I'm new to the forum. Just posted in the intro section of Maintainers. As that would suggest, I'm currently maintaining, but I wanted to post my story and eventually some photos.
I'm a formerly obese 37-year-old guy from Kentucky. I lost about 115 lbs in 2000-01 and my wife lost 55 lbs at the same time on a low-glycemic, whole-foods diet and a program of regular exercise. Mostly hiking. We've kept it off since.
A wake-up call in the form of a health crisis was my trigger for weight loss. If I suddenly hadn't become very concerned for my health and future I wonder how long it might have taken me to realize I needed the radical shift in lifestyle that I was to adopt.
(This is the short version. I don't want to bore people with a long recounting of my journey and descriptions of my health, but feel free to ask me anything about it.)
At that time I came to an important conclusion.
I possibly had something seriously wrong with me.
Doctors could not understand what was happening to me, let alone help me. All most wanted to do was to push psychoactive drugs on me.
I knew I was a very unhealthy person.
I knew I had better do all I could for my health.
I always knew what I needed to do to lose weight.
I knew it would require a radical change in lifestyle.
Before this, I just never had a good enough reason to do it.
I significantly cut my calories immediately. At meals I filled up on foods I knew were not very calorically dense. I cut out snacks entirely. My wife, Marti was worried about me and also unhappy with her weight, so we made sort of a pact to adhere to a strict plan of low calorie meals and gradually increasing exercise. I was doing a lot of research about nutrition, never having cared much about it in the past. We were doing a sort of low- glycemic, low-fat diet. I happened across a book by a well-known gerontologist named Roy Walford. He had done enormous research on what happens to animals and people if you feed them a diet of high nutrient density food, while reducing total calories by up to 30%. Turns out they live quite a bit longer than animals fed a regular diet. He advocated a diet called CRON (Caloric Restriction with Optimum Nutrition). CRON is the only proven method by which the lifespan of animals has been shown to be significantly increased. His book (Beyond the 120 Year Diet) helped us refine our diet. It's a real bible of nutritional requirement.
We made sure we were getting what we needed while adhering to a low calorie diet of lots of vegetables, legumes, some lean meat, nuts, unsaturated oils, some low-fat dairy and a little low-glycemic whole grains (like barley and quinoa). It was a real change at first, but once we got into a routine and began to see the rewards of shrinking pant sizes, we were seriously motivated. We began hiking. We took it slow at first with low hills and short distances and worked our way up a little each day.
A the end of about 9 months I had lost 115 lbs and Marti had lost 55. We were both pretty satisfied with our level of fitness and have managed to maintain it for over 5 years now. We no longer restrict our calories at that original level, we eat the same whole foods, just more of them. It's a challenge to keep such a thing up but I may resume it soon again for health reasons.
I will add that I am no longer diabetic or hypertensive. Blood sugar and pressure dropped practically overnight when I began our regimen.
However the original health problem that initially got my attention has continued to recur over the years in various forms. A few years ago I began to have arthritis (I was only 33!) and it was decided that I have some kind of relapsing-remitting rheumatic condition. Possibly even some kind of post Lyme syndrome. I have tried various therapies for this and now manage to keep it under control most of the time.
I have no doubt I would be in far worse shape had I not been able take control of my obesity.
I also have to say I believe it would have been much more difficult (maybe impossible) without the support and solidarity of my wife. I have often said we constitute a support group of 2.
For me it all boiled down to a simple philosophy:
I had to have a reason good enough to motivate me to do the right thing for my health every day. It wasn't enough to want to look better.
Maybe everyone can find their reason.
I would like to do everything I can to help other people on this journey.
Some before and after photos posted here: