This week’s True Weight Loss Story comes to us from Chicago, Illinois, where Jack O’Donnell recently made it to his goal weight of 175 pounds. It hasn’t been easy but Jack knew he had no choice. He was diagnosed with diabetes in 1990, requiring insulin and medication but at the time, even that wasn’t enough to spur him into action. Finally, when doctors raised his insulin dosage and started putting him on other medications to combat the side effects of diabetes and obesity, Jack decided to take charge of his health and turn things around.
As a child, Jack says he struggled with frequent weight loss and gain, the unfortunate ramifications of yo-yo dieting. As an adult, stress-eating, poor food choices, eating large portions and lack of exercise, all added to the big picture of his weight gain. On the day of his “ah-ha” moment, he weighed 257 pounds. He was miserable and after a visit to the doctor confirmed his new medication regimen, the tough Chicagoan says he was actually, “frightened.”
When Jack O’Donnell makes a decision to do something, he’s “all in.” He started his transformation by changing his diet up in a big way. He cut out carbs, all of them, and replaced all the bread and pasta he was eating with lean proteins and, “lots of vegetables.” Then, he put the rest of his plan in motion.
Committed to making his body strong and lean for the first time, Jack relied on running and circuit training to achieve his goals. Running four days a week improved his cardiovascular fitness, while circuit training helped with the doldrums of a regular exercise routine. If you’re new to circuit training, read this Beginner’s Guide for information on the cardio and muscle-strengthening benefits, plus see sample exercises you can do at home.
We asked Jack, “Did you have any moments along the way that made a difference in your transformation?” He replied, “When I lost 50 pounds and started to feel great after the workouts, energized, instead of dead tired.”
Sticking with a new diet and exercise routine long enough to make a different is tough, it was also Jack’s biggest challenge. He admitted, “The hardest thing was just with the first 90 days when the weight wasn’t coming off very fast.”
After reaching his goal weight of 175 pounds, he knows his next challenge is going to be maintaining his new physique, but we think his mind is in a good place to do it. He knows weight loss is not a one-time thing, it’s a lifestyle. While he works toward his next goal, a marathon, Jack says he’ll continue to take the advice he gives to others, “Do it one day at a time and one foot in front of the other. Remember, one day is not a failure and tomorrow can start it over again.”
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