In a hyper-digital age of selfies and #TransformationTuesdays, we are inundated with images of the physical body. That’s what many people tend to fall in love with – the aesthetically perfect body. And there’s nothing wrong with that, per se. What we tend to forget, however, is the immense mental strength you must build to become healthier and get into shape.
Sheer strength simply isn’t enough to transform your body. It is your reason, your motive, the goal you have set for yourself that drives you to use your strength to make that lifestyle change. Andy Albertson of Wichita Falls, Texas recognized this and altered his mindset, which allowed him to continue his weight loss progress.
Andy Albertson’s Weight Loss Story
317 pounds – that’s an intimidating number to have staring you in the face, especially when deep down you want to change. The thing is, Andy hadn’t always weighed that much. His childhood revolved around sports like baseball, soccer, and basketball. But in grade five, his poor diet began to take a toll and he started to gain weight fast.
In junior high, school kids nicknamed him “Andyopolis,” alluding to the fact that he seemed as big as a city. He even had a teacher who awarded kids with candy that called him out in front of the class. “Andy, do you really want that? I thought you were telling me that you were trying to lose weight.” She may not have meant any ill-intent, but you can imagine the negative effect(s) that has on a kid’s self-esteem.
The bullies kept on throughout high school, at which point he weighed two-hundred-and-forty pounds, standing five feet and five inches tall. The combination of being bullied and overweight led Andy to find comfort in food.
“That’s the cycle you are in,” said Andy. “You get sad so you eat to feel better and then you have eaten and you feel bad again and you eat again.”
Even into college, he would try and slip in and out of classes early to avoid being seen. Andy would tell himself, “’I don’t care what people think. It doesn’t matter.’ But…I hated the way I felt and looked.”
Andy’s Weight Loss Journey
It began in January of 2015. Andy started at the gym for one hour a day. All he would do was use the elliptical. He almost immediately started to witness the results of his choice to get healthy. In his first month getting back into the gym, he lost 20 pounds and eventually lost 40 more.
Mental Block #1
At about the 60-pound mark, Andy hit a mental block that stalled his progress, but he knew that “[he] had to do something or [he] would gain the weight back.”
Andy knew what he wanted (i.e., to weigh 225 pounds) and, to some degree, how to get it. It was his work with personal trainer Jerry Hughes, however, that seemed to cure those workout blues. Andy stuck to Hughes’ strict workout regiment, which required hard exercises three days a week and cardio every day.
The first month’s results? 20 pounds and over 24 inches lost.
Mental Block #2
Andy’s progress continued so much that he lost 140 pounds of his 170 pounds weight loss goal. For whatever reason, again, he hit a mental block that he couldn’t seem to get over. This mental detachment came with excuses for why he wanted to stop.
But Hughes met him with encouragement. He sternly but graciously reminded Andy how far he had come. “If you were truly done you wouldn’t be looking at me with tears in your eyes.”
You can bet that if Andy was still trying to lose the weight on his own, he would have convinced himself to call it quits. This emphasizes the importance of having someone or something that keeps you motivated, holds you accountable, and reminds you of your potential.
To give you a better sense of how long Andy has come, not only physically but mentally, just look at his Facebook post (just over two years since he first stepped into the gym again):
“On January 29th I took part in my first 5k [run]. There was a time in my life that I would have never thought about, much less have completed a run of any kind. This is just another step in my journey. Are you ready to start yours?”
And what a perfect question to finish on. Are you ready? Andy’s done it and you’ve seen it. He will undoubtedly hit more mental blocks along the way. But by not completely giving up the first or second time (or the times we’ll never know about), he can push on with the help of his support system knowing he can achieve his goals.
Andy’s 3 Steps for Success
What’s awesome about his tips is that they’re not just applicable to losing weight. They’re an all-around great approach to life:
1. Do the Research
When you’re going out to a restaurant on your own or with friends or family, you don’t have to opt out. Just do your best to study the menu and make the best diet choices with what you’ve got!
“I just get my phone and check the nutrition of whatever it is I am going to order,” Andy told Today.
2. Have a Buddy
So many things in life are more fun to do with someone you care about and who cares about you. His mother, Mary, changed her eating and exercising habits when Andy began his journey in order show support and hold him accountable.
Andy shared that “having that person there when you are struggling helps a lot.”
3. Give it a Shot
You never truly know how you or your opinion of something will change until you try, so do exactly that. It may just make a difference.
“Go to the gym and begin changing the way you eat,” said Andy. “Seeing the results, that will keep you motivated.”
Practical Weight Loss Tips
Knowing your body type is key to your exercise routine. Here’s how to discover your body type to get the most out of your workouts.
The proper equipment helps, and it’s as simple as using some shoes made to keep up with your workout.
 Holohan, M. (2017, February 16). How this man lost 176 pounds in less than a year. Retrieved from http://www.today.com/health/man-drops-176-pounds-transforms-life-3-steps-t108256
 Facebook. (n.d.). Andy Albertson. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/theandyjourney/
*All quotes and info referenced from sources above.