How Being A Trader Helped Me Lose 50 Pounds

I’ve gone back and forward over the last couple of weeks whether I wanted to write this post or not. My blog hasn’t been a place I’ve shared a lot of personal details of my life – having kept things more focused on the market.  However, being that I feel the market and trading has helped me progress towards a personal goal of mine I felt it was worth sharing…

I have had been fat my entire life. Many people read ‘entire life’ and assume its hyperbole, but I truly can’t imagine a time or find a picture when I was not overweight. I was picked on for my weight from an early age and being heavy shaped who I am today. I was never the fattest person I knew, but I always had extra pounds I just couldn’t commit to myself to lose. In early 2015 I decided that needed to change and looking back I can see that being involved in the financial markets played a positive role in changing not only my physical body but my mental attitude and view on life. Since then I’ve been able to lose a little over 50 pounds, cut my body fat percentage in half, and find out I now have very few clothes that still fit, a good problem to have I suppose.

Information is King
Some may argue that trading stocks (and commodities, and forex, ect.) is one of the hardest professions to be successful at. Trading is a zero sum game, you either make money or you don’t, there is no gray area. Early on in a traders career you learn that information is king and plays a vital role in being able to pick buy and sell points. Many will argue what information or even what kind of information is important, whether it be price movements, indicator readings, corporate balance sheets, analyst reports, or the latest unemployment report. I would argue there’s more information related to the financial markets than any other profession, topic, or hobby. People have become extremely wealthy just by producing, organizing, and/or showcasing this type information alone.

Understanding the importance of information played a big role in me being able to shed 50 pounds. I’ve always known that it’s better to eat vegetables than junk food, that the amount of calories you consume determines whether you gain and lose weight, but that’s pretty much where my knowledge base stopped. I took my thirst for information that had previously been solely quenched by the stock market and applied a piece of that to learning about nutrition and training.

I know have a better understanding of nutrition timing, knowing when to eat certain foods during the day (for example, avoiding carbs at breakfast). I’ve learned more about macros – protein, fats, and carbs, and how to use them properly within my daily diet, and many other important concepts and principles associated with the simple motion of putting food in your mouth.

While I was learning more about the right foods to eat in the right amounts and at the right times, the flood of opinions and research can be overwhelming. There’s many right ways to shed body fat and there’s many wrong ways to do it. The issue is learning the difference and what worked best for me. Like developing a trading style and discipline I had to used what I’ve learned to create the right nutrition protocol that fit my life.

Turning To Experts
It can be a daunting task to just one day sit at a computer and begin pressing buttons buying and selling securities. Having someone teach you and review your trades, someone who has traveled this endless road for many years can play a vital role in developing your ability to be a successful trader. The same idea applied to my learning to lift weights. After having a gym membership for about 6 months I hired a personal trainer to work with and create workout plans for me to do each day. Having someone critique my form, push me when I wanted to quit, and develop a plan of attack for increasing muscle mass made a world of a difference in my pursuit.

The Trend Is Your Friend
IMG_3032As anyone who has read my blog or follows me on social media knows, I view the market through the lens of technical analysis. A big part of analyzing price action is evaluating trends. This was probably the easiest ‘concept’ to apply to my losing weight. The trend was my friend, and unlike a stock, I was in complete control of how that trend looked and how long it lasted. While many health experts advise against weighing yourself everyday, I found it to be beneficial for me to do so. Holding my self accountable every single day for what I ate and how hard I worked in the gym kept me focused on making sure the trend in the picture above did not change direction. It’s probably the only down trend I’ve ever rooted for!

Discipline
As I’ve developed as a market participant I lean more and more to the systematic approach to investing. The strategy that I deploy uses varies sets of ‘rules’ and guidelines that help take the emotion out of decision making and creates a discipline that is defined enough that I know when I am and when I am not on track and following it. Having this level of discipline with regards to my nutrition and training was extremely important. I didn’t/don’t guess or estimate how much food I consume, I measure everything. And I mean everything. It almost became a game to meet my macro (protein, fat, carb) goals each day by pre-planning each day’s food the night before using the MyFitnessPal app. If you don’t know what and how much is going through your mouth and into your body, it becomes very difficult to gauge if you are in a caloric surplus or deficit.

The same idea applied to my training. I first starting going to the gym and doing random exercises, lifting, pushing, and pulling at random machines. Until I had done the research and learned the proper way to workout did I begin following pre-written training plans. I’ve tried several different plans I’ve found online from sites like BodyBuilding.com, and trainers like Kris Gethin, Ben Pakulski, and my own gym’s trainer. I noticed a big difference in my focus and progress when following a training plan. The same type of focus and progress that can be achieved when creating and following a plan for trading.

Setting Goals
Having a degree in Financial Counseling and Planning and working as a portfolio manager I understand the importance of setting financial goals. My firm’s advisors each day meet with clients to check in and make sure they have the right goals, whether for retirement or buying a new house, ect. and what changes need to be made (if any) to stay on track.

I initially set a goal of losing 35 pounds, I had never lost that much weight so it seemed pretty lofty to begin with. But once I hit that mark I added 10 pounds, wanting to lose 45. And then it became 50 pounds with a goal of being at 15% body fat. Once I got under 15% and lost the 50 pounds I now am ready to create new goals for 2016, ones I’m excited to eventually check off. At this point I don’t know what those goals will be, my trainer wants me to consider doing a bodybuilding contest but my wife is not a fan of the idea. So we’ll see where this journey takes me. I am content knowing there is no end point, there is no finish line, just goals to hit and new knows to set.

 

Disclaimer: Do not construe anything written in this post or this blog in its entirety as a recommendation, research, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. Everything in this post is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. I or my affiliates may hold positions in securities mentioned in the blog. Please see my Disclosure page for full disclaimer. Connect with Andrew on Google+, Twitter, and StockTwits.

About Andrew Thrasher, CMT

Andrew Thrasher, CMT is a Portfolio Manager for an asset management firm in Central Indiana. He specializes and writes about technical analysis as well as macro economic developments.
  • Owen Crisp

    Being Thorough is why I follow you.

    Being true to the objective is refreshing.

    You knew this was a long term process and you proved successful.

    Many people will say CONGRATULATIONS on achieving the goal. I do so for an entirely different reason. It is the reason that so many follow you. You are thorough, clear and concise. Keep up this in 2016

    • athrasher

      Wow, thank you Owen. I truly appreciate that. I wish you a great 2016 as well.

  • Martin Bedick

    I say congrats! People change either because they want to or they simply can’t take it anymore. Whatever the reason, it takes mental discipline to do what you’ve done. The fact you did it after so many years is very impressive and very encouraging to those of us who want to make changes in our lives. Good luck in 2016.

    • athrasher

      Thank you Martin. Happy New Year to you too!

  • Fred Hughes

    Fantastic accomplishment – the process and the product. As mentioned – mental discipline is #1 and you’ve demonstrated it in a huge way. I would love a chance to connect offline and hear some of the granular details of your meal components, etc. You’re story is remarkably similar to mine up until the good part! Great job.

    • Andrew Thrasher, CMT

      Thanks Fred, feel free to contact me via my contact form at the top of the page if you have any questions. I’m by no means an expert but happy to share from my personal experiences. Cheers.

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