I can’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t sedentary. As a kid, I was more into playing the saxophone than playing sports, and I didn’t know anything about proper nutrition. I also snacked a lot—a habit that continued into my twenties. Over the years, the weight piled on, and I sank further and further into denial. I was like a person who swipes their credit card but doesn’t look at their statement. I never stepped on a scale and I tried to avoid being in photos because I didn’t want to be confronted with the fact that I was overweight.
My weight was suffocating me
Things came to a breaking point in early 2015, when I reached 270 pounds. Sure, I was happy: I was married to a wonderful woman, I was a father of three; I had a good job working for Apple, and my photography—a long-time hobby of mine—was starting to be published internationally. But I was also spending 10 hours a day at a desk, and eating a lot of fast food—mainly pizza and breakfast combos from Tim Horton’s. I had also developed sleep apnea, and would sleep on the couch sometimes so as not to scare my wife when I woke up gasping for breath in the middle of the night. It was my choice: It wasn’t fair that my lack of health should harm her, too.
A fitness challenge at work got me running
In June of that year, I decided to participate in Apple’s annual company-wide fitness challenge. My wife had recently completed a marathon, and she was the motivational spark I needed to take up running. I also wanted to be closer to her—I was proud of what she’d accomplished, and she was proud of me, but I wanted to build something together, and I thought that running would bring us even closer. Thanks to her encouragement, I ran almost every night on a treadmill in our basement, and the pounds started to melt off. In the first few months, I lost about 20 pounds.
An app kept me going
I’m a numbers kind of guy, which was why cutting calories appealed to me early on. I downloaded the Lose It! app, plugged in my weight and how many pounds I wanted to lose (two a week), and made sure my calories didn’t exceed the number on the screen. I traded my extra-large iced coffees for small ones and the breakfast sandwiches for eggs with mozzarella cheese. I also started lifting weights recently, so I pay a lot more attention to my macros—I’m focused on building muscle, so I’ve started drinking protein shakes and eating fish like tilapia or lean cuts of chicken. Once I understood the fundamentals of energy balance, I felt agency over my ability to control my body fat that I’d never felt before.
In 2018, my wife and I decided to move to Florida, which has been like a second honeymoon to us. Now, we go to the gym together four days a week; I run with her, and she recently started weight training with me. It’s like our lives have become even more entwined, and we’re more in love than ever. This past Thanksgiving (also my birthday), we ran a 5K together where we paced each other and crossed the finish line together.
I’m also the healthiest I’ve ever been: My weight is 170 pounds, my body fat percentage is hovering around 11 percent, and my sleep apnea has disappeared. Now that I have this new body, I have so many more goals I want to hit: everything from climbing the rope at my local YMCA to completing the Skydive Ultra, a choose-your-own distance race that starts out with a skydive. Because hey, why should the sky be the limit?
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