Meet Greg, 155 Pounds Down, Thanks to SparkPeople

By , SparkPeople Blogger
It is my pleasure to introduce to you who don’t know him, Greg Gaul aka Ksigma1222 who has lost 155 pounds!
Greg is one of the most fascinating people I’ve had the honor to meet in person.  He wears his heart on his sleeve and genuinely cares about others.  He has lost so much weight and made so many healthy changes! We both spoke at the 2009 SparkPeople convention, and we have maintained a friendship since.
He is such an inspiration to me that I call him “Rockstar.”  He has spoken at conventions, been on local television, hosted workshops in his hometown, been featured in both SparkPeople books, and I venture to say I don’t believe he is done yet.
He was born in Omaha, NW, but lives in Topeka, KS, where he is the Safety and Security Manager at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library.  At age 38, he is married to his wife Melinda and had daughters Hannah (9) and Rachel (7) and son Jesse (2).  His hobbies are running, swimming, cooking, playing cards, pop up books, shopping, and anything that keeps him moving and living.  He joined SparkPeople in October 2007.
~Indygirl:  How much weight have you lost?
Ksigma1222:  Well. I was down to 180 at one point, but have purposely worked my way back up to 220-225 range.  I never wanted to be below 215 really.  Remember I am 6’6”.
~Indygirl:  How long have you kept it off? Since November19, 2007, so more than 4 years now.
~Indygirl:  What was your "A-Ha moment"?
Ksigma1222:  In the summer 2007, after returning from a funeral and wanting to change and get healthy, I started for a month of eating breakfast lunch and dinner and controlling my portions.  Then again on July 4, when on a walk with my family, I kept telling myself “I can do this (walk) every day” and I did. I also came up with some basic rules to follow for my new way of life!
  1. Only do things I will be willing and able to do for the rest of my life.
  2. Keep things simple. 
  3. Have a backup or fallback plan. 
  4. Have distractions for when things get rough and/challenging. 
~Indygirl:  How was SparkPeople different?  
Ksigma1222:  It is simple and straightforward.  SparkPeople uses actual measurements and terms that anyone can identify and use.  It has tools that I saw I needed.  Then later it had members who made it all real and not like an alone, drifting feeling.
~Indygirl:  How did it help you make such a large change?
Ksigma1222:  Understanding and balance.  I started my journey shooting from the hip, so to speak, and just kept adding things and such to my non-existent plan.  SparkPeople gave me the tools to map it all out and understand what it all meant.  I was guessing at numbers and such and found that I was way off and not understanding at all what I was doing or how I was doing it.  That threw me way off balance.  With the way I was going, I was going to fail by hurting myself with how much I was off, or be forced to stop and just recover.  Maybe after that I would never want to be healthy again for fear of going out of control again.  Also the people to say “It is OK, you are human.”
~Indygirl:  What things are different about you since starting SparkPeople?
Ksigma1222:  My outlook on life.  Not about the numbers or time or anything like that.  It is about being happy, positive and healthy.  The numbers help give you some direction and goals but in the end are just numbers.  How you feel and more importantly how you feel about yourself is more important than any number ever will be.
I have more energy now, need less sleep, have a better outlook on life, do not feel “trapped” in my body or mind anymore, understand I am human and will make mistakes, do not put myself down as much in my own mind, am open about my journey with others, like to be seen and many other things.  Life is AMAZING!!!
~Indygirl:  What have others noticed that is different about you?
Ksigma1222:  Well at first most people did not recognize me. They also said I look younger and such.   They've noticed my change in attitude and outlook on life, that I'm motivated, happy and just positive in general.
~Indygirl:  You are a runner now.  Tell us about that. 
Ksigma1222:  Well, I started off just walking and got healthy doing that.  But like many I wondered if I could run a little, how it would feel and how far could I go.  So in December 2007, I started walking then running a little and continued doing this.  Also, I found it was a much faster way to get my heart rate up and get my cardio in and done.  .
I have kept running and love it.  I love it when I travel especially, get to where ever you are going or stopping, throw your bags down and go run the area.  I like to find out where everything is and how to get there.  Running the same route can be different every time if you just pay attention.  You see the world from a different vantage point when running so enjoy it.
~Indygirl:  You like to spread the Spark. What are some ways you help others learn about SparkPeople?
Ksigma1222:  I’ve given some talks before groups, openly talked to anyone who wants to talk about it, I bring it up when I see an avenue or place it would do well.  But largely I have seen my actions have done more.  People see me and know “They can do it!”
Most recently was at a 5K alumni race.  A guy I played football with in college was there and running it as well.  He was weighing about what I did when I started my new life and finished the race in twice the time it took me. I sparked something in him.  A year later he contacted me and went from 370 to 250 and is a runner.  Things are happening and Sparking all the time and we will not know of or see them all but feel good in knowing we are enabling it to happen by just living it.
~Indygirl:  What are some of your favorite foods now?
Ksigma1222:  Peppers, spinach, black rice, chicken, Greek food, sushi, apples, bananas, tilapia, salmon, oatmeal, blueberries, chocolate protein powder in my coffee and anything I make (yes, I am biased).
~Indygirl:  What was a typical day of eating like before?
Ksigma1222:   I didn’t eat breakfast or lunch and would get home from work and eat from then until I went to bed.  I could eat whole bag of double stuffed Oreos, 20 piece bucket of KFC chicken, a whole extra-large pizza or whatever I could find or buy.  I did not know very much then about how skipping breakfast and other meals were so harmful to my body and mind.  Now I never, on purpose, miss a meal and am very aware of what and when I eat.
What about Greg's story inspires you?

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Brown rice,etc.. good ideas. Report
After reading Greg's story, I am more motivated than before. I badly needed some inspiration to come back to life and decrease my weight. I was slim once and fit to join army. Unfortunately I was rejected two times at the last position of Army selection. After that, I was totally depressed and my weight increased a lot. Then I started digging inspirational blogs and sites. At first I found a site, where I can see a blind man, Ed lucas who is a blind sports writer, broadcaster and motivational speaker. Unbelievable. If a blind man can do these things, why I can't. I asked myself. Here is his success story: . Then I focused on my weight losing and found this helpful blog and got to know about Gregs strategies. I am improving on weight loss. Report
Definitely inspired. Love to hear him talking about a new happy attitude and needing less sleep. Running never appealed to me, but the thought of travelling, dropping your bags, and going for a run to check out the area... sounds "light" and freeing. What a beautiful idea! Hmmm... I may have to try running afterall. Lastly, that his favorite food is anything he cooks. I've only been sparking a couple of weeks now, but I can totally relate. Kids wanted to go out to eat last night, and that didn't sound nearly as good as something healthy I could whip up at home. Thanks for all the areas of inspiration!! Report
Wow! Great interview from two Sparkpeople Rockstars...Beth and Greg. Keep on keeping on. Enjoy the journey! Report
Thanks Gregg , very inspirational , while on my journry from 350 to to 200 Report
Thanks for Gregs story. It gets more inspiring every time I hear it and today I really needed to hear it. Thanks again. Report
Your story is very inspiring to me! I enjoyed reading this, and have given another thought of getting on the right track. I have failed miserably and feel that i will not be able to accomplish anything. My have no set goals nor do i feel i can work at them. I guess i have failed and given up so many times, i often think to myself...WHAT FOR!?? But, in reading your piece, it has put another "Spark" into me wanting to get back on and this time...SUCCEED!!! :-)

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!
Very inspiring. It makes me feel like this really is possible. I am looking forward to the journey with each blog like this I read. Congrats Greg. You are awesome. Report
I remember the first time I saw Greg at his niece's baptism back in 2007. I asked my mom, "Is that Greg?!" She said, "No, I don't know who that is." When he went and sat down with Melinda, I was SHOCKED! It WAS Greg! Amazing transformation! And even more fun when it's someone I know! Way to go, Greg!! Report
I, myself, have lost 165 pounds using SP... so I totally get what you mean about it SP adding understanding and balance. As for the weight, isn't about the numbers. I totally agree it's about the quality of life... yeah for you! Good job Greg! Report
Beth, great interview! Greg, fabulous, as always! You are both an inspiration to me. Thank you so much!! Report
I use Isopure low carb dutch chocolate protein powder. I tried the no carb but it upsets my stomach. In coffee I mix it in skim milk first to the count of 60 before adding hot coffee then stir it again right away to the count of 60. Report
You are truly an inspiration. Thanks for sharing, and I hope I can keep going like you have. Report
Greg, I really really needed this article tonight. I'm ending my 1st month and have done very well.
But today has been hard emotionally and your simple rules reminded me that I am on the right
track......Thanks for Sparking me!!!! Report
Your guidelines for success are so inspiring and helpful. Congratulations on achieving your goals and a healthy life and family. And thank you for sharing! Report
This is a great article. What inspiration & dedication! Report
Inspiring! Thank you for sharing! Report
Thank you for the inspirational story. Congratulations. Report
What an inspiration! It's nice to know that it can be done...and I am doing it. Thanks again for sharing. Report
Congrats. What an inspirational story. Report
Way to go! Report
You are so awesome! You are real living truth to those who think they can't do it! Report
Greg, you're so reasonable and have done so well! It really comes through in this article. :)

Jocelyn Report
"Only do things I will be willing and able to do for the rest of my life"

I love this rule! Some things I try to do are impractical and as soon as things get busy I drop them. On the other hand, doing things like sparkguy's 10 minutes of movement a day are things that can be incorporated, sometimes with a bit of creatively, into any day Report
I love your honesty about what you used to eat. I totally could relate. Report
Wonderful - I am 84 , and have gained too much weight to walk as I used to do ,I was even a Model as a younger person , now I have health issues ( Emphesemia ) , and some Arthritis . I once lost 30 pounds with WW , so I know it can be done , and certainly Greg has shown us that too ! I admire him for his spirit and determination , and hope that I can do well here also . I have always done light weights and stretching exercises , just have to add more moderate ones in regard to an aging body , plus stop eating HOMEMADE Bread - bread machine anyone ? I will carry on regardless- my mantra ... Report
Way to go Greg!!! Report
Good work Greg, I to want to reach a special goal. I started at 268 (5' 7") and want to go to 175-180. My perfect weight is supposed to be 140, I haven't been that since I went into the army in 1962. Good luck with your goals and thank you for the inspiration. I currently weigh 240 and know I will make my goal. Report
Fabulous work! Congrats to you :) Report
Joined today..first day will be tomorrow.anyone want to help and guide me through this ? Report
Simplicity! Report
Congratulations to you on your wonderful journey

Thanks for being an inspiration.

Bonnie Report
beth you did a nice job on the article. greg as always your doing great, have done great and continue to be an inspiration. thanks for sharing with the spark world Report
Thank you for sharing your story Greg! You are an inspiration. Report
Thank you for your story!! I'm about half way to my "number" but I also want to see how I feel and not stick completely to an ideal number.

I love the story about the alumni race!! I love that we can inspire others. I also ate nothing all day long and ate all night. I do much better now and never skip meals BUT I do sometimes still binge at night. Thank you for your tip about distractions....I need to plan those better.

Again, thank you for your very inspiring and AWESOME story!! Report
Greg you're an inspiration. Congratulations on taking your life back. Report
I like Greg's basic rules. I think where I have failed in the past is not doing things I can do for life. I will follow that one first from now on! Report
A great story and my favorite little thing is not doing anything you aren't willing to do for the rest of your life. I love that. I don't want to feel like I am dieting and having to exercise but to do it because it is the right way to eat and live and changing is good! Report
Body goes into starvation mode and starts trying to store all you eat because it is not sure when you will eat again for one thing. This is very telling in the morning since it is suggested that you eat within one hour of waking up to deter this from happening. My general rule is to eat every 4 hours or less. Also you need the right balance of foods to meet your needs and this helps your body stop calling for you to eat more because it has what it needs. Others can answer this better but it is my off the cuff answer. Report
Keeping it simple makes enables you to live your life this way. When we go overboard how can we maintain that forever. My weight is coming off slowly but it seems so easy when you have all the tools! Thanks for another great blog! Report
Thanks for sharing your story you are a inspiration to us all!!!!! Report
ok im new to sparks so someone please explain to me , it doesnt matter if you stay under your cal. intake if your missing meals? for insists if you know your having a big dinner skipping lunch so you dont go over? Report
Both Greg and Beth are rockstars! I am also glad to call them both my friends. Report
what about greg's story inspires me? why EVERYthing! Report
That's a great story. Thanks for sharing! Report
He was born in Nebraska (NE)...that was just a typo Report
I like that Greg didn't make any excuses for being where he was. He simply decided he would be happier if he was healthier and went for it. He works full-time, is a husband and father of 3 children under the age of 10, and still makes time to take care of himself. I think many of us think that we are too busy, too stressed, too depressed, you name make a significant change. Greg is a great example that it is 1/2 attitude and desire and 1/2 work that you can feel positive about. Greg is an inspiration, thanks for sharing his story! Report
which state is this: NW? your article states, "He was born in Omaha, NW, ..." Report
I think that one of the most important decisions Greg made was to decide that he would only do things he was willing and able to do for the rest of his life. As we pursue this journey to a healthier (and, ideally, slimmer) life, it is so tempting to try extreme measures, whether it's drastic diets or multi-hour gym sessions. I know that the only way I've managed to maintain my weight for almost 3 years is to live a life of balance and moderation: lots of healthy foods (but treats and, yes, sometimes junk food, too) and an exercise routine I can live with. Report