We’re thrilled to announce our first runner-up in the nutrition challenge – Ahsan!
Ahsan originally joined The Foundry in September last year “to get in shape for Tough Mudder”. What he received was whole lot more. The first month was tough, every workout left him exhausted and sore. Many of the movements were challenging or impossible. Still, with pride, determination and a sarcastic sense of humor, he kept swearing never to return and showing up every day.
Ahsan made considerable progress over his first six months, dramatically improving his strength and end conditioning. But committing to the nutrition challenge in February took him to the next level.
- -10 lbs
- -6.2% Body Fat
- -2 inches in his waist
- -4.1 inches in his hips
His experience is presented in the essay below. Read on then see the before and after pics at the bottom!
I was miserable.
No matter what I did I would keep getting fatter. I worked out until I was at the point of fainting but I never made any progress. I tried dieting by staying away from “evil fatty foods.” I’d have headaches from lack of sugar and then I’d give in and gorge on everything I could get my hands on. I’d keep telling myself, “It’s just this once,” except that it would be once or twice (or more!) every day. I would work out and then eat a giant burger with fries and coke because I deserved it. I never understood how I could go to the gym 5 days a week and have my weight jump up and down with no steady progress. I didn’t understand why I would get out of breath by walking up a flight of stairs.
Until I tried this diet nothing worked.
It wasn’t easy at first. Each day I had to remind myself to stay strong. I realized that I was fighting an addiction. I was a slave to sugar. Without sugar I was crabby, and with sugar I felt sick all the time. I’ve never had strong willpower and I knew this was going to take a lot out of me.
My withdrawal symptoms were powerful. Each day I would be starving even after I had a big fast food meal. When I used to go home after work, I’d reach for a bowl of candy and my fingers would automatically dial the nearest restaurant for something cheap and greasy. I had my enablers – coworkers, friends and family members. “How can you eat this steak and be healthy?” “At least have some of this healthy whole grain bread.” “One donut won’t kill you.”
A few days went by. And then a week. Two weeks. All of a sudden I slept better. I didn’t get headaches or intense cravings for pizza. My performance at the gym improved. I didn’t give up on exercises because I was out of breath. I didn’t crash during the day and grab a candy bar and coffee to get a sugar rush to stay awake.
This wasn’t just a diet, it was a lifestyle change. I had to go shop for groceries. I had to cook. I had to make choices I should have been making years ago. I had to start treating my body better. The deeper I got into eating better every day the easier it got. It was trivial to say no to late night nachos. I didn’t need to drink an obscene amount to have fun with my friends. All of a sudden I could climb a rope (something I have never done before). I could do a handstand pushup. A muscle up. Burpees weren’t my enemy anymore. I became a better person.
It wasn’t my body saying no to working out; it was my own mental blocks. I’d tell myself I can’t lift this weight before I even picked up the bar. Now I tell myself that I need to add more weight because it’s too easy. I now have the urge to test myself every day and do something difficult just so I can overcome it. I lost 11 pounds and 6% body fat. The time flew by and I understood that this isn’t the end of some crazy diet I once tried. This is the first step. This is the beginning of a whole new me. I can’t wait to see how much I improve in the future. I’m ready to conquer the world.
Keep up the great work!