From 260 to looking nifty
Cristian Rodriquez is a third-year PharmD candidate at the Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy, and is a member of the 2022–2023 APhA–ASP Communications Standing Committee.
As a former Division II collegiate volleyball player, exercise and physical fitness have always been a major area of focus in my life. My days would begin with 5:00 am weightlifting and conditioning, followed by 2- to 2.5-hour practices before classes even began for the day. This was how my days were spent during my time with the team.
Eventually, however, my sports career came to a close and it was time to focus solely on obtaining my bachelor’s degree in chemistry, which obviously was not an easy task. My focus began to shift away from my health, and I am sure you can all see where this is going.
Over my last year in undergrad, my weight slowly rose from 210 pounds all the way to 263 pounds at the highest. Given that I am 6’6”, that equated to a BMI of 30.4, which is classified as obese. For those who have never experienced weight gain like this, I will provide some insight.
Don’t you notice the weight gain and make a change?
For some people, it’s not that easy. For others, like me, sometimes you don’t notice it until it’s too late. Yes, 60 pounds is a lot of weight, but when you are so focused on other aspects of life you miss things even if they are obvious for others to see. Studying was my priority and I would commute to class, so time was always scarce. This meant irregular eating habits, eating from fast-food restaurants, and snacking often, which all led to this weight gain.
I still worked out often, but with a poor diet, high stress, and less than 6 hours of sleep a night, exercise alone would not balance the scale.
People will often say the hardest part of losing weight is sticking to a diet or exercise plan. To me, the hardest part was overcoming the mental hurdle. Gaining that much weight does horrible things to a person’s confidence and self-esteem. I wore shirts a size bigger to make them seem loose or would stay home when my friends went to the beach to avoid being shirtless, all in an effort to avoid judgment—none of which was real, just a manifestation in my head. Real or not, this was the battle I faced daily and had to overcome to achieve my goal.
“If you feel good you will look good”
Today, I weigh in at 212 pounds with a BMI of 24.7. Trust me, it is possible. I won’t say it would be easy, because it wasn’t, but it is possible.
My biggest points of advice aren’t diet or exercise, even though they are still vital. Instead, I would advise 7 to 8 hours of sleep, adequate hydration, and stress relief. Sleep and hydration will do wonders to your life, and for that you will just have to take my word.
As for stress relief, I always flip the common saying that “If you look good, you feel good,” to “If you feel good, you will look good.” Once I was able to accept who I was and that I not only needed change, but was capable of making the change, the only thing left to do was put my plan to action. And to this day, I have never looked back.