I was a bigger guy throughout most of my adult life, but gained a lot of weight over the course of one year. My wife and I suffered a pregnancy loss followed by months of fertility treatments, which led to a stressful but successful IVF pregnancy.
During that year, I ate mainly takeout, fast food, or overly indulgent home cooked meals. I have always— and will always—looked at food as something that can bring someone happiness. However, at that time I was only looking at it as an escape.
My school gives teachers new t-shirts for each school year, and we confirm our shirt sizes in June. I was wearing my very snug XXL and couldn’t bring myself to add another X to my shirt size. I downloaded the WW (formerly Weight Watchers) app the following week.
The biggest hurdle to overcome was familiarizing myself with food I never tried before or didn’t necessarily reach for before. If you would have told me five years ago I would always have plain nonfat Greek yogurt in my fridge, I would have thought you were crazy. I am still shocked at how versatile and delicious Greek yogurt can be. I meal plan around lean proteins and make multiple meals out of the same prepared proteins. Ground turkey, eggs, chicken breasts, and Greek yogurt are my go-to ingredients.
My success comes from cooking food I love within the WW program. Instead of focusing on what I “can’t eat anymore,” I have found healthy and delicious ways to keep all the food I love in my life. Biscuits, Chicken Alfredo, grits—nothing is off limits!
I saw the scale move pretty consistently throughout the summer, but it wasn’t until going back to school in the fall that I realized how successful I had been. Teachers and students would come up and say how different I looked and how happy I seemed to be.
My initial workout plan was a lot of cardio, but lately I’ve switched to strength training and cardio. I now have strength goals and endurance goals—that’s something I wouldn’t have thought about as a thing a few years ago.
I’ve continued to lose weight, and now I am working on building strength instead of just slimming down. I’ve gone down three shirt sizes and lost almost 10 inches off my waist. I previously weighed 266 pounds and am currently 211 pounds. But the real change has been a mental one.
I didn’t realize how long I was in such a dark place when I was at my heaviest. I lived in a time of stress and grief for so long that I felt unrecognizable by the end of it. Joining WW was a way to start reclaiming my life to be the husband and father my family deserved. Prioritizing my own health and wellness was not something I did before this, so it was a new concept to me. I’m a happier, healthier, more confident, and more open person because of this health and wellness program.
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