Thursday, November 22, 2007

What I'm thankful for

I have a lot to be thankful for. Of course, what I’m most thankful for is that my family is faring well, that my parents are taken care of and my brothers are finding nothing but success.

But I’m also thankful this year for myself. Typically I don’t like to look back at my accomplishments, either professional or personal, and revel in them. I just like to go about my work as best as I can and let everything else go from there. But this year I do have to be a bit selfish and be thankful in myself.

Over the last 20 months or so, I’ve undergone an extreme change. In March of 2006, I weighed 308 pounds. After my workout on Wednesday, Nov. 21 I weighed 192. I’m up to 116 pounds that I’ve lost, and I still have more losing to do.

I’d been heavy for so long it got to the point where I didn’t care anymore about my weight because I figured it would be way too hard to lose it. But in March of 06 after some prodding from my wife and some serious soul searching I decided to sign up for a personal trainer at the local 24 Hour Fitness.

It was hard at first. In my first session with the trainer, he asked me what my goal was. I told him the most pie-in-the-sky thing I could imagine, that I wanted to weigh 199. Just having a 1 in front of my weight seemed impossible but screw it. That was what I wanted. I quickly realized it would take some time. After my first session, in which I did eight minutes on a stationary bike and seven minutes on an elliptical machine, I was sore for days.

I was the typical sports writer: watch sports, write about sports, don’t play sports, don’t exercise. So this whole working out stuff was new to me. My trainer ran me hard every time we met but I was up for the task. I busted my ass every time I went to the gym and stuck to my meal plan. I eliminated hamburgers, pizza, sodas, cookies, candy… all the crap that was keeping me heavy.

The first month I dropped 10 pounds. The second month I dropped another 10. The third month, I lost 13. Once I got going, I felt better and better about myself.

I stopped seeing my trainer in November and was at about 255. It wasn’t until February of this year that I got serious again. I basically told myself that either I was going to keep losing more weight or I would put it back on. So on my own I continued working out, developed a workout schedule and routines and exercises and all that. I stuck to my food intake, which incidentally I don’t consider a diet and never have. A diet is short term and I don’t plan on going back to eating the way I did. Ever.

In early June, I weighed 232. By August, I was down to 216. In October, I finally got down to 199. I hope to get down in the 170s or so. I’ve come this far. Who is going to tell me that I can’t go a little further?

I feel the best that I have now than I ever have in my life. I went from size 44 pants and XXL shirts to size 34 pants and L shirts. My wardrobe is tiny. Most of my old clothes are long gone. I enjoy working out. I enjoy playing soccer now, even if it’s just with my brothers and cousins on Sunday morning.

When people ask me how I did it, I tell them ‘the easiest plan to come up with but the hardest to execute: eat right and exercise.’

Anyway, I just wanted to share this with our readers.

29 comments: said...

What an amazing transformation! I now understand how easy it is to go from the typical guy, to gaining weight and being overweight. I used to play soccer in a league and was really fit, then injured my toe on a harsh tackle, had to have surgery on it and then I got married, traveled the world and somewhere in the last 3 years, gained 40 pounds without even realizing (no, im not Cletus either). About two months ago I started a walking routine and dropped the burgers, sodas, french fries and pizza and already have lost 10 lbs. Thanks for the inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm in decent shape, but worry about losing it as I get older. Eat right and excersize.

Josh said...

wow, amazing job. you should be very proud of your work, writing and the weight loss. happy thanksgiving everyone.

glen said...

great story, and continued success on your fitness.

Anonymous said...

You are an inspiration. You should feel proud of yourself. What you did is one of the hardest things in life to do. Amazing. I am so happy for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Luis!

Inspirational to everyone.

Mike said...

Congrats on the weight loss and I hope you reach your next goal.

FC Uptown said...

Dude, you are f-ing Champion! That's awesome.

A.C. said...

Yay! Luis is definitely a great inspiration in so many ways and that's why it's so nice to work with him.

briguy said...

This is awesome, Luis. Congratulations, and keep it up!

ghostwriter said...

Wow! I'm with fc on this one, Luis. Dead solid perfect, man.

El Güero said...

Wow, I'm so proud of you, man.

Since I've been back in the States my weight has gone up and now my gut is back.

When I was living in Spain, I ate and drank as much as I wanted without any repercussions, mainly because I had to walk 2-3 miles everyday just to get to the bus stop and to get back home.

When I came back after 8 months, I was VERY skinny, so much to the point that none of my pants fit. I also credit the change in diet I experienced. I ate McDonald's twice the whole time I was there and ate healthy homemade Spanish food everyday, with none of those added preservatives.

But now the fast food and lack of exercise has caught up with me and I'm heavier than I've been in years.

I had already decided that at the beginning of 2008 that I was going to start exercising regularly so I could become a better goalkeeper, but this story inspires me to do it just to be healthier overall.

Bravo, compa.

Dominghosa said...

Congrats man! That is awesome. Your professional career isn't going too bad either. Keep it up. And happy thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Way to go LB. That is something worth bragging about! Keep it up, buddy!

Jaime Cárdenas said...

Wow...I knew you were big, but I didn't know you were 300 pounds big! That's awesome, man. What you've done will certainly inspire others.

Your weight health is truly something to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

JT (Chicago) said...

Congratulations Luis. Great story and great inspiration.

I'm at 185 right now after years of being about 175. Might not seem like a big hike but I realize that as I get older (at 50 now), I can't carry that weight. So, I've started running again and hope to use the "if LB could drop a 100+, I should be able to drop 20" refrain, each time I want to slack off or cheat. Thanks for sharing and Happy Thanksgiving to you & all here.

Matt L said...

LB - thanks for sharing your amazing story with us. You should be very proud.

Dan said...

Congratulations! I've been reading this blog for a half year or so but didn't know you had previously had a weight problem.

I've done something similar in the last 1.5 years or so and can say that it's an extremely difficult but rewarding transformation to make. I went from 313 to 185, and, uh, then back up to 215, but I think I'm taking it off again now. Giving up the sugary sodas was difficult but essential; thankfully, Coke Zero still tastes pretty good. I could only run like 1/10 of a mile at first before feeling like I would die and have gradually worked up to 3.75 miles or so.

The biggest thing I took away from my experience, and I imagine you did too, is that if you can achieve something like that, you can do practically anything. Sounds like after-school-special fodder, but it doesn't make it any less true.

Anyone overweight who has read Luis' story should take from this that they can absolutely do the same thing, no matter how difficult it seems right now. Start small and try to improve a little every day. Look back after a month or so and see the progress you've made, and you'll quickly realize that you can do it.

Anonymous said...

good job l.b., we are all so proud of a dude in his 20s over 200 but not liking it I look forward to your fitness tips.

y vamos goats!

Anonymous said...

That is absolutely awesome. I started my gym routine at the end of June and have gone from 186 to 167. I eventually want to get down to 150. I've got the exercise part down, but am still working on the diet part. Keep up the awesome work.

Dan said...

I personally just started this path over the last two months. I was 310 and had been so for about three years. I have a wide frame that hides a lot of that weight, but I've always know that I should never weigh that much.

I've come to realize, just as you have, that there's really only one way to do it and keep it off. So now, I've made my changes to my eating habits and have started working out and staying active. Soccer has really helped with that, because it's something I enjoy and will guarantee that I will run my ass off for a good two hours. I may still be the slowest person on the pitch still and I may not be able to work my body as well as my mind can think of it, but every time out I see improvement. Losing ten pounds a month hasn't hurt either. I look forward to joining you in the ranks of the fit and healthy as well.

Anonymous said...

Congrats! You set a great example for your kids. I wish you continued success.

Anonymous said...

Well done/Bien hecho! Congrats

Nutmegger said...

Just want to add my voice to the rest thanking you for sharing this story and giving you some encouragement to keep on going. The only way to get what you want is to set goals and go after them.

Thanks for the great blog too! NM

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, and thanks for sharing your story! It was great to read this 5 days into my program to lose weight. I've book-marked this post in case I need the encouragement later.

Danny said...

We've had a long-standing tradition in my family of Sunday morning soccer at the local school yard. Me and two of my brothers, cousins, and friends have played pretty regularly for more than 6 or 7 years. Except Luis. He'd stop by every once in a long while and kick the ball around but at 300+ lbs. it was hard for him to move around on the field. I was always a little bummed that he didn't share in this with the rest of us, especially considering that his livelihood revolves around the game and he sees it up close everyday at a high level.

Then one day he told me that he had signed up for personal training sessions and that he had changed his eating habits. I was happy but also wondered how long he'd be able to keep it up. I mean, he'd been heavy for as long as I could remember and I didn't really notice his weight like others probably did. Then the pounds just seemed to start falling off of him. Week after week and month after month he would get slimmer and slimmer. But the biggest change that I saw was in his attitude. He started talking about exercise and nutrition with me which are conversations that I couldn't have imagined having with him before.

Then he started to play soccer with us more regularly. We played most recently on Thanksgiving morning and it's just amazing to see him move around in a way he was never able to before.

And as happy I am for Luis, I'm even happier for his wife and my two beautiful nieces who will have the benefit of having a healthy dad who can be active with them (and they are quite ACTIVE children). What Luis has done over the past year and a half is simply remarkable and nothing short of inspirational. See you next Sunday, bro. -- Danny

Jonathan Geissler said...

That was a great story, and I commend you for your work and desire. You're a perfect model for all writers, both on and off the keyboard (Hey, that really made sense!:-D).

Cheers, and Happy (late) Thanksgiving!

drew_brown said...

Congratulations man. That is really inspirational. Keep it up. I'm just hoping to go from my 230 down to 190. Didn't think it was possible in such a short time. Thanks for being real with us!

Anonymous said...

It's not easy to do, or probably to share.
Keep up the good work -soccer and workout wise- and stay healthy.
Roberto Abramowitz
Fútbol Mundial