From Couch Potato to Muscleman!
This week's featured member is Firemanmuscle. His initial weight loss was over 75lbs, however, he incorporated a strength training program and has since gained 30lbs of pure muscle. His story is an inspiration to all of us and demonstrates how dramatically we can all improve our health, fitness and enjoyment of life with the right approach and the right attitude
He contacted us through our Share Your Story feature and provided the following answers to our questionnaire.
1. What prompted you to begin this weight loss journey? Did you have an "Aha!" moment?
I went to my doctor for an unrelated problem and he came in, sat down and the first words out of his mouth were, "Rick, you've gained 17 pounds in the last couple years. What are you thinking? You are a helicopter ride to a cardiac unit somewhere down the road." Then he said the words that changed my life. He said, "Don't you want to see your grandkids?" I lost down from 235 to 158 in the first year. I've since packed on 30 pounds of muscle. I'm 47, weigh 190 and can bench 325 and run a 5K in under 22 minutes. My cholesterol level went from 388 to 144. I went to my doctor recently and after viewing my bloodwork and examining me told me that I was "disgustingly healthy".
2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I had tried and failed a dozen times in the past. I'd tried every ridiculous fad diet out there with varying degrees of success only to regain it and then some.
3. Please describe how you reached your weight loss goal. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude? Did you implement any other strategies besides Calorie Count? What was the most important change?
I first started walking a 5K almost every day. I always timed it and competed with myself. I also began calorie tracking, just in a notebook, then on calorie count. I then set daily goals for myself, like push-ups, sit-ups, and dumbbell curls. Constantly trying to improve my fitness and activity. Getting certified was huge also.
4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss.
I found that I consistently under estimated my calorie intake, calorie count allowed me to be more accurate. I am now an ACE certified peer fitness trainer, (specific certification for emergency services, I train the police, fire and EMS of our city.), personal trainer and weight management coach. I train at a local hospital owned gym. As a fire captain I only work 7 weekdays a month so I train on my off days and I have many clients with many success stories of their own. I have them all join calorie count so I can view their diaries and provide them much needed accountability by sending them daily messages about calorie intake and exercise.
5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?
Staying positive, and overcoming those who are threatened by your success.
6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success?
I saw results right away because I was determined. I lost nearly 80 pounds in the first year. I tell clients that if I ever consider myself "A success", I may begin to make small compromises to my lifestyle and slowly regain. So, although it has been 8 years I won't see myself as a success until I'm 100 years old.
7. How do you prevent relapse?
I tell clients all the time that I NEVER want to be the person that lost a bunch of weight only to regain it. I say, the reason it's still off is that I'm still doing what it took to lose it. Calorie tracking and consistent exercise are the keys. I track both on calorie count.
8. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?
I am known by everyone in the city as the "fitness guy". I never dreamed this would happen, nor did I set out for it to happen. It simply escalated into what it is today. I only set out to be healthier. I give public seminars on weight management and have an e-mail program that I send weekly tips and strategies to everyone on my list. My list continues to grow.
9. How long have you maintained your current weight?
I was 158lbs by the end of 2004. Since then I began a strength training program and have gained to 190lbs with muscle. My waist size is still 32.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- Be patient and positive!
- Don't guess, track!
- Compete with yourself, that keeps the intensity rising.
- Educate yourself from accredited sources; forget gadgets, gimmicks and fad diets. It's simple, expenditure must exceed intake.
- Don't focus on the scale, find other ways to monitor and gauge success.
If you would like us to feature your success story, you can submit it here. The most insightful stories will be featured on this blog and in the weekly "Success Stories" newsletter.