This is the 13th installment of my Real Life Biggest Loser series. Meet Hank. He always liked to start small businesses. Then one day he decided to make his health his business. He has lost 83 pounds since May 2011, and in that time has inspired others, donated $5 per pound to charity, and discovered that “healthy” and “Hank “are two words that do belong in the same sentence.
Name: Hank Hanna
Occupation: Property Management/Entrepreneur
All time high weight: 360 pounds
Current weight: 252 pounds
Total weight loss: 83 pounds
When did you begin your weight loss journey? May 2011
How long have you kept it off? I have only been on this journey for 36 weeks. I am still losing so I can’t answer this question with a clear conscious at the moment. Ask me again in three years and hopefully I will say “More than three years!”
What motivated you to lose weight? Did you have an A-HA moment? There are several things that have motivated me over the years to TRY and lose weight. For some reason though, they were never enough. This past Spring we took our kids to Disney World and I could not ride most of the rides because I did not fit in the seats. That was pretty bad. But I had experiences like this all my life. That same Spring my wife found a couple of new XXXL shirts in the closet. She said, “You said you wanted to go the other direction in shirt size. What happened?” Once again though, it wasn’t enough to get me motivated. Then around the end of April I came to a very sudden realization that I KNEW what I had to do and just how to do it. I have always been one of those guys that knew what he wanted and went after it with gusto. I have several successful small businesses because of that. But for some reason I never could control my weight. The Ah-Ha moment came when I realized that I needed to shift some of my motivational drive and ambition into my desire to become healthy. I needed to run my weight loss as if I were running a small business. When I looked at it that way it was like the light bulb above the head moment and took it public. The Business of Losing Weight was born.
To what extent had your weight affected your physical health? To this point, my weight has only minimally affected my physical health. My doctor told me that I was as healthy as a horse, just a fat horse. The kind of horse that winds up at the glue factory too early. I knew that if I continued to gain weight or even stay where I was, I would eventually start having health issues like high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, etc. I do have acid reflux issues which the doctor thinks will go away if I lose enough weight. I have gone from taking meds daily to only 3 times a week right now.
How did you lose the weight? Tell us about your diet and exercise regimen. Counting calories and exercising. That is the crux of it. I am not on any fad diet and I don’t stay away from carbs specifically. I just stay away from foods that won’t make me healthy. I have adopted the stance that all is PERMISSIBLE , but not all is PROFITABLE. That basically means that I can eat ANYTHING that I want to. But I have decided that the foods that I WANT to eat need to be good for my body. I have a daily calorie restriction and I log EVERYTHING that I eat so that I always stay with in my calorie restriction. I have really changed the way I eat most drastically.
As far as physical activity, I exercise 5-6 days a week for 50-60 minutes a day. I run treadmill intervals on Monday and Friday. I TRY to run outside on Wednesdays. I lift heavy objects (including my own fat a$$) on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. I do not do isolation weight training. I try and only do compound muscle training. That is the normal routine. I then throw in a sprinkle of yoga and maybe some paddling (canoeing) or some other outdoor activities.
Who was the most influential person/people to you during the process of losing weight? I have to thank Ryan Gossling and Gerard Butler first and foremost. If it wasn’t for my wife’s Hollywood crushes, I wouldn’t know who it was I was trying to look like. But in all seriousness, my homeslice Shawn, who a lot of folks know as Tyler at 344pounds.com, has been a real inspiration. He has lost over 150 pounds by counting calories and exercising.
Have you ever lost weight and then gained it back? If so, how was this time different? I have been losing weight and gaining it back all of my life. It is the curse of the obese. This time is different for several reasons though. Firstly, my head is in this time around. Before I was only driven by the emotional “aw-Lord-just-make-me-skinny” mentality that so many of us have. Now though, it is like I can see clearly what it is I need to do and how to do it. Secondly, I have made it public. It used to be that I NEVER wanted to talk about my weight. I would go about trying to lose weight without telling anyone, with no support and with no accountability. That changes when you lay it out there for the whole world to see. Lastly, I have made a commitment to a non-profit organization that helps treat childhood obesity. You can read about my Commitment to Louie’s Kids on my blog. Taking this outside of the realm of only-affecting-me has given me even more drive and energy to get fit.
It’s easy to let your diet drift or slowly stop exercising. What do you find to be the key to STICKING TO IT? Making things habitual it part of it. Working out and eating right need to be something that you just do, like putting on your pants (that might be a bad analogy for some) or brushing your teeth (once again bad analogy for some, but you get the point). If you can make it a habit then you miss it when you aren’t doing it. That is part of it. But sometimes you start dragon ass (read my blog to understand the reference) and you need that pick me up motivation to release the beast. That is when having accountability helps. People to help give you the nudge to keep on going. Lastly, thinking about how much better you feel now and how much better your clothes fit is a way to keep you going!
Just starting off, losing weight is hard. Tell us, did it get easier or harder for you over time? No. The first 50 pounds was a piece of cake. Like I said, I have been focused and I knew what it was going to take. It IS getting harder though. It isn’t harder to workout or eat right. Those have become habits for me. It is just that physically, the more weight you lose the harder it gets to lose more. That can be discouraging so knowing it before hand is important.
What is the hardest part for you now? The hardest part for me is dealing with slow progress. I tend to be the kind of person who likes instant gratification. I mean who isn’t right? Losing weight actually seemed easy to me when I first started. I was having big weeks. But now things move a lot slower. A 2 pound loss per week was on the low end of normal when I first started, but now a 1 pound loss week is a WOO HOO moment.
If you could tell your former self anything, knowing what you know now, what would you say? “Why the hell did you wait so long to do this fat boy! You went more than 10 years without being able to buy pants off the rack. It only took you 7 months to lose enough to be able to again!”
Oh…so hard on yourself! But you did it when you were ready, so that is great. Do you ever worry about gaining weight back? How do you prevent that from happening? I like being fit much more than being fat. Also, I have changed my lifestyle to accommodate exercise and healthy eating. As long as I keep that up, I should never go back to the over 300 pound me.
Can you tell us how your participation in social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs (reading them and writing your own) has impacted your weight loss journey? Social media and writing has been a huge part of my success. People relate with other people who are on similar journey’s or who have been on the journey before. Social media makes finding those people and connecting much easier. Writing about my experiences on my blog and on others has been a great creative outlet for me as well as a way to keep me accountable. I have people waiting on pin and needles for my next weigh in post or Stuff Fat People Do posts. And I get emails and comments all the time about how I am inspiring other people to get on this journey to a healthy lifestyle. That is an amazing benefit that I never knew would happen. How encouraging is it to think that I AM encouraging others! Staying active in the interwebz world has been an enormous factor in my victory over fat!
What is different (if anything) about your life (and/or health) now that you have lost the weight? I have regained lost confidence. I am physically active again. I have been asked to join a group of influential health and fitness bloggers (shout out Fitfluential) which is amazing to me. “Hank” and “influential in fitness and health” never belonged in the same sentence before this past year. I am doing crazy and fun things that I never thought I would do. And I am meeting all kinds of awesome folks. Some weird ones too, but mostly awesome.
If we want to follow you, where do we find you? Hit me on my blog at www.businessoflosingweight.com and follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/losing100lbs and then like me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/businessoflosingweight and then subscribe to my YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/TheBOLW.
Hank is happily married with 2 children ages 2 and 5, and living in the Daniel Island community of Charleston, South Carolina.Share on Facebook