Unexpected Lessons from Gaining and Losing 75 lbs on Purpose
Jun 5, 2012 - 2:20:43 PM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - Drew Manning, a longtime personal trainer and admitted fitness addict, has never been overweight. He has never craved processed foods, or known what it was like to move through the world carrying dozens of extra pounds. So he decided to learn what millions of Americans, and many of his clients, live with every day.
In May 2011, Manning made the radical decision to let himself go. For six months, he stopped exercising and ate a common American diet of fast food and refined, processed snacks. Followers of his website voted on weekly food challenges, and Manning lived up to his end of the bargain by devouring towers of doughnuts or completing “the Fuddrucker Challenge” (dining on a one-pound burger, one pound of bacon cheese fries, and a huge brownie sundae, that is). The result? A seventy-five pound weight gain, more than even he expected. Manning then devoted the next six months to losing the weight: sharing his meal plans, exercise strategies, ups, and downs with followers of his website.
Now, Manning is candidly describing all the details of that journey: He reveals that at the outset, he found some joy in relaxing and allowing himself to let go of decades’ worth of health and fitness rules. He details the quickly mounting physical effects of his experiment-including plummeting energy, lower levels of testosterone, and the challenge of merely putting on his shoes—as well as the self-consciousness that came with his heavier physique. And he considers the impact this experience had on his family, from his struggle to play with his young children, to the strain his changing health and body put on his marriage. What started in his mind as a physical experiment transformed into an impactful and eye-opening emotional journey.
Being significantly overweight is an epidemic in our country, but very few people can understand it from both sides. Manning’s unique, compassionate take on the issue is as fascinating to read as it is crucial to understand.
Drew Manning is a personal trainer and medical technician. He lives with his wife, Lynn and two children just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. Visit his website at http://www.fit2fat2fit.com/
”I felt like less of a person the bigger I got, as if I’d lost a bit of what made me …well, me. As I walked away from the store that day, I realized that being overweight wasn’t all about the waistline. It was about self-worth, and the reality that the world looked down on you without even knowing your story.”
During part one of Drew’s journey, from Fit2Fat, he experienced the same symptoms his overweight clients complained of, including:
Snoring, chafing, excessive sweating
Being out of breath; extreme exhaustion, finding it difficult to climb stairs and even tie his shoes
Lax grooming habits
Personality changes – full of self doubt and paranoia that people were judging him
Losing the will to contribute at home; he did not feel like helping with cooking (which he loved to do before) and was too tired to chase and play with his 2 year old daughter
Experiencing a real fear of heart attacks and strokes
A distinct change in the dynamic of his relationship with his wife. She found him less attractive—not so much physically—but she was turned off due to his personality changes and lack of energy
During part two, from Fat2Fit, Drew learned that losing weight was not as simple as he had always believed. There were some crucial lessons to pass on to his clients:
You need both encouragement and a kick in the pants in equal parts
Public declaration of your intent to lose weight is vital because of the fear of accountability
Overall goals must be shared and spoken. Others will sometimes need to supply honesty and belief.
You will lack motivation during your weight loss journey. Your own motivation is not enough – you must have an established support network
When a diet plan is too restrictive, it becomes the enemy (like strict parents)
A plan that offers no flexibility or detours–where every ‘wrong’ choice feels like a loss, will be impossible to stick with.
Being overweight affects your whole family–not just the individual
It’s important to plan for meals and snacks with the right foods. The reason people grab fast food is because they are unprepared–it’s just easier to stop at fast food places
By Drew Manning
Hardcover; $25.99; June 2012
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