100 lb. Journey

April 29, 2015  •  3 Comments

At the end of 2009 I step on the scales to see the number 275.  I realize that at only a hair over 5'7", this makes me severely overweight.  I decide that I have to do something about it.  I fail. I try again. April 2015, I step on the scales to see 174.6, that is 100lbs. lighter!  Let's rewind and take a look at my journey.


I was never a fit person, but at the age of 29 I found myself in the worst shape of my life.  I was wearing a 40" waist pant size, and 2XL shirt.  275 lbs was too much to let go by.  I realized that I have a wife and two boys that I love, and that love me.  I want to be around to spend more time with them, and my weight could potentially end my life early.

Dieting was never something that I could do. I loved eating meat, potatoes, dessert...and lots of it! How in the world could I lose weight? My knees were not in good shape from an earlier ATV accident, and exercise was just something that did not really excite me. I started trying to cut out some of my sweets, but was still struggling to lose what I wanted to.  Then I found LoseIt.

logologo LoseIt is a smartphone app, as well as a browser based website, that allows you to set a goal and track your calories.  I began recording everything that I would eat.  I was trying to find the lowest calorie foods I could eat just to keep my intake at a lower number.  I was not a vegetable person at all. The only vegetable that I would eat was creamstyle corn.  If it was green, it was way out of the question! No salads of any kind.  I stopped drinking sodas, mostly drank water & sweet tea.  I began loosing weight!

I finally got a descent bicycle and started riding.  I would ride about 3 times a week and would ride 5-10 miles at a time.  I wasn't tracking it properly until I came across something called RunKeeper.


runkeeperrunkeeper RunKeeper would allow me to use my phone GPS and keep track of my mileage, map of where I rode and estimated calorie burn.  Now I was doing even better at my weight loss. By the time 6 months rolled around I had lost about 65 lbs.  I thought I was doing good.  I was wrong.  I was not eating healthy, I was not leading a fit lifestyle at all.  I was just eating low calories and riding a bike.  I got the weight off, but then things took a turn. 

I slowly lost the motivation to record my daily calorie intake, I would find myself eating more and more.  I, like you expect, gained weight back.  Over the next couple of years, I would lose a little, gain a little, but I never found myself feeling good.  I never learned to eat right, and it showed. I had failed. I then lost interest in eating healthy, I ate anything I wanted, anytime I wanted it.

After a mishap during a photo shoot, I injured my left knee again.  I had to have a meniscus repair surgery in March of 2014.  Now it seemed like things were getting worse for me!  I am beginning to pay for years of overweight abuse to my body.  I had a pretty easy recovery, but didn't try any more biking or exercise of any kind.

Then in September 2014, things changed.  I weighed 240 lbs and decided to change my life.  Two things motivated me to make a lifestlye change.  1. My wife, who is a diabetic, needed to eat better and I wanted to help her.  2. I had two friends that I kept seeing post on Facebook about them running. I told myself that I wanted to run a 5K one day.  My wife and myself attended a class about learning to eat right as a diabetic, and we started making changes.  Again, I started using LoseIt.  I set a new goal and began recording everything.  We would watch the amount of carbs per meal and try to make wiser meal choices.  We began eating more baked or grilled skinless chicken, and I started drinking V8 juice!  That was the most vegetable intake I had ever had! After just a little bit of weight loss, I decided to get on a treadmill at home.

I tried running. The keyword is tried.  It was not easy nor pretty.  I could run for 30 seconds, that was it.  I thought I was dying!  I would walk a while then run a while, walk a while, then run a while.  I did this about 3 times a week, 30 minutes at a time for about 4 weeks.  I was slowly gaining more run time!  I was also loosing more weight! Then one day, I was able to run for 8 minutes straight! This was a huge deal for me!

I had been working on a better way of eating.  I was still using LoseIt everyday, but I wasn't just concerned about calories any more. I was realizing that some of the low calorie options were not the healthiest. I'll give you a couple examples.  The zero calorie cooking spray, is mostly aerosol and chemicals.  That could not be good for me.  I started using a pump sprayer with 100% Olive Oil.  I also ditched the "Vegetable Spread" and started using real butter (when needed).  These were just a couple of the changes that I made towards eating a cleaner diet!

I also increased my water intake.  I didn't even drink sweet iced tea anymore, and that was huge!  I occasionally have a hot green tea with a little honey. But I mostly resorted to plain ole water. I stopped eating after 7 pm.  I realized that eating late would cause me not to lose like I wanted. But some of the biggest changes were yet to take place!

January 2015, I did what a lot of Americans do, I started going to the gym.  I would go to walk, run, or bike, as well as do a little bit of weight lifting.  3 days a week, I wanted to go in the mornings, but really didn't have time to workout before I had to open my business.  Fortunately, I own my own photography business and I could change that.  I adjusted my business hours to open an hour later, giving me time to go to the gym! I started lifting more weights and doing less cardio.  I also started eating even better.  I was eating more vegetables than I ever had.  Green beans, broccoli, sweet potatoes, green onions, bell peppers, etc.  Chicken, chicken, and more chicken.  I have learned several different ways to fix skinless chicken breast!  I began doing a little meal prep, consisting of once a week chicken grilling!  I found that if I had it already grilled in the refrigerator, it was much easier to run home for lunch, put something with it and eat!  This was way better, and cheaper, than any fast food!

Smoothies! I love fruit smoothies!  I had already been eating more fruit, but with the addition of smoothies, I found it even better!  I even tried adding baby spinach to my fruit smoothie.  Can you believe...I love it.  Who could imagine ME eating baby spinach!  (My parents are still in shock by the way.)  But as much as I would like to, I cannot consume smoothies all day.  Fruit is high in carbs, so I consume most of my carbs in the morning or by lunch time.  The evenings I try to stick with mostly protein.  The carbs turn to sugars, and if you are really active after consuming carbs...no big deal, you will burn them off.  But loading up on carbs before you go to sleep is not the best weight loss plan. 

I WaterloggedWaterlogged also came across a good little app to track your water intake.  The app is called Waterlogged. I believe that it is just for iOS, but could be  mistaken.  I love the way you can setup a custom glass and add a photo of it, to easily record what you drink.   Use the suggested water intake, to set yourself a goal to reach everyday! Water consumption plays one of the most important roles in weight loss!  Good hydration improves your muscles immensely!  Our body is so much better with adequate water consumption.

When the weather warmed up and I was able to run outside, I started to run even more!  I got out the RunKeeper app once more!  This time, it was not for cycling, but running!  I could run 2 miles now without collapsing! I was on a roll.  Then finally I hit 3.1 miles...yep that's 5K.  I realize now, that I could at least finish a 5K and I was excited.  More of those 3.1 mile runs and I want to register for a race!

SZ6A6475SZ6A6475 Now it is April 2015, I have been eating right.  Chicken and fish are my meat choices, which are both great in protein.  Sweet potatoes and green beans to go with it, is delicious.  Fruit, fruit smoothies, and a balanced amount of carbs has me feeling great.  I am exercising and lifting weights on a regular basis, and have lost more weight.  I climb on the scales on April 14, and I am 174.6 lbs.  That is it!  I am 100 lbs lighter than I was at my heaviest.  It was at that point that I realized that I was finished trying to lose weight.  I am at a healthy weight now and want to maintain it.  I have went from 40" to 32" waist.  From XL to M shirts!  I feel great!  I am happy! 

So what am I doing now?  Now I am still eating right.  I try to eat a good balanced meal.  I eat a good amount of protein to help with my weight lifting.  I even drink some protein powder to add to my protein level.  I want my muscles to have plenty of protein to heal quickly and build properly.  Yes, I still drink my suggested amount of water, which is about a gallon a day!  I eat my carbs, but mostly in the morning.  I make sure I eat enough calories during the day to maintain my weight.  And if I need a bed time snack...it's peanut butter time!!!!  No weight loss pills, no crazy diets, just good ole exercising and watching my calorie intake!

001_SuperHero5K001_SuperHero5K April 25, 2015, my wife pinned the number 71 to my shirt as I got ready to run in the Superhero 5K for Braxton Race!  I am 35 years old, and getting ready to run my first 5K, and I cannot tell you how that made me feel.  I wish I would have started earlier getting in shape.  I wish I could have ran at an earlier age, never gained the extra weight and saved some of the stretch marks and loose skin that I have now.  But I didn't, I let myself go. Until now that is! I have decided that 35 is not too late to get started.  No age is too late to get started changing your life. 

About 2.75 miles into the race, I had been fighting the wind and was loosing steam. So I took a breath, and began praying, "God, I thank you for helping me change my life.  I have become a better person spiritually as well as physically and I could not have done it without you.  I thank you for my wife, my boys, my family, my church family, my friends, anyone that has supported me.  And God, with your help, I am going to finish this race.  I don't know what place I am in, that doesn't matter.  I am going to finish! I love you God, above all!"













My wife and my boys were waiting on me at the finish line.  As I crossed, my oldest son took this photo.  I finished!  I even finished 9th out of 144.  So I was happy!  I grabbed my wife and hugged her, I wanted to cry.  7 months ago, it was only a dream. Today I made it a reality! If I can achieve my goal, you can too! Whatever you want to do....Do It!

P.S. My wife has lost over 46 lbs. since September 2014, her blood sugar levels are mostly normal.  My boys ran with me the other morning. My wife and sister and more friends are all signed up to do a 5K with me May 9, 2015.  My youngest son is going to do the 1 mile fun run!  But these are stories yet to be told!  I can't wait to see the success of my family!

God Bless



Charli Smith(non-registered)
Well if you want real muscle just go buy some weights and lift them and also do some heavy work. Play some sports everyday, it really helps, specially swimming
Jay Gosdin(non-registered)
Good testimony! Keep up the good work.
Good job Jay!! So proud of you and Steph!
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