When Ryan Grover sat down with Coach Philip Tabor at CrossFit Coordinate in Cary, North Carolina in April 2019, he had no idea he was about to embark on a journey that would help him lose nearly 100 lb. in just nine months.
The 29-year-old weighed 348 lb. at the time. Today, he’s down to 250 lb.
The first thing Tabor got Grover to do was to come up a selfish reason he wanted to lose weight. After some soul searching, Grover had a breakthrough.
“I never had a dad I could throw a ball with, or just go outside and play and be active with. And I realized that when it’s my turn to have kids, I don’t want to be this way. Through conversation with (Tabor), we talked about what my dad was like, and it helped me realize what I wanted,” Grover said.
Thus, what he really wanted—his real reason why—was to lose weight and become healthier and fitter so he could be a more capable father than his father was to him.
Identifying this purpose is a big part of what helped him stick to his commitment to exercise and clean eating in the months that followed, he explained.
The reason Tabor asks his clients to find their selfish reason is simple: “Nobody loses weight for others. They might say it, but at the core we only make changes when they are selfish in nature,” Tabor said.
“Some people say (they want to be able to have) better sex. Others say (to live a) long life. One client did it because his dad just died and he was headed there next. But whatever the reason, it’s their reason and I keep that in front of them. It drives them,” he added.
When people are able to find their deeper reason for wanting to lose weight and get healthy, they’re then able to change their identity and their perception of themselves, Tabor explained.
In Grover’s case, it allowed him to shed the idea that he was an obese man, and start “doing the things healthy, strong, fit people do,” Tabor said.
“That’s why the weight came off so fast,” he added.
Clearly the approach works, as Grover is one of four clients at CrossFit Coordinate who have lost 100 lb. in the last year, while five others lost at least 60 lb.
A second key to Grover’s success is having a coach to keep him on track, Grover explained.
“The accountability part was the big piece for me, so I could do simple things like send (Tabor) pictures of my food. He would give me advice like, ‘Next time. shrink the portion of potatoes.’ Having that constant nudge from someone has been really helpful to keep me on track,” Grover said, adding that the nutrition coaching he received from Tabor’s wife Holly Tabor, also played an integral role.
Today, Grover no longer eats at fast food joints, and he doesn’t overeat regularly like he used to. Instead, he mostly eats lean protein, a lot of vegetables and some starch.
And because Grover feels like he has made habit changes—as opposed to embarking on a strict, short-term diet—he said he knows these changes are here to stay.
“It took a while to get used to the new routine, but now I don’t have a lot of cravings. I do want a pizza every now and again, but I don’t miss fast food. It actually hurts when I eat it because my body is working on a much cleaner diet,” he said.
He added: “It’s definitely a lifestyle change. I don’t want to go back.”