This summer, Chris Gomez is taking his students to Six Flags and the first thing he’s going to do is ride a roller coaster. In fact, the kids may have a hard time getting him to do anything else. For Chris, a special education teacher from New York, being able to fit in to a coaster car again means another triumph on his weight loss journey.
At age 34, Chris admits to being slightly overweight most of his life with a few periods of weight loss in between, but due to emotional eating, late-night snacking and lack of portion control (eating multiple desserts), he could never keep the extra pounds off for very long. As a die-hard Mets fan and sports enthusiast, Chris knew as his weight continued to climb, his energy plummeted and his ability to participate in the activities he once enjoyed like softball, were beginning to decline.
Chris describes his a-ha weight loss moment, saying, “I was sitting at a friends’ house and ordered 20 chicken wings for lunch and half way through I realized that I couldn’t continue to do this to myself. One day a doctor would tell me that I was running myself into the ground and I would have nothing to do about it. So I decided enough was enough.”
Chris started with small changes. He cut out soda and beer, plus fried and carb-heavy foods, then replaced them with items that were protein-rich and low in fat. For exercise, he started to walk and jog, then as he was able to, added in weights and other cardio activities. He credits his friend and trainer, Sotiri “Bird” Perdikis, for being an integral part of his success.
“He has been the anchor of all of this.” Chris said. “A friend who asked for nothing in return for helping me turn my life around. He was the engineer and I was responsible for doing the work, and I have.”
Biggest Triumphs? “Fitting in size XL shirts and size L pants. Being able to ride roller coasters. No longer having a pinch runner in softball. Being able to keep up with my students while playing sports.”
Advice you would give to others who are struggling to lose weight? “It is a daily process, don’t sweat the small stuff. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you wont be losing 15 pounds in a week. Keep at it and you will come out on top, I did.”
Chris knows he will always struggle with diet related issues because he loves to eat, but says it feels so good to be “average size” again that he knows he’s never going to allow himself to slide back to his previous weight. “Keeping myself healthy is important,” said Chris, explaining, “I will continue to be the same guy I have always been, a lover of life and everything it has to offer.”