In a society where weight is the “focus” of beauty and health, I would like to first start by saying there is no set weight to be deemed as ‘healthy’ or beautiful. There is no standard body, weight, or look out there. Bodies naturally come in various degrees of shape and beauty. I understand that many people struggle with this, men and women, I myself struggled with it. A few years ago, I was under the impression that you needed to be “curvy and plump” to be a real woman. I was so thin that my friends called me Twiggy, and you could easily see the prominence of my hip bones. Some people would look at me and say “ew I can see your bones”, and others would look at me and say “I wish I had a metabolism like that”. I was never quite sure what to think, until I came across one of my absolute favorite quotes:
“Admire someone else’s beauty without questioning your own.” -unkown
Flowers come in many different shapes, many different colors… but the sweet smell of one flower doesn’t make another smell any less sweet. And when I realized this, I was finally able to accept my body for the way it was, and love myself. And as I ended my battle with body image I was confronted with another issue. Anxiety. My freshman year in college I submerged myself in a toxic relationship and developed a bad case of anxiety. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep… I ended up losing 15 pounds. This was weight I could not afford to lose. I had originally been 105 pounds, and because I am 5’5″ this had already put me at a pretty thin frame. Not only was I thin, but now I was skeletal. This is when I started to realize I’m not just thin, but I’m unhealthily thin. And I HAD to do something about it.
Luckily for me, only a few years before I had watched my parents change their life-style on a quest to become healthier. My father, Roy Seaton, had been overweight to the point where it was causing health issues, and had decided it was time to make changes. I watched how they changed, and while it didn’t matter to me so much at that particular time I stored it away for later. They were a huge inspiration for me, and made me realize that the responsibility of our weight and health lies solely in our own hands. And when my grandma confronted me about my diminishing weight and health, I had something to turn to. I knew I couldn’t just sit around and hope for the best, I needed to act. I used techniques my father had been using to lose weight, counting calories on MyFitnessPal, but for the exact opposite reason he had been. I was using it to gain weight, to exceed the typical 1700 calories a day to about 2200 calories. MyFitnessPal had determined that this was how many calories I would need per day to gain weight. A year later, I’m sitting at a healthy 115 pounds. A year later, I have nothing other than my father, my grandma, and myself to thank for my good health now. My father for being such an amazing example when it comes to taking health into your own hands. My grandma for being my support system even on the ugliest days of my life. And myself for not settling on what’s easiest to do and ignoring my health issues.
In light of the health/fitness themes this week, take a look at my father’s quest to achieving a healthier life, in which has inspired me so much, in this interview:
At what weight/age did you weigh your heaviest?
“About 34 years old at 250 pounds.”
Did health issues arise with your weight?
“I had bad bad cholesteral, and extremely high blood pressure at 155/110… which is pretty bad.”
At what point did you realize that you needed to get serious about losing weight?
“When the doctor told me I needed to get serious about losing weight. He told me “Roy you need to lose weight or you’re going to be in a lot of serious serious trouble.” And I started to notice the stack of pills I had to take and I didn’t really like it… If I walked in the mall my hands would get tingly. So these are all pretty bad signs and I knew I needed to do something about it.”
How did you do that?
“I sat down with my wife, Hailie, and we decided that we needed to make some life changes. And what we did was, as a family, we decided not to go on a diet. And what I mean by that is we made a life-style change. We cut out the junk, we didn’t drink cokes, we watched what we ate… portion sizes were incredibly important. We went from big plates to smaller plates, right? We used an app called MyFitnessPal and started counting our calories. I started with the calorie counting, and I started to drop the weight. And then later I started to incorporate some running and riding bikes. And while I think those things helped a little bit to increase my metabolism, I don’t they were essential to me losing the weight– I think that was mostly attributed to the calorie counting and portion control. I also made sure to have breakfast, and have 3 or 4 meals a day. I think that as also an essential part of losing the weight, by taking and portioning out my calories all throughout the day, instead of skipping breakfast or lunch. That helped my metabolism.“
Was there any miracle pill, diet, or workout out there that helped you, or did you try something else?
“I tried something else. Making a life-style change.”
Was it difficult? Did you ever relapse and gain the weight back?
That’s a tricky question. I don’t think it’s as hard as people think it is. It was hard at first… some days I would be hungry, but about 3 or 4 weeks into it I found myself used to those eating habits. And I would actually look at my calories and realize “Jeez, I actually need 400 more calories, but I’m not hungry.” So I would force myself to eat a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich so I could meet my 1700 calories for the day. I think that something that really helped Hailie and I, would be that we would be good and keep to our calorie in-take all week, but we would allow ourselves a day or so a week as a “cheat day”. And that really wouldn’t hurt me, because my weekly average would stay about 1700/day.
When i lost all my weight and went to the doctors officer, I had made it all the way down to 185. And when the doctor walked in, he goes “What have you done?” And I told him, “You told me to lose weight.” He goes, “Well most people don’t listen.” I did. He told me not to lose anymore, that I had probably lost too much. So again, kinda a tricky question, so I don’t think I rebounded to fat but I definitely gained some from where I was. Right now, I’m 210 which is a 25 pound gain. Sounds like a large weight gain, but there are different reasons for that. I know when Mason, our youngest son, was born it was hard to maintain some of those life-style changes. And weight naturally fluctuates.”
Did you have support from family/ friends?
“Yes. Family was incredibly important to making the change… it actually can’t be done unless you engage as a family. So if you’re trying to eat good and everyone around you is eating Reese’s and chips, unless you have a crazy amount of self-control, those are enablers. It starts as “Oh I’m just going to have one chip…” and moving on. So family support and having your family buy into having a healthier life-style is essential.”
How much weight did you end up losing? Over what time span?
“About 60 pounds in about a year.”
Are you happier?
What would you say to others struggling to lose weight?
“It’s something incredibly worthwhile. The ramifications of being obese is a shorter life-span. For me, I have 4 beautiful children that I want to see in the later years. I don’t want to have a heart-attack in my late thirties or early fourties, fifites, right? And that happens to people. And they don’t get to watch everybody grow up and start their own lives. So, I think it’s incredibly important to make the attempt.”
When/how did you start crossfit?
“I have a good friend at work, Ryan, who comes in every morning and we talk about the workouts he had been doing in crossfit. He’s been doing it for 2 or 3 years now, and I’ve watched the change in him. He went from kinda average to pretty stocky. He’s a very strong guy. And it was exciting to listen to him. And so, I was talking about wanting to join and my wife, Hailie, surprised me one day and signed me up for fundamentals. That was July of 2015, a year ago.”
What was your first experience like?
“I went to that first day, went through the exercises. And then I came crawling home and laid on the floor afraid I was going to puke. Feeling like I was dead. And there are days I still do that, a year later.”
What is your goal?
“My goal is to maintain this healthy life-style. The start of it was losing weight, which is always a challenge. My chief challenge right now is, while I’m building some muscle, is trying to understand what the scale means. There’s a lot of articles out there that say “lose the scale”. The end goal with crossfit is a longer healthier life so I can enjoy time with my kids, grandkids, and maybe even great grandkids.”
What does it give you?
“When I go to a normal gym I go in and get on the treadmill for a minute, and “Oh hey that elliptical machine looks kinda fun but is really not,” it’s all okay, but how do you stay motivated to go do that? How do you know you’re doing the best movements that are best for you? How do you know that you’re isolating and targeting the muscle groups that you want to hit? So the great and neat thing about crossfit is the coaches. And we have exceptional coaches here at Crossfit Impulse. They watch you. They train you. And having these guys teaching you is like having a personal trainer. But kinda doubling back around, there is a social aspect to crossfit. They are classes. You meet a lot of people and you make a lot of friends. What I found in there is that a lot of people push you to excel and push you just past that barrier where you just want to quit. Because you’re brain, as soon as you start hurting goes “Ehh, maybe I’ll take it a little bit easier here.” Right? And getting past that threshold where it’s uncomfortable is how you grow and that’s true for everything in life. So for me there is a social aspect as well as a team environment which appeals to me as a former highschool athlete, and the coaches are fantastic. There’s a lot of benefits of crossfit in my mind.”
Crossfit has a reputation to be hard on the body, thoughts on this?
“You can absolutely hurt yourself doing anything in life. Hailie hurt her back lifting Mason out of his crib over and over again, and not using the proper technique. Someone could ask me to come help them move their washer/dryer and I can bow my back and hurt it. I had a guy the other day, fall down the stairs and twist his ankle. He wasn’t playing basketball. He wasn’t doing crossfit. You can hurt yourself doing anything. But in crossfit, yeah you can hurt youself definitely if you don’t do things the right way. I actually ended up aggravating my bicep tendon rope-climbing, and it took me out for 3 or 4 weeks. And one of the great things about having coaches is that they asked me every single day how that arm was doing and would think of alternative workouts that wouldn’t aggravate that bicep tendon so I could accomplish workouts with the class. Most of the time when you injure yourself you’re pushing yourself too hard.”
What is your favorite workout? Least favorite?
“I typically like the strength training. There’s a lot of different WODs (Workouts of the Day) and one of my favorites and memorable ones was a deadlift cycle. Coaches start me at about 180 pounds, which is pretty low, and I ended up ending that cycle at 365 pounds. Which is a big jump. I probably started too low, to be honest, but I definitely gained a lot of strength in that cycle. And I’ve actually hit about 380 now and it continues to grow. We’ve done front squats, back squats… cycles like that. And that’s probably my favorite workouts.
I’m not sure if there’s anything I really try to avoid, but a few weeks ago Jeff was in love with running. I don’t mind running, but when you intermix running with powerlifting… your heart just starts pounding like crazy.”
Would you recommend it to others?
“Yes, I recommend crossfit to everyone I come across. My daughter, my co-workers, everybody. We have more women in the crossfit gym than guys, and it is absolutely for everybody.”
Remember, your happiness… your health is in your hands.
Thankyou for taking the time to read this weeks Health/Fitness article and don’t forget to take a look at Brooke’s entry later in the week as well as our Pokemon entries!
With much love,