When I completed Chiropractic College in June 2010, I thought I was on top of the world. I was a newly minted Doctor of Chiropractic following 8 straight years of intense education, I had just met my future wife and was ready to start working at a great clinic in the Toronto area. I was ready to take on the real world and begin forging my legacy.
Unfortunately at this same time, I weighed 250 pounds, suffered from severe sleep apnea and metabolic syndrome and had a heart that was working overtime (according to my doctor). I was only 26 years old.
As I began working, I realized that the long days and physical nature of my profession was getting tough and was draining me emotionally and physically. I was tired and sweaty by 5pm daily and still had 2 hours of busy work ahead of me. In your mid-20’s this was incredibly frustrating to me as it would be to most people. As much as this was annoying, it was my wake-up call. This was the first step in my transformation.
Step 1: Get Frustrated
The first step for anybody who wants to change anything in their life is to realize that they are frustrated on the limits placed on them. The limits that we feel in our lives, we place on ourselves with our beliefs. Limiting beliefs are what hold us back, and becoming frustrated with these beliefs and the limits that we have is the first step in making a life change.
My mentor Dr. Sachin Patel has a great saying, which I realized at this time – YOUR HEALTH IS YOUR CEILING. I had hit my ceiling.
As much as you want to accomplish in life, you will only be able to get as far as your health will take you. I had come to the realization that could only get as far as I wanted if the state of my health was good enough to allow me to reach it.
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Now that I had come to realization, it was time to take action.
Step 2: Find Your Motivation
For anyone that knows me, family is the most important thing. I don’t have kids yet, but I do know that I absolutely want the best for my future children, just as any parent does. I do know that I do not want my children to go through the health issues that I was going through. I want to give my children the highest possible ceiling so they are clearly able to reach the highest potential possible. I made my lifestyle changes for my future children, to show them what is possible for them in life, and that we are only limited by our own beliefs.
Step 3: Monitor Current Trends
As the majority of people do when they want to reduce their weight, I turned to an easy way to measure my energy intake and output. I began counting calories. I now realize that the actual performance of counting calories and worrying about the numbers is not a healthy way to manage health, however this step did allow me to begin tracking what I was actually putting into my body on a daily basis.
I began to track all of my foods, drinks, activities and exercises daily. This gave me an objective method of monitoring what I was actually putting into my body, and realizing the actual size of my portions, breakdown of fats, protein and carbohydrates.
I came to notice that I was eating huge portions of carbs and bad fats, very few vegetables and overall, very low quality food. I had horrible daily eating, snacking and lack of movement habits, not to mention that I was spending between 2-5 hours in front of the television on a daily basis.
Step 4: Surround Yourself with Good People
I was very lucky that I had supportive friends and family around me that wanted to see my health improve. They encouraged me to find ways to move more and begin exercising and eating better.
I strongly encourage you to assess your current relationships to determine if the people around you are influencing you to live the healthy life that you want to live. Jim Rohn used to say “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Surround yourself with five healthy people and you will become the sixth.
Step 5: Surround Yourself with Good “REAL” Food
Take a couple of hours and go through your fridge and pantry. How much of your food purchases come in boxes with ingredient lists and nutritional labels. How many of those foods were advertised to you in some way.
My rule about food is that if it comes in a box, bag or container with an ingredient list longer than 3, it isn’t real food. Food comes from the ground or eats what comes from the ground. We continue to eat a Paleo-Vegan style diet at home and couldn’t be happier about it. This was the main method to help eliminate my impending diabetes and sleep apnea.
Step 6: Move Your Body More
I had 2 very encouraging friends in particular who helped me to begin exercising more and find competitive but fun methods of staying fit and improving my stamina. I tried to see a personal trainer, lift weights and run but the activity that worked for me personally was playing Squash. I continue to play 1 hour of intense Squash with a couple of friends, twice per week.
This is the easiest change for most people to make on a daily basis – and playing Squash is definitely not the answer for everyone. If anyone makes the excuse that they don’t have TIME to exercise, they need to manage their time better. FINDING the TIME to exercise is significantly easier than most people think. Park a little farther, take the stairs, take a long walk with a loved one, go for an early morning jog… the possibilities are endless and are only limited by your individual beliefs.
Step 7: Stop EXISTING and Start LIVING
Dream big and don’t let anything stop you. I now weigh 175 pounds, exercise between 3-4 days per week, have fantastic blood sugar, great stamina and I own 2 businesses. The only limits we have are the ones we put on ourselves. You can do anything if you truly put your mind to it. I am proof of this.
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