Today, I want to share a story of epic success, of incredible inspiration, of new hope and promise that your goals for health and wellness can be achieved no matter how insurmountable they may seem. This is a story of experience and discovery in how to lose 100 pounds in 6 months but it achieves so much more as well. It shows you how purpose, passion, determination, willingness and dedication, paired with all natural, authentic provision can transform your life- not in years but in weeks and months.
It is Rod Arnold’s testimony.
Rod is a trusted and valued friend. He is a member of and vital contributor in the Inner Circle of Simply Good Health, a powerful Facebook community designed to teach and empower a lifestyle of health, fitness and overall wellness. And he is a living, breathing, thriving example of what it means to transform your life. And so I am proud and honored to share this interview style testimony with you today.
So, without further ado, here is Rod’s story:
What was your WHY? Why did you begin the journey to weight loss, health and fitness?
“I had hit rock bottom. I weighed a little over 400 lbs. and had become very depressed. I remember waking up one day in early January and saying to myself, “If you keep this up, you’ll be dead soon, is that what you want?” I was lucky! I had come to this realization on my own and decided that since I didn’t want to die, I needed to reverse gears and do something about it.”
What was your goal?
“My goal starting out was quite simple: Get rid of the fat! Being morbidly obese has not only physical consequences, but some very tough mental consequences that go along with it as well. It’s very disheartening to go out in public and see the stares. It’s a very dangerous chain reaction: When you become that fat, it’s very easy to just give up. You start thinking, this is just who I am, and people will just have to accept me as being fat. I have no energy, so I’ll just sit around on the couch or in front of the computer and relax. Pretty soon, it becomes your way of life and you start to believe that this is just how it’s gonna be, might as well just accept it and get used to it.”
What was the first step you took for nutrition? For fitness?
“The first step I took for nutrition was cutting out everything fried. Being from Texas where everything is either fried or smothered in gravy, this was a very hard transition. When I was at my heaviest, I only ate once or maybe twice a day, but when I did, you can bet that plate was loaded down with all kinds of unhealthy food. A funny thing happened during this transition. After going weeks without eating anything fried, I decided I had been doing so well on my new diet and decided to treat myself to a cheat meal.(Crazy, I know). I headed down to the Silver Spur, a local restaurant where I used to eat all the time, and ordered up a (you guessed it) chicken fried steak dinner with fries. I took one bite, ate one french fry, and almost threw up. It tasted horrible. I thought something was wrong with it and started to say something to the waitress until I looked around and saw other people eating the same meal. Could my tastes have changed that much in a few short weeks to where my once favorite meal now repulsed me? YOU BET! Now, 8 months later, I still cannot eat anything fried.”
“For fitness, I started out by going for what I called run-walks. I would run for as long as I could and then slow back down to a walk. Once I had caught my breath and my heart had returned to a normal rate, I would start running again and followed this pattern over and over. I remember the first time I did this, I could barely run 100 yards before slowing back down to a walk. Before long 100 yards became 200 yards, 200 became 300 and so on. I would go on these run-walks in the morning before work and at night before getting ready for bed. For added motivation, I used to go for these run-walks around the cemetery. For me, it was keep going, or pick out your spot, it’s your choice. I chose to keep running. There’s a line in one of my favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption, where Andy the main character says, “I guess it comes down to a simple choice. Get busy living or get busy dying.” There is a lot of truth to that.”
What were the primary 5 foods you gave up and replaced with healthy options?
“Pizza, lasagna, chicken fried steak, potatoes, and bread. My problem was two-fold. I was eating a large meal once or twice a day, and that meal always contained a huge number of carbohydrates. By only eating once maybe twice a day, my body was never sure when it would get its next meal, and would store everything I ate as fat. So, if these were the conditions that were causing the obesity, logic dictated that by going in the opposite direction should start reversing the effects, and it did. I replaced these high carb foods with salads, grilled chicken, baked and grilled fish, fruit, and steamed vegetables. Along with these new healthy choices, I would eat smaller meals 5-6 times a day. My body was in total shock and had no choice but to start burning up the fat stores and the weight started coming off.”
What was the hardest step you took?
“The hardest step I took was just getting started. It’s like climbing a mountain or running a marathon. When you’re at the beginning, the end seems to be nowhere in sight, but pretty soon, day one becomes week 1 and then month 1. You have to just know that every day, these small deposits you make into your fitness account will begin to add up to some pretty big results.”
Did you embrace a particular diet strategy such as vegan, paleo, macrobiotic?
“When I started this fitness / nutrition journey, I was in a social media discussion group on Facebook with Carl Mason-Liebenberg who specializes in this sort of thing. I believed at the time he was a vegan and he really seemed to know his stuff. I began reading his blog every chance I could. I thought to myself, “I don’t know any fat vegans, so there must be something to this.” I embraced a sort of vegan-fusion diet (which he endorses) where I would take his vegan recipes and add fish or chicken to them.”
What fitness strategy did you embrace? How often do you gym, for how long?
“My particular fitness strategy actually came about by accident. While trying to get rid of all the fat on my body, I found out that building muscle burns fat 24/7. That’s the key I was looking for. I’m very competitive and it became a war between me and the body fat, and now I had what I thought was a secret weapon. I began hitting the weights hard and heavy. At first, it had nothing to do with becoming muscular, but everything to do with ridding myself of body fat. After a few months of heavy weight training, the muscles became more pronounced and the fat continued to melt away. Because of my addictive personality, my workouts soon became the highlight of my day. There’s a feeling of happiness and pride that you get from pumping up your muscles and seeing veins pop out that is like no other feeling in the world. I hit the gym for 1 1/2 hours, 5 or 6 times a week; 45 min heavy lifting, 30 min cardio, and 15 minutes resting. I let my body tell me when I need a day of rest and that’s when I take a day off. One thing I still do to this day is work out at night. It started out as a way to get my workout in and avoid all the hard bodies at the gym, the stares I would get from people are still burned into my mind when I was very fat. Now, it’s a way to completely exhaust myself, clear my mind, and build muscle and burn fat while I sleep. You don’t build muscles in the gym, that’s where you break them down. You build muscle while your body is at rest, so working out at night just makes sense.”
What source of support, information, resources have you used for the process?
“Living in the digital age, all of the resources I use are from the internet. I’m a member and contributor to one of the best groups on Facebook called the Inner Circle of Simply Good Health where there is a wealth of knowledge about nutrition, exercise, and a family of members who support each other without judgement or criticism. I also try to copy the workout techniques from guys like Jay Cutler and Ronnie Coleman who have several videos on YouTube, and I use resources like workout journals and meal planners from sites like bodybuilding.com.”
What have you achieved to date?
“Since January of this year, I have lost a little over 100lbs, and 13 inches in my waistline. My shape has gone from an “O” to a “V” and I have more energy now than I know what to do with. Along with physical achievements, I have gained a knowledge of nutrition that I never had before.
I think my biggest achievement to date is that I have transformed my diet into a lifestyle.
I’m not on a diet anymore, I just eat healthy. That may sound like it’s the same thing but it’s not. Once you embrace a lifestyle of clean eating and exercise, it’s just something you do without having to think about it. I don’t count calories, I count ingredients. The fewer the ingredients, the better the food. You just have to make up your mind to do it. Once you do, it becomes habit, and then a way of life.”
What advice would you give to others looking to begin a health and wellness journey?
“I think the best advice I would give someone is to just do it. Get started and keep it simple. You don’t have to keep track of how many calories you eat, learn what foods are good for you and learn different ways to prepare them. You don’t need a gym membership, just find something heavy, pick it up and put it back down then repeat over and over. If you don’t have dumbbells, use water bottles or rocks. No chin up bar, a tree limb works great. Use your own body weight against itself by doing push ups and other similar exercises. The biggest thing is to quit finding reasons not to, and just haul off and do it! You can have results or excuses, but you can’t have both.”
I have to say that Rod is one of the most inspiring men I have ever known. He realized his situation, his condition and as upsetting as it was, he took charge, embraced the information and resource available to him and made a change in his life. And as I mentioned earlier, I consider him a trusted friend who has now become a VITAL member of the Inner Circle of Simply Good Health who contributes immensely to its community and family.
I am so very proud of Rod and all that he has achieved. He transformed his life and is using his story to reveal, not only how to lose 100 pounds in 6 months naturally, but how to take charge and make a change that so many are seeking. Thank you, Rod, for allowing me to share your incredible journey, for allowing me to continue to be a part of the story, for giving new hope and offering remarkable inspiration for anyone looking to lose weight-whether 10 pounds or 100) and regain their health and vitality.