Guest Article: How Chris lost more than 40 pounds and fixed his blood pressure

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Or how about this one?  

“Lose 25 lbs in just 6 weeks!!!  Free! With no commitment required!”  

Who comes up with this bullshit? …wait…  San Jose Barbell did that last one… and it wasn’t bullshit.

My wife had been going to San Jose Barbell for a few months before I joined, and I had an idea of what they did there, but I was not ready to commit to getting healthy.  I started to follow the main SJBB Facebook feed, so I would start to see the occasional story pop up from time to time. Toward the end of April is when I saw the 6 week weight loss challenge advertisement.  I didn’t think much about it when I first saw it, but my wife gave me the right verbal nudge in “what do I have to lose by trying it? It’s free.”

I was at my heaviest weight.  I am 5’11” tall and I was just over 290 lbs. I had high blood pressure, elevated liver enzymes, and an ultrasound showing a fatty liver.  I had been eating and drinking too much for way too long. My doctors said it wasn’t so dire that I needed to change within a short period of time (days or weeks), but generally sooner (months) would be better.  

I needed to do something different.  

I took the challenge and made a point to follow everything exactly to the plan and I dropped exactly 25 lbs in 6 weeks.  All of my numbers (BP, liver enzymes, iron, and vitamin D) are back in the normal ranges along with a healthy liver scan, and my doctors are happy with my progress.  I’m happy too, but not done yet.

I spent the next 6 weeks dropping another 15lbs bringing the total up to 40 lbs lost.  In the 3 months after, I haven’t had the same success (down 3 more then up 7), and I’m now beginning to better understand why.  I began to allow myself to over consume again with various stresses in my life. Travel for work, sick children, sick wife, injured wife, sick pet, tight shoulder, nicked up knee, nicked up ankle, etc.  No one is immune to life throwing us unexpected curveballs.

I have stayed active with San Jose Barbell during this time, and I am glad I have.  I did not lose any of my progress, but I had only delayed my goals. During these last few months, I continued to use the support call to keep health and fitness an important part of my thoughts even though I was not at my best.  I wasn’t listening to my body and I was lifting too heavy, and I was feeding it more than my calorie targets because I wasn’t feeling satisfied. The coaches were telling me that I was lifting too heavy, but it didn’t feel like I was.  Over eating felt better than getting to my goals because I was getting sore and hungry if I didn’t.

I needed to listen sooner.  I had lost my equanimity. This is the most important thing this gym preaches.

Equanimity – mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium.  –dictionary.com

To achieve equilibrium in health and fitness, you need to eat the right amount of food and give your body the correct amount of activity.  When the balance is off, you get injured or your body wants to compensate by either craving more food, causing aches and pains, or both. Either way, it sucks away your motivation to keep going, and it becomes easy to go off track.

It’s time to get back to the simple solution.  Eat what my plan says more strictly and lift lighter, so I can lift more often and stay on track without pain (muscles or stomach).  My goal is simple, but how to get there can seem complex. San Jose Barbell has taken the complexity out for all of its members. I’m still counting where I’ve come as a huge win, and I’m grateful to this gym for showing me the way to my healthiest self.  My job is to follow the plan and get the gains.

Exuberance and experience in equanimity breeds excellence.