Hey Y’all! Welcome back to Transformation Tuesday. I am happy to welcome Chad to the scene as my first Dude for #TransformationTuesday. We met because his awesome wife and I work in the same industry. Amy is the voice behind @VisitSavannah and other Savannah social media links. So say hi!
Chad and I swim together on the Savannah Tri Team and he was so encouraging to me to try tri’s!
So please welcome Chad….
1- Why did you start your weight loss process? It was the summer of 2008 and my wife was pregnant with our first child and we were busy preparing and making improvements to the house. I also wanted to improve me. I think I was feeling some pressure to be a great dad and a good example so I decided getting healthier should be apart of that. I was fit in medical school but during my residency I had quit working out and began to gain weight. When you work long hours you often look to food as a reward. When I was up all night working I would tell myself ” you deserve donuts this morning”. In 2008 I was a practicing physician and had a schedule that would allow for exercise but I had settled into a lifestyle of high calorie foods and being sedentary. I used to weigh regularly but at some point I had quit. I pulled out the scale and saw a number I couldn’t believe, 273! I’m 6’2″ and always been muscular but never imagined I could weigh that much. I was sedentary and ate poorly so I don’t know why I didn’t believe it. Looking back there were signs such as clothes that no longer fit but somehow I rationalized it away and blamed my wife for shrinking my clothes.
I immediately ran to Wal-Mart and bought another scale only to find that it too said 273. My previous peak at been around 250. A friend had recently done a beginners triathlon in Austin and it had intrigued me. I played football in high school and had no background in swimming, biking, or running but I imagined triathletes to be really fit and that’s what I wanted to be. I found a triathlon 2 months away in Hilton Head, SC called the Beach Bum. It was a 500m ocean swim, 6 mile beach bike ride and a 5k run. I expected everyone to be these super physical specimens but was surprised to see all shapes and ages. I was very slow but survived and had a great time. I was hooked on triathlons! I’ve now done over 30 races and last summer I completed my longest triathlon, a half iron man. It consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and a 13.1 mile run.
2- How long did it take you to get to your maintenance weight? And how many pounds did you lose? My first triathlon was at the end of the summer In 2008 which was the end of the triathlon season. I continued to train over the next year and was down about 20 lbs by the next summer(2009).
The next Spring(2010) I decided to make another push to lose weight and decided if I could get to 225 I would buy myself a new top of the line triathlon bike. I made it and have maintained a weight of about 220 since then and have continued to improve my body composition. So I continue to maintain over a 50 pound weight loss.
3- What are your best/favorite tips for those just starting their journey? We need to be active and it will eventually make you feel good but you have to put it on your schedule or you won’t do it. I would often say “I’ll work out tomorrow” but then I would keep putting it off and then the day would be over. You have to schedule it and then protect it. Schedule other things around your workout. It’s not a luxury, you need it. Make it a priority. Those first few weeks just focus on keeping the schedule. If you’re running late and it’s only going to be a brief workout do it anyway. Keeping your schedule is the most important thing to starting a new active lifestyle.
Don’t start out too strong. Weight loss and better health are too abstract of reasons for you to keep working out. You’ll only keep it up if it makes you feel good. I had several previous aborted workout resolutions that began with intense 5 AM workouts but lasted only a day or two. This time I started out easy and built up slowly.
4- What was your biggest challenge or hurdle? Being patient was probably my biggest challenge. When your goal is to lose 50+ pounds and keep it off the only way to do it is slowly. If you crash diet and lose a bunch of muscle you’re just going to gain the weight back. When all your life you seen commercials promising ” rapid weight loss” it’s hard to look at your goals in terms of years instead of weeks.
5- What is your favorite food that you have discovered as a result of seeking out healthier options? I would say ” whole foods” in general. Usually things that are less processed have a lower calorie density and therefore you can eat more of it and helps control your appetite. For example I traded out a breakfast danish for oatmeal. The oatmeal had fewer calories and kept me full until lunch.
I’ve also given up Diet Coke and instead drink unsweet or naturally sweetened green tea. There are studies that link diet sodas with obesity. I suspect that artificial sweeteners make you more tolerant of all sweet tastes. When I was downing several diet cokes a day I seemed to have more a sweet tooth than I do now. I even have an occasional real Coke after a workout as a reward.
6- How is life different now than before, outside of diet and exercise? I feel so much better but not just physically. I feel mentally sharper when I exercise regularly. I also feel I’m less impulsive and make better decisions. Exercise increases dopamine which is a pleasure chemical. If you don’t get it from exercise you’re likely to seek it out in impulsive behaviors such spending excessively, eating poorly or possibly even drugs or alcohol.
Dr Chad! What a positive role model for us. Keep up the great work. And because I know Chad won’t gloat– Che just podium’d (now a real word) THREE times in a ROW at recent Triathlons in his bracket (whatever they call it in tri-lingo #newbietalking). Because he rocks that hard.
And calling all dudes, don’t be scared- you can be featured too! Just let it be known, that Chad was first so therefore he has rights to say “I was the first ever Dude on VR’s Feature Spotlight”.
Keep it up Chad and see you at the next open water swim!