Bryan Gillman-Weight Loss Journey
We all have a story…sort of a choose-your-own-adventure story starting with a path. Each path we take is the beginning of a journey, which leads to roads leading to and coming from other roads. Every road will eventually come to a crossroad, a fork, a bridge, a mountain, or a cliff. We get to choose whether we turn, veer, cross, climb, or jump. Sometimes we make a wrong turn and slowly head down a dangerous road that leads to self destruction. So we try to turn, veer, cross, climb and jump our way out with every decision based on ignorance….ending up lost wondering how we got there. But, there is one more choice we often forget is an option on that road. That option is simply to STOP,then start a NEW journey.
My name is Bryan and this is my weight loss journey. In high school, being active playing football, running track, and wrestling, kept me in pretty decent shape. So, the start of my gaining weight was after graduation while working construction. The majority of our projects were out of town. The traveling and long hours led to lots of fast food and, even worse, only one or two meals per day. One meal included a large dinner, then off to bed, only to wake up and repeat the exact same eating habits. I could not understand how I was gaining weight while eating only once, maybe twice a day. After 14 years and 60 lbs, my doctor informed me that I was borderline diabetic with high blood pressure. I stopped traveling and took a job at a local construction company. Being home more and having five kids around the house only gave me access to more food. The problems continued.
In 2004, I developed a herniated disk in my neck which limited a lot of physical activity. Two years of injections, pain medications, and physical therapy led to surgery to fuse a disk in my neck. Very limited mobility, strict orders not to lift anything, and a huge list of things I could not do, led to even more weight gain. As I approached 300 pounds, lower back pain and knee problems sent me to a back specialist who discovered three bulging disks in my lower back. The doctor suggested surgery to solve the issues and the risks involved, but he also explained how losing 50 pounds would dramatically help my back and knee problems as well as my high blood pressure and blood sugar issues.
Finally realizing I had a choice to help myself and the possibility of solving all these physical ailments that had kept me in pain, I made the choice to STOPre-living this “Ground Hog Day” I was in, and start down a new path…a new journey.
I reached out to a friend who sent me a weight loss and exercise program he had recently started. That day, in the fall of 2009, I started my lifestyle change. The first step was joining a gym. Sure, I lifted weights through high school, but I did not want to do any more damage by using bad form and poor technique. I needed a knowledgeable trainer with the latest techniques to not only show me how to properly perform an exercise and give me dietary info, but also an understanding of basic body functionality.
I started walking one hour per day and eating whole foods and lean proteins with protein shakes. After getting information from my friend and some internet research on how the body works, everything started to make sense…because my body knew I was eating one time a day, it was storing fat for energy for the next day. More frequent meals triggers your metabolism to burn fat, not store it.
After only one week, I lost six pounds. I was now on a mission and wanted more results. After losing almost 20 pounds my first month, I added weights with my cardio. At three months, I had lost 45 pounds with cardio and light weights. At month six, I had lost 60 pounds and felt strong with enough core strength to work in cable machines with cardio. After one year, I had lost 106 pounds and was below 200 pounds for the first time since high school! I had my yearly check-up which showed my back was in good health, my knee felt great, and my blood pressure and all my blood work was in target range.
In mid 2011, I took my challenge down a different path. I had friends that were members at Beechmont Racquet & Fitness, so I also joined and started lifting more and concentrated on building muscle as opposed to just losing weight. That was a tough transition after spending so much time focused on weight loss. But, I stayed with it and continued to research to find new workouts and try new diets to understand what works best for me. I am now 43 years old and fluctuate between a strong 215 – 225 lbs.
I hope my weight loss journey can inspire someone to realize they are the ones in control of their journey. They have the choice to keep going down the wrong path, or simply decide to STOP…and start a new journey.