The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.
Swapping out calendars at the beginning of a new year inspires many promises, the number one each year being: lose weight. Resolutions alone, however, don’t bring about results. For Higher Gear customer Aaron Sherrick, inspiration to make a change came from a photograph. “I saw a picture of myself. It made me decide I really wanted to change. I didn’t want to be that guy I saw in the photo.”
Before that photograph was taken, Sherrick had been introduced to the world of long-course triathlon racing. A friend had loaned him a DVD of the 2008 Ironman World Championship in Hawai’i. “I had never seen one before and was super impressed with what these guys were doing. I was beyond impressed. It was mind-numbing what they were doing.”
Sherrick had been running and had even recently started cycling through the north shore neighborhoods on his newly purchased Specialized Tarmac, but had never combined the sports, thought about swimming competitively or considered triathlon before. After watching that DVD, however, a light bulb went on. “That’s when I decided I wanted to be a long-course triathlete.”
That decision was the beginning of a transformation for Sherrick. “When I decided I wanted to be a long-course athlete, I decided the first thing I had to do was to look like a long-course triathlete.” To accomplish that, he stopped focusing on body building, put more time into running and cycling and started swim lessons to learn proper technique. But really leaning down was going to be a bigger challenge than even all that swimming, cycling and running could accomplish.
That photograph, that one who showed him exactly who he didn’t want to be, triggered something in Sherrick. The picture was taken in February, a notoriously brutal month in the Midwest, a month that is often spent indoors, under blankets and with copious amounts of comfort food.
In that particular February, though, Sherrick engaged in a friendly competition with friends at work to see who could drop the most weight. “In wintertime, we had all put on a little weight. The competition was to see who could lose the most weight.” Sherrick smirks, “I totally crushed them.”
But it wasn’t the swim lessons, the cycling in the trainer or the running that made the difference for him. And it certainly wasn’t a diet. In his own words: “It was a lifestyle change.” Sherrick explains his approach:
“I fundamentally changed how I was eating, my nutrition. I became way more focused on eating less processed food, more real food; more vegetables, less meat; and less fried food. Sugary drinks went away. Diet drinks went away. It was just a total lifestyle change.”
He shares another tip that he used. “I began counting calories. I kept a food diary to track calories in and calories out. It was nothing too crazy; I wasn’t a slave to it. It gave me a lot more of a thumb in the wind as far as calories.” He explains why this is an important step to anyone looking to lose weight:
“Because it’s tough. If you just eat, you have no idea how many calories you’re taking in. There are so many hidden calories. It’s easier to over-eat & take in too many calories and not even realize it – especially in liquids! There are tons of calories in liquids. It’s easy to push you up over the top.”
During the friendly work competition, Sherrick dropped about 30 pounds, which came as a shock to those around him who wouldn’t have thought he had that much to lose. He lost another ten pounds during the rest of that year. “The last ten came off more slowly,” which is typical. As we approach a healthier weight, and as our bodies become used to the changes we impose on them, those last pounds are the toughest to shed.
But persistence pays off.
It’s been more than five years since that photograph shocked Sherrick into changing his lifestyle. Because he took a healthy approach to losing his weight and because he made permanent changes to his lifestyle, he’s been able to keep off those 40 pounds, making him a leaner person and a more efficient athlete.
Bonus: Sherrick can now look at photos of himself – whether taken at the office or during one of his Ironman triathlons (of which, he’s now done five full as well as a handful of shorter distance triathlons) – and feel proud of his accomplishment.
Meet more Higher Gear customers who have made lifestyle changes and dropped some pounds along the way: