Movers & Shakers are members of the Needless Pounds community who are doing great things and who deserve to be recognized for it. Not all weight loss stories are “Before” and “After.” Whether they’re just getting going, well on their way, or in maintenance mode, Movers & Shakers provide motivation and inspiration to all of us looking at making positive weight-related changes in our lives.
NP: Tell me about yourself.
B: My name is Brandon Murphy. I am 27-years-old and live in Little Rock, Arkansas and I am a software trainer and technical writer.
I have an extremely varied background and my passions reflect that. I love to hike, swim, camp, draw, write, watch movies, practice martial arts, watch sports, play sports, play trading cards and board games, and play video games.
I am passionate about fighting against the obesity epedemic in our nation. I help teach a low-cost martial arts class that looks to promote healthy lifestyles for young children. I also try and dispel the many baseless rumors that promote the idea that poorer Americans can’t eat healthy on a budget.
NP: What are your weight-related goals?
B: I feel that I am FINALLY nearing the end of my weight loss journey. I hope to soon graduate to the world of MAINTENANCE. At my heaviest, I weighed between 280 and 300 pounds. I lost down to 180 initially, but soon regained 35 pounds. I had lost back down to 190 before dislocating my SI joint in my left hip. I regained 25 pounds to once again weigh in at 215. That was in Fall of 2012. I now weigh 196 and am consistently losing. I have added quite a bit of muscle and am only 16 pounds away from by goal body fat percentage of 10%.
NP: How long were you at your previous size/weight and what factors in your life contributed to that?
B: My weight has fluctuated widly. I was obese, however, from the ages of 18-20 and very overweight from 21-23. Because of a family history of BP issues, being even slightly overweight is an issue. I have fluctuated between healthy and overweight for the past 4 years.
NP: What made you decide to change things?
B: I initially lost the majority of the weight because of a physically demanding job. It was more of a “had to” than a “wanted to.” Once the job ended, I quckly regained 35 pounds. I quickly realized how much my energy, happiness, and quality of life was degrading. I truly started my fitness journey at that point.
While my weight loss hasn’t been smooth sailing since then, I’ve never given up on my quest for better fitness.
NP: What diet/nutrition/exercise programs have you tried in the past? What are you
currently doing that’s working?
B: I usually did the latest fad diets. I’ve seen the most success, especially with my mental state of mind, through a mixture of martial arts, P90X, the ARC Trainer, and a heavily veggie based diet with 2-3 balanced protein shakes a day. I think a key to my success was finding mutltiple things I liked to do. That has helped prevent burnout.
I find that adding in weight training is great because the added long-term burn helps me lose weight faster while the protein shakes prevent muscle loss. I also add half a cup of instant oats to my shakes to help fend off hunger between meals.
NP: How do you stay motivated to do what it takes each and every day to reach your
B: I watch a lot of before and after P90X videos on YouTube. I also set short-term, realistic goals. Finally, I cleaned up my social media. I restricted what I saw from unhealthy friends and what they could see from me (especially if they were constantly negative about my life changes.
NP: Who are your champions/supporters/cheerleaders?
B: I get pumped up by anyone who makes a major health choice for the better. My fiance helps keep me pumped day-to-day, as do a few friends on Facebook who also chronicle their health journeys.
NP: Looking at your previous attempts to change, how is this time different?
B: This is the first time I’ve addressed all aspects of my life. I could always lose weight by hitting the gym hard for a few months. But, it was never sustainable. I now eat healthy, drink very little alchohol, and get plenty of sleep. I finally realized that it wasn’t about losing weight today, it’s about being healthy in 30 years.
NP: What has been the hardest part for you on your journey so far?
B: My two favorite foods are Cheeseburgers and Pizza. Furthermore, I have always associated those foods with good memories from my childhood. It was hard to break the emotional bond I had with food.
But, between not rewarding myself with food and finding alternative methods of making my favorite dishes, I am finding that those old emotional and mental pitfalls are becoming less of a threat every day.
NP: Do you have any advice for others?
B: I would focus on food before exercise. Get yourself eating healthy so you feel good and have energy. The physical act of losing weight can be mentally challenging and can cause very real stress.
You don’t want to compound your physical challenges with mental ones. Get your Diet right first, then move on to an exercise routine.
And, take it slow. Don’t go as hard as possible right off the bat. Increase your intensity over time.
NP: Is there a recent achievement that you’re particularly proud of?
B: I am especially proud of 4 things: Getting my Masters Degree, getting a wonderful new job (that pays extremly well, haha), getting engaged (May 10th wedding), and being hired at UALR as an adjunct instructor. Oh, and I just tested for and received my Black Belt!