To put it simple, I felt like shit when I got up in the morning. My back ached, my legs hurt and my body didn’t feel like it belonged to a 21-year-old. After I reflected the obvious, I concluded that being overweight and out of shape would become a thing of the past! I had never been on a diet, and I knew that it would be hard to change my eating habits, but I was committed to feeling healthier. That’s how it started. After talking with some friends, some of whom were personal trainers, I was told that the most important thing would be transforming from ‘Static Josh’ into ‘Active Josh.’

Static Josh—1/09

Static Josh—1/09

I started simple: I changed my eating habits and started exercising. I became a man of habit. I tried to eat the same meals over and over again, and made it a point to exercise every day. My diet was boring, and I struggled to stick with it, but I started feeling better after Day One. Every morning I started the day with an egg white sandwich, followed by some turkey and salad for lunch, and had fish or chicken for dinner. I would often allow myself to cheat and have something sweet at the end of the night; I don’t think I would have been able to live if I
didn’t.

Active Josh 20 pounds lighter—8/09

Active Josh 20 pounds lighter—8/09

The diet wasn’t that hard to stick to. After I was able to shake my diet-coke habit (aspartame is highly addictive), no one could stop me. I began climbing the stairs of my 17-floor apartment building and playing basketball in the park. I recalled how well I used to play basketball as a kid, but when I tried to play this summer, I realized how out of shape I was. A game to 11 would leave me gasping and limping for water. Fortunately, I had my roommates who would soon double as my personal trainer and nutritionist.

The basketball games got closer, and I even noticed some changes my friends were undergoing. We had all been eating much healthier, and the results were obvious: we were leaner, faster, athletic and confident. We started playing basketball every day, and I would force myself to run the stairs at least 3 times a week. I was doing tons of cardio, and the weight was shedding off. After 4 weeks I had lost 10 pounds! I would be going to China in another 3 weeks and wanted to make sure that I would be fit enough to climb the Great Wall and hike through all of the amazing excursions we planned.

My diet was going well, but once I started to notice results, I began to slack off a bit. I began to cheat on Saturdays, allowing myself to eat whatever I wanted, which I felt like I deserved. An overwhelming obstacle was coming up in a few weeks, and I was nervous for how I would fare through it. New York’s Restaurant Week was annually a week where I became extremely gluttonous. Yet I wondered how this year would differ. Restaurant Week hit me hard, and I gained 4 pounds, but I went on to lose it over the course of the next week as well as 4 more on top of what I gained.

As I was packing to go to China with my family, I wondered if I would be able to keep up with my healthy eating habits in a country where they fry nearly everything. I allowed myself to keep an open mind and tried anything that I had never seen before, including snake, scorpion, duck parts, and sea horses… yum.

beijing food delicacies Josh saw—7/09

beijing food delicacies Josh saw—7/09

With all the sighseeing and running around that we did, I was able to lose 7 pounds on my trip, which brought me down to a total loss of 20 pounds! I felt incredible, I was able to walk, hike, and run all over China…

Ira, I had been keeping up with your progress the entire time, and you were an enormous inspiration for me. I have continued to work this fall semester, and I have been slowly changing into a fitter more ‘Active Josh.’

Maybe I’ll write another one with my progress from this fall?

Josh