In this new weight maintenance series, we interview some of our Lost It participants who have previously shared their successful weight loss stories. In this series, we revisit some of their fitness and eating habits, and find out how they really keep up with maintaining their new bodies and mindset.
Who: Ben Pobjoy (Read his original Lost It feature here)
The Numbers: Current weight: 150 pounds and a total weight loss of 100 pounds over the years.
After Losing The Weight: Maintaining weight was easy because it wasn’t a concern. Instead, I was more concerned with making time to implement as much varied physical movement into my day-to-day life as possible. And because my lifestyle shifted to a tremendously active one — comprised of a lot of walking and boxing — my metabolism completely changed. Now, I can probably get away with eating whatever I want, and sometimes I do. But more often than not, I’m super disciplined with my inputs — maintaining a wholesome plant-based diet — since it affects my physical performance and my general sense of well being.
For me, losing weight was easy because I found physical pursuits that were enjoyable… which was key. Additionally, losing weight is a straightforward thing; you just have to calorically expend more than you calorically consume. Others made the process sound much harder than it actually was. But, what was more challenging — and remains challenging — is the time and commitment it takes to eat well; all the grocery shopping, meal planning, meal preparation, etc. I generally make almost everything that I eat, and this requires a lot of time. There’s definitely been a lot of late nights making the next day’s lunch or early mornings making shakes before a workout.
"Healthiness to me isn’t about denial, it’s about balance and joy, and certain foods, ha ha, like cookies, just bring me joy..."
Your New Mindset: I’m the same person… just in a retrofitted vessel. While it was nice to be indirectly complimented for my efforts, the whole experience was eye-opening as to the objectification of bodies and the value people generally place on aesthetics; in terms of how things look vs. how things feel or inherently are. Now a healthy weight and in shape, I’ve experienced how thinner people are made to feel ‘more’ or better or just generally celebrated, and it’s troubling and sad. Overall, it’s been a personal reminder to judge character, not bodies.
I also now feel connected to my body like never before. In terms of the ‘me’ inside, I feel like the same person. But, achieving better health through walking expanded my consciousness. I’ve seen a lot of suffering on my walks both at home and around the world; homelessness everywhere, Syrian refugees in Istanbul, addiction on East Hastings or Skid Row in Los Angeles, and how people with mental health issues lack support and fall through the cracks in every city. This has made me keenly aware of my privilege/luck in life and has increased my empathy, and inspired me to distribute sandwiches to hungry people on the streets when I walk. I’m not naive enough to think I can change systemic issues but I refuse to be apathetic.
Movement has been meditative for me, enabling me to become a new person in terms of consciousness. It has rewired how I see and experience the world, which is why I’m always challenging myself to retool my physical movement into social movement that helps others, even if it’s just through small acts.
I’ve long been a fan of boxing, and getting in shape has allowed me to pursue boxing in a serious way. I’ve been fortunate enough to train under a striking coach named Jorge Blanco for the last year. It has been humbling, incredible and really damn tough.
The Food Element: When I began to get healthy, I was very disciplined with what I ate because I had to rewire my unhealthy relationship with food. So, I cut out everything bad; soda, chips, refined foods, starchy things, etc. Previously, I ate until stuffed and ate treats all the time. But, when I overcame my compulsions, I learned how to pepper in treats because I could finally and responsibly enjoy them as such. I eat overwhelmingly healthy now, but I’ll occasionally crush a bag of cookies or a whole pizza if I want. Healthiness to me isn’t about denial, it’s about balance and joy, and certain foods like cookies, just bring me joy.
"I don’t care about what it took to get here, it was just a reset to a baseline of basic health."
Breakfast is some ungodly green sludge smoothie slurped back after a workout; spinach, romaine lettuce, goji berries, cucumber, unsweetened almond milk, blackstrap molasses, flax seeds and hemp protein. Lunch is a massive salad or veggie bowl with a spectrum of plants, seeds and proteins like beans or tempeh often with fermented dressings. Dinner is smaller and often made in a bamboo steamer; a head of broccoli, a brick of tofu, fermented miso sauce, avocado, olive oil, walnuts, etc.
I don’t have cheat days, but if I want something unhealthy, I’ll have it. To me, it’s just about keeping unhealthy foods in check. I try and eat way more good than bad. And because I train so hard and so often, I know how important it is to eat well; because this not only fuels me, it helps with recovery post-workout.
Portion size is irrelevant to me because I’m more concerned with nutrition. If a meal is small but nutrient dense then I eat small. If the food is less nutrient dense then I eat more. However, I typically have a small breakfast, a massive lunch and a small dinner, trying my best not to eat late at night. And, I’ll eat raw vegetables as snacks in between all these meals.
The Exercise Factor: I box six days a week, sometimes twice a day. Yes, it’s exercise, but I just love it like a pastime. I don’t even do it for the fitness, I just do it because it’s so enjoyably challenging and gives me happiness. And, over the course of a week, I walk about 100 km because I love walking and live in the city so I don’t need a car, cabs or public transit.
I train with my striking coach Jorge twice a week. He corrects my boxing technique, teaches me new techniques then gives me homework which I do in my own gym outside of the time I spend with him. Jorge has vastly improved my strength and conditioning. I’ve maintained the same weight but have become leaner and more muscular.
The Current Day-to-Day: I don’t care about what it took to get here, it was just a reset to a baseline of basic health. So, I don’t view it as an accomplishment, it’s just a reset I should’ve done a decade sooner. But, now that I’ve arrived, I try not to take it for granted because health is a fleeting, ungraspable thing you have to actively try and grasp at every day. So, I try my best to grasp it and go beyond it, because every degree of improvement unlocks new performances or potentials and that’s exhilarating to experience. I don’t care about past accomplishments, I care about future challenges and surpassing them.
I’ll drink a million lattes, savour American menthols or occasionally get blind drunk. I like to keep it funky. I’m far from perfect and rife with contradictions… meaning there’s always another area of myself to conquer and improve. The process is perpetual. There’s no finish line.
Do you have a weight loss maintenance story to share? Send us an email at CanadaLiving@huffingtonpost.com to be featured on our Lost It series.
Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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