JR Griggs, a 36 year old man from Tampa, Florida weighed 250 pounds at 5’9” tall.
All throughout his life, JR was always overweight, even during high school as a football player.
When JR took control of how much food he was eating and being more conscious of portion sizes, JR lost 50 pounds.
JR says that he didn’t have a specific event which got him motivated, “For one it was always kind of a subconscious thing.
Two, it was the health benefits of it, making sure I’m healthy and I guess giving myself the best chance to live a long healthy life.
It was something I always wanted to do, but then it just took little steps in my life just like the incident where my wife wanted to get healthier and so we just started doing some different things.”
“I had started jogging and was doing some other things.
I was a fitness nut going into college and coming out of college.
Then life got busy, the kids and all that and I just never felt right not being in that mindset again.”
“It’s weird, because I think I always did,” says JR who describes that even as a high school football player with all of that physical activity and training he always had a bit of a gut.
“I would say the shocking part was that I never realized how big I had gotten.”
“So I don’t know.
I looked in the mirror every day thinking, oh, my gosh, I have to fix this.
It was as if life was so busy I didn’t even realize that I had gotten as big as I did.
It almost seemed like I was fine, but there was a little bit of me that was saying, no, I’ve got to lose some weight.
I’ve got to get back down.
I don’t know, it almost felt normal if that makes sense, like it almost felt like, oh, this is just who I am.
It wasn’t until I lost the weight that I looked back and was like, wow, how did I let it get that far?”
At the start of his weight loss journey, JR started jogging.
He was able to run a 5K, but hadn’t lost a pound.
One of the first things JR did after that was to stop drinking soda.
“I used to drink a lot of soda,” he says. “Cutting that out was pretty huge.
That was what got me that initial bump of about 15 to 18 pounds.”
From there JR turned to the MyFitnessPal app to track his calorie intake.
He describes using the app, “It’s almost like a game because you have a set amount of calories and then you try to be under those calories each day or at those calories each day for your weight goal.
If you’re over you could take a 30 minute walk and subtract the calories from that.
That was the majority of the weight loss. Out of everything I did, every fitness step I took or any cleansing or any other thing I tried, that was the majority.”
“I’m not talking about super strict dieting.
There were days I could eat a double cheeseburger as long as it was under my calories.
Maybe I went late on breakfast or late on lunch so I could have more for dinner.
I wasn’t even sticking to a particular plan, I was just watching the calories and that made the biggest difference.”
As JR started to lose weight, it motivated him to exercise more and eventually he got a membership to a gym.
While the exercise is important, JR gives most of the credit to counting calories.
He says, “I have to tell you it was mainly food.
I can’t tell you how much I recommend My Fitness Pal as a way to just track and start monitoring.”
Successful weight loss often comes as the result of a change in mindset.
JR shares his perspective, “It was getting the knowledge of how my daily habits were affecting my weight.
I’ve always had the ability to commit to things, but I don’t know, it just wasn’t a priority.
So I had to make it a priority.
I had to make it a daily part of my life. I had to remember each day this is what I’m doing.”
“Then for every pound that came off the mindset and motivation just increased.
I mean, every time you’d see the pounds come off a little bit it would just motivate me more and give me a stronger mindset that I have to keep going with this.”
JR sticks to a pattern.
Six days a week he keeps to his diet, but on Saturdays he allows himself to cheat.
“That was huge because I wasn’t telling myself no.
I was saying, hey, in a couple days,” JR says about keeping cravings under control.
“It was to be able to say, “Oh, I’ll have that this weekend then.
If I just wanted to pig out on some pancakes or French toast I would just make sure that was going to happen on Saturday.”
The change he made to take a closer look at how he ate also helped control temptation.
“Then the other thing was I think as I lost the weight,” JR says. “I learned more about what a proper portion was and how to control some of those things it just got easier.
It just got easier to take less of a serving or to not go back for a second serving.
It became more of like second nature to me.”
JR tells a story about how he used to eat four slices of pizza, some garlic knots and half a two liter bottle of soda every week.
“Now I can’t eat more than two slices of pizza.
I can’t even do it,” he says.
“So once my body adjusted it became easier because I’d have to force the food down to try to eat.
I think that was a big part was just the adjustment, the mindset, the feeling of wanting to eat.
My body started craving healthier items, less junk food, even on my cheat days.
My cheat days aren’t as bad now as they were back then because I just don’t have the cravings.”
“I like to jog on my cardio days and so I do three days a week of jogging,” JR says about what exercise he does for his body.
“We try to average about 5K each time, so about three miles each run.
I’ve got my son running with me too now, he likes to run.
So we do that on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and then the other three days are at the gym.
I do a weight lifting program where I basically do a whole body workout in the gym three days a week with weights.”
JR doesn’t follow a strict diet.
For him it’s more about keeping things in moderation and portions under control.
JR skips breakfast and just has coffee.
He tries to not eat until around 12:00.
“I go most of the morning without any food because [the coffee] fills me up,” JR says.
“Then at lunch, it’s generally leftovers from dinner.
So whatever we had for dinner, I’d put aside a portion for me for lunch the next day.”
“Then for dinner, it’s whatever we’ve got going on, but we don’t eat out a lot, number one.
We don’t eat at restaurants a lot.
We typically eat a lot of chicken.
I would say pasta, but not as much as we used to.
We try to get veggies with our dinner.
It’s not necessarily a set plan, it’s just watching how much of it I eat and how much of the bad meals we’re eating.”
While in the process of losing weight and tracking what he ate on MyFitnessPal, he measured portion sizes.
JR would read the package to find the serving size and used that to measure out his food.
It helped him change what he saw as a reasonable portion.
“The number one thing I would say is knowledge,” JR says. “My eyes got used to understanding what an actual portion was, what a serving size was to where now if my wife puts something on a plate and it just looks like it’s too much I’ll know instantly that’s too much food.
I would say my brain adjusted to how much food I should be eating in a single serving so that was helpful.”
“Not going for a second helping, that’s huge because there’s times where I’ll get a serving and I’ll feel like eating more.
I don’t need to I just feel like it and so I just have to resist that urge to get that second helping.
Typically I try to go with what a serving size is on the package or eyeball it and I think over time I got used to it.”
Remember, motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.