Meet Joe Blaur, a 35 year old retail manager in South Carolina.
At his heaviest, Joe was 300 pounds, but after two years of adopting a healthier lifestyle he weighs 195 pounds.
Joe used a combination of smart goal setting and a calorie tracking app to lose the weight.
Joe talks about his family’s history with weight struggle and his father’s Type II Diabetes as underlying factors in his desire to lose weight.
But, one last little thing pushed Joe into action.
“I also got a letter from my health insurance company stating nicely that I was overweight,” Joe says about the financial motivation.
“They encouraged me to participate in a Health and Wellness program that they would pay for.
If I didn’t choose to participate in that program, then I would be charged an extra $50 a month, so an additional $600 a year premium for my health insurance.
So, that’s kind of initially what kind of got me motivated to start looking at how much weight I had gained over the years.”
That letter was just a nudge.
For Joe, the primary factor was really seeing his parents struggle with weight.
“I didn’t really have any negative feelings about myself,” he says. Self-image wasn’t a weight loss motivator for Joe.
“I just didn’t want to continue to struggle with my weight as my parents did and other people that I’ve seen struggle with their weight.”
To lose weight, Joe ran.
At first, just a little bit and as the days turned into weeks he kept running further and further.
“Well, initially I started out that I could barely run a mile,” Joe says.
“I ran a mile six days a week, Monday through Saturday.
I’d get up about an hour before work and I would run a mile.
Then about a month into it, I was able to push myself to do a mile and a half.”
Joe made steady progress.
He ran further and lost 50 pounds.
Then around the one-year mark, Joe hit a wall.
“After I plateaued,” Joe explains. “I started not only running the three miles, six days a week I started using a calorie app to track my calories.
So, that helped me to continue to make me more aware of how many calories I was taking in in addition to the exercise, which helped me to get my weight down even more.”
“Then late this Spring of 2015,” Joe says about losing the last bit of weight. “There was a group of us about 12 or 13 people that entered into a weight loss challenge, threw in some money, and that kind of really motivated me to lose the extra 30 or 40 pounds because of the money on the line.”
The challenge did cause Joe to make some changes to his diet, but he says he also increased how much he ran, “Towards the end of the program I started running five miles a day and that’s what really helped me lose the rest of the 100 pounds that I’ve lost.”
Rather than adopt a new or restrictive diet, Joe used the calorie tracking app (MyFitnessPal) to control how much he ate.
The app let Joe know how much he could eat to meet his weight loss goals.
“With the calorie calculator,” says Joe, explaining how he used it.
“I put in my goals and based upon, hey, this is what I wanted to weigh, it gave me a certain amount of calories.
And, based upon how much exercise I was doing, it would adjust how many calories I could take in.
I tried to keep under my calories and so that helped me to where I dropped another 10 or 15 pounds.”
When the weight loss challenge came around in Spring 2015, Joe did make a few changes to his diet.
“Within that weight loss challenge,” Joe says.
“You had to eat at least three servings of vegetables a day, two servings of fruits and also had to limit your sugary treat day to one a week.”
“Absolutely,” Joe says.
“I don’t enjoy necessarily running, but I enjoy running more than I enjoyed being overweight.
I had to make a determination that, hey, I’m not going to continue to be overweight and these are the things I’m going to need.
I have to change my behavior in order to make that change.”
The weight loss challenge helped Joe change his eating habits.
His eating habits make it easier to avoid the temptation.
“It’s been such a routine for me,” Joe says about the healthier diet he adopted from the challenge.
“I don’t feel well if I don’t eat my three vegetables.
If I indulge myself in a bunch of pizza or whatever I feel queasy.
I just don’t feel healthy.
I mean, the way I feel is just not the same.
I just can’t eat as much as I used to just because of the change in my eating habits.”
“Normally for breakfast,” Joe says. “I have about a cup and a half of milk.
I throw in about a cup of frozen fruit, maybe strawberry, whatever, just a cup of frozen fruit and I throw in a scoop of protein powder.
I blend that up and I grab a protein shake for breakfast.”
“Then for lunch I usually have two to two and a half cups of salad, spring mix or some sort of salad with a handful of carrots and about two to three tablespoons of a salad dressing.
In addition to that I have one or two Greek yogurts depending on the day for lunch.”
“Then at night, whatever my wife is making I have a small portion depending on how many calories I have left for the day.
That’s typically what I have on a daily basis.”
Joe’s approach makes it easy to integrate his healthy eating plan with the rest of his family.
He simply eats what his wife eats and uses the calorie tracking app to let him know how much he can have.
Other than the protein powder at breakfast, Joe supplements his diet with a daily health vitamin (for men) and 16 milligrams of Mega 3, 6 and 9.
To your health and fitness success!