Made Sh*t Happen: How Devin Termini lost 85 Pounds and Changed His Life

I got a message this weekend that dropped my jaw to the floor. Longtime LAC reader and two-time Make Sh*t Happen alumni, Devin Termini, had triumphantly reached his goal of losing 85 pounds (!!!) in just ten months. Check out this amazing before-and-after photo:

Beast mode indeed!! As part of the course, I provide 50+ case studies of people doing amazing things -- big thanks to Devin for graciously agreeing to make his public! I hope you enjoy the interview below and following his journey as much as I have :)

Before we jump in: the Fall Make Sh*t Happen course is still open for enrollment until Sunday, August 5 (or until the 50 spots fill up). If Devin's story resonates and you've got a big idea of you're own that you'd love to activate, I would be thrilled to have you join us!

Interview with Devin Termini: How I Lost 85 Pounds in 10 Months

ABOUT: Describe your goal in more detail - what did it involve? What inspired you to go after it? During my time in Make Sh*t Happen I declared that I would lose 85 pounds in ten months. My milestone for the end of the MSH course was to lose 30 pounds in eight short weeks.

COURAGE: How did you build the courage to actually do it? How did you know it was time? A favorite nugget of Jenny Blake wisdom is that so much of confidence (and courage) is a choice. For so long I was waiting to be "ready" to take on this goal. I would tell myself that I'd lose weight when if "felt right."

For me, I had to make peace with the fact that there is no right time. It will never feel right. I had let myself go and there was no easy way to climb out of the hole I had dug for myself.

VALUES: Why was this goal important to you? What purpose did it serve? What underlying values did it honor? I've always known that achieving this goal would be the catalyst to a larger life change. I want to live vibrantly, loudly, and confidently. Most of all, I wanted to increase the amount of happiness and fun in my life. Unfortunately, none of these things are directly measurable in my opinion.

To make these changes I decided to work on an area of my life that I let get wildly out of control. My weight and overall health. I believe that different aspects of our selves, that are seemingly separate, are actually tightly connected. In my case by focusing on improving health and wellness my confidence and mood will improve.

I weighed a slovenly 275 pounds, and since I've already argued that pieces of ourselves are so tightly connected, I'll let you draw conclusions on my confidence levels, mood, and overall satisfaction with life. I was barely surviving, not thriving. Mild physical activity such as climbing stairs was exhausting. I felt weak and tired on days that ended in y. I knew that my diet and lifestyle were draining what little energy I had.

I recall averting my eyes when I'd catch my reflection in mirrors. Shopping for clothes was painful. To make matters worse, every now and again I'd have to upgrade to a larger size. To be honest, I didn't really care to be around people most of the time. Being around people typically breeds conversation, and conversation that challenged me wasn't something I wanted to hear. It was easier for me to go home and eat to make myself "happy."

I was stuck in a terrible cycle. It was time to change.

FEAR/DOUBTS: What were your biggest fears, doubts and insecurities before starting? What barriers (real or imagined) were in your way? I did have some anxieties when starting on this goal. What nutrition plan should I follow? What will I do if the diet doesn't work? What happens if I don't hit my milestone? Is my weight loss goal even realistic? Will I fit in at the gym?

Even though all these crazy thoughts raced through my head, one of the things that set me up for success was that I was more afraid of staying fat and unhappy than I was about any of my anxieties. This served as an incredible motivator for me.

As an added bonus, those little anxieties almost completely went away for me the moment I started to take action on the goal. Another Jenny Blake-ism -- action, no matter how small, can quiet an inner critic.

SUPPORT: Who held you accountable to your goal? Were friends and family supportive, or did they think you were crazy? Weeks before I committed to this goal I had recently relocated to Southern California to start a new job. This was both a definite advantage and disadvantage. I was almost entirely cut off from any existing support system but I also had a fresh start. I could form new habits and mingle with new people who shared similar goals. I told some old friends about my plan, and they thought my long term goal was a bit extreme, but they agreed that I needed a change.

I had the full support of Jenny, my triad, and the MSH family to help me achieve this goal. Every week I would report to the triad and wanted to share a win with them. Some weeks were better than others, but hearing their encouragement really helped me when I was just getting started.

Also a trainer at my gym took an interest in my journey and would check up on how I was progressing.

THE DIP: Was there ever a moment/period if time that you felt you had hit a dip (felt like a failure and/or wanted to quit)? I felt the dip hit me like a freight train right on cue about the same time that Jenny presented it in the MSH course. I had some significant initial weight loss, but that slowed down to a near halt within several weeks. I was doing everything "right" and it was a lot of work to keep my diet and exercise were in check. I felt like I was putting in so much effort and getting nowhere. I was sore, tired, and I wanted to stop.

Was the diet wrong? Too much food? Too little food? Was I exercising too little? Too much? A myriad of questions, doubts, and frustrations filled my mind.

Fortunately, all I needed was some fortitude and patience. Within another week or so things started clicking again. I began getting stronger and leaner.

SUCCESS! How did you feel after accomplishing your goal? What did you learn about yourself in the process? What are you most proud of? I accomplished this goal exactly as I said I would. I lost 85 pounds in exactly ten months. However, I didn't always think that I would finish. In the beginning I hoped to lose the weight. I thought if I picked a big enough goal and only got a quarter of the way there, then I would have accomplished something, right?

It was only at the END of MSH then that I realized that I could actually achieve this goal. It changed from being a hope and a dream to something real and tangible. I now had the skills and fortitude to see this through to the end. At the time I had lost twenty four pounds and recall thinking to myself "only sixty one more pounds, no problem." Holy f*cking shit, did I just believe in myself again? This felt so incredibly empowering and gave me exactly what I needed to see this through.

In my opinion, the most important resource we have is belief.

Completing this goal has been the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. Accomplishing this allowed me to prove to myself how much power I truly have. If I can do this, I can do ANYTHING! I feel powerful, vibrant, present, and alive.

ADVICE: What advice would you give to future Make Sh*t Happeners? What would you say to those who are afraid to start or afraid to fail? What advice would you give to others in pursuit of a similar goal to yours? During my journey I kept a fairly detailed nutrition and exercise log. I had to make many adjustments to my routine in order to find what works and here's a few things I learned along the way. These are in order for a reason.

  1. Do not decide to lose weight, gain muscle, or improve performance. That will come later. Decide to change your life. As an active individual your entire life must be able to accommodate this new you. Make the appropriate changes to operate in this way. Get more sleep. Join a gym close to work or home. Buy tupperware and cook tomorrow's meals tonight. Spend the extra cash on good running shoes. Decide that today you are an athlete. Whether you're 50 or 500 pounds, you're an athlete. Want to look like an athlete? Act like one.
  2. You are what you eat. Literally. Within 7 years every cell in your body is replaced. Bones and all. From what sources does your body renew itself? Food. Lean meats, vegetables, nuts, seeds and some fruits should be the mainstay of your diet. People will argue with me here, but as long as your diet focuses on whole and nutrient-dense foods you'll be off to a great start.
  3. Less alcohol, more water. Don't drink calories. If you absolutely must drink alcohol, stick to spirits. Beer is the worst. Sugar, yeast, calories, gluten. No good.
  4. Dedicate yourself completely. Lots of people say "I've tried every diet and none of them work!" This is bullshit. All diets work. You just have to do them right and put in the effort. There are no shortcuts or any magic pills for weight loss.
  5. Measure yourself. If you're doing a diet and exercise program right you'll see measurable results in a few short days. DAYS! Buy a good scale and measuring tape to help you visualize your results when the scale stops moving. If you can get your body fat percentage measured, do.
  6. Exercise. This will account for about 20% of your results. If you aren't making the dietary and lifestyle changes no amount of exercise will make any significant changes. Find something that you truly enjoy and do it every day. Running, weight-lifting, baseball, crossfit, tennis, yoga, whatever. Work hard at it. Very damn hard. You will want to quit. You will sweat. You'll bleed. You'll cry. But you won't quit, right? Set new performance related goals here.
  7. Get back up. You will fall off the wagon. You'll miss workouts. You'll eat a piece of cake when you shouldn't have. Shake it off and keep working. It gets easier, I promise.

I'm not sure I could have done this alone. The MSH class and community gave me the encouragement and support I needed to get started with this goal. My life is truly changed. From my deepest self, thank you.

Now it's time to go make more sh*t happen.


Standing ovation

I am so incredibly proud of Devin and grateful that he was willing to share his story in such detail -- if it resonated with you, please let him know in the comments! 

MSH Enrollment

As I mentioned above, enrollment is open through Sunday. Read more about the program here or if it's already calling your name, grab a spot before the class fills up!

A few reminders: 

  • You'll receive 10 weeks of guided content: weekly videos, 5 live group Q&A calls with me, 100+ pages of reading material, reflection exercises, and group discussion prompts. You will also be assigned to a triad of three people to help you reflect on your progress and hold you accountable week-by-week.

  • There are 50 spots open, available on a first-come first-serve basis. I'm deliberately keeping the class small so that we can create a tight-knit, awesome community. The course starts on August 6 and will complete at the end of October. Enrollment ends on Sunday, August 5 or once the 50 spots are taken (whichever comes first).

  • Finally, as an MSH course participant, you'll receive lifetime access to the MSH Alumni group on Facebook, and will have the opportunity to audit the class for free during any future sessions.

  • I recently conducted an hour-long Make Sh*t Happen Crash Course Webinar -- even if you don’t take the full course, this recording will give you a feel for what we cover and to formula for how to bulldoze your barriers to go after your biggest dreams.