I was always the healthy, athletic and energetic one in the family. I loved hearing it when family and friends told me “you look great” and “you are getting better with age.” Slowly, though, I noticed those comments were being said less and less. I knew why – I was becoming the typical Mongelli male, like my uncles, dad and brother, who gradually gained weight and become less active. Over the last few years the numbers on the scale were going nowhere but up, and it was when I saw it hit 215 pounds that it scared me. I was always used to seeing it at 195. Round, bloated, lethargic and lazy became my acceptable condition. Egg whites were swapped with donuts, vegetables with cookies, and healthy dinners turned into pizza … all the time.
The Wake-Up Call
It all hit rock bottom in November 2013 when I was diagnosed with pneumonia. It was the first time my doctor looked at me and said, “You are very sick, and people die from this.” My weight gain contributed to my low immune system and I am sure it had a part in what I was going through. There I was – my lungs full of fluid, sitting at 212 pounds, with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I had a hard enough time breathing without being sick, let alone doing it with the weight I had put on. This was my wake-up call.
The BBD Fitness & Weight-Loss Program
It took a good six months for me to get back to feeling normal again. Being an avid ball hockey player, I could tell I wasn’t myself on the floor. Guys would run right by me and I would come off the floor panting like I had ran miles, even though it was only 30-second shift. This is when I knew it was time to make a change. I always felt at home at Bodies by Design in the past, so I decided to get back to the place where I knew would help. Their GRIP program was new to me, but it seemed as if it was designed for me as well. The end goal was mine but the responsibility was shared among BBD’s coaches. Success would only happen if we all made it happen, and it was comforting knowing I wasn’t in this alone. Having been with BBD since its inception 16 years ago, my familiarity and confidence came back quickly.
During my first session back I almost threw up all over myself, but I could only blame myself for letting my fitness level get to that point. I had a tough time looking in the mirrors during exercises because I looked horrible, but at the same time I wanted to see myself change. I began to like lunges, love the mountain climbers and developed a love-hate relationship with back exercises. Nat, my trainer, got me focused from Day 1, not only with training, but also with setting my daily caloric intake and helping me choose healthy meal options. Their Nutrient Coaching program, the 40-40-20 rule (40% carbs, 40% protein, 20% healthy fats), and my 1,800 calorie-a-day limit became my saving grace. I had to stick to these numbers if I wanted my transformation to be successful. Three days a week of intense workouts, great eating habits and playing ball hockey were making me feel like me again. The scale moving in the right direction at my weekly BBD weigh-ins, and my body slimming and shaping was all I needed! Talk about motivating!
My goal was to get down to 195 pounds, and I had set myself a personal stretch goal of 190. I was able to get past my goal and ended up at 193 pounds, and I was also able to shave 12 centimetres off my waist. More importantly for me, is how I feel physically. I sleep better, I look better, my energy level is up, and my stamina – on and off the ball-hockey floor – has been amazing! I’m also proud I have accomplished the challenges my trainer imposed on me that I thought I would never have been able to do, whether it is the heavy weights I can now lift that I couldn’t before, or overcoming the mental stresses of this journey. Nat has kept me motivated and never let me say no.
For me, this is a marathon and not a race. Everything I wanted to accomplish has become reality, however, it’s the bad dream that I want to continue to avoid. No more waking up with aches and pains, no more being lethargic, no more panting like a dog at the end of my hockey shift. I absolutely love how I’ve adapted to a new lifestyle of eating and exercise. My new favourite word is “clean.” Everything I do now to my body, mind and soul will be “clean.” I have learned how to reduce my blood pressure and cholesterol while getting into top athletic shape!
My goal is measured in both numbers and impact. I want to be lean and fit, however, the most important goal I have is to change the “Mongelli male” perception. I am now the influencer to my son, my nephew and the generations to come, demonstrating that a Mongelli is a healthy male and one will continue to hear compliments of “you look great!” as they age.
I intend to keep up the hard work. How far can I go? I don’t know, which is now the motivation. I intend to be healthy for me, my kids and my family. My next biggest challenge will be participating in the World Ball Hockey Championships this May, and if my 25-year playing career is coming to an end soon, I want to make sure I end it feeling like I did when I started at 18 years old – like a bull!
Words of Wisdom
I believe we are a product of our environment, and only I can create the environment I want my family to live in. My “aha” moment came when I realized that we spend so much time, money and effort making ourselves unhealthy. Every choice you make at the drive-thru, when opening the fridge, or over-indulging contributes to getting ourselves in a downhill spiral. So why not make that same effort to make ourselves healthy! When you do, the uphill climb will seem so much easier and gratifying than the crash of fat freefall!
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