137: Taking Responsibility and Unleashing Potential | Rob Hoffman (M/25)

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“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he gives up.”

An emotional situation made Rob face the reality of his lifestyle. He decided it wasn’t how he wanted to live, and set out to take control. How he’s unleashed his potential.

Weight Gain Background and Contributing Factors

Rob says that his weight gain began early, when he was in 2nd grade after the baseball season ended for that year. He remembers that as a time in which he got more into computer games and quit riding his bike and playing baseball. Rob points out that staying indoors all the time makes it lots easier for kids to snack. Since his weight gain began when he was young, Rob shares that until his recent weight loss, he only really experienced the world through being obese.

How Being Overweight Impacted Rob’s Life

Looking back, Rob says he thought people were always judging him, probably more than they actually were.

“I always felt inferior to everyone else to some extent.”

Rob shares that he is a competitive person and had to take out his desire to compete with others in video games rather than in real live sports. Most of Rob’s family was overweight as he was growing up, and his sophomore year in high school he started Weight Watchers with some of them. He lost about 60 pounds on Weight Watchers at that time, but since no one in his family stayed with the program it was difficult to further his losses. Around this time, Rob severely injured his knee and became sedentary once again; and he gained back the weight he had lost plus an additional 60 pounds. (27.3 kg)

The Turning Point

Rob explains that the catalyst for his weight loss journey was on a friends’ vacation weekend in June of 2013. On their drive to the hotel his friends began talking negatively about someone they had seen earlier in the day who was obese. Rob was in the car and felt very uncomfortable, the conversation bringing up old fears that this was the way others talked about him behind his back. The whole situation gave Rob an anxiety attack, and he broke down. This was his rock bottom moment.

“Is this always how it’s going to be for me? …This isn’t how I want to live.”

Rob decided to get serious about his weight loss right at that minute. While this situation eventually led to Rob getting healthier, he says that now he would confront his friends if they were engaging in mockery like that. He feels that anyone struggling with their weight should be helped and shown compassion rather than mockery.

Starting The Weight Loss Journey

Rob thinks he had pretty strong confidence going into his weight loss journey partially because he had lost a substantial amount of weight years before. The next week after his trip, Rob says he started with bringing his lunch for work. The next week at work Rob drove into a fast food drive-thru for lunch—an old habit—and asked himself, “what the hell am I doing?” and left the drive-thru. He was able to catch himself and remind himself that this behavior was what he had always done before, and Rob says he wanted this time to be different. That day he ordered a digital scale for himself and his food, rejoined My Fitness Pal, and joined a gym. After that, Rob won a ‘biggest loser’ style competition at his office. Rob says because of his weight loss journey he has a better understanding of calories, nutrition and food in general. He shares that he always liked math in the past, so the calories in/out system makes sense to Rob, and he says “it clicked.” Rob says that when he talks with people at his job, they literally don’t believe that eating less and moving more can actually work.

The Power of Logging Food

Once using My Fitness Pal became a routine for Rob, he says he started to realize you can make calories go a really long way when you are not eating fast food, soda and other empty calories. Within 2-3 days of starting losing weight he told his friend who is very fit, even though Rob usually keeps things like this journey to himself. His friend recommended watching the show “Extreme Weight Loss,” which was inspirational for Rob to just simply see others go through their own journey. It helped Rob to be able to check in with a few friends for accountability. After the first month of logging food Rob had lost about 20 pounds. Rob got his sister and mom logged on to My Fitness Pal, and his family joined in on the journey. Rob’s mom ended up losing 75 pounds (34.1 kg), and his sister has lost 105. (47.7 kg) [cjtoolbox name=’SWV Box’ ] [/cjtoolbox] Rob and Sam discuss the ease of using My Fitness Pal, and how much a difference the five minutes that logging your food can make in your journey. MFP is also very sustainable, Rob points out, since you can log every kind of food, not just the healthy foods you are eating when you are exactly on plan. He thinks this helps the lifestyle be sustainable. During his loss Rob says that except for a few weeks on keto, “I had pizza every single week.”

Staying Motivated

For the first four months of his weight loss, Rob did the elliptical and only the elliptical, at least three times each week. His friend encouraged Rob to do some other exercises aside from the elliptical, so even though Rob laughs that he didn’t know what he was doing, he began to use some weight machines, and start a C25K program at over 300 pounds. (136.3 kg) He got to the 5K and finished the race in 42 minutes. Rob used to be totally against the concept of running, and remembers making a joke once that he would only run when he was playing a sport or his life was in danger. Rob says that there are still days that he may not want to go to the gym, but he has to remind himself that he enjoys it every time. He only actually regrets the times that he doesn’t go work out. He is now training for a half marathon in April 2015! Rob shares that recently when he was out for a run a thought popped into his head: “I feel free!”

What Rob Learned About Food, Exercise, and Himself

Rob says that up until he succeeded at weight loss he would simply make excuses for himself about why he couldn’t lose weight, join the gym, etc. Rob says he approaches everything differently in his life now. Sometimes he says he can’t believe who he was before, and has an amazing sense of his own strength now. Rob thinks the confidence that comes from losing weight does make some difficult things in life a bit easier, but losing weight will not change all aspects of your personality that need addressing—anxiety or depression, for example. Looking back, Rob says that he just wasn’t ready to lose the weight in the past. And he laughingly says that while his weight loss didn’t fix his anxiety, it sure does make dealing with those kinds of issues easier.

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” Walt Disney

Rob’s Advice For Your Journey

  • “The only thing stopping you is you. “ “It’s so easy to make excuses.”
  • Don’t take the elevator. Move more—even just in small ways every day. Moving more gives you better energy and makes you just plain feel better.
  • Don’t try to do everything at once; instead build habits up slowly.
  • Setbacks will happen, bad meals will happen, but don’t let those days get you down.

Rob Today

Rob is 5’ 9.5” and has lost a total of 205-210 pounds. (93-95 kg) He is currently eating at maintenance and long-term he would eventually like to stop logging his food. He is training for the half-marathon as well as being more active in general and finding different activities to do. He is also working with a trainer at the to correct some mild scoliosis exacerbated by when he was heavier. A full marathon is tentatively in his 3-5 year plan.

Resources Discussed In This Podcast


On Rob’s Workout Playlist

Contacting Rob


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