Meet Mike Stenger, a 25 year old man, working as a writer and editor while living in San Diego.
In his five year weight loss journey, Mike went from 316 pounds to his current weight of 225 pounds.
Mike describes the moment that caused him to change his life, “Physically I just felt miserable and I kind of had this wakeup call moment.”
“Five years or so ago I went to a conference, You know how it is when you’re around friends?
People are taking pictures and they upload and tag them onto Facebook.
I was getting all these notifications for these pictures I was tagged in and I was looking at myself and was like, wow, I’m really that big?”
“It never really occurred to me just how out of hand my weight had gotten.
So, at that point I said I have to do something.
I had a checkup with my doctor just a few months before and he said I really needed to do something because I’m not going to live that long if I continue the way I was going.”
While family were supportive of what he was doing, but from a weight loss perspective Mike got a lot of support from online communities.
“Mostly just online friends and people I met who were doing similar things as far as dieting goes,” he says.
“There’s various forums and Twitter was actually a pretty popular support system, because I would find people through Twitter and we would check in with each other.”
“There were a few people also who I kept in contact with via email and we would message each other back and forth throughout the week keeping tabs on each other, kind of like having accountability partners.”
“I realized early on I had a very negative attitude about the whole thing,” Mike says about transitioning from an old mindset to a new one in order to be successful.
“I had to be more positive because otherwise I would have failed miserably.
I also do meditation so that helped me to be more conscious of my thoughts.
I tried to pay more attention to the negative thoughts and feelings and tried to spin them in a positive way and did my best to stick with that.”
He also used the famous Ben Franklin quotation, “Eat to live, not live to eat,” to change how he looked at food and its role in his life.
Mike uses a strategy that many others have used to deal with being tempted, “I’m not always successful with controlling my temptations, but one thing that has helped me a lot is with this low carb diet I get a cheat day every week.
So, one day a week I get to pig out and eat whatever I want.”
“By reminding myself I have this cheat day it really, really helps with me not cheating throughout the week because if I’m craving something during the week I can write it down and then have it on my cheat day.”
Mike recently changed from running on his own three or four days a week to working out with a friend and personal trainer three days a week.
“Mostly there’s a lot of high intensity interval training,” he explains.
“Basically exercises where you’re going all out for a minute and then you take a quick break and then you’re back at.
Mostly just a lot of exercising involving using your body weight.”
“There’s push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, squats, lunges, there’s a bunch of different things.
It changes depending on what day it is and there’s also a decent amount of other cardio stuff such as quite often we’ll do sprints and some light jogging.”
On his healthy eating plan, there are no white carbohydrates, no grains and also in the beginning he excluded fruit.
Recently, he’s been reintroducing fruit to his diet.
Mike provides some details about his meals, “For breakfast I’ll have three eggs, beans, either Great Northern Beans, pinto beans, black beans and a banana, so that will be my breakfast.
I’ll usually chop up some vegetables to mix in with the eggs to make it a little tastier, add some hot sauce for flavor.”
“Lunch and dinner are pretty much exactly the same.
It’s usually lean pork loin or a chicken thigh baked, some sort of beans and then vegetables.
Basically whatever I have in the house I will have for lunch or dinner.
Since I live in California we have access to all this amazing produce and avocados are everywhere.
To add some flavor to the beans I’ll chop up a little bit of avocado, sprinkle on some sea salt and that’s pretty much it.”
His diet is high in protein, which Mike says keeps him full and curbs his appetite for several hours.
He often doesn’t feel the need for snacks because of this.
The limited diet works for Mike.
Cheat days add variety, but Mike says he doesn’t get tired of eating the same things almost every day.
Mike also says that since the minimal preparation time of his meals makes it easy to stay with it.