Q&A With Vance and Mike – Wisdom From 400 lbs Gone

In this episode of Mike Inspires Me Podcast, I collaborated with Vance Hinds, another fellow in the club of extreme weight loss. We conducted a Q&A session on Facebook Live to answer questions people have about our health journeys.

Recorded March 31, 2019


Learning To Take Care of Your Health – Like Riding A Bike

Often people ask me where to start with taking care of their health. There is no “one size fits all” plan.  Everyone’s journey is different.

It’s kind of like learning to ride a bike. You kind of have to get on and just start pedaling.

But before you ride your bike, you have to make sure it is mechanically sound. Same goes for you body. Check with a health professional to get the okay to start.


You might want to start out small. If you take on more than you can handle, you could get overwhelmed or discouraged.


And sometimes you will fall.


When you do, get right back up. Don’t give up!


You might even get hurt.


That’s okay. Don’t get discouraged. When you’re all better, get right back on!


After a while you’ll get the hang of it.


Eventually you will want to try something new.


And you might fail at that too.


Just get up and don’t look back!


The journey is not about being perfect. It’s about not giving up when you fail or feel discouraged.


Remember, taking care of your health should be fun, not a chore!


Stay Awesome!

7 Key Things I Did To Set Myself Up For Success With My 200 lb Weight Loss

Taking on an endeavor like losing over 200 pounds is a daunting task. It is a lot more than merely going on a diet and taking on an exercise plan. For me, it meant a complete lifestyle change. In order to ensure that I had an increased chance for success, I created some tools to help in the process. Nothing new here. Most of these are common-sense.

  1. Made My Plan Publicman-with-a-megaphone-1-1412327
    I told everyone about my commitment to losing weight. This helped with two things:
    – It enlisted support of others. A life-changing transformation needs all the moral support it can get from others around you.
    – It made me accountable – I am a man of my word. If I tell someone I am going to do something, I do it.

  2. hello-my-name-is-1244204Reinvented Myself / Stopped Identifying With Obesity
    After struggling my entire adult life with attempts to lose weight, I realized that I had to change my life, not merely exercise and go on a diet. This had to be a commitment to a lifestyle change in order to be sustainable. Part of that included my identification with being obese. Over the years I had taken on labels like “Big Mike” and “Big Guy”. When a person identifies with labels it may influence their behavior.  Kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  3. Self-Motivation/Talkstock-photo-50536770-man-talking-to-himself
    This idea is a little complex and I plan to write more about it in a future article. In it’s simplest form, I do a lot of self-talk. Coaching, pushing, and motivating myself out loud even. I also try to eliminate words like “can’t” from my vocabulary. It’s amazing just how changing a word or two in a sentence can not only alter it’s entire meaning, it can drive you in the direction you need to head.  For example, most obese people would say, “I want to lose weight.” It is when they can say, “I am going to lose weight,” that real change can happen.

  4. stock-photo-17329195-hundred-thousand-dollarsFocused On/Association With the End Goal
    I associated my losing all of the weight with winning the lottery. In other words, if someone told you that if you walk every day and cut back on what you eat gradually for a year, you will get $10 million.  It is that mental association which gave me the drive to push myself when I didn’t always feel like it. All I could think about was being “normal” sized.  And in the end, I found that being healthy was even better than having $10 million.

  5. Always Improving / Trying New Things / Adaptingstock-photo-17065834-good-and-better
    My journey was a far from perfect process. I continually tweak my routines, try new exercises and eating plans, and observe the outcome.  And it is a journey, not a destination. Many people focus only on the end goal of losing all of the weight, which is only part of the story. This leads me to my next point…

  6. stock-photo-45015558-focus-on-long-term-goalFocused on Sustainability
    I knew that once I lost the weight I needed to focus on never going back and what it takes to do that realistically. This is the part where I have seen many people fall back. They relax and go back to their old habits. This is a life-long commitment and I learned another key thing:
    I never really beat obesity, I had to learn techniques to manage it.
    Another thing that keeps me going is when I discovered that inspiring others motivates me even more. It is such a reward to know that I can share my gift with others.

  7. Small Changes Lead to Big Resultsrock-climbing-victory-1311772
    This is one of my central principles. I knew that in order to change my behaviors and habits I had to gradually make small changes over time. I used an app to log all of my food and as I lost weight it gradually reduced my caloric needs.

But Mike, you lost 200 pounds in 11 months…

True, and I would not tell you that this is realistic for most people. What it did prove is how driven I was once I started to get momentum with my weight loss. I will expand more on this idea in future articles, but suffice it to say I learned that your body and mind need time to adapt to the changes you are making.

There were other tools I used, but the seven above were some of the more significant ones. Most of these concepts can be used for any type of change you want to make in your life, not just weight loss. Having a long-term game plan as you embark upon a life-altering change will set you up for success.

Mike_BeforeAfter1 (2)

Weight Loss: Reality & Good News

Having lost over 200 pounds in 11 months, I have a pretty good idea around what the challenges are and what works well. I don’t think there is anything new here. Most of it is common sense.

Here are some of my observations:

The Challengeschallenges

  • It takes work
    Most people don’t like that 4-letter word, “work”. We live in a world which encourages quick-fixes and immediate gratification. You can lose weight quickly by doing fad diets and lots of exercise. But real, sustainable weight loss comes with having a plan for the future. The work I am referring to here is less about what you do at the dinner table or in they gym, but the work it takes in your mind.
  • There is no “magic” pill, special diet, surgical procedure, nor exercise to solve it
    Yes, my friends, I have tried many of them myself, with some temporary success. What I realized about myself was that I was not learning anything about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. So, if you ever want to get off that merry-go-round of gaining and losing, you have to look at what kind of life you want for yourself and what it takes to get there and stay there realistically.

The Good Newsgoodnews

  • You can learn techniques to manage obesity
    At one point I stated that I had “beaten” my obesity demon. What I have come to learn is that it never really went away. It still comes back and I have learned techniques to manage it. Most are pretty simple and take some time to master. And remember, this is a journey, not a destination.
  • Taking your time versus struggling for years works better
    I supposed I could be called out on this one…

    But, Mike, you lost over 200 pounds in 11 months!…

Yes, I did, and later I will expand on how that happened, why, and my observations around the pros/cons. Suffice it to say that this amount of weight lost, coupled with the time in which I lost it, may not be reasonable for most people.  One thing that happens is that your body and your mind need time to adjust to change. For the longest time after I lost the weight, I still felt like I was over 400 pounds, which led to other challenges as you can imagine.  I have read and spoken to others on this, and it is common, especially with a rapid loss.

  • Inside each of us is the power to do far more than we think we can
    So… Back when I was over 400 pounds if I had told you that I was going to lose over 200 pounds in 11 months, you might have told me I was crazy or warned me of the hazards. Well, I did do it and I know others who have as well, and even more weight. Again, I am not advocating this, but what kept me going, drove me to my goal, was the fact that it was possible. I know many people who tell me they “can’t” because of reasons a, b, or c… Well, I am telling you that if you want something bad enough, and getting there is possible (and, of course, safe), you can do it. And I can help coach people how to get to that mindset and learn to coach themselves.

In the coming months I plan to expand on each of the observations listed above, as well as other ones, to unveil the mystery of “how the heck did you (I) do it??” My techniques come from learning from years of struggling, personal observations, research, and common sense.

Use the contact form on my website at www.mikeinspiresme.com to reach to me. This will also allow you to receive notices, tips, and other tidbits around health and weight loss. I promise not to share your information, nor send you spam!