Full disclaimer, there are no affiliate links in this post, I have no business relationship with anyone mentioned, and I stand to make no money from anything shared here. This is just one man’s experience with losing weight and feeling better.
Five new resources I’m loving:
1. MapMyFitness – Great for tracking my walks and bike rides.
2. Freeletics – Best indoor bodyweight workouts I’ve ever done.
3. Mark’s Daily Apple – Primal diet and fitness, clean, healthy, and delicious.
4. Athletic Greens – Greens supplement that has helped me with pain, stiffness, eyesight, sleep, recovery, digestion, gut health, immune system, and more. Powerhouse nutrients.
5. Sleep – The better I sleep, the better I stick to my diet, exercise, and productivity plans.
What in the name of Richard Simmons does losing weight have to do with being a successful part time photographer?
Business bad boy Donny Deutsch said it best – “Pain or paunchiness can render you almost helpless. If most of your energy is being spent keeping you upright, it’s not going into the areas where you need it most keenly. Go to the flip side of that equation and you’ll see how being in tip-top shape can help you immeasurably.”
It’s safe to say that most folks would like to lose a few pounds – a few as in five pounds, 20, 100, some even more. Especially us Americans who have nigh unlimited access to the most fattening, unhealthy food in the history of mankind.
It’s entirely possible to kill yourself, 99 cents at a time.
If you’re like me and you’ve struggled for years and years with being overweight, over the course of this weight loss series I want to offer some words of encouragement and some resources that have proven invaluable in my finally succeeding in losing weight.
What does this have to do with part time photography? Just from my own experience:
- Being overweight saps confidence, and confidence acts as a multiplying factor when it comes to success with marketing your work and staying creative and playful during your shoots. A lack of confidence causes both hesitation and anxiety when introducing yourself to new people, and it is a constant distraction when you’re trying to do creative work with the camera.
- Being overweight literally eats your profits. Professional photography, especially in the early years, can be very stressful – surviving stressful situations can trick you into thinking you need a reward, and often with us overweight folks, that reward comes in the form of food. I can’t tell you how many times I would get through a photo shoot then take my family out for a big meal in San Antonio, about 45 miles from my home. Between gas and the cost of eating out, I’d blow a chunk of my income from the shoot before I even processed the photos.
- Being overweight limits your artistic flexibility. I love shooting overhand shots, reaching to put my camera in the air and shoot down on a client – and I love shooting from super-low angles. This is a lot harder when you’re worried about your shirt coming untucked, or flopping around on the ground like a walrus, grunting to get back up. I don’t believe our subjects actually care, but still, it’s a state of mind that leaves you trying to protect your dignity instead of focusing wholly on the art and experience for your clients.
- Being overweight is uncomfortable. I love shooting sports from a low angle, on a knee or seated or even laying down – but with all the extra weight, I get about 60 seconds in one of these positions before I start getting very sore and uncomfortable. And it’s both embarrassing and distracting when you’re sweating, huffing and puffing just walking around a location with a client.
It’s not that your weight has a direct influence on your art, it’s all the mental and physical distractions that come with that extra weight that in aggregate can have a profound influence on your work, on how you interact with people, on how confident you are in marketing your business.
Two months ago, I needed to lose 100 pounds to get in the vicinity of my goal weight. Today, I’m 25 pounds closer to that goal. By my birthday in April 2012, I’ll be at my target weight. I have never had such success with my weight as I have this summer, and I’ve never been so confident that I can actually reach that goal.
In this series I’ll outline what is working so well for me, all the ‘little things’ that add up to create success. I’ll continue to add articles to as I reach milestones on my way to losing 100 pounds, so you can see from the perspective of a fellow part time professional photographer all of the challenges and solutions along the way.
Know this above all else: you can lose weight, get fit, and both feel and look fantastic. It needn’t be torturous or miserable. You just have to find the right mix of resources and methods that work for you – here’s my greatest one:
WHAT THE GURUS DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW
Here’s the big secret nobody selling diets or exercise equipment wants you to know: if you eat right and exercise, you will lose weight.
You already know how to lose weight: you eat healthy (not less, but healthier), you move around more. Veggies, lean meat, lift some weights, hop on the treadmill. You already know that every “easy” and “quick” weight loss method is a scam. You already know what you’re doing right, and what you’re doing wrong.
I knew it. Heck, I learned this stuff watching PBS Kids as a child.
But knowing something and doing something about what you know are two hugely different things.
I knew it all the way to 270 pounds. On a stocky 5’6″ Irish frame, that’s a massive amount of fat for a human being to carry around.
It’s like watching grass grow, though – on a day to day basis, you just don’t notice it while it’s happening. Especially for us men, who have built-in rose-colored glasses when we look in a mirror.
You graduate high school or college and stop playing sports. You work your first real jobs, and the added stress both distracts you from staying healthy and causes you to eat more crappy food. You get in a serious relationship or get married and get lazy with your physical appearance. You and your spouse have a baby and you both put on baby weight, then a whole new world of stress and distraction takes over.
Your pants get too tight, you go up a size and tell yourself, “Meh, I’ll lose it when this stress at work settles down.” Then you go up another size. “I just haven’t had time to get to the gym, I’m going to start hitting it hard.” Then another. “I’m getting older, I’m married now, I’m focused on more important things in life than my looks.” Then another…and so on. Until one day you’re laid up in bed with back problems, or your doctor tells you you need blood pressure medication, because you’ve slowly let yourself balloon up to a wholly unhealthy weight.
MY SECRET WEAPON: MOTIVATION
I didn’t realize how unhealthy my lifestyle had become after high school until I got married and had kids. My sedentary job and lifestyle led to a back injury, my back injury led to putting on a huge amount of weight, but reality didn’t strike me until I was unable to hold my own newborn son for more than a few minutes because of my back problems – back problems greatly extended and exacerbated by my weight.
This kick in the pants took me to the gym to rehabilitate my body. I didn’t lose weight, but I rebuilt my muscle and gained strength all over, especially in my back. I can now lift and wrestle and play with my 7-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy. My 11 month old is light as a feather.
But my weight didn’t become an slap-in-the-face issue until my birthday in April of this year.
There comes a moment when you realize you’re the fattest person in the room, at a get-together, or in your entire family or circle of friends. This struck me at my birthday party, when I looked around and realized I had at least 50-75 pounds more fat than anyone at my party.
It was during this time that I made a bet with my two best friends: I wagered by my birthday in 2013, two years time, I would be in better shape than either of them. They would have to tone up and put on muscle, but I would have to lose 100 pounds of fat.
The bet got me started. My trip to the doctor for a sinus infection got me scared.
While checking my stats, my doctor looked at me and said over her glasses, “Are you on blood pressure medication? If not, you need to be.” I had to convince her not to write me a prescription right then.
I hadn’t felt “bad” in years, since I started hitting the gym with regularity. I’d never had heart issues or any symptoms of high blood pressure. But my weight was affecting me in more ways than just confidence and clothing – it was wearing down my heart at a greatly accelerated rate, and putting me at risk for heart disease, heart attack, and a very reduced lifespan on this earth.
I may end up on blood pressure medication anyway (my mother had hypertension), but I want to eliminate weight as a potential influence first.
With death staring me eye-to-eye for one of the first times in my otherwise charmed life, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had to make changes. I have too much I want to experience, achieve, and leave behind in this life to risk losing all opportunity to do so over cheeseburgers and milkshakes.
That visit with the doctor was two months ago. I’ve lost 25 pounds since. My clothes don’t fit. I’m about to punch a new hole in my belt because I can’t tighten it enough to keep my pants up. I put on and had room to spare in a nice shirt that I was about to bust the buttons on just a few months ago. People are asking me if I’ve lost weight. It’s greater motivation than I ever could have dreamed.
Weight loss is possible. Progress is real and tangible. If you stick with healthy eating and some exercise, weight loss is an inevitable, natural result.
In forthcoming articles on the topic, I’ll share with you all of the meals, practices, methods, tools, books, blogs and resources that have proven invaluable in my weight loss success. There are no silver bullets, there are no magic pills, and honestly, it’s not even been all that hard.
The secret is motivation. Identify your motivation, your reasons for truly wanting to lose weight, the tangible and real benefits you’ll experience from reaching your ideal weight, and you will have taken the first and biggest step toward the fitness success you’ve fantasized about for years.
- Go to www.MyFitnessPal.com, sign up for a free account, and begin tracking everything you eat each day. It’s not a hassle, it takes almost no time at all, it’s free, and it will be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. In fact, it becomes addicting, and fun. You’ll thank me later. Please feel free to add me as friend – my username is BanderaOutlaw.
- Buy a copy of Tim Ferriss’ “4 Hour Body” and start reading. I have both hardcopy and Kindle versions. The super simple diet and exercise outlined in this book is what has worked for me after every other diet and exercise plan failed, every single time for lack of sustainability. The diet is inexpensive, healthy, quick to prepare, easy (I’ve almost never cooked in my life), and with Tim’s suggested seasonings, delicious.
- Brainstorm session: Why do you want to lose weight? Be brutally honest, dig deep, and tell all. Your motivations are valid, no matter how personal, unique, vain, or unreasonable they may seem. You have a right to your reasons for wanting to lose weight. How will your life be better if you reach your target weight? Brainstorm every reason you can think of, write it down, and file this in your Brainstorms folder.
- My writing at PartTimePhoto.com exists to serve your needs as an amateur photographer making the transition to paid professional. I appreciate and welcome your readership, and invite you to subscribe to my e-mail newsletter at the top of any page of this site.
- If anything in this post has spoken to and inspired you, please comment below, drop me an e-mail, or call or text me at 830-688-1564 and let me know. I’d love to hear how you use the ideas here to better your part time photography business!