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

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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
  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 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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Needed that extra boost this morning! Thanks for sharing!!!!! Report
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 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!! Report
you have accomplished so much.... way to go! Report
Congrats!!! Way to go Jerome!! Report
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. Report
You are an awesome inspiration, and I am so proud of you! Report
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. Report
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!

Fantastic story - very inspiring - thanks for sharing!!! Report
Great blog! Very inspirational. You have done a fabulous job, you look sensational! Thanks for sharing! Report
I've got three reasons of my own! Report
Brother, I am SO proud of you. You continue to inspire me, and I can't wait to hear all about your success at the upcoming marathon. And I look forward to running with you at New Years! Report
Yo, Jerome! Awesome blog, congrats on getting the recognition you deserve! Your hard work has totally paid off. Good luck at the marathon! Report
Thanks for a refreshing viewpoint and inspiring read. Best of luck with the marathon and congratulations to both you and your wife. Reading this blog, your commitment to your healthy lifestyle shines through and I know your daughters must be benefiting from your example. Report
So inspirational! Congratulations! I'm going to remember your "3 success factors." I know you'll keep it off with the lifestyle you'd adopted. Good luck and have fun with the Dallas White Rock Marathon. Report
Jerome you are not only my mentor but my friend. I'm very glad I have you to encourage me and to cheer me on my own weight loss journey. You are amazing. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!! Report
Thanks for sharing your success story. Report
Such an inspiring blog and it is nice to have a man's perspective - from a fellow Texan no less! I am beginning to add jogging to my exercise program - slow going for me at this point as I am finding it very challenging. Report
What a great Blog!

Good Luck in The White Rock Marathon!!! Report
Way to go Jerome !!! Report
Way To Go Jerome! Report
Keeping the weight off is the hardest part, so I wish you well on doing that. The average American will gain 8-16# during this Holiday Season, so we have to work at this daily to stay where we are. LOL Report
Congrats! You are an inspiration to all on Spark! Report
Thank you for writing this! I am a first time mom trying to get back into shape post pregnancy. I've lost 45 lbs. and have 20 lbs. more to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. There are days I feel like quitting, but it's articles like this one that keep me moving forward. Report
Congrats to you and your wife for changing your lifestyles and getting healthy! That's very inspiring! Report
You (and your wife) are inspiring! Report
Hey!!!!!! I Know This Guy!

You da'man, J-man!!!

Tony Report
What a great motivation you are!! Thank you so much!! I use to be into sports when I was in my teens but since I have had 4 children which includes a set of twins, it has been difficult to get the weight off. Its not from lack of time because I have the time but the push to keep it moving. I'm striving to do my best and keep up the pace. Wish me luck.

Best Regards,

Lineeka Report
Woo Hoo Jerome! Awesome! So proud to call you a spark friend! Report
Thanks so much for sharing your story. I'm just getting started on my journey but feel a 'kinship' with you, I'm just a little behind. The point is, a plan, determination and consistency will produce the desired results. Onward and downward (weight) fearless ones. Thanks again. Report
What a completely delightful account of a successful journey! Thanks, Jerome! Report
My journey has barely began so seeing your results is a real encouragement. I am determined to get healthy and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Like you I have a supportive spouse. I think that will help me to meet my goals. Report
Hi Jerome,
I just logged onto SP to track my food intake today when I saw a flash go by on my screen, and I said "hey, that young fellow looks familiar", and quickly clicked onto the blog...and was Jerome. Great blog and thank you for the continued inspiration. When my efforts seem to "wane", it's SP people like you, that get me "geared back up again". Keep up the good work! Report
Congrats on your awesome journey! I hope to hit the 100 pounds lost very soon, and hearing that you did it keeps me motivated.

But I have to say, 27 degrees is nothing! That's a warm day here :P Try walking when it's a windy -5 degree day and see how you like that. Report
congrats to you and ur wife for finding the will to change. Report
congrats jerome! you have done a great job, you are an inspiration to more people than you will ever know. keep it up Report
What an honor and privilege to not only call you an inspiration, but a friend as well. Your enthusiasm for healthy living is contagious and yes "Together, we CAN win the battle against obesity!" GREAT BLOG, Jerome!!! Report
I can't believe that it says I am the first to comment. I just want you to know that I was here cheering for you all the way as I read this blog. You are amazing and I am so glad you did this for you and decided to share this with us. I can't tell you any ideas on what men want to hear, but I know we all like the "YES!" attitude you have. Congrats to you and your healthy family. Way to go wife..she rocks!


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