How Paul Lost 40 Pounds: An Interview
Paul Kalil has been attending Beach Boot Camp training conducted by Lt. Col. Bob Weinstein, USAR-Ret. on
for fifteen months. He is 39 years old and has been overweight since childhood. At 5'8", Paul weighed approximately 240 pounds in high school, but lost 80 pounds in his senior year by moderating his calorie intake and exercising daily. Paul's weight fluctuated in the following years while he attended college, but he remained relatively fit and active and enjoyed running. However, during law school and the ensuing years, Paul slipped into a sedentary lifestyle and gained significant weight. When he started the Beach Boot Camp program, he weighed in excess of 270 pounds. After nine months of training, he had lost over 40 pounds and completed his first half-marathon. Paul continues to struggle with his weight, but regular exercise and mindful nutrition keep him on the right path. He looks forward to many half-marathons in his future. Fort Lauderdale Beach
Colonel Bob: What lessons have you learned on your weight loss journey?
Paul: There is an exercise program for everyone. I never thought I would ever get involved with a fitness class. But I learned that exercise can double as entertainment if you choose the right activity for you, be it a class, a sport, or your own program.
I don’t exercise just because I want to lose weight. I find activities that I really enjoy doing just for the sake of doing them. Through those activities, I have made friends, faced challenges and accomplished things I never imagined I could. The weight loss is almost an afterthought.
Colonel Bob: What were some of the phases of weight and eating habits you went through?
Paul: My weight fluctuations have always coincided with personal changes. I tend to eat less when I am stressed or distracted. I eat considerably more when I am inactive or bored.
I am addicted to carbs, especially sweets, but I find that I crave sweets less when I exercise regularly. I don’t know if this is physiological or psychological, but it definitely is so.
My most recent weight loss has coincided with some significant lifestyle changes which have been both positive and negative, and have resulted in changes in diet and routine. Overall I have tried to stick to a reduced calorie, low sugar diet, and maintain my regular exercise routine. But I have fallen off the wagon from time to time and given in to cravings, or missed workouts here and there. Change is inevitable and nothing is forever. That includes good and bad habits, too.
Colonel Bob: What keeps you on track?
Paul: The people who travel with me, for the most part. I will admit that my motivation often comes from external sources, and not always from within.
Colonel Bob: What is your weight history starting from high school?
Paul: I have been overweight since I can remember. By my senior year of high school, I was 240 lbs. I lost 80 pounds that year by simply eating less and exercising moderately each day (brisk walking for an hour or so). My waist size went from 44 to 36 inches.
My weight fluctuated through college, and eventually I put about 40 lbs. back on.
After college I started running. I was relatively fit, and lost some weight, but I was still pretty heavy. I never weighed myself, but my blood pressure was quite low and my Resting Heart Rate was around 54.
Law school was the killer. All I did was study, commute and eat, for three years. By the time I graduated, I was back at 240 lbs., or more. For the next ten years, I continued to gain weight. When I started Beach Boot Camp I was over 270 lbs. (my scale maxed out at 270).
Since starting Beach Boot Camp in May, 2008, I have lost over 40 lbs. I’m not sure exactly how much because my scale was maxed out when I started. I have gained about 12 pounds back in the last couple months, but I am now on the downward trend again.
Colonel Bob: What changes have you made in your eating habits?
Paul: I think my biggest change has been the reduction of sugar intake. Much fewer sweets, no more sugary cereals, and I look out for hidden sugar in other foods that appear to be healthy. I eat fruit in moderation, always mindful of the sugar.
No white bread. Ever. I do not keep bread at home anymore. But I still buy the occasional wheat bagel or sandwich on decent bread. Pasta is an occasional indulgence rather than a staple.
I have also eliminated most dairy products from my diet, especially cheese, which had been a big source of excess calories and fat/cholesterol.
Colonel Bob: Did you use a support system or was someone else there to support and encourage you?
Paul: Of course, I have had a lot of support from friends and co-workers who have noticed my weight loss and improved fitness. But the greatest encouragement has come from my fellow “Troops” at Beach Boot Camp. It is one of the few places where it seems that nobody wants someone else to fail. That has been crucial to my success.
Colonel Bob: How do you see your health over the next five, ten and twenty years and how can you impact on your health over the long-term?
Paul: At 39, I am already feeling the effects of a largely sedentary lifestyle and decades of bad habits. I have greatly improved my health in the last year, and barring some catastrophic illness or injury, I foresee continued improvements in health and fitness for the years to come. I can’t control my genes, stop myself from aging, or change my past behavior, but I am confident that I can reduce my health risks and improve my quality of life staying active and maintaining responsible habits. But I know it will always be a struggle.
Colonel Bob: Have you or do you have set-backs and how do you or have you overcome them?
Paul: I have had some injuries from trying to do too much, too fast. Injuries are not only physically uncomfortable, the pain damages your confidence and leads you to question whether you can continue exercising. With training and weight loss come greater strength and better health. But there are times when you have to back off a little so you don’t get hurt. When injuries happen (and they will happen) I try to keep things in perspective. The pain may be great, but the injuries aren’t usually serious. The pain will go away, and I will be back to working out soon enough. When faced with any kind of adversity, I always try to remember: “This too shall pass.”
I have also “fallen off the wagon” from time to time and indulged in bad food and laziness. When this happens, I accept it for what it is: a setback in my road to better health and fitness. I try not to get too down on myself when I do this. I see it as part of the process. It doesn’t mean I have to continue down a bad path, it just means I need to set things right again. And I can set things right again.
757 SE 17th Street, #267 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Lt. Col. Bob Weinstein, USAR-Ret.
Fitness Boot Camp Instructor and Personal Trainer