Before the Transformation
“I knew I needed a complete lifestyle change”
What was your lifestyle prior to your transformation?
I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle. My diet consisted of a lot of junk, prepared, and processed foods. I use to love cheese and grapefruit juice, so my diet was high in fat, salt and sugar.
I also did a lot of stressful eating at work as a physician. I exercised less and less – I loved to bicycle. This got worse after my neck surgeries restricted the exercises I could do (since then, I’ve learned to exercise despite limitations «Tweet this).
All in all, I was leading a very unhealthy lifestyle.
What diet and exercise programs did you try in the past?
I tried different approaches, read various dieting books, and tried to make a change but it wasn’t easy. I knew I needed a complete lifestyle change so I enrolled at the Structure House weight loss program in Durham, NC.
When & why did you decide to make a change?
A little over 4 years ago, I sat in a chair at a restaurant in Rockefeller Center, watching the ice skaters at Christmas. The chair broke, I fell to the floor, VERY embarrassed, but otherwise uninjured. It was a seminal moment in me getting motivated to change.
I also had a series of health problems – high blood pressure, sleep apnea that left me feeling exhausted, 2 neck operations and an ICU admission for sepsis (blood poisoning). I’m not sure that the operations and ICU admission were related to my obesity, but I was concerned that my life would be shortened. A failed marriage also contributed to weight gain, but then a later determination to reverse that.
What goal(s) did you set for yourself?
I spent the first few weeks at the Structure House weight loss program. They focus on behavior modification for obese people. There I learnt what lifestyle changes I needed to make. It was a difficult first week as I was learning to completely restructure my life. Exercising, eating healthy, and mentally motivating myself were the 3 biggest things that I focused on.
During the Transformation
“Improved health, both body and mind, had a positive effect in all areas of my life”
What diet did you follow during your transformation?
During the first few weeks at the Structure House,
- I chose a daily menu of healthy foods
- I learned to eat and enjoy low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt food (I went through withdrawal!)
- I was taught that my 2 biggest food culprits were cheese and grapefruit juice; though I love both, I’ve given both up.
What role did supplements play in your transformation?
I take fish oil, vitamin D, and resveratrol every day. I drink a lot of green tea as well. They provide many benefits for me personally.
At the very beginning, I worked out every day (walking; weights), learnt to use heart rate monitoring as a guide to appropriate levels of exercise. I also tried to incorporate as much physical activity into my schedule as possible.
I now mostly do weight resistance training (which is also great for women).
How did you stay motivated?
Improved health, both body and mind, had a positive effect in all areas of my life. I was looking better and feeling healthier each day so this kept me motivated. I believe measuring and recording my progress kept me on track during my transformation – it showed me how far I came, and what I needed to do/avoid to stay on track.
After the Transformation
“I lost 120 lbs over 18 months, and I have kept the weight off!”
I have successfully restructured my life around maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Everything is regular for me now: my meals are regularized, my exercise schedule is very consistent, and I get adequate sleep.
I lost 120 lbs over 18 months, and I have kept the weight off! («Tweet this)
How do you feel compared to before?
I am in a much better space physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am more confident, happier, and a lot more active.
What advice do you have for others in a similar situation?
I recommend changing habits first, and realizing that losing weight is possible. All you have to do is restructure your lifestyle and retrain your brain. Do not be discouraged if change is slow at first – it will be – just record and measure your progress and let that progress motivate you.
What’s next for you?
I do the same things to maintain my weight (2.5 years now) as I did to lose it, so I hope to see myself in the same place. Always healthier by the day. («Tweet this)
Want to be featured? Share your own transformation success story »