"This weight-loss and health journey has been the best thing I've ever done for myself."
I hated being an overweight child. People either made fun of me or (worse) tried to be polite and said, “He’s just plump.” What adolescent boy wants to hear that? In grade school I was so big they made me play on the upper grades’ football team. By middle school, I had grown out of my heaviness, and by the time I graduated high school, I was 6 feet tall and skinny at 145 pounds. Life was good, and I swore I’d never be fat again.
Over the years, I filled out. At 30, when I married my wife, I was at a muscular and comfortable 185 pounds. Over the next 15 years, I slowly gained another 20 pounds. I was still active, so I got used to it, and nobody would’ve guessed I weighed over 200 pounds — I just had a little bit of paunch around the middle. It was September of last year, after I quit smoking, when I really started to blow up. I gained 25 pounds in four months, and I was speeding through clothes sizes: The people at J. C. Penney knew me by name. I was out of control and in denial every step of the way.
In May 2008, my wife and I went to Cancún for our yearly five-day sabbatical. When I was shopping for beach clothes, I realized I was at least four inches bigger around the waist than I had been the summer before. The size 38 shorts I bought were tight, but I couldn’t stand the thought of going to a size 40. Still, we had a great time on our trip, lounging on the beach with a cold drink in one hand and a plate in the other (all-inclusive hotels are handy but not very health-friendly).
At home, when I started downloading the pictures from the trip, I was shocked to see a strange fat guy next to my wife in every picture. I knew I wasn’t in the best shape, but that was a serious gut and set of chins I was looking at! While I was sitting there trying to decide whether to delete all those pictures, I got an e-mail; it was one of Jillian’s newsletters. The timing was perfect — it had to be a sign. I immediately logged on to her site and signed up, and then I picked up the equipment I would need to work out and started planning my meals.
A couple of weeks after I started working out and eating the meals from the site’s plan, I began reading the Message Boards to find some like-minded people for additional information and support, and those ladies set me straight on my eating habits. It turns out I wasn’t eating enough, and after a few adjustments, I started losing in a big way.
In just 19 weeks, I lost 47 pounds, an average of almost 2.5 pounds per week — even better than the plan said I’d do. I attribute my speedy success to sticking strictly to Jillian’s exercise and meal plans. I occasionally had a bad food day or missed a workout, but for the most part I was right there. I love the meal plan; counting calories isn’t my thing, so the ease of printing shopping lists and getting all the daily recipes was right up my alley. The planner made staying within my 1600-1900 calories-a-day limit automatic. Even now that I’ve lost the weight, I still use the plan and just substitute some higher-calorie ingredients or have a larger serving.
For the first few months, I stuck to the circuits on the site, and that’s when I posted the biggest losses. In August, one of the ladies from the “Fearless,” a group that had formed on the Message Boards, challenged me to run a half marathon. What was she thinking? Me, a runner? I was the defensive lineman and shot-putter — the big guy in school who never had to run. I still don’t know what made me accept the challenge, but I’m glad I did. The first time I ran 10 miles without stopping or walking, I almost cried (don’t tell anyone). My oldest daughter ran the November 2 race with me, and we finished it together. My next race is a 10K in Fort Worth, and I think I’ve talked one of my friends from the site into joining me. This running stuff seems to be contagious!
Best compliment: I’ve received so many compliments about my weight loss, but none stands out more than the one my horse, Dixie, gave me: When I saddled up and climbed on, she turned around and looked me right in the face to see if it was me. I swear I saw a smile and a wink as she turned back around and we headed down the trail.
Activities now: This weight-loss and health journey has been the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I can chase my grandkids around the yard now. I can climb the stairs in my house without my knees hurting. I’m planning my vacations to include hiking and exercise instead of avoiding them.
Advice for others: I have a few pieces of advice for those who really want to succeed:
- Stick to the plan. Jillian wouldn’t put her name on this if it didn’t work just like it is.
- Tell yourself that this is what you do now. You eat right and work out. End of conversation.
- If you do have a weak moment, get over it and punish yourself with a little more exercise, not with doubt and self-pity.
- Work out hard. If it doesn’t hurt, you’re not doing it right. Many people on this program have had broken bones or some other bad injury at some point in their lives, and many of the women have given birth — that’s pain. These exercises are only temporary discomfort. It’s not all fun, but it’s just what we do now to achieve results.
- Use the Message Boards on the site. You’ll find an amazing amount of knowledge, emotional support, challenges, and fun!
*Participants can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.