What does 100 pounds look like? Picture 100 bricks of butter, 300 medium sized bananas, 100 footballs, or four 25 pound toddlers.
Now imagine carrying all of that weight, as excess weight, on your body each and every day.
Last June Cody (and I along with him!) celebrated a huge goal of his, to lose 100 pounds. He started a nutritional cleansing and rebalancing program called Isagenix on October 25, 2014 at 352 pounds. He was the heaviest he had ever been and recognized that he had lost control of his weight.
It wasn’t long before my husband weighed in at 251 pounds, saying goodbye forever to 101 pounds.
Prior to Isagenix Cody had attempted to eat well with little to no improvement. At 6’1” Cody is not a small man and neither is he inactive. He is on his feet all day at work and when at home, he keeps busy completing projects around the house (See my post about the growth chart, our cold room, and there’s many, many more still underway).
When my mother came to visit us from Ontario in May of 2014 after the birth of our first son, we were sitting on my couch drinking tea while Cody cut the grass on our front lawn. My mom remarked to me, “You know, I feel bad for him. He works so hard and is so busy, but he can’t seem to lose the weight.”
I just smiled, nodded and shrugged my shoulders. Being the person in our household in charge of purchasing and preparing food, I knew Cody’s struggle with weight, and even my own, was not an issue of inactivity, rather it was an issue of portion control and unhealthy snacking.
In those first months Cody has learned a lot about portions and about foods that are capable of sustaining an active body. The biggest switch in his thought process has been that a 6’1” man does not need a heaping plate of food simply because he is a “big guy.” Rather, a 6’1” man needs a plate foods capable of keeping him feeling full and nutritionally complete.
Perhaps the largest change for Cody, aside from his ever shrinking frame, is in his mental health. Those of you who know Cody know that he has always been an upbeat guy, continually looking for the good in people and the positives of even the most unfortunate situations. Last summer and fall this had started to change. He had become restless, no longer felt fulfilled in his working life, and had little to no energy left at the end of the day to do things at home.
In short, Cody wasn’t acting like himself.
Through his weight loss journey Cody has read a lot about the effects of good nutrition, but perhaps the most interesting piece of research relates to the effects good nutrition has on mental health.
The Dieticians of Canada produced a report in November 2012 titled “Promoting Mental Health through Healthy Eating and Nutritional Care.” This 182 page document describes the relationship between mental health and nutrition.
For example, depression can often cause overeating, undereating, and comfort eating in addition to a lack of desire to shop for or prepare foods. Depressing can also cause poor food hygiene causing food safety risks.
Panic attacks can cause people to use food to soothe anxiety leading to unhealthy weight gain. Panic attacks can also cause people to isolate themselves, in turn limiting their food consumption resulting in unhealthy weight loss. Sedating medications, while easing symptoms, cause also decrease a person’s motivation to eat.
An issue Cody specifically struggled with was a lack of adequate sleep. According to the report sleep problems and insomnia can lead to night eating syndrome and fatigue, causing dehydration.
For people with even more severe sleep issues, an altered circadian rhythm, such as the body’s natural 24 hour sleep-wake cycle, can lead to increased eating and weight gain.
After just eight months of feeding his body well, Cody’s mental health had improved and he returned to being his ever-positive self. His physical health had also improved as evidenced by the abundance of energy he has, even after a full day of work.
So what does 100 pounds look like? It may look like a two-month old horse, but it also looks like a husband and a father becoming the best possible version of himself.