Imagine carrying around three large Labrador dogs, nine cinderblocks or 36 gallons of water—constantly, for many, many years. Think about how difficult (or downright impossible) it would be to walk, run, play with your kids or grandkids, or even just climb a few stairs. Now, imagine finally being able to set down that weight, and how light and free you would feel.
Greg Palmer (GPALMER) knows a thing or two about shedding that type of heavy burden. In just a little over two years, he has lost more than 300 pounds. Since his amazing transformation, Greg has become a motivating presence here at SparkPeople, as he shares his inspiring messages and photos on our Community Feed.
Weight Loss the "Old-Fashioned Way"
A single man living in a small Georgia town, Greg was a technician at General Motors and owned a home on three acres. On paper, life was good—but as of January 2015, his weight had hit a dangerous high of 524 pounds, and he felt helpless and powerless to make a change.
At 46 years old, Greg struggled with sleep apnea, edema and back trouble. Too big for the shower, he was forced to wash off in the sink. When his stomach got stuck underneath the steering wheel of his truck, he knew his health, and his life, were in jeopardy. It was then that he quit his job to focus on losing weight.
"I used to see all the commercials, lose 20 pounds, lose 50 pounds…and I would think it would take me forever to lose that much," he says. With such a large amount to lose, it would have been easy for Greg to turn to weight loss surgery or fad diets. Instead, he opted for the "old fashioned" way: eating right and exercising.
At the beginning of his journey, Greg couldn't walk 50 feet without stopping. “I started by driving to the local Walmart, walking halfway in and then turning around and walking back out to my truck,” he says. “Every day, I would go up there and walk. Eventually, I would walk around the entire store three or four times, and became known as walking man of Walmart.” Today, Greg walks eight or nine miles every day. In one community post, he confessed to having somewhat of an obsession with his newfound activity: "I walk before breakfast, I walk while I eat my breakfast sandwich, I walk before lunch, I walk after lunch, before and after dinner! And as I'm typing this, guess what I'm doing: WALKING!"
For an extra fat-burning boost, Greg supplements his daily walks with strength training three times a week. One sample weight workout might include seven sets of 15 reps with dumbbells, five sets of 15 reps of lat pulldowns, five sets of 15 reps of triceps extensions and five sets of 15 reps of front chest pulldowns.
For breakfast, Greg often eats a chicken sandwich on wheat bread or Cheerios with two-percent milk and a cup of peaches. Lunch is often a salad with baked chicken and low-fat ranch dressing. Dinner might be baked fish, chicken or pork chops with steamed veggies and cashews. Some of Greg's healthy snack choices include celery and hummus, fruit, almonds, low-sugar peanut butter or a protein bar. Some of his “taboo foods” include pizza, tacos and all fast foods. “If you have to drive through to get it, I don't eat it,” he says.
A Whole New Life
After 2-1/2 years of hard work, Greg had gone from 524 pounds to 220 pounds. His 64-inch waist was down to 36 inches—over two feet of circumference.
The first thing Greg noticed was his soaring energy levels. Suddenly, he was able to do all the things that had seemed impossible before, like doing yard work and cutting the grass with a push mower. His sleep problems and back pain disappeared. And when he climbed into his truck, there were a whole two feet between his stomach and the steering wheel. Instead of shopping at specialty shops and paying outrageous prices, Greg can buy his clothes at “normal” stores and fits in practically everything.
That said, Greg does have an underlying worry about whether he’s exercising enough to counteract his calorie intake. In a way, his old obsession with food has been transferred to exercise and weights.
Greg's Top 9 Tips for Losing 100+ Pounds