How Randall S. Lost 100 Pounds
Name: Randall S.
LIVESTRONG.COM Username: Stocky5000
LIVESTRONG.COM Member since: 2011
Weight: 272 pounds
Waist: 40 inches
Weight: 172 pounds
Waist: 32 inches
Randall S. and Erika Humke
1. LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your life like before joining LIVESTRONG.COM?
I didn't feel bad about myself when I was overweight until I saw a picture of myself in a Friar Tuck costume for the Renaissance Faire because I didn't realize how heavy I actually was. My diet was horrible and consisted mostly of processed foods like pizza and fast food along with snack foods like beer nuts, Snicker's Bars, Doritos and Oreos. And I washed all of that down with sugary soda and alcohol. I ate almost no fruit or vegetables. Frankly, it's shocking my body actually functioned, and I was in horrible health. My blood pressure was only managed by very high-dose blood pressure medications. My cholesterol was also very high, and I had been diagnosed as pre-diabetic.
I did not exercise at all. My activity was very low. I plowed snow from our driveway -- mostly with the help of a snowplow -- and I mowed our postage-stamp-size lawn. (At least I didn't use a riding lawn mower.) I was lethargic and lacked any get-up-and-go, but since that had pretty much always been my lifestyle, it didn't feel out of the ordinary.
2. LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your inspiration to make a change?
My wife Denise S. had started using LIVESTRONG.COM and the MyPlate Calorie Tracker app nine months prior and had lost nearly 100 pounds. For the first time in a long time, I was heavier than her by far. Seeing the photo of me in the Friar Tuck costume was the final straw.
3. LIVESTRONG.COM: How did LIVESTRONG.COM help you lose weight?
When I first started tracking my calories on the LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Calorie Tracker I didn't try to change my diet and just tracked what I ate. After it became obvious that I was eating too much (not to mention foods that contained almost no nutrients) I began to change the way I was eating. I read the health and fitness articles on LIVESTRONG, and they really helped me learn what to eat and that I needed to get some cardio exercise and build muscle. The Stronger workouts were not available at that time, but I have since tried them. They are tough and a good workout!
I tracked my food intake and exercise with LIVESTRONG's Calorie Tracker while I was losing my 100 pounds, which took about 10 months. I still tracked my calories for a short time after reaching my goal weight, but after that I felt comfortable that I could maintain my eating and exercise habits without tracking. So far, so good. That was three years ago.
I do "lurk" and read posts on the LIVESTRONG community message boards, but I've never personally participated.
4. LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your support system like?
My wife was my support system, and we approached it together once I started trying to get healthy. I think that really helped her in her own journey too. It gave us both a common interest in exercise and healthy eating. We were able to plan our menus together, exercise together some of the time and enjoy other active recreation with each other that we never would have been able to in the past. We enjoy taking walks after supper, snowshoeing, bicycling and pickleball.
5. LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your favorite way to work out?
Although I am not a long-distance runner, I do run intervals once a week or so. My favorite way to work out during the fall, spring and summer is riding my bike outdoors. In the winter months I am unfortunately relegated to my less-favorite methods -- stationary bikes, etc.
6. LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your weekly exercise schedule?
Monday I walk for a minimum of an hour, either outside or on the treadmill.
Tuesday I weight train for 30 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of intense cardio.
Wednesday I do an hour of medium-intensity cardio like the elliptical or bicycling.
Thursday I walk for a minimum of an hour, either outside or on the treadmill.
Friday I weight train for an hour, do half an hour of intense cardio and an hour of medium-intensity cardio.
Saturday I walk for a minimum of an hour, either outside or on the treadmill.
Sunday I weight train for 30 minutes followed by 30 minutes of intense cardio. Then my wife and I often engage in some sort of recreational fitness activity as well, especially in the warm-weather months.
7. LIVESTRONG.COM: What's a typical day of meals and snacks?
I eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks -- morning and afternoon. During the week my menu is fairly fixed. For breakfast I have two hard-boiled eggs and two pieces of wheat toast with light butter and jelly. For my morning snack I have a hard-boiled egg, a banana and a piece of wheat toast with peanut butter. For lunch I have tuna on wheat toast with onions and lettuce, an apple and two pickles. For my afternoon snack I have a yogurt and a piece of fruit. For dinner we generally eat lean meat or fish, sweet potatoes, squash or a different healthy carb and a large salad dressed with balsamic vinegar or a couple of servings of vegetables.
On weekends, one day we eat fairly similar to weekdays. But for one weekend dinner we go all-out. We have appetizers and cocktails while we cook a nice meal that is larger than we eat on weekdays (although often still healthy choices), and we finish with wine and dessert. We plan these special dinners all week and try new and interesting foods, so they are pretty fun to make and eat.
8. LIVESTRONG.COM: What's the range of calories you eat per day?
I eat between 1,700 and 2,000 calories a day most days. On our special-meal day I sometimes eat as many as 2,800 to 3,000.
9. LIVESTRONG.COM: What are the healthy staples that are always in your kitchen?
We always have a bowl of hard-boiled eggs in refrigerator, and I always have cereal for snacking. I always have peanut butter, wheat bread, pickles and tuna. We keep a bowl of fruit on the table and plenty of various vegetables in the refrigerator. I keep protein powder on hand, and I drink it before I do strength-training workouts.
10. LIVESTRONG.COM: How do you strategize for meals?
We generally plan our menu for the week ahead of time. I have a fridge and microwave in my office, so I bring in all the food for my breakfasts, breaks and lunches for the week on Monday morning. We do all our grocery shopping for the week at once, so we generally have a pretty good idea what we will be eating for dinners that week, although not necessarily what night we will eat which meal.
11. LIVESTRONG.COM: What's the biggest challenge you faced?
My biggest challenges were holidays and family gatherings where eating is the main activity. It was difficult to resist overeating, and sometimes I had very short gains after those events. I overcame them by sticking with the plan and not throwing in the towel because I may have eaten more than I wished the day before. I learned that it isn't what you eat one day, it's what you eat every day.
12. LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your biggest secret to success that you want to share with others?
There is no magic pill. Stop wasting time and money looking for it. If you want to look, feel and be healthy you have to eat healthy and exercise, plain and simple. You don't have to spend a lot of money because exercise is cheap. It costs nothing to walk. Additionally, you might spend a bit more at the grocery store when you're eating healthy, but you will eat out way less often, which will more than compensate for money spent on fresh fruits and veggies.
13. LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your life like now?
My life now is centered on recreational activities instead of watching TV or surfing the Internet. We just finished learning to ballroom dance. We play pickleball, go disc golfing, snowshoeing, trail riding and hiking instead of sitting around eating garbage. It is a much more fun way to live.
I still use LIVESTRONG to research healthy activities and eating and nutrition, and I still use the MyPlate Calorie Tracker app to check on the calories and nutrients of new foods I am considering eating. My wife still tracks religiously, which helps me stay focused and eating healthy with her coordination of our dinners.
I no longer need to take medication to manage my blood pressure, my cholesterol is normal and I am no longer considered pre-diabetic. My health has improved by leaps and bounds, and my doctor is beside himself with shock and delight.
I had to get a whole new wardrobe, and for the first time in a very long time, I get to buy clothes that fit well and look good instead of settling for whatever fit. I am proud that I have changed my life -- my eating, my exercise, my health and my daily activities and priorities. It feels really good.
Ann Rusnak is LIVESTRONG's Sr. Community Manager. Her quest to lose the "baby weight" before the "baby" finished elementary school sparked an interest in health and fitness that continues to be a passion to this day. She loves hiking and yoga, and thinks the best exercise is one you can do with a good friend. Over the years Ann's desire to fit into a certain size has evolved into what she feels is the more important goal of feeling good and having energy to live life to its fullest.