How did your weight loss journey begin/what lead you to begin (health problems, low energy, joint pain, etc.)?
At age 32 I was working and attending college and I noticed people around me and even family members in their late 40’s and early 50’s having health issues and dying from diabetes, heart attacks and strokes. Doctors would try to restrict their eating habits and told them if they didn’t change, they would die. I started to realize that I was eating the same way so I needed to change too because there would come a time when a doctor would restrict my eating and I wouldn’t have the willingness or ability to do it. So I needed to tackle this obstacle now. I started to think of my body as a car that needed to be treated with the right fuel to keep it running properly.
Did you try any diet programs? How did they work?
I didn’t try any programs at first, I just eliminated things that I considered unhealthy. The first thing I did was cut out alcohol. Then I quit smoking, which unfortunately made me put on some weight. The next thing I did was to cut out fast food and I started cooking meals at home and only going out on occasion. In the beginning, I wasn’t necessarily cooking gourmet meals or anything, but I would prepare my meals on Sunday and Wednesday for the days ahead so I was prepared. It helped my waistline and my budget by doing simple things like not drinking sodas, drinking coffee at home rather than purchasing them out, etc. Right now I’m doing a 21 day detox from www.ConsultorioNatura.com.
Explain the process that you went through (in detail) to lose weight. What lifestyle changes did you make and how hard were they?
Giving up soda was probably my biggest health challenge to overcome along with not eating foods that don’t rot. I did this by first eliminating dark soda and only drinking clear soda. From there I would drink anything other than soda. That progressed to drinking tea and then it was just water and occasionally coffee with no sugar or cream. I would buy a 24-pack of water and keep it in the trunk of my car so I had water wherever I went. Then I started slowly eliminating bread and pasta. Most people have this stigma that buying healthy and organic food is too expensive and it is expensive, but I felt that in the long run it would be the best choice for me. I had to really keep an eye on my budget and give up some other frivalous things in order to afford healthier options. At this time I was attending college full time, working full time and paying child support for my son so things were understandably tight.
A couple of things happened along this path to wellness that propelled me even further down this health road. I met my girlfriend who was very committed to nutrition and fitness and together we discover new ways to prep meals, learn about the latest health science and love to work out together. One way I get more exercise is by walking my adopted dog, Jagger, who loves to go on walks every evening. I also go to the gym several days a week and do any number of cardio machines and lift weights.
As I stated earlier, I am currently doing a program that was suggested by a health doctor to cleanse my body of toxins for 21 days. He gave me a diet plan that encourages an 80/20 rule of eating clean and lists good, quality foods 80% percent of the time and allows a 20% cheat. It also includes a grapefruit/celery juice at night and some supplements that help cleanse the body of bad things.
How much weight did you want to lose and how much did you actually lose?
I started my journey weighing 312 pounds. I remember walking into a doctors office and him asking me how much I weighed. When I told him, he replied simply, “That is ridiculous”…It was really a wake up call for me. I guess I originally had a goal weight in mind of around 250 and right now I weigh 275.
Is your journey over? Do you still follow the same lifestyle guidelines that allowed you to lose weight in the first place?
My journey will never be over. Health and fitness are things that are extremely important to me so I will always look for ways to improve them. The guidelines that allowed me to lose 37 pounds were good, solid, stable concepts that have definitely become a part of my life. I will never go back to the bad habits that made me unhealthy.
Have you been able to maintain your total weight loss?
I have been able to maintain my weight loss for about two years now. I have been living a healthy lifestyle for so long now that it is now just a habit that I really don’t even think about anymore.
What advice can you give fellow LOVE&Loss members that might help and encourage them?
I guess the best advice I can give members is to never give up. Keep looking for ways to add healthier options into your diet and slowly remove the bad things. Explore different activities to find what works best for you. Eventually it all becomes a part of your lifestyle and it does get easier.