|Here is me at SDCC July 2007
550 lbs size 58 pants
|Here is me in March 2010
305 lbs size 38 pants
By Mrs. Sam Wilson
A little over two years ago my husband, Sam Wilson, was in trouble. He weighed about 550 pounds, got winded after going up a flight of stairs, kept falling asleep at the wheel, and it’s no exaggeration when I say I was not sure he was going to make it to forty. Many friends and loved ones, myself included, tried to express concern about his health, but he wasn’t ready to make the change.
A little over two years ago Diedra, the manager at our gym, approached me, as I was getting ready to work out after work. She told me that she and the owner were concerned about Sam; they wanted to help. Our conversation led to Deidra talking to Sam, and her genuine, caring concern was key in starting him on an astounding transformation.
Since that day Sam has lost over 245 pounds and counting. We constantly get asked how he did it, how he managed such an incredible feat. People, quite rightly, find him an inspiration and want to learn from his success.
People make millions of dollars every year on fad diets, products, scams which promise this kind of dramatic result. Research consistently shows, however that these diets do not work. Here is a summary of what did work, and it has not always been easy. It’s a complete and permanent lifestyle change.
- See a doctor. Get any other health concerns taken care of so that you don’t risk injury, heart attacks, etc. Farhat had terrible sleep apnea, and without having a sleep study and getting a CPAP machine so that he can get good rest at night, none of this would have been possible.
- See a nutritionist. I work in a hospital and was able talk to one of the nutritionists there to get started, but a scheduled appointment with a nutritionist is a great way to really understand what you’re eating now, what a portion size is, and to work out a healthy, balanced diet which won’t leave you feeling deprived.
- See a personal trainer. Not all trainers are created equal. Look for certifications like NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist), ACE (American Council on Exercise), or for someone with a BS in Exercise Physiology. Farhat has been an athlete all his life, I am a Physical Therapist, and we’re lucky to have a number of trainers among our friends to fill in any gaps.
- No cheat days. Cheat days start with eating one dessert, to eating a double cheeseburger, French fries and dessert, to cheat weekends, to cheat weeks to falling back into old habits. This is not a diet. This is a lifestyle change and therefore needs to be something you can maintain. With help from your nutritionist, build moderate portions of foods you really enjoy into your plan so you don’t feel deprived.
- Make a plan and stick to it. Every Saturday morning we plan what we’re going to eat for the week, then spend Sunday afternoon cooking. That way there’s no question of what’s for dinner, no excuse for picking up take-out on the way home because we’re both tired after work. A healthy, balanced dinner is ready in less than five minutes. And a home-cooked meal always tastes better than restaurant fare.
- Find other ways to socialize that don’t focus on food. This is probably the hardest thing. Our society celebrates everything with either food or alcohol, and people tend to feel like you’re judging them when you choose not to partake. Alcohol, in addition to having lots of calories, also effects the way you metabolize food, so avoid it or treat a drink like you would a high-calorie dessert in your food plan.
- Surround yourself with people who share, or at least support your lifestyle. We’re lucky that we both choose a healthy lifestyle and can support each other even when our friends and co-workers are pushing brownies and “happy hours.”