Jamie, a 41 year old man from Indiana, lost 43 pounds in nine months.
As a web application developer, Jamie spends many hours sitting in front of a computer all day.
After years of doing this and not carefully watching his diet, Jamie (5’10”) found himself overweight at 228 pounds.
Once he decided he would become a healthy, strong and athletic man, Jamie began to lose the weight.
Motivation to Finally Start Losing Weight
Jamie wanted to get in shape for a long time.
He read about it and watched videos.
He knew exactly what to do, but he never actually did it.
Things changed when Jamie decided to walk the talk.
“The problem was,” says Jamie.
“I was the fat guy that was giving everybody else advice on how to lose weight.
I finally realized that if I wanted to be any sort of role model to the people around me that I loved, my wife, anybody else, I had to actually do the right things to have any type of impact.
That was one big motivating factor for me so that I could actually be the role model that I wanted to be for everybody else.”
How Jamie Lost the Weight
Like many people during their youth, Jamie could eat anything and not gain weight.
As time passed and he actually did start gaining weight, Jamie carried the mindset that all he had to do was work out harder to burn off the weight.
He had to accept that his mindset was wrong.
“I finally had to accept the fact that 75% of fitness truly is in your nutrition,” says Jamie about how his new mindset led to becoming healthier.
“I started out calculating how many calories my body actually needed to burn, how much that my body was actually burning on a daily basis.
I split those calories up in to proper amounts of protein, fat and carbs and then I stuck with tracking my food intake throughout the day to make sure I was hitting those numbers, how much protein, fat and carbohydrates I needed to eat throughout the day.”
Jamie uses a digital kitchen scale and an app (MyFitnessPal) to stick to his target calorie intake and nutrient needs.
“Then I also started strength training five to six a days a week with a large focus on heavy compound movements like bench press, squats and dead lifts to involve as much muscle as I could to boost my testosterone levels as much as possible to encourage fat loss even more as well as building muscle at the same time.”
Keeping the Weight Off
Jamie describes staying healthy as an identity choice.
He made a choice as to who he wanted to be, from a man who loved food and hated to exercise to becoming a man who loved being strong, passionate and who loved breaking out in a good sweat.
“Once I made that identity shift,” Jamie explains.
“It became so much easier.
I mean, humans by nature will go to great lengths to be congruent with their identity.
It actually really screws people up as they get older and they start to kind of lose their identity.”
“We do crazy things when we lose that identity so we make all kinds of choices to be congruent with that.
Making good choices to get healthy was really easy once I shifted my identity and I believed I was to be somebody that was athletic, healthy and strong.”
What It Took to Solidify His Healthy Identity
Jamie says that once he adopted his healthy identity, the commitment was instantaneous.
“Once I made that shift,” says Jamie about switching his identity to that of a healthy athletic person.
“That commitment in my mind that I’m healthy, I’m strong.
I’m an athlete it worked for me. “
“Now I have to go back and revisit that there’s always those temptations but I just tell myself, okay, what kind of decision would a healthy person make, what kind of a decision would an athlete make in this position?
It’s that kind of constant reminder and those constant better questions to myself of what would an athlete do in this situation that kind of keeps me on track.”
Using the Identity to Overcome Temptations
Staying in the frame of being an athlete helps Jamie deal with temptations.
“I ask myself better questions,” says about staying within the athlete identity.
“What would an athlete do in this situation, what would somebody who makes healthy choices do in this situation?”
However, Jamie explains that it isn’t about deprivation.
He incorporates cheat meals into his regular schedule so that he can have things he enjoys.
“I still get to eat all the foods I love,” he says. “I just make sure that I’m strategic about when and how I do it.
I try to make sure that if I’m going to cheat, if I’m going to have a cheat day, and I have it like once a week, I’ll set aside a cheat meal.
I just make sure on that day that’s going to be my cheat day and that’s the day that I do some really heavy strength training or I do some high intensity interval training or something that’s going to help me burn more calories that day to kind of counteract that cheat meal and then that keeps me on track.
I’m still losing fat and the rest of the days I’m making up that difference, so that keeps me feeling good.”
His Strength Training Regimen
Since Jamie works from home, he set up a gym in his garage.
Every day before lunch he works out for an hour.
It is part of his daily schedule and it’s a nonnegotiable part of his day.
“I try and focus heavy on what I call compound movements,” says Jamie, detailing his regimen.
“I’m using multiple joints. So like bench press, I’m using shoulders, elbows and chest and using a lot of muscles to move that weight.
I do squats quite a bit. I’ve had to kind of learn to love to do squats, it’s a lot of exercise but it’s great for you.
Dead lifts is another great exercise where you’re really activating a lot of muscles.”
“That’s what I try and focus on is heavy exercises and a lot of guys will go into the gym and do bicep curls for an hour and feel like they got a great workout but you’re really only working one particular muscle, it’s not really getting your metabolism revved up like it could be.
I focus on hitting as many muscles as I can at the same time.”
Jamie’s Healthy Eating Plan
Jamie follows a flexible approach to eating.
The focus of his eating plan is to track calories and meet macronutrient targets.
He uses a kitchen scale to measure his food and MyFitnessPal app to figure out what nutrient’s he has consumed and what he needs to consume to reach his targets.
“Every day for breakfast usually I have the same thing,” Jamie says.
“That doesn’t work for everybody, but I found the breakfast that works for me and I enjoy it I can have it pretty much every day.
I do a pack of quick oats in the morning and I mix in a little bit of Stevia and that gives it a little bit of sweetness.
Then I do four servings of southwestern egg beaters in the morning.
That’s my breakfast in the morning which is actually a pretty filling amount of food for me and it gets my protein in.”
“Then usually about half way between breakfast and lunch sometimes I’ll do an extra protein, that could be a couple servings of cottage cheese or if I’ve got a cold chicken breast laying around I can dice that up and make a snack out of that or some yogurt.”
“Then lunch time usually consists of, again some grilled chicken.
In fact, I just did this earlier today, grilled chicken, some rice, some salsa and then throw in half an avocado and mix that up and make a little bit of a stir fry out of it and that makes a great lunch for me.”
“Dinner I’ll do a chopped salad with some grilled chicken or some diced up steak to get my protein and then sometimes a baked potato for some carbohydrates to go with that or some Ezekiel bread for some good carbohydrates that still have some proteins in it.”
“I usually try and get some protein again just before I go to bed in the evening, it could be some cottage cheese, some yogurt, something like that.
If I have trouble meeting my protein for the day, if I just hadn’t been getting enough in whole foods then I might supplement with a protein smoothie or something like that.”
How About Dessert?
While Jamie sticks to healthy things like fresh pineapple or bananas, he does sometimes indulge on cheat days.
“When I really want to go crazy with something sweet then I usually save those for my cheat days and that might be a Peanut Buster Parfait, hot fudge sundae or a brownie or whatever, but I try and limit that down to once a week or so.”
Integrating His Healthy Eating Plan with Everybody Else
A flexible eating plan that focuses on macronutrient targets allows Jamie to eat at social events without much trouble.
At home, Jamie prepares the meals and has his wife on board.
“I’m the cook in the family and I have always enjoyed cooking.
I make a really mean chop salad with a nice sriracha ranch dressing that we both just love so we can do that two or three times a week.
I enjoy cooking but now I just focus on cooking in a way that focuses first on getting some good quality protein then fill it up with the right amount of fats and then sprinkle it in with some carbohydrates.”
Supplements round out his nutrients, such as, Vitamin D, Creatine Monohydrate and protein powder.