I was in good shape when I met my partner just over 10 years ago in San Diego at 205 pounds, 34 inch waist. We relocated to Austin Texas in 2004, and I began to use my travel schedule as an excuse to not exercise and eat poorly. Traveling by air as many as 40 trips per year during that 10 years, I was often gone 4-5 days per week. I found it difficult to balance, and I slowly gained 125 pounds by just not putting focus on it. My aha moment came in the spring of 2013 when I hit 230, a 44 inch waist and a BMI of 45. My brother and partner had decided to enter a short obstacle race outside Austin, but I was not able to enter the race. I had high blood pressure and borderline cholesterol. In February 2013, I decided to start losing weight and I told myself that once I reach 290, I would begin working out with a professional trainer to help keep me on track. I wanted to feel dedicated and ensure that I could stay on track before I started with a trainer. By May 2013, I had started with a Gold’s Gym trainer at least once per week. I found it motivating, and I found it to be a check in point where I could track my progress. I had always been focused on weight loss by counting calories and limiting all fat intake. I really didn’t understand the human metabolism, nor did I understand the extreme benefits of both cardiovascular and weight training exercise. I incorporated changing my diet. With the help of my trainer, I started eating less saturated fat and instead used healthy forms of fat, like fish, nuts, and avocados. I did not understand that the body needs healthy forms of fat to lose weight. I also watched the number of carbohydrates that I consumed and started incorporating many more fresh vegetables. By the fall of 2013, I had dropped to 255 pounds and was able, with the consent of my doctor, to stop taking my high blood pressure medication. Over the next many months, I would lose between 1-3 pounds per week while I continued a very hectic travel schedule. I began to learn how to eat on the road, to always pack a healthy snack, to make the right choices when out to dinner with clients. I was no longer afraid to be the guy at the table turning away alcohol or special ordering food that fit my diet. I’ve learned that healthy choices can almost always be made when it’s a priority.
I also began entering endurance races with my partner and friends. I started slowly with a 3 miles course and have now completed courses as long as 12 miles. My BMI has fallen from 45 to about 16. I’ve lost 105 pounds and gained a substantial amount of muscle. I’m now back to that 34 inch waist and at age 44, I’m in the best physical shape of my life. I also started a Health and Wellness program for the company that I work for where a group of us encourage other employees to be more active. I still have to watch what I consume very closely, but because my metabolism has increased, it is easier for me to maintain a healthy weight. So many people have asked me about my aha moment or my secret. My aha moment came when I admitted I needed to deal with it, when I admitted that I needed some assistance. And, there is no secret diet. My weight loss came slowly because of exercise and diet change. I’m the first to admit that I will likely struggle with it for the rest of my life, but I’m going into my third year where it has remained a focus, and I’m on track. I still use my trainer at least once a week where possible. I find it challenging, motivating and educational. I’m not perfect, but I just hit the reset button and get back to it.