In early February, 2011, during a visit to my doctor he asked, “John, what do you weigh now?”
“Two years ago you weighed 270 pounds. You told me you were going to lose some weight by dieting and exercise. What happened?”
“Well, I got down to 270 just before the holidays but I popped back up.” He sighed.
“John, come back next week, and I have a homework assignment for you. Look around and see how many old, fat people you see. Then tell me if you really want to carry the weight in to your late 50′s.”
I went back next week with a different outlook.
“Are you ready to do something drastic?”
I asked, “How drastic, like an operation?”
“No. My wife is a doctor across the parking lot at Go Figure. She will put you on a serious weight loss program. Don’t do it unless you are serious. If you do it halfheartedly you will fail.”
I decided I was 10 out of 10 on commitment and I was going to do it. On February 18, I stopped in to see Shannon and Fonda at Go Figure of Winter Park. The next day, I began a stringently controlled diet program that allowed me 500 calories a day. Yes, that’s 500. But I could add in calories equal to my daily exercise.
I started walking more, and running short two to three minute intervals, and eventually worked up to a 5K course I mapped out in my neighborhood. I started Waterford Runners and Riders, a non-profit group to encourage running in Waterford Lakes and other parts of East Orlando.
Running takes its toll on my knees, though. Riding my sidewalk bike was much lower impact, but I wanted more. I traded my old 10-speed in at Bike Works and purchased a road bike.
Bike Works suggested the Eastside Cycling Club that left the YMCA in Avalon Park every Saturday morning. I caught up with the group on Waterford Chase Parkway and managed to stay with them only five miles. Over the next few months, the club helped me to train and upgrade my equipment for longer rides.
I also visited Nutrishop in Orlando and was fortunate enough to meet owner Frank Marinaccio. Frank helped me design a custom supplement program that fit in with Go Figure and was targeted to running and cycling. He consulted professional Tri-athlete Jonathan Holler on what I should be eating and drinking before, during and after my exercise periods.
The results have been fantastic. In seven months I lost 70 pounds. My initial target was only 50, but as I got down to 240, I realized I needed to be in the 215 to 220 range.
Over the next few months my cycling prowess grew. It took time to get used to sitting on that saddle for long periods. It took lots of exercise and proper nutrition to build up the leg muscles. The stamina to run a 100 mile event didn’t come immediately. It took practice with the groups to learn to ride “in the peloton” and stay in the draft.
Today, January 9, 2012, I weighed in at 218 pounds. I have run many 5Ks, and gotten my time down to 29:10, which is below my goal of 30 minutes. I have ridden in five large, organized cycling events, two of which were over 100 miles in length. I have competed in every one of our club’s monthly Time Trial series.
I can truly say that I am a changed man. I get great satisfaction out of telling people, “I’m half the man I used to be!”
Article by John Tenney