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Salute to Success ~ June 2013

        Hi Everyone!  This month, I want to introduce you to Ryan...one of my students at Slimmons!  Here's Ryan's story in his own words...

         "I have had weight issues as far as I can remember. It wasn’t noticeable to me until I went into kindergarten and was called names like “fatso,” which eventually morphed into “fatty, fatty two by four can’t fit through the door.” My least favorite day in school was when I had P.E. class because I knew that I could not do most of the exercises that the other kids could do. I once even went as far as telling the coach that I had hurt my foot and wasn’t able to participate in class. The coach proceeded to have me write an excuse from class, which I had to then have one of my parents sign.

 

         Overeating got worse when I got to middle school. As a fat kid, I would comfort myself with food, which was very accessible because I’d be alone for several hours after school and had access to the fully stocked pantry. This is when I really began to balloon and earned the nickname “Tater,” which stuck with me throughout high school.

         Fast forward to 2001, I was at my highest weight at around 300 pounds and graduating from high school. I was enormous! I had always heard the warning about putting on the “freshman 15” in college, which I didn’t want to add to my ballooning waistline of 46”, so I tried various things to prevent that from happening, so I went to the university’s gym. I couldn’t stay motivated. I tried diet pills, which made me feel nauseous and elevated my heart rate. I eventually dropped those. I soon found myself buying exercise products from infomercials on what little income I had in college. They worked temporarily until the novelty wore off. My problem is that I get bored too easily so it’s hard for me to stick to a routine I am bored.

         In 2004, after I had graduated college, I hit a breaking point. I just decided, “Ryan, that’s it.” I joined a diet program, where I was given a journal to keep track of my food intake, which was broken down into a set amount of protein, vegetables, fruits, dairy and the “special food” (i.e. bars, soups, etc.) provided by the program. I went from 285 pounds (actually lost the initial 15 in college) down to 198 pounds and a 34” waist (the lowest I had ever been) in about 8 months time following this regimen along with moderate exercise at the gym. Once I fell below 200 pounds, I thought nothing could stop me and I was invincible. I was wrong because my overconfidence let me slip. And factor in that I moved from Tennessee to California to attend law school. Little did I know that this would be the end of the “new” me. Once law school started, everything had I learned and worked so hard for was now on the back burner. I would eat late at night while studying. Food consisted of mainly fast food, pizza, and other quick, processed foods. I didn’t think too much about it, until I went home after the first semester and my parents made the comments about the weight. All that work I had put in over the past year was now gone and I had gained about 75% of my weight back.

        Law school was not my true passion, so I quit after the first semester and re-entered the private sector. That’s when I signed up for a gym membership for two years, getting the third year free and renewing at a very low annual rate. This again was new to me so I did fairly well until the novelty was gone.

       One crucial piece of the weight loss puzzle was missing…the dietary component. I found myself watching all sorts of documentaries on how food and our bodies interact, which lead me to a 45 day juice diet. I dropped a significant amount of weight doing this, but I didn’t change my eating habits afterwards and, I wasn’t regularly exercising like I should have.

       It wasn’t until my friend Jared had made the statement: “Change starts today.” Those three simple words ignited something inside of me. Jared is also the one who told me about Richard’s class at Slimmons. I put off going to the class out of nervousness until I had heard others speak about the class. I decided to give the class a whirl. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of something great in my life. This is the motivation I needed to keep me going.

        I remember my first class being nervous as hell and not knowing what to expect. Richard made a point (and still does) to say, “hello.” You can tell that he genuinely cares for all of us and wants nothing more than for us to be able to reach our goals and even surpass them. I have been going to Slimmons now for about 9 months now. I go every Saturday and try to make it twice a week after work. On the days that I don’t go to Slimmons, I go workout at the gym. Richard makes the class fun and keeps me inspired to keep doing what I am doing. I am even in one of Richard’s new Project H.O.P.E. DVDs (Cardio 1 – yellow shirt, blue shorts in the back). I am proud to say that I have lost even more weight since the taping and down 57 pounds from my heaviest place and at a 37” waist! I feel like I can conquer the world and plan to run the LA Marathon next year. If someone had told me that I was going to run a marathon several years ago, I would have said that he/she is crazy. I have so much more energy now.

        I still have my slipups, but I have learned to just get back up and put myself back on track. There’s no reason to dwell on the past. We have today and whatever the future holds for us. I live each day to its fullest knowing that I am trying my best. The one simple thing to remember is that if one wants to lose weight, we have to burn more calories than we consume. If you’re just starting out or trying to get back on track, I encourage you to keep a food diary."

        Ryan, I am so proud of you!  Keep going strong and keep coming to class!  Thanks for sharing your story with my readers!

Love,