I used Retrofit and technically paid for my fitness buddies, but you can do that with friends or find the necessary help online. Today I'm doing a series of goals together with my roommate for 2014 and we are holding each other accountable. That's a powerful way to approach goals and achievements, since doing it 100% by yourself is always harder.

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