Hi everyone!! Another new week which means yet another amazing weight loss journey to share with you! Please meet my new friend Kevin!!! Kevin has SO many wonderful and insightful things to say and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to get to interview him! Thank you Grimmway Farms for introducing us!
1) When did you start your weight loss journey?
I started my weight loss journey in April of 2011.
2) What was the first step you took to begin? Do you remember the specific moment that it clicked for you, or was it more of a gradual process?
Let me paint a picture. I was unemployed. Around 560 pounds. Depressed. My life was going nowhere. What was worse is that I was so big I could actually feel myself dying. Everything hurt. I was always out of breath. If I stood up and/or walked for more than 10-12 feet, my back would be in excruciating pain. Simple tasks were beyond me. I had to take time out to catch my breath when taking a shower for crying out loud. Most concerning for me was my mental state. I’ve always loved taking care of my niece and nephews. Babysitting was one of the few joys in my life. However, now my depression and poor health were making it so I could no longer care for them. If anything went wrong, I would have a crazy anxiety attack. As horrible as this was, it was the thing that saved my life.
My family was concerned for me and had planned an intervention. Now I can be a stubborn fellow so this may not have gone over well. I would have been defensive and probably would have fallen into a deeper depression. My sister, Erin, was smart enough to realize this and went with Plan B. She invited me out to dinner (let’s be honest, I was always down for a good meal). At this meal, she told me how worried the family was and offered a suggestion. She wanted me to meet Marty Wolff from Biggest Loser Season 3. She had attended some bootcamps with him and thought he could help me. That is what started me on the journey. My dear sister gave me that little push to get started.
3) Did/do you have a personal trainer or did you do it on your own?
As mentioned above, I met Marty Wolff. He is my trainer. I have met trainers in the past and I have always hated that first meeting. Because every trainer I met would look at me with either an expression of “oh lord, look how much work I have to do” or an expression of outright disgust. So, I was not particularly looking forward to my meeting with Marty but I knew I needed help. I was pleased to find out that Marty looked at my like a friend from the get-go. He greeted me warmly and said that he saw strength in me. He promised me that we could make this work if we met halfway. We tried to walk as we talked, but I only made it half a block and then we sat on the curb and talked there. He never made me feel bad for not being able to move.
Marty went above and beyond for me. He was describing the nutrition plan and that a group of people were meeting to walk through a grocery store together and learn what was good to buy and what was bad. He wanted me to attend but could see that I was upset and asked me why. I told him that I couldn’t walk a grocery store. My back would hurt too much. His solution? We drove to the grocery store where the event was planned to take place. While I waited in the car, Marty went inside and a) found out that they had a motorized cart I could use to attend the walk-through and b) bought me some groceries to last me the three days until the walk though. He wanted me to start right away. That level of commitment was amazing to me. And I can never repay that faith in me.
4) How often did you workout when you were losing weight? How often do you workout now?
When I started, I worked out for 60 minutes twice a week. My initial workouts wore severely limited. I would walk across the gym and sit down. We would talk. I would walk back and sit down again. That was all I could do. However, things improved fairly quickly. For most of my journey, I would work out 4-5 times a week and sometimes more if I snuck in a hike or swim on the weekends. I am still on my journey so the workout regimen is the same. At times, I have fallen off the wagon and done less. At times, I have done more where I work out twice a day multiple days of the week. The goal is to try and keep moving forward.
5) Can you lay out what a day of workouts/activities might look for you? Is what you do now to maintain similar to what you did to lose weight?
At Square One Health Club (Marty’s new club exclusively for People of Size), most of our workouts are 45 minutes long and they take the form of games or bootcamps. We do circuits and timed challenges. Much of what we do is to build strength while still keeping ourselves moving for the cardio benefits. Mini-competitions tend to push us to work harder as well. Even though there is never a prize on the line, we push ourselves so our team can do the very best it can. Surprisingly, no one is ever belittled, demeaned or saddened for poor performance. We just chip in to make the difference. It is a lot of fun.
6) What types of foods did you eat while losing weight? Are there one or two foods that are “staples” in your refrigerator?
The core of the nutrition plan is simply to fill yourself with nutrient dense foods. We get a calorie level that is based off the amount of lean muscle mass we have. After that, we try to use those calories to eat natural, non-processed foods. As we go, we tweak the amount of protein we take in because that is what keeps us full for longer periods of time. I was encouraged to drink lots of water and decrease (if not eliminate) the consumption of diet soda.
I don’t know if I have “staples” in the refrigerator. However, greek yogurt, spaghetti squash, Kashi cereal and lots of berries and vegetables tend to be on hand most of the time. Egg white quiche is a key for me. It fills me up for most of the day. So I will often have turkey sausage, egg whites, low-fat cheese, and a variety of vegetables (peppers, mushrooms, onion, etc) on hand to make quiche regularly.
7) What keeps you motivated and accountable?
Well, to be honest, I am having a low motivation period right now so this is hard to answer. It happens from time to time. This is a long journey. Every time some skinny person tells me that I should just “eat less and exercise”, I want to point out that those are only tools. Telling someone who is morbidly obese to just “eat less and exercise” is like telling someone to just “go run a marathon or two”. Most people can eat less and exercise for a few weeks and drop the weight they want to lose. Someone like me has to do it for YEARS. Sorry, off my soapbox.
The community of people at Square One tend to keep me motivated and accountable. We all look out for each other. We rejoice in our victories, commiserate defeats, and can sympathize with each other’s difficulties. This is 100% of what makes this place more successful than other programs. We know that the weight loss journey is primarily a mental journey. Support groups, friends, and trainers help us to stay on track and work the mental side of what we do. I also keep a blog. This helps me to stay motivated because it reminds me of where I came from and where I don’t want to return. So, despite my low motivation period right now, I know that I will get it together because I want it, my friends and workout partners are looking out for me, and my trainers are there to help push me to greater success.
8) What is your number 1 piece of advice for people out there who are just starting on their weight loss journeys?
Look. It isn’t easy. It is a long journey. But here’s what I can promise you. It will be easier than you think and the benefits are well worth the effort. I used to look at the fact that it would take me years to lose the weight and that was my reason not to start. It was too hard. However, you don’t have to hit your goal weight to be successful. You don’t have to wait until you are there to feel better. That happens right away. In my case, it took a very short time (just a few weeks) before I was reaping the rewards. I felt better. I could breathe better. My depression was going away because I was doing something to change my circumstances. In 4 months, I went from a guy who couldn’t walk a half a block to a guy who walked a 5k! I couldn’t believe it. And like rolling a snowball down a mountain, the benefits just kept getting bigger and better the longer I stayed on the journey.
You all are worth it! Change your life. Change your circumstances! And most importantly, try to find some friends to do it with you. Not that skinny friend who will order nachos while you are having a salad. They are fine, but the ones you need for your journey are the people who will enjoy that salad with you, work out with you, and walk the path with you. My Square One friends are a dear part of my life and a HUGE reason for my success.
If you have ANYTHING else that you’d like to add, PLEASE feel free! I don’t want to leave anything out!
I would like to invite anyone who is interested to check out my blog. It is long and I primarily do it for me. However, I have shared it with others and some have found it helpful to them on their journeys. I believe that if it helps or inspires one other person, then it is worth the effort of writing it down. It begins in October of 2011 and starts by recounting the beginning of my journey and how bad I let it get before starting.
^You should DEFINITELY check out Kevin’s blog. He has so much great info on there and I know you will love it just as I did!
Also, don’t forget to sign up to potentially be chosen to win a trip to the Biggest Loser Resort for 2 on behalf of Grimmway Farms!!!! Check out all of the details here…. www.justcrunchem.com