By Chanda Temple
For three years, doctors had been telling John Long that he needed to lose weight.
And for three years, John didn’t respond to their comments. “Nobody, friends or family, was telling me I was fat,’’ he said. “For me, being 225 (pounds) and 6’2, I thought I was a good size.’’
But he began to pay attention to what doctors were saying in June 2012 when tests showed his glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels were all high. A test had also categorized him as “obese.’’
He was 41 and on the verge of becoming a diabetic.
The medical reports were a lot to digest, but his wake-up call came in July 2012 when one of his college fraternity brothers had a fatal heart attack while playing with his children. The man was only 40 years old.
“Besides the news of his death being devastating, I knew I had to make a change in my life,’’ said John, who pledged Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. at Tuskegee University. “I didn’t want to have all those health issues. That was my extra motivation to go to work.’’
A week or two after his friend’s death, John researched information about diets, exercise and losing weight.
His wife, La’Shara, bought them a YMCA membership. John also did a meatless detox, workouts and other things.
Within six months, he lost 45 pounds.
John, assistant program director for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment in Montgomery, Ala., said he’s only gained back six pounds since losing the weight.
Today, his medical test levels are normal and he’s maintaining his weight. How did he do it? Here are nine of his weight loss secrets.
Get going with a meatless detox
“The (10-day) detox was really important for me,’’ John said. “Not only did it cleanse my body, but it changed my palate. The taste for bad food went down. So now when I go to McDonald’s, I’ll get a chicken wrap. I don’t have to get a double Quarter Pounder, a large fry and a large Coke.’’ (The detox was the first phase of Dr. Ian Smith’s Fat Smash Diet. John continued the program after the detox. He also incorporated cardio and resistance training into his workouts.)
John exercised on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. His favorite days were Wednesday and Friday. “I noticed the gym was pretty empty on Wednesday afternoons, Wednesday evenings and Friday evenings, so I decided that’s when I’d definitely go because I could get on any machine I wanted,’’ said John, who lives in the Bessemer/McCalla area, just outside Birmingham, Ala.
Build up to reach your goal
John didn’t jump right into a full exercise routine. He built up to it. He started out with the treadmill and elliptical. At first, he could only do 15 minutes on the elliptical. He worked his way up to 20 minutes, then 30 minutes before finally being able to do one hour straight on the elliptical. He still works out on the elliptical.
Invest in a good pair of running shoes
Pounding the treadmill on a consistent basis can eventually hurt the feet, shins and even the ankles, if proper shoes are not worn. Buy a good pair of comfortable shoes for your new fitness life.
Change your lifestyle
“My lifestyle was being at the club, especially Happy Hour. I changed that,’’ he said. “Instead of going to the club on Friday, I went to the gym. When I used to leave the club, I’d go by Waffle House, McDonald’s or Krystal. Now, if I leave the club hungry, I just stop at the convenience store and get some unsalted peanuts, a diet Coke or water and I’m good. I have a two-drink maximum now at the club. That will hold me over for the night.’’
Change your eating patterns
His favorite restaurants used to be those that served fast food hamburgers and fried chicken. He switched to healthier options such as salads or a plain turkey deli sandwich with fruit. At places like Chipotle Mexican Grill, he’d get the chicken bowl with brown rice and black beans and at Panera Bread, he opted for the Turkey Harvest Salad or a Spinach Power Salad.
Drink lots of water
He bought a 72-ounce water jug from Walmart and drank from it daily. “I have it here right now. I still drink out of it,’’ he said.
Give up sweets
When John was trying to lose weight, he gave up sweets and replaced them with almonds, carrots, apples and snack-sized carrots. After he reached his weight loss goal, he had the occasional dessert, but nothing like what he used to do. “I don’t over indulge,’‘ he said.
Learn portion control
“This was totally new to me,’’ he admitted. “I used to eat everything on the plate until I was totally full. I eat a lot less now.’’
Know someone with a motivational story in business, life or fitness? Nominate them for Motivation Monday at email@example.com. Please include their name, why they should be featured and phone number.
Chanda Temple worked as a reporter for 20 years before becoming a public relations professional. She blogs about being better in business and more at http://www.chandatemplewrites.com. Follow her on Twitter at @chandatemple.