Ethos Member Highlight-Tom's Journey

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Tom joined Ethos in April, 2018. Tom is a dedicated member and one who has been on a long journey of health in fitness. Over the past 10 years, Tom has lost over 150 pounds and improved his overall health and well-being. We asked Tom to share his story and tips. We know you'll learn a lot and be inspired!

Tell us about yourself:

My name is Tom Lane. I live in Dorchester with my husband, Pete. I am the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Policy and Planning at the Department of Developmental Services for the Commonwealth of MA.

In my free time you will find me in a car, plane, or on a boat on an adventure usually outside of the country or hanging out with my nieces and nephews being the best guncle possible.

I have been on a 10-year journey to become the healthiest me possible, losing over 150 pounds.

When you started, what was your goal? How did you start? Was there a moment when you decided to make a change? Has your goal changed? 
I have always been a bigger guy and never really focused on health or fitness as a kid. When I got to college things spiraled out of control. I worked full time and went to school full time. I did not make the time to “meal prep” and at the age of 18 had no idea what meal prep was. I gained about 50 pounds my freshman year and that continued to increase over the next three years. At the time I did not even notice how large I was becoming, but did know that I was unhappy with my weight and health (a heavy smoker at the time). I was miserable, overeating and just not really caring for myself. I wasn’t active and I was tired; just exhausted. 

On Friday September 12, 2008, I woke up and decided it was the day that everything was going to change. This was the day that I quit smoking (and never returned to it) and went for a light jog. That light jog turned into me jogging a few days a week. On top of that I spent an enormous amount of time doing research on various ways to eat healthier with a busy schedule without having to go through a planned diet. I had seen family members go through many of the diet fads growing up and they always ended up stopping and gaining all their weight back.

My main goal when I started was to get healthy, never setting a specific weight goal. My fitness goals included running a 5k race (have completed nearly 100 of them, including many 10ks and half marathons), doing a Tough Mudder (completed 2 of them), and eventually doing sprint triathlons (completed 2 of them doing my 3rd in September). My main goal through this journey has never changed, but my specific fitness goals have evolved over time.

Right now, my goal is the become the strongest bear in Boston. In the past, I have focused too much on cardio and now focus on strength as well.

What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned?

Failure will happen, and it’s okay. There have been many times over the last 10 years that I have failed at my goals; sometimes for extended periods of time. Each time a failure happens it takes me less and less time to get back into the groove.

  • An extremist mentality will get you nowhere.
  • You can’t keep the things you enjoy out of your life. Moderation and control have been something that has taken a long time to learn.
  • It takes a village, you can’t do this alone. I have had some amazing fitness partners along my journey. I could not have done this without them there to support me. The Training Room in Somerville, a key player for nearly 4 years, and my new fit family at Ethos have allowed me to take this journey to the next level.

What words of advice would you give to others who are looking to attain a big goal?

Setting goals for one specific event or one date will not do anything. This is a marathon, not a sprint. I have seen many friends and other fitness partners working towards a specific event or goal and once its achieved, they stop. Fitness and healthy lifestyle is a mindset, not a temporary improvement plan. It takes years to get where you want to be. This is not something that can happen overnight- always appreciate the small successes. There is not end point here, the journey continues forever.

What is the hardest part?

Food and adjusting workout schedules when the day to day routine is different (traveling, extra-long hours at work, summer..) It takes a lot of my mental energy to make good food choices.  

How did you overcome this hard part and how do you continue to do so?
I take it week by week. Each Sunday I carve out at least 1 hour to plan for the next 6 days. This includes food and workout plans. Even if I am traveling I take Sunday as my reset day to make sure I stay on track.  

How do you manage being social and keep working towards the goal?

Moving my workouts around my social events can be challenging at times, but that’s what the weekly planning helps with. Sometimes I have to miss or be late to an event because I want to get a workout in; I prioritize my health over those events. Also, working out is a social event! I have met some of the most amazing people at the gyms I belong to and also the races that I have participated in.

Do you ever want to give up and say F this?

I say F this constantly, most recently every time I have to do a pushup or a pull-up. This is all a mental game. Mind over matter is something that I repeat to myself daily and works for me. I know that every time I enter Ethos with a defeatist attitude, it won’t last, and by the time I leave I have been reset.

Did you sacrifice anything? If so, what?

No, I found that when I sacrificed something, my journey turned quite negative - you will regret and hold that one thing against yourself. I consider it changes to lifestyle more than a sacrifice.

Do you subscribe to a particular mindset or way of thinking?

  • It is what it is.
  • Don’t compare your Chapter 1 to someone else’s Chapter 20” – I have to remind myself of this often.

Anything else you feel is important for people to know?

I don’t have nor strive for the perfect body, but I love what I have, and I’m comfortable. People don’t understand what a transformation like this can do for a person’s soul. It’s not just a physical change — it’s mental, it’s emotional. It’s everything.