1). What was your “Aha” moment when you decided you needed to do something about your weight?
I was in the bathroom at work and I looked in the mirror, something I tended to avoid back in those days when I was hovering around 350 pounds. I never liked looking at myself and seeing what I had become, it was depressing. Mirrors, much like pictures, show the harsh reality of what we’ve become without any bias or prejudice. I stared at all the crevices on my body, the skin folds, the three chins, and everything else I had ignored in that mirror that one morning in January of 2009 in my office.
I knew I was dying. It was time to change.
2). Had you tried to lose weight in the past – were you successful when you tried?
Much like everyone else, I’ve tried countless times. I’ve always failed, never losing any noticeable weight (less than 5 pounds). They were always fad diets, diet pills, scams, etc.
3). How do you find time for yourself to concentrate on losing weight?
I made preparing meals and working out a priority, much like sleeping, brushing my teeth, etc. I had to workout first and make my lunch/dinner plans before I watched television, before I went out with friends. I had absolutely zero time either during the time I lost 144 pounds – I started a new job, became a father, moved, and toward the end, lost my father. Of course, I also blogged on the side and had to find time to go to television interviews, radio interviews, etc. Trust me when I say that if I was able to find the time to make losing weight a priority, so can you.
4). What kept you going? Were there times where you wanted to give up?
The accountability. I blogged my weight loss at 344Pounds.com. While it got national attention and I had strangers from all over the world following my weight loss journey, none of it is necessary to lose weight. All you need is a friend, a family member, or a colleague that you can talk to when you’re down, depressed, and feel like quitting. Having a support structure is crucial for losing weight.
5). How has maintenance been, is maintaining harder than losing weight?
Maintenance is much harder, as you have no goals necessarily to go through. I heard that many of the astronauts that reached the moon arrived back on earth and went through serious bouts of depression because they had accomplished what they had worked for their entire lives. While losing weight obviously doesn’t have the same impact as reaching the moon, reaching 200 pounds is something I worked toward for nearly 18 months and once I hit 199, I felt great but I also had emptiness.
The key to maintaining your weight is to constantly set new goals yourself. Not goals related to the scale, but goals like running a marathon, competing in a triathlon, trying out for a sports team, etc. All of these goals keep you focused on maintaining a high level of physical fitness.
6). Did you exercise while losing weight, if so, what do you like to do for exercise.
Absolutely. I started with the elliptical and stuck with it for a solid months. Once I lost 100 pounds and became more fit I moved to climbing stairs, treadmill, etc.
7). What are some tips that helped you a long the way?
Don’t make it all or nothing. Count calories, it’s the only true way to lose weight for life. All the fad diets in the world might work for a while, but they’re not practical in the long run. If you want a cheeseburger and fries one night, have it. You’re not on a diet, you’re living a healthy lifestyle. And, sometimes, cheeseburgers are apart of that lifestyle. Just wake up in the next morning and keep eating healthy, going to the gym, etc. Don’t even call it cheating, because it’s not cheating. It’s living.
8). Did you have people in your life that weren’t positive towards the changes you were making?
Yes, and I got rid of them.
9). What was a typical eating day like when you were heavy?
It hovered around 4,000-6,000 calories. I had probably 5-6 cans of sodas, several refills if we went out to eat. Breakfast was fast food with a large coke, lunch was a massive sandwich, fries, or something fried. I never drank water. Dinner would be a massive homecooked meal with seconds, and numerous refills, and if we went out I would have an appetizer, followed by a salad loaded with ranch, cheese, butter croutons, etc., then bread and a big main course like pasta or chicken fingers.
I wouldn’t get dessert at the restaurant, but opt to stop by McDonald’s or somewhere for a McFlurry or chocolate shake.
10). What is a typical eating day like now that you are eating healthier?
Breakfast is scrambled eggs w/ toast and jelly and a couple of strips of bacon. I’ll have a snack around 10 AM of a banana and a protein shake – lunch might be a thick turkey sandwich with some chips, tuna sandwich, or a couple peanut butter and jelly. I’ll normally have a mid-afternoon snack of mix peanuts, or beef jerky, and dinner will still be home cooked, just not fried and no seconds.
Occasionally, a few times a week, we’ll go out to dinner and get a nice meal out. I tend to stay away from fried foods, but I’ll get “quality” junk food like a steak and loaded baked potato, or a real cheeseburger made a gourmet burger shop with fresh, bountiful ingredients.
It’s all apart of a healthy lifestyle.
Thanks -Shawn Tyler Weeks
Here are links below to check on what he’s up to!! Thanks again Tyler for taking the time out for my interview – you did a fantastic job and with everything you mentioned that was going on in your life, if you can do it, anyone who wants to can! You are a true inspiration!!
The one tip he mentioned that I really like, is exercising and meal planning before watching TV, or going out, or doing other things that will prevent you from doing that!! I am going to use that tip for sure!
In case you have missed the other 14 people who are my weight loss superstars, click HERE