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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Thanks Greg for such an inspiring story. I've been trying to lose about 40 pounds and have felt discouraged since it takes such a long time and it's so easy to "fall off the wagon" and end up not making any progress. Your story inspired me to have patience and keep moving forward since it is a journey towards health that I'm after, not just the quick fix diet that I used to follow when I was much younger and needed to drop weight quickly. I'm also what I term a "born again exerciser", having really discovered exercise when I hit 50 and realized that the only way to help my low bone density measurements was to do weight bearing exercise (or go on drugs). And now I enjoy exercising and am training for my first 5K run. Thanks for sharing and inspiring me. Report
I really like Greg's Rule #1 (Only do things I will be willing and able to do for the rest of my life.) because it keeps you from going to extremes and sets you up for weight loss that you can actually maintain (as Greg is living proof). I've been following this rule for the past several months and it makes weight loss *almost* seem easy! Of course, the weight comes off much more slowly this way, but it's healthier!! Report
THANKS! To Beth for writing this and being you! Thanks for all the comments and I would thank you all individually but some do not have a way for me to do that. I may not have as much activity on SP as i use to but i still check it daily and live by what I have learned. I am always here and Beth is the Rockstar as you all know. Report
I look forward to being persistent with my weight goals like him. Report
One of the things that inspired me the most was Greg's realization that he had lost too much weight and needed to gain some back. That makes it clear he's going for a healthy life and not just losing weight. Greg (and Beth) - thanks for sharing this story! Report
Congratulations, Greg. I appreciate your story, especially the "basic rules" that you shared with us. I am curious about what "distractions" you found to be helpful when things got challenging. I am looking for mine.
Thanks for sharing your wonderful story. Report

What an awesome display of determination, strength, and faith. Thanks for sharing your story Report
Love you Greg! Report
"Only do things I will be willing and able to do for the rest of my life." This is something absolutely pivotal to a LIFETIME of health. I've recently learned that I'm gluten-intolerant and this Big Rule that I've always applied has become a bit less than a choice. I'm currently asking myself, "Do you want this level of pain for the rest of your life or can you walk away from almost everything available?" It's the first time I'm faced with quiet that "in your face" of a choice. You'd think it would make it easier. I'm only a few days in but it's a struggle. I'll adapt! Report
His willpower is inspiring & amazing. Love it! Report
What an inspiration!! Report
AWESOME, I could not stop reading, he is so inspiring.
My oldest son, a caring person is in Greg's original place. I think he views Spark as a Woman's site. I wish and hope I can convince him. Our son is all work and little play but a great DH and father. This gives me hope THANKS so much for sharing with us.Pat in Maine. Report
You truly are an inspiration. I especially like your KEEP IT SIMPLE! Thanks for sharing. Report
Awesome story. I know just how you feel about talking to anyone who will listen about Spark People. When something works you want to share it with everyone. Loved the part about protein powder in coffee. I have been doing that for about a year and really believe protein is the key! Keep up the good work and keep spreading the spark! Report
Nothing about Greg's story surprises me. People are just the most amazing and capable of doing it better! Report
This was such a helpful piece. Makes me want to try running. Your children are so lucky to have you! Thank you for sharing your amazing story. Report
Thank you so much for sharing your story. This was the pick me up I needed. Report
Well! A blog featuring 2 of my favorite SparkPeople! What a great way to start my day! Report
Awesome!!! Thank You for sharing your journey with us. You are an inspiration to all of us. You have help and shown many people that losing the weight and creating a positive life style can be done no matter where you are at. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments. This is the Way To Go. God Bless You and Have a Wonderful Week. Report
WOW, he's 6'6". Glad at 38, he turned his life around. Report
Greg, thank you for sharing your journey!!! Report
Wonerful story! Thanks for sharing. What an inspiration! Report
Here I am at the end of my first month with SP. I have lost so far 6 lbs. I'll know tomorrow how much I have lost this week ( only get on a scale on Sundays). Reading your blog is such an inspiration. It is so easy to give in with our daily stresses and excuses... but you have inspired me to keep going. Thank you so much. Wishing you a good health Report
So inspiring! Greg, you make me want to get into running. Report
WOW! Thanks for sharing! Report
God Bless you , you are such an inspiration to me to know it can be done makes me so hopeful.. I wish you the best of luck in whatever you do..
Huggles Report
Great Report
WooHoo WayToGo Awesome Congrats Great


THANKS for sharing Report
what an inspirational weight loss, how i wish i can do the same... you are an icon of health & fitness program... you are truly amazing.. great success... Report
Great information and motivation... thanx Report
Wow! What an inspiration! I have 95 pounds to lose, so seeing that it can be done is really encouraging! Report
Love the basic rules so simple. Report
Thanks for sharing Greg's amazing journey- I especially like his basic rules!! Report
Thanks for sharing your story with us Sparkers! What a phenomenal accomplishment! Wishing you good health, good fitness, and good times! Report
Everything about Greg's story inspires me! Way to go Greg! I could relate to many things you mentioned - not having the knowledge about good nutrition and winging it most of the time. Spark People has provided so much insight and understanding about healthy living. I have about 5 more pounds to lose to reach my "ideal" weight, but I truly feel great. I have never felt so energetic, alert and healthy in my life. I credit SP for much of it! Report