As we are on the tail end of the initial 16 weeks of the program, it is a great time to assess where we came from, where we are going and what we are proud of.  This post is going to be from Rob.  Leslie will put her thoughts to “paper” in the next post.

Being that we entered into the State of Slim program due to my health, it is easy for me to say “I feel a ton healthier.  I never realized just how bad I really felt”.  While that is true, that does not fully encompass the transformation that has happened to my mind, body and those around me.  Remember the SOS Triad (Mindset, Consumption, and Movement) that we talked about?  That is a good place to start.

First of all, my “Mindset” has certainly evolved.  I have always been a hard-headed guy that did not give up easily.  During the first few sessions with Coach Marsha, she explained that there would be hard days and mistakes might be made.  I’ve been through harder challenges, and I was determined that I would not be making any of the mistakes she was talking about.  There were absolutely hard days.  Days that I wanted to order a pizza because I was sick of meal prep.  Days where I had so much going on and was busy and had sinful thoughts of hitting a drive through for a quick convenience meal.  I always kept Coach Marsha’s words in the back of my mind on those days.  I could not give her the satisfaction of scolding me about making a mistake.  There is more to the SOS plan than stubbornness and pride.  My mindset has changed from wanting those quick and easy convenience meals that are constantly facing us in the form of McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Sonic, Papa Johns and the list can go on (insert your old “go to” convenience meals).  My mindset has changed from avoiding Coach Marsha’s scolding (fully picturing a wagging finger) to thoughts of how that processed convenience food would make me feel.  How much would I be dragging on my next visit to Orange Theory or on my next run?  That change in mindset became an even bigger driving force in my quest for success in the clean eating SOS lifestyle.  While your mindset views maybe different, listen to that inner voice that tells you about why you even started the program and how you don’t want to give up on all that hard work that you have been putting in.

This brings us to the “Consumption” leg of the triad.  I am absolutely loving the fresh home made meals that we are making.  The fresh vegetables.  The lean meats flavored with home made seasoning mixes and sauces.  The change in palate tastes.  The indulgence meals are reeling back from the tastes of old favorites to some new favorites that are closer to plan (closer, not ON….what would be the point of that?!).  The pizza nights are healthier toppings on our homemade pizza.  Moving to the healthier Campbell’s Tomato Soup for the grilled cheese and tomato soup nights.  Choosing healthier restaurants for our date nights.  While I still make the occasional treat out of Fat Sully’s Pizza or El Jardine Mexican, I know that those indulgences will affect my performance for the next couple days.  The “Consumption” and the “Mindset” are working together closer than ever to drive my “Movement”.

Other than the weight loss success of the whole package, which is a little over 65 pounds now, the “Movement” leg of the triad is my most impressive success.  I am proud of it. I am now running farther and faster than I have in 15 years.  For an example; On November 24th, 2016 I ran 4.08 miles in 55:09 (13:31/mile average) over a relatively flat course (18 feet elevation gain).  On February 4th, 2017 I ran 4.43 miles in 54:20 (12:16/mile) on a hilly course (335 foot elevation gain). There is no doubt that this success is a driving force.  Why?  It is simple.  Other than the weight loss itself, the “Movement” portion is the only other statistical and tangible measure to look at.  Looking at those statistical improvements is more satisfying than the most decadent dessert after an indulgence meal.  It makes the tough decisions to walk by the cookie tray in the break room at work worth it.  Yes, I could justify my run today for a cookie, but that cookie will effect the scale and my run tomorrow.  “Movement” is the neon sign of cause and effect of the decisions that I have made.

The SOS program discusses “Living in the arena”.  If you are not familiar with the concept you should read an excerpt of a speech (“Citizen in a Republic”) by President Theodore Roosevelt called “The Man in the Arena“.  I have spent a fair amount of time thinking about living in the arena, even before SOS.  By embracing that concept, I have been able to set the example for the spectators around me.  Slowly and surely people have been taking note of that example.  People like Jose, Lauren and a handful of others that I work with that are now venturing out on their own SOS journey.  While I certainly suggest people who want to live healthier take a look at the SOS program, I am just proud that I have been able to encourage others to be healthier.  I am beyond proud and grateful that I can be an inspiration to others.  I am excited to be able to help others see their own journey through SOS, so they can see and feel the rewards as I have.  As you read this, think of how much you contribute to my pride.  You are why I am writing this!  I encourage you to step into the arena.  It doesn’t hurt, I promise.

Without question, the most pride I have found through the journey so far has been the evolution of the relationship Leslie and I have.  There is no question that she is the outside force holding my “Triad” together, whether she knows it or not.  We have learned to reel each other in when we were ready to throw in the towel.  We have also pushed each other to live the program and lifestyle bigger and better every day.  Her commitment to continuing the lifestyle well beyond this 16 weeks is certainly a driving force.

With all that said, carry on.  Feel good about YOUR accomplishments big or small.  Even the smallest gain today is a huge gain from yesterday and the days before.  Keep plugging along and moving forward.  The journey is worth it!

December 31st, 2016