Mojo… Swagger… Game… So often in abundant supply early in a man’s life, only to become a fading, distant memory once we hit the dreaded middle years. Glory Days… They will pass you bye indeed if one isn’t careful! Such was the predicament I found myself in after a particularly rough personal patch in my life two years ago. What follows is the story of how I got my Mojo back.
Can you pick out the differences in the two pictures above, taken exactly one year apart? I’ll give you a hint; It’s not the beautiful woman on the right… A dear friend of mine from high school. No, if your answer was the incredible shrinking man on the left, you win! I can assure you that these two images have not been ‘Photoshopped.’ No, this transformation was achieved the old-fashioned way; Through goal-setting, determination and hard work! Was it easy? No. Does it work? Well… You tell me!
Hitting the wall… My personal ‘crossroads.’
2008/2009 was not an easy time for me personally on several fronts. The loss of a job I loved due to the faltering economy and subsequent financial hardships. The implosion of a “relationship” that should never have happened in the first place. And finally, the loss of my father to a heart condition. It is safe to say those were not the best of times. Suddenly broke, single and unemployed, I turned to stress-eating as a way to somehow self-medicate. It didn’t work. The results of my bad habits and loss of self-esteem are sadly captured in the picture at left, taken during what should have been a joyous occasion – the reunion of two old friends sharing a holiday meal and ‘catching up.’
I knew that if I continued down the path I was on things were only going to get worse and seeing that ‘before’ picture forcefully drove home the cold reality… I had become fat! Fortunately for me, I have always enjoyed staying somewhat active and my current state of affairs felt like I was wearing a stranger’s clothes. It was time to take action… Enter Dr. Ian K. Smith and his terrific eating plan, The 4 Day Diet.
The 4 Day Diet is based on a very simple premise; Change things up food choice-wise every four days, thus keeping the body slightly off-kilter and not allow it to adjust its defense mechanism slowing the metabolism in an effort to fend off perceived starvation from reduced caloric intake. Plus, for a ‘kitchen challenged’ guy like myself, the food selections and meal plans couldn’t be more simple or easier to follow. Perfect!
Broken up into 7 four day ‘phases’, the diet is laid out in an easy-to-follow manner:
• Induction (detox/cleansing)
• Transition (to reintroduce all food groups)
• Protein Stretch (to avoid plateaus)
• Smooth (when you can have some formerly forbidden foods like pizza and French fries)
• Push (the sprint just before the final stretch, back to a stricter eating plan)
• Pace (a comfortable module for you to catch your breath)
• Vigorous (the final module to lose those last few pounds)
Each phase introduces new foods and keeps the body guessing, and in turn, it never feels like drudgery. The results for me were spectacular! In just the first week alone (induction phase) I dropped 5 lbs! Total weight lost after 7 weeks plus an additional induction phase?… 53 lbs!! Judging from my ‘after’ picture on the right, just twelve short months later, this would be a very different holiday celebration indeed… I had regained my ‘mojo!’
Working hand-in-hand with my revised diet plan, I returned to the gym with a vengeance. This portion of my ‘rebirth’ came easily to me as I have always enjoyed working out. But, like so many others, I often let work and a myriad of other obligations get in the way of staying consistent. This time it would be different. Just as the 4 Day Diet changes up your food choices each week, I have had success participating in a mix of physical activities to keep things fresh. Weight training, jogging, HIIT cardio and core training all have a place in my plan now.
Make no mistake… I enjoy food! I also enjoy a nice glass of wine and a tasty martini now and then, I’m not going to lie! Yet despite these indulgences, I have managed to stay within 10 lbs of my finishing weight one year after completing the plan. The 4 Day Diet makes it easy to do so. If I feel myself slipping too far, I simply go through the induction phase of the program, cleaning out the junk and it keeps me in check.
The morale of the story?… It’s never too late!
Call me Peter Pan if you like, but to growing old I say, “To hell with middle age and its perceived limitations!” Personal ‘reinvention’, both physical and mental is possible, you just have to believe, have a plan and WORK THAT PLAN! To your success, I raise my glass.. Salude!
Randy – A Life Designed