Name: Chris Naylor
City: Luton, UK
Height: 5’ 7”
Before Weight: 231 pounds
After Weight: 159 pounds
My weight gain was a gradual process and probably began in 1990 when I weighed about 170 pounds. In 1990, my work required me to make many long motoring trips to all corners of the UK, so I was sitting in the car for long periods and spending about 20 percent of each year in hotels. To keep me energized for these long trips, I snacked in the car and ate most meals in the hotels and on the road. That job lasted 10 years and, during that time, I tried at least three different diets, none of which worked. When I moved on from that job, I carried on eating in the same manner and, unfortunately, I went through a divorce, which further worsened my eating habits. Rather than having food cooked for me, or cooking it myself, I would have four or five take-out meals every week and often visited the local bar to drink beer; this added even more calories to my daily intake, which only contributed to my weight gain.
Additionally, the death of my younger sister left me completely devastated and feeling like I didn't care about anything, especially my weight. The anti-depressants that I was prescribed probably didn't help the weight situation either. I turned to food for comfort.
I knew I was gaining weight when I had to keep on buying bigger clothes, going from my original size medium to a L, then XL, and, after that, 2XL. But when I was on the verge of moving up to 3XL, it finally hit me that I needed to do something. Rather than continuing to grow in size and weight, I chose my other option: It was time to lose weight.
I started getting very bad pains in my back and in my knees. Initially, the doctor thought that it might be the onset of arthritis. I was sent for an x-ray which came back clear. It was then that I knew that I was asking my joints to carry more than they were designed to carry. It was at that stage that I knew I had to lose weight.
In the beginning, I was concerned about how I would go about losing weight. Most importantly, I was not prepared to give up my social life. Additionally, whatever I did eat had to be enjoyable. I also knew I needed something to keep me focused on the task.
I cut out potatoes, rice, pasta, bread and cheese from my diet first. I also exercised portion control and halved each meal. I ate oats and fruit for breakfast to give me energy for the day ahead, a boxed salad from the local store to take away the hunger pangs at lunch and then usually some kind of meat or fish dish with vegetables and fruit for my evening meal. Every meal that I had, I recorded my calorie intake to ensure that I was on target.
Because I was not prepared to give up my social life and the alcoholic beverages that went with it, I was breaking even on calories (based on the advisory amounts issued by the health authorities) but that was still a lot better than I had been doing before I started the diet. I knew then that I had to burn more calories so I started to exercise. I started my workouts with 15 minutes on an exercise bike in my house and a 30-minute walk everyday during my lunch break. As I got fitter, the amount of time I was able to spend on the exercise bike increased and, within three months, I was happily exercising an hour a day on the bike whilst still having my 30 minute walk at lunchtime.
To keep me focused, it was necessary to be able to watch my progress. Since I was using a smartphone, I found MedHelp's mobile diet app, My Diet Diary – Calorie Counter, which tracked my weight, water, exercise and food intakes. I liked that My Diet Diary seamlessly synced with the weight tracker on the MedHelp website, making it easier to track my weight anytime, anywhere, at the same time storing all of my weight information in one simple, central place. It seemed like the perfect solution: every time I ate, I recorded it; every time I exercised, I recorded it. I could see at a glance how I was doing.
The focus that this app gave me prevented me from giving up. Hitting my target in May 2012 was one of the greatest feelings I have had in my life. Maintaining my weight in the months that have followed have given me even more satisfaction, even though I have now re-introduced some of the foods that I banned myself from having.
My back and knee pains have gone. I am more flexible, more fit and more alert. For many years I had been treated for asthma, using my inhalers many times a day, and the aerobic exercise that I have been doing has made my lungs work much better. In addition to improved lung capacity, the use of my inhalers is almost a thing of the past. All other medication that I had been on, including the anti-depressants, have been discontinued. So, all in all, by losing weight, I have become fitter and healthier that than I had been, probably since my early thirties.
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