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One Man's Journey from Fit to Fat--and Back Again

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/16/2011 6:00 PM   :  80 comments   :  13,538 Views

Growing up, I was not an athlete.

I did wrestle for a number of years, but I was more of a band geek. (Proud to say that too!) I've traveled the world "making music with my friends," as I marched in various marching bands and Drum Corps.   I was always fit, firm and muscular due to the demands that band and Drum Corps put on my body. 

Then, in 1998, I changed careers and got a desk job.  Things started to change.
I quickly grew accustomed to sitting all day.  Sitting behind a desk got easier and easier. It also got easier to sit on my chair at home and do nothing.  

I lost my mother in February 2001 and I started eating, much more than normal.  I never knew I was an emotional eater, but there I was, eating away the grief and loss.  As time moved forward, and my habits did not improve, I slowly grew to my top measured weight of 264 pounds.  I knew I wasn't healthy. I couldn't walk up a small flight of stairs without being winded, I had no energy and I made poor eating choices most of the time. I didn't like what I saw when I looked in the mirror.  I avoided having my picture taken.  In fact it was the picture taken for my security badge at work that scared me into action.  My swollen face and eyes were not a pretty sight! 

That just begs the question words, why, when, how, what?  I simply can't come up with a better answer than I got tired of being fat.  Why at the ripe ole age of 40 did I decide to take my life back? Why, when I knew it was going to take so much discipline, so much work would I make a life changing decision?

I made this decision for me.

Now, let me give you three more reasons I changed my life.  My wife and two daughters.  My wife deserves a husband who is willing and able to help out around the house. I believe she deserves a husband that she can be proud of, who can come home from work and have the energy necessary to help with dinner, kids, activities, etc. My daughters deserve a Daddy who doesn't sit in his chair asleep all the time. They deserve a daddy who has energy to play with them, get on the floor and wrestle, tickle, and not be a grump all the time. They need a role model.

So I made the decision on December 28, 2009 to take my life back!


Me, before


I made radical changes in my life. I'm not sure what my calorie intake was before I started, but I know it was really high! I started logging everything I ate (SparkPeople Nutrition Tracker). The beautiful thing about this is that I was not starving myself. I had a healthy breakfast and a good lunch that I kept varied between salad, soup or sandwiches most days.  I stopped eating out every day.  Thankfully I have a wife who is on board with the new lifestyle (she lost more than 70 pounds herself) and is cooking healthier dinners.  I am practicing portion control and try to put the fork down between each bite.

Keeping in mind that I made radical changes, I also started moving, A LOT.  I began walking each day. The coldest day I remember going for a walk outside was 27 degrees.  Yes, it was cold, but I had to do it! I would be out my door by 5 a.m. for my first walk of the day, and then do it again in the evening.  I parked farther from the door while out running errands.  I walked with a quicker pace to get my heart rate elevated as much as possible. 

After two months I added elliptical workouts to my routine and grew to love that machine!    I joined my wife and began doing high-impact intensity workouts.  WOW!  I got addicted to that right away!  Running didn’t enter the equation until months later.  Running became my time for reflection, prayer, anger management, problem solving, etc.  I can’t imagine my life without it! 

I added DVD workouts in the summer of 2010, stopping after one series due to a major sports hernia.  I had probably developed this hernia years before, but with my increased activity, it became something I needed to deal with.  Surgery and recovery slowed me to a near halt for about 14 weeks.  Then I got right back to it, moving and grooving, shaking and quaking!

Less than one year after I started, December 10, 2010, I hit the 100 pound lost mark.  There was no magic pill that solved my weight problems.  Time, hard work, and determination were the tools that got me here.

Now that I am in the maintenance phase of my weight-loss journey, it’s all about simply making sure I remember my triggers for overeating and exercise--and the power I have to control it!  I still cross train 3-4 times a week and I run 4-5 days a week. 

I am in training for the Dallas White Rock Marathon on December 4.  The day I made my decision to start my journey I stated that I would complete this very race.  Now I’m set to do that very thing--and finish it!

Logging in to SparkPeople every day was and continues to be an important part of my journey.  It is where I tracked my food, find great recipes, get advice, am held accountable, find encouragement, and give encouragement to others!  It is amazing how much stronger you feel when you are supported and held accountable.  There are SO MANY people who are dealing with the exact same issue that you are.  The support is incredible, USE IT!

I’d like to leave you with three success factors that worked for me:
  1. Know WHAT/HOW much you eat (track it with SparkPeople.com)
  2. Shuddup and sweat – you have to WORK it off
  3. Do it every single day – make it a lifestyle
Hey, guys! Do you enjoy reading blogs written by men on the dailySpark? What topics would you like us to cover?
 
Jerome, who lives in Dallas with his wife and two beautiful daughters, has lost 100 pounds using all that SparkPeople.com has to offer, especially the Nutrition and Fitness trackers. Since starting his own journey in late 2009, he has discovered his passion for helping others become healthier and happier. Showing as many people as possible that there is a healthy way to lose weight and keep it off is what keeps him going.  Jerome has fallen in love with running and has completed numerous races from 5K to Half Marathons.  Together, we CAN win the battle against obesity!
 


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Comments

  • 80
    Thank you for sharing your successful strategies, Jerome! I'm so sorry to hear of your Mother's passing. I lost my Daddy in '04, so I know the pain of losing a parent.

    Portion control and exercise are my areas with plenty of room for improvement. Love your success and your fine example. God bless~ *hugs* BB~ - 12/18/2011   11:18:47 AM
  • 79
    Very inspiring. You look great! keep up the great work - Best of Luck to you on the maintenance journey (I am about to be there) - 12/7/2011   9:56:54 AM
  • 78
    You look Great and your story is very inspiring!!!!!!!! - 11/28/2011   3:19:42 PM
  • 77
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This story reminds me of myself, fit at the age of 20, lost control, gained a hundred pounds, and now trying to get my life back. You are proof that it is feasible, and on a day like today where I am feeling low, you bring me inspiration, motivation and remind me why I am doing this! Thank you for sharing your story, for reminding us that with determination and hard work, anything is possible.
    Good luck on your marathon, I can't wait to read about it! - 11/24/2011   12:34:27 PM
  • 76
    lovely story! it spoke to me... thank you. - 11/21/2011   6:18:34 PM
  • 75
    WAY TO GO YOU!! You know I'm so proud of you and honored to call you friend!! I'll be there to see you run next weekend!! :D - 11/21/2011   11:44:53 AM
  • 74
    Your story is an inspiration. Thanks for sharing it. - 11/21/2011   11:15:25 AM
  • 73
    Congratulations, good for you. I also l;ove running and particularly liked your comment, "Running became my time for reflection, prayer, anger management, problem solving, etc."That is exactly how I feel. Keep it up! Good luck on the marathon. I hope mine will be May 2012! - 11/21/2011   2:54:04 AM
  • 72
    Good for you Jerome. Three success factors are so important. I must remember them--especially exercise daily. Just as a comment, you state that you exercised when it was 27F degrees. I grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada where -40F, yes minus 40F, was not uncommon. I now live on Vancouver Island where lows might be 27F once in a while. Cheers - 11/20/2011   1:40:05 PM
  • 71
    Thanks for an inspiring, straight-shooting blog with great photos. What an acheivement! - 11/20/2011   1:56:40 AM
  • 70
    I really enjoyed reading your story. Your a great inspiration! - 11/19/2011   11:21:44 AM
  • 69
    Nice job Jerome! You've always been one of my inspirations..and I didn't realize we had something in common... I lost my father in January 2001.

    Yes spark folks -- more articles by men! :D :D - 11/19/2011   10:05:39 AM
  • 68
    I LOVE that picture of you with the sweat all over your face! It is such a REAL PICTURE ! That's what gets it done and keeps it off! You are an inspiration to all of those around you and a great roll model out there for all those guys who need to stop sleeping thier life away. They are missing it,so glad you woke up and started living! WAY TO GO!! - 11/19/2011   10:04:28 AM
  • 67
    Way to go, Jerome! Good luck in the marathon!!

    In response to the prompt: Hey, I'm a gal and *I'd* like to read more blog posts by guys! - 11/18/2011   11:12:49 PM
  • 66
    You ROCK, Dude! So proud to call you my fearless leader! - 11/18/2011   6:00:15 PM
  • TRACEY5280
    65
    Band geek. Yup. Not an athelete in school. Yup. Desk job. Yup. Stairs, want to be there for your family. I get this. Way to go and good luck on your marathon! - 11/18/2011   2:52:31 PM
  • 64
    hey now there is a familiar face!! congrats on a journey well done and you are going to do great on your first full marathon.! great article.... - 11/18/2011   1:25:30 PM
  • 63
    Thank you for an awesome blog. Congrats to both you and your wife on your amazing success :) - 11/18/2011   10:42:54 AM
  • 62
    Thank you so much for sharing your story and spreading your Spark. It is encouraging to me and inspiring to me. I know I can do it too.
    Barb - 11/18/2011   9:41:31 AM
  • FELICIA68
    61
    Way to go Jerome! Thanks for the motivation to keep moving:) - 11/18/2011   9:26:32 AM
  • 60
    Great blog. Wow, I didn't recognize you in the after photo! How much younger you look. Congrats and thanks for the inspiration. - 11/18/2011   1:22:20 AM
  • VANANDEL
    59
    Fabulous journey and blog!! Thanks for opening up and sharing with the rest of us. Your wife and daughters are truly blessed to have you in their lives! - 11/17/2011   11:20:52 PM
  • 58
    Congratulations! You look so much healthier, and I can't even imagine how much better physically and mentally you must feel. I have a brother named Jerome and he is quite overweight. I only wish he could implement a way of healthy living and eating that would lead him to where you are. I know that it's nice your wife is part of your team. Continued success. - 11/17/2011   10:33:32 PM
  • 57
    What a story you have to inspire others to walk in your footsteps. Thanks for sharing. - 11/17/2011   10:15:13 PM
  • PEGGIE57
    56
    Congatulations. You asked if we wante3d to see more from guys. Definitey yes. I'm finding the guys are doing a great job of telling their story. - 11/17/2011   10:03:23 PM
  • 55
    Nice job Jerome! You are a great inspiration. - 11/17/2011   8:16:43 PM
  • VALHAWAII
    54
    Awesome! - 11/17/2011   4:22:50 PM
  • IMNOTSTOPPIN
    53
    Miracles truly happen! Thanks for sharing your story! - 11/17/2011   4:00:39 PM
  • 52
    Awesome! Can't wait...Dallas White Rock Marathon blog! - 11/17/2011   4:00:00 PM
  • 51
    It's amazing how over a year of hard work, over 356 days of making good food choices and 356 days of making better choices to get your body moving squeezes into a couple paragraphs! It's hard work to do that every day and as me and my husband are currently on the same journey, we know how hard it is! It's well worth the effort and I love to read the success stories!!
    Congratulations to the both of you! - 11/17/2011   2:05:17 PM
  • 50
    Inspirational! I am having a hard time motivating my husband to join me on my journey to become healthy. I emailed him this blog to show him it is possible. Thank you for sharing your story. - 11/17/2011   1:58:17 PM
  • 49
    W O W such encouragement! thank you very much! You are an inspiration! thumbs up!!!!! - 11/17/2011   1:49:39 PM
  • 48
    Congrats on your success! I never get tired of hearing your story!

    Thanks for being an inspiration to SO MANY!

    Great job!!! - 11/17/2011   1:37:37 PM
  • 47
    Yea 4 U..........what a nice story. Loved hearing about your transformation. You are a real person who has showed us that it can be done. If we can put on all that weight we can work hard at getting it off and keeping it off. Good luck in all of this..........God be with you. - 11/17/2011   12:17:13 PM
  • BAMAJAM
    46
    Jerome... what a wonderful success story you are! I know that your wife must be very proud of you. My dear husband fought obesity as a teenager and has maintained a healthy weight for many years. He is careful about diet, and faithful to his exercise program. I am the "lazy" one... overweight by 30 pounds because I make the wrong choices. I want my husband to be proud of me, so your story, Jerome, indeed gives me the resolve to become a "success story" also. My sincere thanks for inspiring others!! - 11/17/2011   11:41:21 AM
  • 45
    Thanks for taking the time to write this. Soooo encouraging!

    Good luck on your White Rock!

    Jeff - 11/17/2011   11:12:42 AM
  • 44
    Awesome! - 11/17/2011   10:04:51 AM
  • 43
    Very inspirational!!!! - 11/17/2011   9:55:46 AM
  • 42
    Outstanding! Congrats on your weight loss and healthy lifestyle ... You are an inspiration. I love hearing from fellow runners. I, too, was a band geek in high school and never very athletic, but after I started my Spark journey I began running, and discovered that I loved to run. I will be running my first marathon in May 2012. Good luck with your marathon -- I know you'll do great! - 11/17/2011   9:47:17 AM
  • 41
    Great blog and I am glad to say that I know you personally!!! You are truly an inspiration to everyone on Spark!!!! - 11/17/2011   9:27:20 AM
  • 40
    What a great article . Congrats and what an inspiration and can do attitude. Thanks for sharing . I wish you contuined success on your journey. - 11/17/2011   8:51:53 AM
  • 39
    I needed encouragement today. Thanks for posting! - 11/17/2011   8:46:24 AM
  • 38
    Needed that extra boost this morning! Thanks for sharing!!!!! - 11/17/2011   8:38:58 AM
  • 37
    I love what you have to say and I am going to forward this blog to my husband at work. He can never sustain motivation more than a couple of weeks, for a "healthy lifestyle": diet changes and fitness. I have tried many ways to help although as I have a degree in Exercise Science, I know he has to want to do it himself. I cannot force him or convince him to want to do it, no matter how hard I try. I have tried to give suggestions that might "click" (his family, being healthy to play w/our kids, see grand kids one day, be with me longer/longer life, feel better about himself, seems depressed a lot-explain how his mood is MUCH improved when he's in control of his eating & he's exercising, etc.) but none of it seems to work, not long term anyway. It's sort of sad to me that those things aren't important to him...at least not enough to want to make permanent changes. Maybe reading your story will make some of it sink in more, especially coming from a man who's done it, walked a similar path he has struggled to embrace. Thanks for sharing your story!! - 11/17/2011   7:15:25 AM
  • 36
    you have accomplished so much.... way to go! - 11/17/2011   7:08:32 AM
  • 35
    Congrats!!! Way to go Jerome!! - 11/17/2011   7:04:58 AM
  • 34
    I love the shuddup and do the work comment!!! That is right on point and the only way to get to your goal! Amazing job and I am so happy for you and your family. - 11/17/2011   6:57:26 AM
  • 33
    You are an awesome inspiration, and I am so proud of you! - 11/17/2011   6:40:03 AM
  • 32
    OF COURSE I enjoy reading stories written by men! I would love to hear more by men about men's body image issues. It isn't just a struggle for women these days. I want to hear about anything and everything regarding men. - 11/17/2011   5:51:00 AM
  • 31
    Awesome story, Jerome! I remember the inspiring courage and determination you showed coming back from surgery and how you were always encouraging the rest of us to keep going! Congratulations on your success and how you have rallied your family to a healthy lifestyle. Best wishes on rocking the Dallas White Rock Marathon!! You'll do it!

    - 11/17/2011   5:32:33 AM

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