It all started by reading a simple book on a plane flight to Portland in August of 2011. I read Chris Guillebeau’s book The Art of Non-Conformity after becoming a fan of his blog. The idea was simple: why live your life for everyone else? why not do what makes you happy?
Until that point I hadn’t been very vocal about my decision to take control of my life. Since then I’ve learned that there are many people doing exactly that. So today I want to share my story with you.
I’ve been overweight since I was eight years old. I slimmed down when I became active in high school while playing football and throwing shot put and discus on the track team. I had yet to discover the joys of living the college life.
Fast forward 10 years and I’ve put on more weight than I have ever imagined. I weighed almost twice as much as what someone my height should weigh. I was literally the size of two people! And you know what? I was tired.
I was tired of not going on dates
I was tired of getting winded walking up stairs
I was tired of wearing old people clothes and not something cool and hip
I was tired of being tired
So I did something about it. I decided to take control of my life. I purchased a bike in August and I started commuting to work daily. I don’t have a car anymore. If I need to go somewhere, I ask a friend for a ride, or call a cab. If it’s outside of town I rent a car. Not having something will make you prioritize what’s important in your life. You can read all about the first two months.
I also learned how to take better care of myself by eating the right things. I’m not an unhealthy eater, but I do tend to over eat, I LOVE FOOD! Someone gave me a fitbit for my birthday and I became obsessed with how far I walked daily and what I ate and how well I slept at night.
Through tracking what I ate, I learned most of my calories were being consumed at night. Shifting those to the morning and lunch would help drastically with my weight loss. So I did that. Now instead of skipping breakfast, I have a whey protein shake or oatmeal. I eat a balanced lunch with lean protein (venison or fish) and have another protein shake for dinner. There are days when I stray from this, but the biggest thing to overcome was my lack of self control. Another issue was eating out for lunch every single day of the week. Not only was it making me fat, but it was also putting me in debt.
In my fight with obesity I have found these sites very inspiring:
Livestrong Fitbit Bigfatshoe Running for my existence
Fighting debt and consumerism
With student loans and two credit cards, I feel like I’m treading water. I make the minimum payments but never get ahead. Am I suppose to go through my life feeling in-debited to someone else? No! It’s a pretty simple theory in practice, don’t spend more than you take in, but as well all know, sometimes life gets in the way. Things happen, decisions have to be made and before you know it, you can easily be in more debt than you realize and asking yourself ”How did this happen to me?”
So what did I do? I did something about it. I started taking half of my paycheck and using it to pay off this debt and I’m still doing that now. That means that I have to tighten my belt, a lot. No more expensive meals (the main way I treat myself); no more unnecessary trips to see friends and family who live more than hour away; no more buying things I can’t afford.
And you know what? It sucks. But just like losing weight it is possible to get out of debt. You start to seek out the simple life, taking joy in doing more things that don’t cost money or looking for deals where you can do things on the cheap. Instead of buying print books now, I buy books on my Kindle. Instead of buying every book on my Kindle, I go down to the local library and check it out if they have it. Instead of $25 meals, I hunt out 75 cent taco nights at local bars. Instead of top shelf, you can ask for bottom shelf, and if you don’t want to drink, ask for water instead of tea or soda. Water is still free at most places!
Don’t get me wrong, if you’re dying to do something or you’re craving a meal, don’t deny yourself but don’t go into debt to do it. Allow yourself to have something nice when you’ve done something good as a reward. Don’t however, constantly reward yourself. It’s all about self control.
In my fight with debt and consumerism I have found these sites very helpful:
Early Retirement Extreme Man vs Debt Zen Habits Get Rich Slowly
Do you ever read stories about people doing extraordinary things and wonder “why can’t I do that?”
It happens all the time and there should be no reason why we can’t chase our dreams. Maybe you want start your own business, or a blog, or quit your job, or meet the love of your life. Now is the perfect time to do all of those things. What’s stopping you?
Yes there will be fear and doubt and that little voice inside of you telling you not to step out of your comfort zone. It’s there for a reason, but sometimes you have to learn how to ignore it.
Now more than ever the world desperately needs you! It needs your ideas, your passion, your drive, your voice. Did you get the good news? Things are happening, people are striking out on their own and accomplishing their dreams. You and I both can do it. I got tired of seeing other people doing all the cool things that I’ve wanted to do. Guess what? I’m doing something about it! I’m putting plans into motion that could be one of the greatest opportunities of my life. If I told you about it, you would think I’m crazy. So for now it’s going to stay with me. But believe me, when it happens, it’s going to be huge!
In my fight with conformity I have found these sites very inspiring:
Nate Walks America America by Cycle The Art of Non-conformity
I’m writing this as a manifesto because I want to inspire you to do something great! I want you to reach your full potential because I know you have it inside of you. I don’t want you to focus on how I do things because it won’t work for you. I want you to figure out what matters the most to you and tackle those things head on. I’ll always be here to inspire you to reach new levels of greatness.
Having dreams are great. Wanting to conquer the world is great also, but without doing something about it, it’s pointless. What are you going to do?