Family Man Engineers Transformation

 I feel mentally sharper. I've improved my performance at work. At home, I'm able to take care of physical tasks. That wouldn't have happened before I lost weight. 
*People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
Mike had been overweight for so long, pain and discomfort were normal for him. He had hobbies, but being active and healthy weren't part of his routine. With the support of his wife and weight-loss partner, Mike has transformed from leading a sedentary lifestyle to being an active participant in life and a solid role model for his young son. What was life like before you lost weight?

Mike: Before joining Weight Watchers, I was extremely overweight. I started packing on extra pounds in high school and college. I overate, made poor food choices and gained almost 200 pounds.

I tried to dismiss my weight as just part of who I was. I have a desk job as an electrical engineer, and my hobbies include computers, video games, gadgets, cars and competing in a motor sport called “autocross.” I could do those things OK, leading me to downplay the effect that being overweight had on my life.

However, I had a tough time with many daily tasks and activities. I was never comfortable. I often had pain in my back, shoulders and feet. It also negatively impacted relationships with family, friends and coworkers.

My wife, Rose, was also overweight. Our dreams of starting a family and chasing toddlers around were daunting. What sparked you to turn your life around?

Mike: Rose suggested we join Weight Watchers together. I didn't want to at first. I'd lost weight before, fell short of goals and then gained it all back and more. I didn't want to fail again. When she said she was going to join with or without me, I realized we needed to be a team. Our new life began. How has this been different than previous weight-loss attempts?

Mike:Ten years ago, I made an effort to lose weight and did really well. I got to the point where I felt better but stopped the diet. The weight rolled back on. My diets were always a case of restriction. The focus was on what you can't eat. It wasn't sustainable.

The Weight Watchers program really clicked with us. It was like a game, keeping score and strategizing with PointsPlus® values. We could follow the Good Health Guidelines and still enjoy a treat! Neither of us were picky eaters, but we started finding substitutions for less-healthy foods and discovered we like things like tofu and squash.

Before joining Weight Watchers, I tended to eat more bread and heavier meats like beef. I'd have a big muffin or omelet for breakfast. For lunch, I'd grab pasta or a grilled sandwich from the cafeteria at work. Rose and I ate out often — burgers, steaks or pizza.

We can still enjoy that type of food, but we've become more adventurous. We branch out to new restaurants. Rose has become a wonderful cook. We'll eat vegetarian. We experiment eating foods we've never heard of before. Quinoa is now part of our vocabulary. Sushi has become my favorite food. We even introduced it to our son. He loves using chopsticks. How has your wife's support benefited your progress?

Mike: It was really a team effort for us to lose 300 pounds. We leaned on each other, supported each other. We have accountability in meetings, but we keep each other accountable every day. As a couple, that makes us stronger. My wife laughs about how we both can fit into her wedding dress now. What can you do now that you couldn't before?

Mike: Everything about my senses has improved. I notice that while participating in autocross. My responses and ability to drive are improved. My wife jokes that my face no longer looks like it's stuffed in the helmet. In fact, I need to buy a new helmet. I'm driving better and winning races.

I feel mentally sharper. It's improved my performance at work. At home, I'm able to take care of physical tasks like installing shelves and moving large furniture. That wouldn't have happened before I lost weight. How has your weight loss aided you as a father?

Mike: It's fun to play with my 2-year-old son. We run around the yard. I carry him on my shoulders. Before, I could barely carry myself. Planning to have a family was a big motivator to lose weight. I've felt a responsibility to him — to be a teacher and role model. I don't want to think what it would've been like had we not lost weight. He keeps us busy, and I'm thankful I can keep up — well, almost keep up. In what ways has this success reshaped your outlook?

Mike: I see this as a new way of life. This is redefining normal for me. It's not a diet. I'm not saying, "Hey, I reached my goal. I'm done." This is the way to live. Weight Watchers is part of that. As Lifetime members, we'll keep going to meetings, keep being accountable. I hope we can inspire others. How have people reacted?

Mike: The reaction of friends and family has just been phenomenal. The best part is running into colleagues I haven't seen in years who won't recognize me. They give me a shocked look. "Mike!" It's fun. Is there a lesson you learned at the meetings that stands out?

Mike: My Leader, Pam, emphasized that every choice has a benefit and a price. Food can be delicious and satisfying. But you have to think about it: What's the price? Is it worth having a half-pound bacon cheeseburger? It's going to taste good, but what's the price? She also taught us to savor our food. What would you say to motivate other men looking to lose weight?

Mike: My advice to men who are thinking of joining or just getting started:
Keep looking forward, discover new foods and develop sustainable healthy habits that completely replace the old ones. Find things that you enjoy doing and eating. If you have a partner, be supportive and keep each other accountable.

And stick with it. It took my wife and me three and a half years to lose over 300 pounds together. But we reached our goals, became Lifetime members and love our new life.

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40s, Meetings, Male