“I used to think I’d feel like I’m done,” John Thompson recently told me about weight loss. “Now I realize it’s just another achievement in moving forward in my life.”
That achievement is the 202 pounds lost that he realized last month!
We first introduced you to John in January of this year, when he’d lost 155 pounds. He told us then his journey wasn’t over and that he expected to hit the 200 pound mark by the end of summer. Let this man buy your lottery tickets, folks, because he was right! For John, 200 pounds wasn’t an arbitrary goal, 200 pounds would put him at half his starting weight. That’s no small feat, but one he took on one small change at a time.
The biggest take away from John’s original weight loss story was how he made one small change at a time until suddenly they had all added up in to big results and new habits. His entire 202 pound weight loss journey began with a grain of rice when he made the decision to start preparing or ordering brown rice as opposed to French fries or other nutritionally void foods. That one-thing-at-a-time mentality carries John through his healthy new lifestyle today.
“I watch what I eat, how much I eat, and that still carries over today,” he told me. “I’ve thought about fast food and I feel guilty. I couldn’t make myself stop now.” Proof of the monumental changes he’s made.
Before John’s journey two years ago, he smoked, drank, never exercised, and didn’t eat well at all. That’s a very distant version of himself now. “Living that way, I didn’t know how bad things were,” he said. He descried his physical and mental condition, which included bad knees, poor sleep (he believes he had sleep apnea), constant heartburn, headaches, and bothersome allergies. He described how his weight was hard on furniture – a broken recliner in his living room as evidence. As well, the springs in his truck seat are blown out – more evidence of a skin he’s worked hard to shed.
“I feel amazing. I can’t stress the quality of life, it’s so much different,” he proudly noted. Today, all of those symptoms are gone, the allergies aren’t a bother any more, and he said he simply does not get sick.
Two of the biggest things in John’s life right now include the half marathon he completed on October 14. We invited John to be part of the Local Joes team that we, with Holly Perkins, trained for the Prairie Fire Marathon, an initiative to turn ordinary people in to half marathon finishers. John had an impressive finish time of 2:11. “I was elated to finish,” he said. “Crossing the finish line was pretty cool. I saved gas in the tank because I like pounding the pavement and going as hard as I can. I stomped on it. It felt pretty cool to know I knew my body well enough.”
The other impending accomplishment for John that might strike a bit more pride than the medal he’s been showing off is the baby he and his partner Amy are expecting in January.
“Two years ago, I don’t know that I would’ve had it in me to handle this properly,” he commented. “It would not have been a good idea two years ago. I had things to work out.” There is no doubt that John has and is going to be a wonderful father.
“By the grace of God my child will never know the me who drank, smoked, was completely overweight, and didn’t know what to do.” He says he won’t sugarcoat the situation, his child has a better chance with healthier, active parents than without. He talks about how Amy is a weight loss story success herself, and how the two are already planning to work together to get back on track after the pregnancy and raise their baby in a health-conscious, active home.
John says he never quit mentally, but there were times he’d question if he were doing enough, especially during those inevitable plateaus that could last as much as six weeks. “My body would change but my weight would stay the same. You don’t know how freaking frustrating that is!” His cure was to keep doing what he knew worked.
His diet is also still an important focus for him. He watches portions, eats significantly less red meat, and doesn’t consume bread at all. In changing his diet, John said that some things just naturally fall out and you don’t even want them any more – like the bread. Every night, after he finishes his new managerial position on second shift, John eats celery, cucumbers, green peppers, tomatoes, avocado, oranges, plums, and pears. It keeps him satisfied and from eating a big meal in the middle of the night.
John’s journey is far from over. To stay motivated and prevent the relapse that is all too common, he’s setting new goals. Those include maintenance and getting stronger and bulkier. He wants to be able to lift, curl, and bench 200 pounds – “What I’ve lost.”
“People want to start but they don’t know where to find the motivation,” John said about others in his old shoes. Just get started and find one small thing is his advice. He says you’ll do so much and then one day look and not know how you got where you are. It did work for him, after all!