2015 Fall Weight Loss Challenge Winner
26.31% of body weight *
*Results not typical
Anxiously waiting, we sat in the doctor’s office to hear our imminent circumstance; my wife Cait sat on the patient bed and I sat at the adjacent chair nervously bouncing my legs. The 5-minute wait seemed more like 5 hours. As the doctor came in, we exchanged pleasantries and he got right down to business: CANCER.
As the doctor went into the details, I tried my best to put on the bravest demeanor I could possibly fake. My wife could barely keep it together, so I knew I had to stay strong for her. There were many details to be discussed: treatment, prognosis, surgery, recovery, follow-ups. However, that word shook me to my very core. CANCER. So many thoughts ran through my mind. “I am 29 years old, have a 1-year-old daughter at home, and my wife has CANCER? Is this a nightmare? How does this happen to her? Why wouldn’t this have happened to me, the guy who is about 80 pounds overweight and has horrible eating habits? If this happens to my seemingly healthy wife, what is in store for me?” That last thought is what changed my life.
I was a 3-sport athlete at one point in my life and was able to eat almost anything I wanted without repercussions. Immediately after high school, my activity levels significantly diminished and my eating stayed the same. Ten years later, I had gained over 100 pounds. This was unacceptable; I could no longer allow myself to live this type of life, and I realized I was no longer here just for me. I had a family to care for: a future to build.
In order to understand my journey, I have to go back 180 days rather than 90. I joined Life Time Fitness on May 10, 2015, with the goal to lose 75 pounds by my daughter’s 2nd birthday, which is May 20, 2016. By the time the 90-Day Challenge came around I had lost 40 pounds but was hesitant to join as I thought it would coincide with a plateau. I had an introductory workout with personal trainer Mitch Brown, and he encouraged me to join the Challenge as he felt I could compete well. Mitch became a vital part of my success in this competition as my original workout was 35 minutes of elliptical and 20 minutes of weights in the areas I thought were best. Mitch really gave me a regimen to follow and helped me feel like I was accomplishing what I wanted to when I completed strength-training. I also bought a Fitbit Charge HR to measure my daily steps and my heart rate, making my daily goal 15,000 steps.
I knew exercise alone would not show drastic results. I had to do something about my diet. I started using the My Fitness Pal app on my phone religiously to keep track of my calorie intake as well as my nutrition to make sure it aligned with my lofty goals. Tips from Mitch about types of foods and servings were also crucial in helping me understand what was going into my body and how it could help or hinder my fitness levels.
The first day I walked into Life Time Fitness in May of this year I weighed 267 pounds and had a size 44 waist. At the beginning of the 90-Day Challenge, I weighed 227 pounds and had a 40-inch waist. Today I weighed out at 167 pounds and have a 32-inch waist. That is 100 pounds lost in 180 days and 60 pounds lost during the 90-Day Challenge! On day one at Life Time, I was only able to run for 14 minutes which was 1.4 miles of running. Since I have gotten more in shape, it hasn’t been uncommon for me to spend nearly 2 hours running equaling over 12 miles in a day. Exercising went from being a chore and something that I dreaded to something that relaxed me and made my day complete. Life Time and Mitch helped keep me on track and kept me accountable. There were definitely times when I wanted to let up, but the support from Mitch was a reminder that I wasn’t in this Challenge on my own.
I used to always mock the cliché, “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle,” before I decided to take my own journey. I really didn’t understand the repercussions of my “lifestyle” choices; I ate what I wanted and I sat around with little energy to do much of anything. Now that I have decided to make a change, I am always looking for excuses to get out of the house and be active with my family rather than vegging out on the couch for entire weekends at a time. Life has taken a 180-degree change since that day in the doctor’s office. The doctor was able to remove all of the cancer from my wife and she is recovering well. I have removed much of the weight and lifestyle that was holding me down. My family is finally on the mend, and we are well on our way to living an active and nutritious lifestyle. I am thrilled to continue down the path of healthy living and proud of my overall transformation. I truly look forward to my future, not only for myself, but for my entire family.