Starting weight (March 2016): 373.7 pounds
Current weight (May 2018): 208.1 pounds
Total lost: 165.6 pounds
Jody is a health coach for OptaVia, so if you would like to get in touch with him here is his info (email, Twitter, website: jodygenessy.com) He has made amazing changes and you will see below!
1. What Inspired you to make a change?
I was about 210 pounds overweight, and everything about my life was hard. Showering, rolling over in bed, tying my shoes, walking, breathing, getting in and out of my car, sitting in seats, playing with my four kids, controlling myself, being happy, having hope, caring, loving others.
It was all hard. I was on an airplane — flying from Toronto to Detroit en route to cover a Utah Jazz game as part of my sportswriter duties — and decided to write what it was like being the fat guy on the plane.
(http://jodygenessy.com/the-fat-guy-on-a-plane/) Spoiler alert: Like my life, it was miserable. I came home from that business trip and knew I had to change. I wanted to get off of the sidelines of life as a spectator — as I was for my job — and start to really live again. Digging deep into my soul was an important step.
2. What were some of your biggest challenges mentally/emotionally with losing weight?
If I had a problem, food was the solution. If I didn’t have a problem, food was still the solution. Sad? Eat. Happy? Eat. Bored? Eat some more. Name an emotion, and I’ll find a menu item at a fast-food joint, candy aisle or bakery that pairs with it nicely.
I lacked self-control and simply turned to food to solve my problems. That, of course, only temporarily satisfies. You pay a great toll for instant gratification, but in the moment you just don’t care because it gives you a quick fix. I was a druggie. Food was my drug. And I was a slave to my hunger.
I’m afraid to find out how loudly I cried as a baby when I needed a bottle, because I went to great lengths to get food or drink in my belly the very moment it told my brain, “I’M HUNGRY!!!”
3. What were some of the biggest things that helped you out?
Writing that blog and coming to terms with my misery helped. I also made a long list of reasons why I wanted to lose weight and become healthy.
Along with that, the biggest thing that helped was joining a health program that offered support, a supportive and inspiring community, taught me healthy habits and provided a great nutritional foundation with tools for the weight-loss phase and a program for long-term success.
I was at the point where I needed some structure with some variety, and my optimal health program offered just that.
4. How did you stay motivated and inspired to stay on course and keep losing weight?
At the time, I had a massive beard — an outer reflection of inner turmoil, honestly — so I decided to shave off my beard one stroke and one WHY at a time. Connecting with my motivation was also powerful.
That was the stuff that was going to push me through the rough times — when the gas-station nachos or fast-food burger and fries attempted to seduce me in with their siren calls. Or when I got frustrated that the scale wasn’t moving fast enough and upset that I wasn’t skinny after eating a half-cup of steamed broccoli.
I had a lot of reasons to lose weight, but I didn’t want to just not be miserable anymore. I wanted to be active and healthy and happy. I also wanted to help inspire others to improve their health — or try to accomplish other goals — through health coaching, motivational speaking, inspirational videos, vulnerable keep-it-real writing on my blog and living my life out loud on social media. I knew people were watching me, and I wanted to show them that change is possible.
Now I’m excited to take my health to the next step — to lose the final 40-50 pounds so I can say, “I’m not morbidly obese. I’m not obese. I’m not even overweight. I’m healthy!” I haven’t worn a suit since I went on a service mission for my church 26 years ago.
I have a tailor lined up to make me one as soon as I reach my goal weight, hopefully this summer. I want to look sharp and sexy! (Some people want to lose weight so they can wear fewer clothes — swimsuits — but I’m totally good with losing weight to wear more clothes.)
5. What foods did you give up and what foods did you start eating?
The weight-loss phase of my program is low-glycemic, so I gave up sweets and treats (for the most part). My program isn’t low-carb, but it’s lower-carb, so I’m not eating bread, pasta and stuff like that, either. I bid farewell to high-fat foods too.
We eat six small meals with a good balance of micronutrients on my plan, and five of those come from the program (scientifically formulated, clinically proven meal replacements with great nutrition — from shakes, bars and brownies, to pastas, potatoes and pancakes) and then we eat one healthy meal with whole food, comprised of non-starchy veggies and lean protein.
As we get to our goal, all healthy food is re-introduced into our diet and maintenance is a balance of healthy food and snacks.
6. What daily routines did you get rid of to lose weight?
Stock in the company that makes chocolate doughnuts for gas stations in my area probably dropped big-time because I stopped buying them — and bid farewell to the nachos, too. I had to stop snacking between meals. I no longer had seconds or thirds or the entire dish of food.
I stopped treating fast-food drive-thru lanes like a NASCAR event. (If I got fast food, it was either a grilled chicken salad or a protein-style burger with a lettuce wrap instead of buns.) Just to prove that I’m not a complete health freak yet … I still drink Diet Coke, dang it.
7. What daily routines did you add to help you lose weight?
My program is simple. You just eat the five fuelings — that’s what we call meal replacements — and the Lean & Green meal, drink at least 64 ounces of water (I’d try to get 100 ounces or more) and then let your body work its magic with good nutrition and a medically approved caloric deficit.
So that’s what I did — and still do, as I’m now trying to take the next step to get to my goal. It’s not always easy, but it is simple. I also try to be more active — walking, taking stairs and stuff like that. I’ll incorporate more traditional exercise — cardio and resistance training — when I start adding healthy calories back into my diet after reaching my goal.
8. Was their any resources (books, websites, people) you used to helped you know what to do and inspire you to do it?
My program has an awesome (private) Facebook group with thousands of like-minded people on this journey with me that is an amazing asset. We also have weekly video calls that provide some inspiration (shared success stories) and some education (a weekly lesson), so those were important.
But I’d try to keep my motivational fire stoked by looking at before-and-after photos, watching weight-loss shows, helping others (my clients), writing my own blog and connecting with my program’s community to buoy me up. Sometimes I lift them, and sometimes they lift me. It’s pretty awesome when you can help each other out.
9. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve noticed in your life since you’ve become heathlier?
The women won’t leave me alone, and that’s hard to deal with as a married man. Kidding! Seriously, I feel like somebody showed me where the on button was for my body and my soul. I feel AMAZING! And I’ve kept 165 pounds off for a full year, which is just awesome — and, quite frankly, unbelievable for me.
Remember how I said everything used to be hard when I was morbidly obese? Well, I’m still 50 pounds overweight according to the BMI charts, but I feel skinny for me! And everything has become easy. Let me give you an example. One day I was walking into a convenience store when I looked down and noticed my shoe was untied.
I stopped, reached down and tied my shoe. Sounds like something you wouldn’t even think about, right? Well, I did think about it and actually pumped my fists. You might’ve thought I was Rocky at the top of those stairs in Philadelphia. I used to not tie my shoes sometimes because it was such a pain in the butt.
I seriously felt like a sumo wrestler doing a gymnastics routine putting my socks and shoes on when I was in the 300s. I also no longer have to make the silly joke “Can I have a More of Me to Love belt?” when I get on airplanes. Not wearing seat-belt extenders is awesome! So is not spilling into the aisle and not taking up part of my neighbor’s seat.
Getting in and out of cars is simple now. I can easily take two steps at a time now when going up one flight of stairs used to be enough to make me sweaty and out of breath.
More than anything? I feel healthy. I feel like a better dad. I feel alive. I feel happy — or am at least in a much better place to deal with life’s struggles when not happy. And, maybe best of all, I feel hope.
To get in touch with Jody and his program as a health coach here is his website: jodygenessy.com