In 1987 I was a fit 220 pound single guy that ran 6 miles a day, weight lifted and taught aerobics 3 times a week. I met and fell in love with my wife who wasn’t a fitness fanatic like me, and I started to decrease my activities and eat unhealthy foods. By the time we got married (7/2/1988) I had started to gain and was at 275 pounds. When our first son was born (9/19/1989) the scale was reading 350 pounds. 20 years later at Christmas 2008 I weighed 493 pounds at the doctor’s office. I was worn out all the time! When I went to Wal-Mart to do the shopping, I needed to lean on the cart as soon as I got one and had to lean on it the entire trip. By the time I made it to the check-out counter, I was dripping in sweat!
I was tired of being pointed at by little kids who said "Look mommy, there's a really fat man!" At least some kids didn’t know how rude they were…..adults did. I was at a company golf tournament once when a bike rider rode by and yelled "Oh my god! Get out of that cart and walk!" There is no describing how humiliating that was. While it would be easy to blame this on my wife, it wasn’t her fault. I had fought this battle before and knew I was the one responsible and as I edged closer to 500 pounds the time had come to do something!
I had witnessed a friend of mine, Bonnie Voegeli lose 30 pounds in 3 months on the Medi-Weightloss Clinics program. I followed up with her to learn about the diet she was following and began the marathon on December 23rd, 2008. That is how I view this journey, a long slow marathon! In just two short weeks I was already down to 478. I then called my Medi-Weightloss Clinic in Andover, Kansas and set up my first appointment with Dr. Jeannine Cobb for January 23rd, 2009. I was eating 1000 calories and keeping my carb count under 25g a day.
Medi-Weightloss Clinics is a physician supervised program that has 3 phases. Acute (weight loss), transition (transitioning from weight loss to maintenance), and maintenance. They, actually, teach you how to lead a healthy lifestyle using real foods and exercise! I initially went in weekly, but now go in monthly to have vitals checked and also have blood work done every 3 months. As a part of this program, I fill out a food journal and drink at least 120 ounces of water daily. The next week, I started to exercise. It wasn’t much, just 15 minutes 3 times a week on an exercise bike. Fast forward to the present and I take 4-6 spin classes a week, lift weights 3 times a week and walk 3 miles in 45 minutes 4-5 times a week. I ran for a bit and actually ran a half marathon in October 2010!
I have gone from size 66 pants to a 36! This journey has had lots of milestones, but one of my favorites occurred in early August when I took 4 large trash bags of all my 3x and larger clothes to the DAV because I am never going to need them again! I had a tummy tuck where 11 pounds of skin was taken off and they were ready to do some lipo but there wasn’t anything there to lipo! During the 16 months it took to lose the 300 pounds, I recorded a loss every week! That’s right, I’ve had a loss every single week and needless to say, the Wal-Mart trips are a breeze now and yes, my wife is even exercising and eating healthy with me! She has lost another 125 pounds! I am now focused on long distance cycling and raising awareness of childhood obesity in the United States. I just completed a 100k ride in Plano, Texas on October 1st, 2011 for the Make a Wish Foundation! I have been able to maintain my loss now for another 20 months.
Even though I was only eating 1000 - 1200 calories a day, most of that was protein. An average day consisted of me eating every 2.5 hours and of a 1095 calorie day I would have about 25 carbs (100 calories), 35 fat g (315 calories), and 170 protein g (680 calories). I would also drink about 120 ozs of water per day. I think the combo of all the water and all the protein kept me feeling satisfied. I know that watching the scale fall was also very inspiring! I had done low fat diets like the one inspired by the "Fit or Fat" books. I was one of the lucky ones that didn't get sick on Phen phen. I tried the cabbage soup diet. I tried everything. I tried atkins and had a little success on it but it was very slow and I'm not sure. I do know I tended to eat a lot of fatty and salty stuff on it so it may have been a water issue. I Think that the combo that Medi has come up, physician supervision, along with the support they offer to their patients and tools like the Tanita Scales may have also been part of the difference in why this diet worked for me!!
What advice (if any) would you give to someone interested in trying a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet? Were there any obstacles that you overcame that could help future dieters?
You have to decide your important enough to make a change in your life so you will be around for your loved ones in the future. Starting something half heartedly will be met with failure. Never give up! Realize you are human and you will make mistakes. Your success will be determined in how you deal with those failures. Make small goals each week or month and attain them and above all, keep a positive attitude! Each small step you take towards your goal, means you are that much closer to realizing your dream!
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