Many people look to success stories to aid their weight loss and give them useful transformation tips. These stories are often inspiring, but can deter you from your goals as well as others may have better resources, more time, or less weight to lose than you do.
Gunner Cargile, 25, made a few lifestyle changes he found necessary. “I wanted to live a healthier and more active life, and I finally realized that the only way to make that happen was if I got up and put in the effort,” Cargile told Yahoo’s Weight Loss Win. He followed some healthy guidelines, and two incredibly easy habits that anyone can do.
He lost 40 pounds in the first 4 months
Carligle was overweight as long as he could remember, and at age 24, he decided that it was time to make a change. He lost 40 pounds within the first four months of his weight-loss journey without a specific plan.
His overall results were impressive; Carligle lost 156 pounds within one year. He dropped from a size 3XL T-shirt to a size large and cut his waistband from size 46 to 32. “Physically, I felt like a new person,” he told Yahoo.
Here’s what kept him motivated
“Music was my biggest source of motivation,” said Carligle, a lifelong drummer. He also looked to his parents, who he said maintain a healthy lifestyle. It took him about five months before he reported noticing any changes to his body, however he said that once he saw those changes, “… there was not a single thing that could have made me give up.”
The Mayo Clinic also recommends joining up with family and friends to exercise as a good way to hold you accountable for your day’s workout.
He started counting calories
Carligle made a point to keep track of his daily calorie intake. Setting safe goals for your diet and logging them, whether on paper or an app, is a smart way to track your progress and make sure you follow your diet. He cut out sugary sodas and cut down his carb intake to rice alone. “My rules were no sugar, no bread, and no salt.”
In the beginning, he reportedly only ate chicken, rice, eggs, protein shake mixes, and salad. However, as with many weight-loss efforts, he noticed he was hitting a plateau after a few months.
Habit No. 1: Walking 6 days a week
Carligle didn’t have to train for a marathon or join CrossFit to see his incredible results; he simply started walking. “I got a gym membership and walked three to four miles a day for six days a week.”
Regular, brisk walking provides significant health benefits along with weight loss. Frequent walking can prevent and manage high blood pressure, strengthen your bones and muscles, and improve your balance. You’ll see greater benefits based on your speed, distance, and frequency.
Habit No. 2: Adopting a vegetarian diet
Once Carligle noticed his progress plateauing, he decided to switch his diet up. He began replacing chicken and steak with vegetables and protein sources like asparagus and black beans. He enjoyed flavor-packed vegetarian chili recipes that still aligned with his diet and found that going vegetarian sped up his weight loss.
There are plenty of valuable studies which support a vegetarian diet to aid weight loss. Brie Turner-McGrievy, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of South Carolina, followed 63 people on vegan, vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, and omnivorous diets. Vegans and vegetarians lost an average of 8.2 to 9.9 pounds while the meat-eaters dropped an average of 5.1 pounds over eight weeks.
Eventually, he added in weight training
Next, Carligle added weight training to his exercise regimen. He did high reps with low weights to build lean muscle and burn off extra fat.
To maintain his current weight, Carligle will usually focus on two complementing muscle groups (like chest and tricep muscles) a day. He stretches pre-exercise and begins and ends with a mile walk. “I like to change up which specific exercises I do each day,” said Carligle, “It keeps exercise from feeling monotonous, and your body thrives off of change.”
How to maintain your own diet and weight loss goals
Losing your goal weight is only one component of progress; maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen is a lifelong undertaking. Carligle along with experts like WebMD recommend a balanced sleep schedule, staying busy and limiting screen time, and keeping up a regulated diet to keep the weight off.
Carligle’s weight loss story is inspirational beyond his impressive weight loss. Walking and a semi-vegetarian diet may have fueled his transformation, but it’s his mindset that truly pushed him to make a change. “While some things are out of my control, I’m going to continue to destroy every obstacle between where I am and where I want to be.”
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