Whatever. It. Takes.

If you follow me on social media then you might have seen me post a few times over the last few months about doing whatever it takes. This has been in relation to my efforts at the gym. I've been working out consistently now for somewhere around 8-10 weeks.

At the end of 2017 I kind of snapped. The simple explanation is that I finally got fed up with my own excuses and BS. I was pissed at myself.

For a long time, I've had a strong interest in fitness and nutrition. I've tried dozens of different workout plans and gyms and diets. But, to be totally transparent, I never gave it my full effort and I always gave up. I didn't stick with it and see it through to becoming a habit.

Same thing with my diet. I'd read something that would get me excited about losing weight and gaining muscle or I'd find a meal plan that I thought would work for our family to help me reach my goals and I would dive in head first. Within 7-15 days I would burn out on it. More accurately, I would let my cravings get the best of me. My kryptonite has been and probably always will be food that tastes delicious. Reese's Cups. Pizza. Fried Chicken Tenders (Zaxby's🤤), Mexican Food (mostly queso) and more. The list goes on. I'd do really well on these diets for a week or more and then like a rubber band stretched just a little too far I'd snap. Usually I'd end up putting back on whatever weight I'd lost by eating well. Sometimes more.

Same thing with my workout plans. I'd go to the gym consistently for 2 weeks and then I'd have to travel or some other scheduling catastrophe would screw up my groove and I'd be out of the gym for 3-4 days. By that point I'd forget how good I feel after my workouts and complacency would set in. Then two weeks would go by without me stepping foot in the gym.

Towards the end of 2017 and early 2018 (I don't know the specific date), I stepped on the scale and saw 199.9 pounds.

I've never weighed that much in my entire life and there I was .1 pounds away from 200. As an adult I've fluctuated between 175 and 185 pretty easily, but rarely went beyond that. Yet there I was at almost 200 pounds.

Not to mention that I spent most of 2017 depressed. There were a lot of days it was hard to get myself out of bed, much less go to the gym. I'm not looking for sympathy, but 2017 was a hard year for me. And this was the tipping point.

I got so pissed off.

In that moment I decided that I would do WHATEVER IT TAKES to be better. 

I will do whatever it takes to take control of my fitness AND my nutrition.

So since early January I've been working hard to do just that. I won't lie. I find it much easier to go to the gym and lift weights and do cardio than I do controlling myself in the kitchen or at the dinner table. Eating is hard for me.

My whole life I've eaten for taste when I should be eating for nutrition and fullness. I've always been the guy who cleans his plate no matter what. I'm the guy who, despite being full, still keeps eating ONLY because the food tastes good. Not because my body needs more of what that food has to offer.

So these last 10 weeks or so have been hard. It's taken a lot of rewiring and training myself how to really eat.

Just last night, all I wanted was some fried chicken and french fries. My wife left for work and the craving instantly hit me. I'd done a killer HIIT workout with a friend earlier in the day. I deserved a reward, right?

WRONG. That's the mentality that got me here in the first place. 

I don't deserve anything.

I had to force myself to get out a plate and put together a salad, some ground beef, and rice. What my body needed was not Zaxby's. What my body needed and what my mind needed was for me to stick to what is BEST for me in the long-term. Not what feels and tastes great right now, but what I will be proud of later. 

Instances like this are what have allowed me to drop almost 15 pounds over the last 10 weeks. I'm almost back down to 185 for the first time in months and I am excited, but I'm not happy with it just yet.

What I want more than anything is to get rid of all the excess fat in my body because I have no use for it. I don't need a layer of blubber to keep me warm anyway. I live in Georgia.

Each day is a fight to be consistent. To get in the gym 4-6 times a week. To run 3-4 times a week. To give my body only what it needs. To continue pushing myself to drop weight. To be fit, lean, strong, and flexible. All of this serves one, greater purpose: To be here longer for my family. That's it. I want to be the dad who can anything, anytime with his kids. Even when I'm 60, I want to still be beating my son 1-on-1 in basketball. I want to be the grandpa that can still hang with his teenage grandchildren. That's only possible if I start taking care of myself NOW.

And I will do whatever it takes to get there.

Whatever it takes has become the mantra I say to myself to get me through hard times. When I'm on mile 2.5 of a 3 mile run and I've got cramps on both sides of my abdomen. When I've got 2 more squat reps and my legs are complete jello. When my friends invite me to go out to dinner and I go with but decline to eat because I know I'll end up eating crap.

And this has spilled over in to other parts of my life.

When there is slack around the house that needs to be picked up in the form of laundry, dishes, cleaning the floors, washing the dog, cutting down a tree.

When my boss asks me to do something I have no idea how to do. Or a coworker needs my help with something I probably don't have time for.

When a freelance client demands revisions to a project be done on the same day.

When I shoot a video that needs to be edited and my kid is screaming so I have to comfort him, get him to sleep, and stay up well past midnight in order to finish editing.

When all of these distractions are screaming at my and my wife and my son need me to be present at home with them.

Whatever. It. Takes.

This is a refining process for me. It's not for everyone. In fact, a lot of people can't handle the type of pressure that comes from one of these situations, much less dealing with ALL of those scenarios at once.

So what's your mantra? Do you have a phrase you live by? Or do you pick a phrase every year to be the theme of your year? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Again, I'm not looking for affirmation by sharing about my health journey, but I hope it inspires you to do something about your own personal health!