Welcome to the 12th installment of my Real Life Biggest Loser series! You know that feeling right after you exercise? Right after you have lost some weight? You feel….GOOD. Alive. Energetic. HEALTHY. It is the best feeling in the world. When we are in a slump we often forget that feeling. Kevin lost over 50 pounds and one of the secrets to his success is to never forget that feeling. It’s there, it’s yours, and it’s waiting for you. Go get it.
Occupation: IT Consultant
All time high weight: 221
Current weight: 164
Total weight loss: 50+
When did you begin your weight loss journey?
January 1, 2011 I started getting serious about my health and committed to the journey.
How long have you kept it off?
I have been at my current weight for 2 months now with only a slight fluctuation during the holidays.
What motivated you to lose weight? Did you have an A-HA moment?
I had an office visit with my primary physician just before Christmas, 2010 and more than once during the course of the conversation he referred to my pre-diabetic condition and my weight classification as obese. Hearing the term obese struck me hard because I have always held the opinion that only really fat people are obese. That made me angry because I let myself become obese and that was the first time someone had told me so. I was determined to lose the obese tag and not to settle to be in the overweight class. I knew I had to get back to a normal weight.
To what extent had your weight affected your physical health?
The high blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol were indicative of my poor diet and lack of exercise. I had intestinal problems and suffered from severe GERD for about a year. I would break into a sweat after climbing just one flight of stairs.
How did you lose the weight? Tell us about your diet and exercise regimen.
I knew I had to modify my diet and start an exercise plan. The Mediterranean diet plan works best for me. I had never counted calories before, but now I do it every day. Weight loss was slow for the first four months because all I had done was modify my diet. I started walking a couple days a week and over the summer increased the frequency, pace, and mileage as the weight started coming off a little more steadily. Gradually I started including some jogging. In November I started running consistently. I now run 4 to 5 days per week and cross-train 1 to 2 days. I ran my first 5 mile race on Thanksgiving Day and completed my second 5 mile race on New Years Day improving my time by 4 minutes.
Who was the most influential person/people to you during the process of losing weight?
My wife, Karen, has been not only influential, but quite supportive. I love to cook and Karen was always bringing home articles and recipes on healthy cooking and eating. I used to ignore them, but now look forward to them. She has been encouraging me to continue cooking the healthy meals. Karen also has been a big proponent of walking for many years. It was her influence that got me up and out the door at 5:30 AM to start the day with a walk. As I set goals for myself I talk them over with Karen. She is a good sounding board to help me determine if they are realistic or achievable and is also genuinely interested in my progress.
I had gained about 25 pounds over the course of about 10 years. I started jogging daily to lose the weight, but that’s all I did. I still ate the same and the weight naturally came off. When I stopped jogging the weight came back on and since then had continued going up. This time I am cognizant of my daily calorie intake and burn off.
It’s easy to let your diet drift or slowly stop exercising. What do you find to be the key to STICKING TO IT?
1. For me, accurate calorie tracking is the key. Estimates really don’t work because we tend to estimate on the low side or forget to figure in one or two things we ate during the course of the day.
2. I am eating the healthy foods I like and preparing them in a healthy way. That part I enjoy.
3. Having exercise goals is the third. Working towards something keeps me committed.
Just starting off, losing weight is hard. Tell us, did it get easier or harder for you over time?
Getting accustomed to properly sized food portions was the hardest part. Once I got that under control I was able to reach my first goal of 22 pounds – a 10% reduction. The next 10% was a little easier and the last 10% was even easier as I increased the level of exercise.
What is the hardest part for you now?
I still have to work on not letting myself get so hungry that I start eating too much of the wrong things just because they are convenient.
If you could tell your former self anything, knowing what you know now, what would you say?
Always remember how good you feel when you are healthy. You never want to lose that feeling.
Do you worry about gaining weight back? How do you prevent yourself from gaining it back?
Right now I’m motivated to keep the weight off. I have a goal to run a race a month and improve my pace in each one for the next year. Lighter is faster.
Can you tell us how your participation in social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, internet, etc has impacted your weight loss journey?
I started the year using the Livestrong.com calorie tracker app to lookup and keep count of the calories I was eating each day. I started getting good information (and using it) from the blogs and community on that website. That led me to EatingWell.com for healthy recipes and their blogs. I am logged into those 2 sites everyday. Through the summer I was blogging about my walking activities, but lately have just been tweeting and posting on Facebook page my runs and race information from RunKeeper. Of course I now follow @DrSherryPagoto on Twitter.
What is different (if anything) about your life (and/or health) now that you have lost the weight?
The weight loss journey has given me a huge boost in self-confidence. Although I have been running for just 2 months, I know I will complete a half marathon in the Spring with a respectable time.
Kevin lives in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts with his wife, Karen. He has 2 children (Jan 33 and David 31) and 2 gorgeous grand-daughters (Gracie 4-1/2 and Serafina 3).
Read the stories of other Real Life Biggest Losers right here on FUdiet. No celebrity trainers, no ranch, no millions of dollars at stake…just good old fashioned blood, sweat, and tears.Share on Facebook