Can you give me a short explanation of your journey to healthy living?
“I have struggled with my weight most of my life – I have always been heavier than everyone else and have always found comfort in food. It wasn’t until after high school that I began gaining the majority of my weight. The stresses of college, graduate school, and then family life caused me to be less and less active. I eventually reached a point where I decided I needed to take action. I was the heaviest I had ever been and was uncomfortable in my own skin. I was constantly sick, tired and even had difficulty concentrating. I was on medication for both blood pressure and cholesterol, I had back problems, and my joints ached, all of this at the age of 32! I had to do something, if not for myself, for my family. I have a loving wife and 2 (soon to be 3) beautiful little girls at home. The thought of them losing me at a young age because of my own poor health choices was intolerable, it was selfish, and something had to be done.”
“I have participated in several weight loss competitions throughout the years, always losing a sizeable amount of weight, but would always gain it back, and then some. I promised myself this time would be different, this time I was in it for the long-haul, this wasn’t going to be a diet, this was going to be a permanent lifestyle change.”
How long have you been working out at Farmer’s Fitness?
“I have actually never been a member of the Farmers Fitness Center. I did participate in their “Weight Wars” competition this year, which went from January to March. Our team leader was Brianna (Bree) Clifford. Bree was instrumental in my initial success – she provided valuable insight and advice, kept us motivated, and forced us to work hard during our team workouts, I truly enjoyed working with her.”
How did you become what your wellness specialist, Kyle, calls a success?
“I wouldn’t necessary consider myself a success, perhaps more a work in progress. I have come a long way, but there is still more work to be done. It wasn’t easy – it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make consistent progress. It can be very difficult at times, especially when you are first starting out, which is why I enjoyed having the Weight Wars competition to give me a head start and keep me on target until I had established a comfortable routine.”
Do you have a before and after weight you would like to share?
”I weighed in at 298 pounds while at my heaviest, right before the Weight Wars competition in January, and I just weighed in at 219 pounds this morning for a total weight loss of 79 pounds to date.”
What is your favorite part about Farmer’s Fitness?
“The staff. Kyle and Bree are great, they are always helpful and quick to respond to any questions I had. The facilities are also well-equipped with plenty of cardio machines, high-quality resistance training equipment, and plentiful free weights.”
Where have you noticed the biggest difference in your journey towards healthy living?
“My attitude and my energy level. You always hear people say they have so much more energy from exercising, but it isn’t until you experience yourself that you realize what they mean. As I mentioned above, before I began my weight loss journey I was constantly sick, tired, and had trouble concentrating. However, after having lost a considerable amount of weight, I feel amazing. I have more energy, I am sleeping better at night, I awake feeling refreshed, and my overall attitude and outlook on life is so much more positive.”
Do you have any goals you are still working towards?
“In the beginning, before I started my weight loss journey, I told myself I wanted to lose 100 pounds, that is my ultimate goal and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, after having come as far as I have, I doubt I will stop there. If I maintain my current routine of a well-balanced diet and exercise, I foresee my weight continuing to come off. As I mentioned before, this is not a diet, but rather a lifestyle change and I intend to continue doing what I have been doing.”
Do you have any words of wisdom for those who are just starting out?
1. “Make a list of why you want to lose weight and use it as motivation. When I first got serious about wanting to lose weight I made a list of all the benefits I might realize after losing weight, things as simple as being able to buy normal sized clothes, not having to take medication to control my blood pressure and cholesterol, and not feeling as if I am being judged in every social situation, etc.”
2. “Calories In < Calories Out = Weight Loss. There are a lot of fad diets, cleanses, detoxes, complicated exercise programs, magic pills, and mysterious garments that appear to have supernatural powers promising effortless weight loss, but weight loss boils down to one very simple equation; if you consume fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight, plain and simple. It doesn’t matter what you eat, how you eat it, or what exercises you do.”
3. “Track your calories. Few people realize how much they eat or how many calories are in most foods. You can exercise all you want, unless you eat less than the calories you burn, you aren’t going to lose a single pound and all of your efforts will be wasted.”
4. “Treat calories as if they are money. I gave myself a daily allowance, if I want to eat more, I would have to earn more, by exercising. However, in the end, I found myself not wanting to “spend” those extra calories because they were hard work to earn! You want that extra slice of pizza? It’s going to cost you 15-20 minutes on the treadmill! No thanks, I think I’ll pass.”
5. “Set miniature goals, celebrate the small victories. If you want to lose a sizeable amount of weight it can be overwhelming. For me, if targets are too far away, I tend to lose sight and motivation. I like having goals that are closer and easier to aim for. For example, I told myself I wanted to lose a specific amount of weight by certain dates; first by the end of the content, then before I visited my parents in Florid, then before my physical and now before our family reunion at the end of the month where I hope to surprise everyone with my transformation.”
6. “Do not get discouraged, you will experience plateaus and you will have moments where you feel like giving up. I was excited to see how quickly weight fell off at the beginning, I recorded my weight every day and put it on a graph so I could watch my progress. After a while I began to notice a trend, I would experience 4-5 days of weight loss followed by 2-3 days of none. While it was somewhat discouraging at first, I began to expect it. As I’ve lost more and more weight, it has become more difficult, there is no doubt about that, however I refuse to give up, I refuse to become the person I once was, this is the new me.”
7. “It is okay to cheat, just don’t overdo it. As I mentioned earlier, I find comfort in food, I could never live without eating the food I love. I used to allow myself 1 day a week to eat whatever I wanted, but quickly realized that my cheat meals became cheat days and sometimes extended into cheat weekends. It wasn’t until I began recording my calories on those days that I realize just how much damage I was doing. All of the hard work I was putting in during the week was being washed away on the weekends. Allowing yourself to enjoy those meals is important, this is a lifestyle change, after all, if you are miserable, you will never stick with it. Not only does allowing yourself those foods give you a mental boost, but it can sometimes give your metabolism a little kick as well, just don’t go overboard and destroy all of your hard work.”
8. “Stop making excuses and do it. I constantly found myself making excuses; I am too tired, I don’t have time, I’ll start after this next holiday, I’ll start on Monday, etc, this went on for years. There is no better time to take action than right now, you aren’t getting any younger and the weight is not going to lose itself.”