SparkPeople Member

Jerome is married with two beautiful daughters and lives in the Dallas area. He has lost 100 pounds while using the tools offered by SparkPeople, and he tracks his nutrition and fitness daily using the site. During this journey, he has become passionate about helping others realize their weight-loss goals. 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 5Ks to half-marathons. Together, we CAN win the battle against obesity! He writes about the challenges of losing weight and keeping it off, with an emphasis on the issues that men face.

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Say Goodbye

Have you ever thought about the phrase ''say goodbye'' as it relates to your weight loss journey?

Are you on this journey to simply lose weight or are you are on this journey to change your life?  You do realize there is a difference, right?  Here’s the deal: you may be here to lose weight. That’s why the majority of us joined SparkPeople in the first place.  However, there are so many other things you may very well gain, or lose along the way.    

Sometimes I come across ''stuff'' that really hits me where it counts.  Recently, while I was exercising on the elliptical machine, the song ''Say Goodbye'' by Mandisa came on my iPod. For the first time, I fully listened to the lyrics, and they really spoke to me about what I've been through in my weight loss journey.

Posted 2/13/2012  10:00:00 PM By:   : 61 comments   22,954 views

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Be Courageous

''Take courage'' is one of my favorite phrases from the Bible and I believe it can change a person’s life.

It takes courage for us to function in our daily lives.  Some of us need more courage than others sometimes, and that’s okay.  Some of us are so courageous that we believe we can conquer the world single-handedly.  Others, such as the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, ask somebody else to give them courage, not knowing that it comes from within.

What exactly does courage mean anyway?  According to the dictionary, it is ''the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.'' 

Those are some rather powerful words, if you ask me! 
As I think about COURAGE, many thoughts come to my mind: brave men and women defending our country and our police and fire protection who serve us daily in our homeland.  What about the moment a person takes the first step to reclaim their health and start a new lifestyle?

Have you ever really thought about what it takes to make a lifestyle change?  You will change the patterns of life that you’ve had possibly for years.  Changing the way you eat, the way you exercise, the amount of water you drink.  Learning how to deal with the obstacles in life in a whole new way will take courage. 

Posted 2/6/2012  10:00:00 PM By:   : 43 comments   19,883 views

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Do It Every Day

Think of a few things that you do every day of your life.

            Getting out of bed

            Having breakfast

            Brushing your teeth

Fairly simple stuff, right?  Things that you do daily become a habit, and habits are typically hard to break once we really get set on what we are doing, agreed?

This month I have been discussing my personal success factors in an effort to share with you what worked for me. 

#1: Know WHAT/HOW much we eat(track it)

#2  Shut up and sweat. 

To achieve success with steps 1 and 2, I recommended using the SparkPeople trackers so you know exactly where you stand with your nutrition as well as your fitness.

The third and final success factor that works for me says this: Do it every single day.

That's it.  Do success factors 1&2 every single day.

Here's the deal: When you were gaining the extra weight, didn't you do that every single day? 

Weren't you overeating?

Maybe you were binging?

Or maybe you were eating your emotions away.

If you are honest with yourself, I bet you will agree to some or all of these, I know I did most of them!

Doesn't it make sense then that you need to do exactly the opposite of these habits, every single day, in order to break the bad habits for good ones? I very strongly believe that if you want that extra fat gone, you have to work at it every single day.

Posted 1/30/2012  10:00:00 PM By:   : 69 comments   27,249 views

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Shut Up and Sweat

No seriously, that headline is the topic of this blog.  If you are following along with my blog posts this month, you know we are discussing a series success factors that worked for my personal success.

Step 1 covered WHAT/HOW much we eat (track it). We talked about looking at food labels, the SparkPeople nutrition trackers, the SparkPeople reports and how those are crucial to your journey.

Step 2 is very simple: Shut Up and Sweat.

I want to discuss the first half of the title first.  This seems pretty simple, right? 

I've been a member of SparkPeople for more than two years now and would you believe I STILL hear people talking about it?  I hear people still talking about weight loss, yet, they aren't doing anything about it.  I've heard of people waiting for a given day, maybe they are planning their next steps, but they are taking no action.  I'm absolutely positive that talking burns calories, but I'm not sure that burns enough to make a difference at the end of the day.

It's time to stop talking and time to start moving. It's time to shut up and sweat!

Posted 1/23/2012  10:00:00 PM By:   : 89 comments   33,682 views

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Waking Up to What You're Really Eating

If you have been following along with my weekly blogs, you know this is the second in a series.  Last week we talked about WAKING UP and beginning to LIVE again.

How many calories do you eat in a day?

Did you stay within your recommended calorie range?

When did you last look at a label to know what is in the food you're buying?

Do you know what your BMR calorie burn is for a typical day?

You aren't sure about any of those answers?  I wasn't either when I started but I am here to tell you it is all at your fingertips.

This month, I'm sharing my personal success factors that helped me lose 100 pounds and keep it off.

Step 1: Know WHAT/HOW much you eat daily (track it).

Here's the deal: If we really want the outside of our body to look great, we must take care of what we put IN our bodies.  I'm sure we've all heard that saying "garbage in and garbage out."  Well, it's true.  If we put garbage in our bodies, then that's what we'll get out of our bodies.  Your body is a very meticulous machine.  Learning to FUEL your body is not easy; however, you'll notice a difference fairly quickly if you pay attention to what you put in it.  Yes, this means that if you give up a few things like fast food and soda alone, and replace them with a healthy snack and 8 cups of water a day, you will see a huge difference. 

I have to give massive props to my wife for the idea of looking at the labels at the store.  She did the homework and realized that changing our family's lifestyle meant we needed to start paying attention to the packaged products we bought.  If there are words on the ingredients list that we cannot pronounce, we simply don't buy it.  There are other items that we no longer buy if the sugar content is too high or the sodium is out of control.  We no longer buy something simply because it says it is fat free.  This can be deceiving unless you look thoroughly at the nutrition label and ingredient list.  Knowing WHAT you are putting in your body matters. 

Posted 1/16/2012  10:00:00 PM By:   : 78 comments   28,993 views

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Guys, Let's Wake Up and Stop Sleeping Through Life

Editor's note: This is part 1 of a four-part series. Come back each Monday in January for a new dose of motivation from Jerome, who reclaimed his life and lost 100 pounds using SparkPeople!

According to various dictionaries, the word asleep has several definitions: 

Adverb: 1. into a dormant or inactive state.  2. Into the state of death.

Adjective: 1. Sleeping  2. Numb and lastly dead. 

There are many people who are completely asleep when it comes to living.
I am not talking about physically lying in bed, eyes closed all day. I am speaking to all those folks who are crazy busy all day.  Busy with distractions that disconnect them from memorable conversations, meaningful activities, and mindful eating.  Folks who are so busy making it through each day that each week blurs into the next.  Don’t get me wrong.  We all have crazy weeks.  A million things to get done.  It is when these day and weeks stretch into months and even years, that we begin to sleep through life.  Denial sets in, and we no longer even realize we have stopped living.  Denial is an ugly word that means refusing to recognize, acknowledge or believe.

I hear from many members of SparkPeople who joined to help not only themselves but their loved ones as well.  Many I hear from are wives who are trying to help their husbands.  Some are mothers trying to help their sons, others are siblings trying to help a brother.

Posted 1/9/2012  10:00:00 PM By:   : 35 comments   20,592 views

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Today is THE Day--the One Where You Reclaim Your Life

THIS is a very special day!

There has been much discussion about this day and we weren't sure it would ever get here.  However, I've checked and I've double-checked the calendar and TODAY is THAT DAY!  Oh sure, there will be some who aren't as happy about this day as others.  I mean, if we really mean what we have said at different times, today should be an incredible day.  Today could quite possibly go down as THE highest productivity day ever in the history of the world. If this doesn't excite you, I'm not sure what will!  Your life or the life of a loved one could very well be changed FOREVER, just because today happened.

Not only is this January 2, 2012, today is SOMEDAY!

Posted 1/2/2012  10:00:00 PM By:   : 54 comments   16,400 views

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The Emotions of Change

Honestly, I never expected so many changes when I decided to take my life back.  Oh sure, I expected to get skinner, but that is where my thought process stopped.  I am not sure I expected or even understood the “healthier” aspect of it all yet.  I’d set out to lose some weight and wouldn’t you know that I lost a ton of baggage as well.  Who knew there were emotions involved with this journey, NOT ME!

I remember being about 20 pounds into my journey and my boss asked me if I had lost some weight.  It shocked me initially that anybody had noticed.  Then I was filled with pride that someone had noticed.  I used that one very quick two minute conversation as motivation to keep going.  Like a lot of people, my weight loss started at my face and worked its way down.   My wife noticed some emotional changes already as I instantly became more pleasant to be around.  I was really pushing myself more than I had in years to be active, and it brought me joy.  By the end of the first four weeks, I was obsessed with fitness and was walking at least twice a day, typically more.

Posted 12/27/2011  10:00:00 PM By:   : 68 comments   30,163 views

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Your Spouse is Getting Healthier, So Why Aren't You Happy?

Are you threatened by the lifestyle change your spouse has made? Have you ever said things to your spouse about their lifestyle change that have made him/her feel bad?

I have to tell this story that really happened just a few weeks ago.  I was having a discussion with a friend we’ll call Sam about my transformation and lifestyle change.  He had a lot of questions, which I was happy to answer.  But I wasn’t sure where he was going with this line of questions. 

Finally, we came to the point of his inquiry.  He told me about a mutual friend of ours (we'll call him Bob), who is morbidly obese.  I had seen Bob myself recently and honestly his poor health broke my heart.   Sam told me that Bob had been working on his health a few years back.  He had been going to the gym and was trying to eat better.  I was super excited to hear this, but I had to ask why he stopped.  Apparently he was making some progress and had lost just enough weight for it to be noticeable.  That’s when the support at home ended!  
Bob’s wife had told him she was worried that he was going to lose weight, get sexy and leave her.  You can probably guess what he did.  He stopped going to the gym and gave up any progress that he had made and gained back all of his weight if not more.

This story is devastating to me, absolutely devastating.  The more I think about it, the more frustrated I get.  I’m confused about why Bob didn’t talk with his wife about the situation to ease her fears.  Why didn’t he explain that he was doing it to be a better husband to her?  I’m confused about why she would completely sabotage his progress like that. Would she rather see him dead?

Posted 12/19/2011  6:00:00 PM By:   : 46 comments   19,429 views

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100 Things about Losing 100 Pounds

December 10, 2010 was a big day for me.

That is the day that I officially lost 100 pounds. As the first anniversary of that date approached, I started to think of all the changes that have happened in my life because of my transformation.  Sure, the easiest part to recognize is the weight loss, but it truly is a transformation, inside and out!

I started writing down things that I’ve learned, things that are better, things I do now, etc.I thought it would be fun to share this list of 100 things about 100 pounds with the readers. 

Posted 12/12/2011  10:00:00 PM By:   : 116 comments   50,492 views

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Dealing with Emotional Eating, from a Man's Perspective

Hi, my name is Jerome and I am an emotional eater. 

There, I said it.  

I mean, I’ve said it before out loud.

But I thought it was important that I write it down. 

I am a man who is an emotional eater. 

You know what emotional eating is, right?  Any time you feed a feeling and not a growling stomach you're emotionally eating.  Absolutely, we all emotionally eat now and then.  Sometimes we even feed a happy feeling.
Show of hands: how many of us have taken our kids out for a celebratory meal for good grades? Or a home team victory?
It is when this once-in-awhile occurrence becomes a daily necessity when the trouble begins.  When, we begin to tie food to our emotional stability, or rather instability, that we become emotional eaters. 

I know what you’re thinking, “Do men really have a problem with that?”  I’m here to tell you yes!  Men have issues with emotional eating just as women do, we just don’t want to admit it.  I recently read that men constitute about 10% of all emotional eaters.  I don’t believe that, at all!  This is one of those topics that men have our guard up about.  It is one of those topics that is off-limits to talk about.  Knowing that a man’s body burns fat easier than woman’s does, it can be easier for a man to stay thin while emotional eating.  However, as men get older and our metabolism slows, it can catch up with us very quickly.  I look at my own children now and wonder what they were seeing in me when I was always cramming food in my mouth.

Posted 12/5/2011  10:00:00 AM By:   : 39 comments   52,858 views

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

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!

Posted 11/16/2011  6:00:00 PM By:   : 93 comments   27,227 views

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