- Posted December 17, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments
5XL to XL in 9 months
My name is Luke Cox and I am a high school history teacher and coach at Tarkio High School in Missouri. I am 32 years old and I have a beautiful wife and three young children, ages 3,4, and 6. In March of 2013, I weighed over 400 pounds. I was a very large man. I am 6'5 and in a 5XL t-shirt and size 50 jeans. I drank over 2,000 calories in soda a day. I ate two breakfast sandwiches and two jelly filled doughnuts every morning for breakfast. I would eat school lunch and snack all day. At night, I would eat my kids' snacks they were supposed to take to school the next day.
Here I was teaching students and athletes discipline and hard work when I had none myself. I would come home after practice and ignore my wife and young children and sit in front on the tv and fall asleep there. My wife was always concerned for my health and constantly begged me to change and I ignored her. I finally told her one day that I was gonna die in 10 years anyway, so leave me alone. One day, my oldest son, who is 6 years old, was helping me fold laundry and he was counting the X's on my shirt. He said "Wow Dad, did you know there are 5 X's on your shirt? That's a lot!"
His comment hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I was concerned with what type of cupcakes I was gonna eat later instead of worrying about my kids growing up without a father. How selfish am I? I knew I had to change. I knew that I wanted to lose weight but I didn't know where to start.
I was an athlete in high school and college so I have always been competitive and I hated losing. My wife knew this, so she signed me up for the Kansas City Weight loss Program through Kansas City Magazine. It's a 12 week program that teaches you to eat healthy, exercise and more importantly, getting your life back. It also promoted competition between the contestants, which is what I needed. At the time, there was no personal trainer in my small community of 1200 people so my trainer was our elementary PE teacher and football coach - Ty Ratliff. We worked out in the high school weight room and the Heartland Rec Center for 12 weeks. We focused on HIIT training and interval running. Being over 400 pounds, I just focused on moving.
With the exercises working, I completely changed my eating life style. I tapered my soda intake to eventually none after a week. I switched to water and Diet Golden Peak Ice Tea. I ate every two hours offsetting my protein and fruit. For breakfast, I ate three hard boiled eggs and greek yogurt. For lunch, I ate a spinach salad with 2oz of shaved turkey. For dinner, I ate grilled chicken or fish. I would prepare all my meals the night before so I wouldn't eat anything that wasn't in my Nebraska Cornhuskers lunchbox.
The first few weeks were really tough for me. I believed in the 21 days of habit. If I could do this for 21 straight days, it would become a healthy habit.
I left my wallet at home so I couldn't go to the school snack machine. I didn't eat with my fellow teachers in the cafeteria because I knew I would want to eat the cafeteria food. I ate in my room by myself. Once I gained enough confidence in myself, I began to eat with them and I brought my wallet to school without going to the snack machine.
After the 12 weeks, I had lost over 80 pounds and went from a size 50 jean to a size 42. I went from a 5XL t-shirt to a 2XLTall t-shirt. Oh, and I won the 12 week program. I started the contest at 396 and ended at 316.
Today, I have lost over 120 pounds in 9 months. I have lost over 40 inches and over 30% off my body. I am as strong and healthy as I have ever been. I recently purchased my first XL t-shirt since 1997 (freshman year in high school). I have recently ran my first 5K in time of 27.02. I am currently speaking to groups and businesses about my weigh loss journey. I never realized the inspiring ripple effect my journey has had on others.
Thank you to Kansas City Fitness Magazine, Saucony - for making durable shoes, my community, friends, and relatives for helping me get my life back. Most importantly, thank you to my kids and my wife for always being there for me. Now, I will always be here for you. God Bless.