@ ArashMarkazi / Twitter
Arash Markazi couldn't have felt more embarrassed. When boarding a plane, the Los Angeles Times sports columnist had to ask the flight attendant about a seat belt extender. When he got home, he weighed himself and hated what he saw – 329 pounds.
"If you are in the NFL and you are on the offensive line, you could weigh so much," says Markazi. "So, for me as a sports reporter who isn't big enough to weigh that amount, it was one of those moments when I knew I had to change something."
With this demanding job, it was not difficult for Markazi to gain weight slowly. The author has traveled from city to city and never missed an opportunity to try the different regional dishes. Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, deep dish pizza and hot dogs in Chicago, pastrami sandwiches in New York – he enjoyed them all. His diet was no better at home. He participated in games, wrote his story, and left the stadium at midnight to pick up McDonalds or Jack in the Box on his way home.
Markazi says that whenever he tried to lose weight in the past, he did the right things for a few weeks and then fell off the car. He would be good at home, then go on an excursion and fall back into his old habits. This humiliating experience on the plane was the last straw – it was ready to break the cycle.
At the beginning, Markazi hired a trainer who taught him the ropes and strengthened good habits. He started slowly and focused on cardio. First it was 20 minutes, then 30 minutes, until he finally worked up to 60 minutes on the treadmill, elliptical trainer or bike.
To supplement his training, he changed his diet – no more stadium dishes and no more nightly drive-thru burgers. Instead, he was aiming for 1,500 to 1,600 calories of healthy whole foods with lots of lettuce, chicken, salmon and vegetables every day. And to keep himself accountable, he started documenting his workouts and meals every day on Instagram.
His hard work quickly paid off and Markazi lost £ 43 after a month. He jokes that the easiest way to lose weight is to put on weight in the first place and realizes that in the first month he flipped a switch and his body just reacted. Staying with it was his new challenge, but the differences he began to see in his body and how he felt kept him going. This and the positive reinforcement from friends, colleagues and even strangers motivated him.
At the end of a year, he lost £ 130.
View this post on Instagram
I am 120 days on my trip and have entered the scales today and am down 90 pounds! I still can't believe the progress I've made. I write my trip on Instagram and catalog the stories every 30 days. I have just posted the last 30 days if you want to check it out.
Markazi's dramatic transformation even caught the attention of one of the athletes he wrote about. It received compliments from contacts he hadn't seen in a while, and he even started getting messages from people on his major social media that followed him. This was one of the most rewarding and unexpected benefits of his trip.
"The people who contact me and let me know that they joined me on this trip inspire me," he says.
Now healthy living is only part of his routine. Even though his weight loss has exceeded the three-digit numbers, Markazi does cardio for 60 minutes every day and usually chooses the morning workout to make sure he doesn't derail. More recently, he added weight training and used online programs as a starting point. He admits that he has to learn more and wants to hire a trainer to get him on the right track.
"The key to all of this is that I can do it on my own," says Markazi. "Being able to stay on the go while not being dependent on someone else." This inner drive has made him strong for more than a year since he first decided to make a change. Like all of us, Markazi faces pitfalls and bad days. But now he has the strength to walk past them. If he skips a workout or has a bad day, he doesn't do a spiral. "It gives me the feeling that I have to get back on the horse straight away."