Greg Gregory shares his personal story about how he lost over 60 pounds. He is 42 years old and did not really begin his exercise and weight-loss journey until the age of 39. Fifteen years of gradual weight gain took him from his high school weight of 190 pounds all the way up to 262. He is self-employed, travels a lot and has a predominantly sedentary job. At 6’ 4”, his present weight is 202 pounds. Greg gradually lost 60 pounds over the three years of regular exercise and making eating adjustments along the way. He went from a pant size of 44 to his present size 33. His BMI or Body Mass Index when he weighed 262 pounds was 31.9, which classified him as obese. His present BMI is 24.6 puts him right in the healthy range. Greg will share with you how he took back control of his health and lifestyle in the following interview:
Colonel Bob: What lessons have you learned on your weight-loss journey?
Greg: It’s all about attitude. It’s about creating focus and determination. It’s about making gradual adjustments along the way until it becomes a healthy lifestyle. I realized that getting older doesn’t have to mean getting less active. What I have noticed is the significant impact it has had on my improved health and increased energy.
Colonel Bob: What were some of the phases of weight and eating habits you went through?
Greg: The first phase was fighting the battle of the bad habits and sticking with it. I made changes in my eating habits from unhealthy to healthier choices and I reduced the quantity of food I was eating to put it in balance with my weight-loss and exercise program. Once I lost the weight, the key was to balance eating and exercise with the weight I wanted to maintain.
Colonel Bob: What were your greatest challenges and how did you overcome them?
Greg: I first needed to recognize that I needed to get started. My present lifestyle without exercise and a healthy weight had to change since my health is of utmost importance. The best thing I did to get me on the right track was to put it in my calendar and treat it like any business meeting. I had to be there.
Colonel Bob: What keeps you on track?
Greg: My relationship with God keeps me on track. I started this relationship in 2001.
Colonel Bob: What is your weight history starting from high school?
Greg: During my high school and college years, my weight was between 185 and 210. My weight gain in college was mostly muscle. After college, my weight started to gradually increase over a period of 15 years, from the age of 25 to 40. I ended up tipping the scales with 260 pounds and that was not muscle gain. It was fat.
Colonel Bob: What changes have you made in your eating habits?
Greg: I started eating breakfast. I stopped drinking sodas. I drank my coffee without sugar and used a non-dairy soy creamer. I reduced bread in my diet. I reduced cheese. For many years my cholesterol was high and my doctor was about to prescribe medication. I experimented by eliminating cheese and dairy products from my diet for 30 days and my cholesterol dropped without medication. I am eating more fish and less red meat. I no longer eat big late-night meals. If I have to eat late, I will eat a small meal.
Colonel Bob: Did you use a support system or was someone else there to support and encourage you?
Greg: Yes. I used a support system. I sought advice on healthy eating and I continue to exercise. Accountability and encouragement have played an important role.
Colonel Bob: How do you see your health over the next five, ten and twenty years and how can you influence your health over the long-term?
Greg: Continue with the healthy lifestyle I have achieved. Set positive challenges and goals along the way to keep me on track. In high school and college, I was active. I now seek out recreational activities, such as biking, hiking and basketball. Staying active is key.
Colonel Bob: Have you or do you have setbacks and how do you or have you overcome them?
Greg: Yes. Every now and then I find myself wandering off eating a little too much of the foods I shouldn’t or eating too much. I make sure that these remain temporary setbacks and do not become permanent. This is where a system of accountability is important. My family helps me to overcome any setbacks that may occur.
YOUR ACTION PLAN: Allow this story to make positive lifestyle changes for you or someone you know.
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The author of this article is Lt. Col. Bob Weinstein, USAR-Ret., boot camp fitness instructor and personal trainer.
Lt. Col. Bob Weinstein, USAR-Ret.