(The above photos were taken in 2015 at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, and four weeks ago in Nashville. In February of this year, I was bigger than in the photo on the left. That’s for clarification purposes.)
Many people have either emailed me at email@example.com or DMed me @JMartOutkick about my health changes, and have asked for advice. The common question is, “Man that’s incredible! How did you do it?” While I’m by no means anything even approaching an expert, this is the easiest way I can think of to answer those questions collectively. I originally posted this piece in a series of photos from the Simplenote app, but received several requests to put it directly on the website.
So here are the answers, the advice, and how I’ve chosen to live since February of 2017.
For me, I did nothing for so long I couldn’t remember the last time I tried. My radio schedule, 140 mile roundtrip commute, and love of fast food all conglomerated to keep me sick, keep me vastly overweight, and it all left me lethargic and lacking energy. I battled some depression while waiting for the right professional opportunity, and that in turn also wrecked my personal interactions to some extent.
It collaborated to destroy my self esteem and definitely kept me very single, not dating, and believing I was done for in that capacity. I have high standards, but my appearance dictated those standards would never be met.
I wouldn’t meet who I wanted to meet. Not a chance in hell.
Even with this job.
Even working for the King Solomon of the Internet.
One day, I simply had enough…and that day came in February of this year. Incidentally, after having to request a seatbelt extender in an airplane flying back from the Super Bowl, I hit my Eureka moment.
So what did I do? SOMETHING.
I decided to watch carbohydrates closely, and I joined Planet Fitness, so I would have access to a treadmill. At first, I could do very little without feeling overwhelmed. But, eventually I was doing 4 days a week, somewhere between 1.5 and 3 miles (the photo below was one where I pushed harder on a weekend), always walking, never running.
I would increase the incline, change the speed sometimes up to as high as 3.8 MPH, but never pushed too hard. My thought was…I don’t want to be in pain tomorrow and have an excuse not to come back here.
My new apartment has a private fitness center on site, so I’ve been able to cancel that membership…and I have a treadmill, weights, a few machines, medicine balls, etc within easy walking distance.
The fast food I would eat… or the select restaurants I would rotate through every afternoon with a podcast in my ear? Those changed. I went to Steak & Shake from that point forward, and ordered the grilled chicken salad (which is very good BTW) with no dressing (as I’m not a fan) and water with lemon. I would get out for 10 bucks, and would stay relatively clean on the diet there. I would also go to Chick-Fil-A and order the grilled nuggets, but the marination/something about them really turned me off, so I ceased that.
I also started hitting IHOP and Denny’s, and would order the Fit Slam or the Fit Breakfast, substituting extra scrambled egg whites for the toast and often the fruit. The key was the whites and the turkey bacon strips. Again, pairing the meal with water, and occasionally an unsweetened tea.
I also cut out soda almost entirely. The only times I alter that is when I go to a movie (will get a Diet Coke), or sometimes at a restaurant I’ll want a taste and will get a diet soft drink. I ordered one thin crust pizza a month ago that lasted three days…and I got a 2 liter Diet that night. But in general, I’m avoiding it.
Sugar is gone. I eat Breyer’s Carb Smart ice cream, which is very low in sugar on top of the lack of carbs. I eat sugar free gelatin and carb friendly yogurt on occasion. And because I was told it’s good for losing weight in the places you really want it to go away…I eat a few pure pineapple spears before bed.
Meal wise…I eat Atkins frozen dinners most of the time, particularly the small pizza, the chicken parm, or the ham and cheddar omelet. These products never have more than around 17g of carbs in them (usually much less), almost no sugar, and because I’m not snacking badly and I’m drinking a ton of water, the sodium isn’t as bad as it would be otherwise.
Each morning within the first half hour of the Outkick radio show, I’m eating an Atkins meal bar, sometimes accompanied by some kind of nut, a Slim Jim, or occasionally a mandarin or Cutie/Halo. While I’m screening your phone calls or arguing with Clay, I’m usually munching on a protein bar.
After my workout, which I do before I get home after each radio show… which consists of 45 minutes on the treadmill, usually some light weights, and a couple of times a week, at least a half hour in the pool, I eat two hard boiled eggs (just the whites), some instant bacon or a few sausage patties, and I drink an Atkins protein shake, which unlike most shakes, have very few carbs and almost zero sugar.
Snacks? Jerky, peanuts, almonds, the occasional pork rind, celery, cucumber slices, carrots, and a few times a week, a 100 calorie bag of microwave popcorn…I’ve now discovered Skinny Pop, so I will fill a small bowl with that in lieu of the hot stuff sometimes.
The key is the so-called “cheat day.” I have gotten to a point where I don’t like to cheat anymore, and I always find a way to CHEAT the cheat day. Here’s how. I’m a huge fan of queso, particularly from Moe’s Southwest Grill. So, I will get a salad with chicken and not much else…some cheese, a lot of lettuce, but unless its bacon, that’s it. I will either have the queso added to the salad, OR I will get two sides of it, and will absolutely douse each chip in it so that I eat far less of them.
As for bread, which I love, I eat Healthy Life…and I only eat a few sandwiches a week, heavy on turkey breast or chicken, a slim cheese, and I toast it. Nothing else. Condiments have tons of carbs and tons of high fructose corn syrup, which I now avoid like the plague.
On the few days I’ll cook breaded chicken strips or something… I put no sauce with them. I also pair anything and everything I can with green beans, which are great for you, and I add no salt…just a small sprinkling of parmesan cheese. I also do a basic chicken noodle soup with four or five Ritz crackers… occasionally I’ll substitute five crackers with some cheese and meat on them for a sandwich at lunch.
I don’t eat late at night, and the lack of soda, replaced by Bai juice or a VitaZero in the morning, Sparkling Water some days, a ton of actual water, Diet Ocean Spray (antioxidants, etc), or Crystal Light concoctions…keeps me feeling much lighter on my feet, not to mention regular. At a wedding in May, I looked like this…still on the long road. The latest photo is at the end of the article.
In short, after being very long here…I’ve started giving a damn, paying attention, and not allowing myself to think it’s not doable. I have two close friends with similar weight challenges, both doing very well in their respective journeys, and I simply took the lead from them and started making better choices. I want to look better, I want to feel better, I want to be more attractive, I want a longer life.
And, without a doubt, in every way, including one I felt was nearly hopeless, I’m now ready to find “her.”
So, since mid-February, I’ve gone from an embarrassing 370ish… to today on August 11th… 289. That’s my low. It keeps going down, and I continue doing the same things. Last week, I shopped in stores I would never have dreamed possible a year ago…that I used to look at with disdain for years…and bought clothes that fit. I was not in the Big and Tall in a department store later that day. Most everything I own is now gigantic on me.
I’ve had to buy a replacement belt for my replacement belt within the past month. That first belt only lasted two months.
This is life-changing stuff. It brings a level of self-confidence I have never had before. It’s made me a completely different person. The self-deprecation that many of you have known me for on radio has gone away as well. That was a defense mechanism. I now see myself in a totally unique and awesome way.
What I’ve told the people I’ve responded to directly is this. If there’s some way I can support you as you decide to take this on…I will. That’s very important. And, if you can do it for about 3.5 weeks, it becomes habit. It’s now a lifestyle. It’s not a diet. It’s not going to the gym. It’s EVERYTHING.
I wish you the best. I’m a work in progress, with at least 60 more pounds to lose to really be where I want to be… and maybe more to really look my best at 6’3″. I’m now starting to tone more and care about that side, but the results have far exceeded my expectations. In mid-March, I went to my doctor for a physical (new doc, first visit)… first physical I’d had in ten years, and only did it for insurance purposes. We scheduled blood work that day, and I was utterly terrified. I knew how I’d lived and what I’d done, and was sure the report would be heartbreaking.
It wasn’t. I was clean. My sugar was good. My blood was good. My blood pressure was great. My cholesterol was superb. At that moment, I realized God was telling me…you’re okay, now get yourself right. I was weighed in at that appointment at 362… bad BMI, and I told the doc I’d been doing the gym thing and eating better for a few weeks. I believe at that point I’d lost about 8 pounds. I came back and saw him six weeks later… I was at 331. He actually walked into the room to start the follow-up visit and high fived me, before telling me my weight or anything about the testing.
Again, if you want my support, you have it. This is a long road, where some days you look at yourself and feel good and others you look at yourself and wonder how long it will take to actually make you feel attractive. However, when everyone starts mentioning it before they so much as say hello to you? That’s the greatest feeling in the world.
To the listeners and readers who continue to send very kind comments, it means the world to me, and will to anyone who goes down this road and attempts to better themselves. What I know today, and what I can impart to any of you is this. If I can do this, ANYBODY can do this.
I wish the same path for you. I consider myself blessed by God to have had the motivation and the discipline to do this on my own. I’m not special, not some fitness guru that knows much of anything. I just did something that worked for me, continues to do so, and I’m now in the best shape of my adult life…by far.
And this is just the beginning.