Eating Well's Diet Club: Mark's Story
This is my wrist today. This was my wrist at the age of 40. When you're younger, you know, you're playing sports. I played football, I played basketball and baseball, I worked all the time. So, your metabolism is basically just a roaring fire, and it just burns all the calories you can take in. I had a hard time saying no to food, you know, we were brought up in a generation where you clean your plate. I'd be eating carbs, bad carbs for me. I'd have a spaghetti sandwich; I put spaghetti on white bread, that would be a typical lunch for me. Then those pounds just don't go away, they just stick onto you. When you're overweight and heavy like I was, at over 300 pounds, you're tired and you don't get to enjoy all the active things that you want to do with your family. I thought I was a great dad, and I was a great dad, but I wasn't as great as I could have been. There's things that I should be doing with my family that I wasn't because I was just going home at night and sitting in front of the TV and watching it, and I missed out on quite a few things because of that. My girls were fairly active; our oldest played tennis on the tennis team. I was team captain in high school of my tennis team, but I didn't play that much tennis with her because I just wasn't able to move and I'd be out of breath even when I tried. You know, I'm not really sure how much I weighed at my heaviest, I have to be honest with you. I do know that when I did go see the doctor when I was 40, I was over 310 pounds. So, I scheduled an appointment with a new doctor—he's an internist—and when I went to him he said, "Mark, you need to lose weight or A) you're going to be on medication for your high blood pressure, and you're going to be on medication for cholesterol," and so I knew I need to make a change right then and there. I knew I needed to lose weight, and I just knew I had to make a change because I didn't want to die at a young age and not be able to spend the time with my family. I get a second chance, if you will. Perhaps…I don't know what would happen if I was still this weight, I don't know if I'd still be here or not. We had actually bought a Stairmaster, a gym-quality one, probably five years prior to that. So, I would leave work, I would come home and I'd spend a half hour on it. That was my routine for months. So doing that really got the exercise part going. And then the other thing that I tried to do at the same time was eat a little bit better. I wasn't going to make major changes, because I wanted this to be a lifestyle change. I didn't want it to be like before where I made this major change and never stuck to anything. I figured if I did small steps, I'd be more likely to stick to it. I was losing like a pound, a pound and a half a week; some weeks were better than others. You know, sometimes you have bad moments. I don't mind having bad moments; I don't want to have bad days. So, I try to keep, you know, things in perspective. Sometimes you're going to fail for a moment; you try not to make your whole day bad. The main benefits I've had from losing the weight is, I'm active. I've been there for my kids. I've walked two daughters down the aisle. I get to spend time with my beautiful wife. We're going to be old together for a long time.