NAME: Evan S.
LIVESTRONG.COM Username: sheiman (member since 2009)
Age: 38 Height: 5'8"
Before Weight: 210 pounds
After Weight: 170 pounds
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your life like before joining LIVESTRONG.COM?
Evan: LIVESTRONG.COM has saved my life twice!
I originally discovered the MyPlate Calorie Tracker after a health scare in 2009 led to the discovery that both my blood pressure and cholesterol were far too high. Over the next several years I struggled but failed to lose weight and get my health under control.
Although I was not finding success in my attempt to lose weight, I did notice an ad for LIVESTRONG's MyQuit Coach – Dare to Quit Smoking app. I had been a smoker for 17 years, and I'd tried but failed to quit almost every day of the past 10 years. In January 2011 I used MyQuit Coach to finally kick my nicotine habit! As my way of paying it forward, I am still a very active member of the Quit Smoking community to this day, helping support others in their battle with this addiction.
In December 2013 I visited the same doctor who had encouraged me to quit smoking. My results were the worst they had ever been. I weighed 210 pounds and my BMI was 31.2. My cholesterol was 227, (HDL 30, LDL 149, Triglycerides 240); my fasting blood sugar was borderline diabetic at 108; and my blood pressure was 137/83. I was already taking several medications to try and address these issues, so these were my test results with the aid of those drugs.
I was only 38 years old and mortified and humiliated at how far I had let myself go. That appointment was a wakeup call for me. I knew it was time to take control of my health and make some major changes. I reminded myself that if I could successfully quit smoking after all those years, I could do anything, and I determined that as of January 1st, 2014 I was going to begin living a healthier life.
By the end of three months I had completely turned my health around and no longer needed some of my medications. At a follow-up appointment with my doctor I weighed 169 pounds with a BMI of 25. My cholesterol was 140, (HDL 43, LDL 76, Triglycerides 107); fasting blood sugar was 73; and my blood pressure was 118/71.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your inspiration to make a change?
Evan: For me, the defining moment was when my doctor shared my grim test results and told me I was on the path to becoming diabetic because of my poor health and nutrition choices. Although I was very proud of having been smoke-free for three years, I now realized that this was not enough. I needed to dig deep and find the same determination that helped me to finally succeed at quitting smoking in 2011. I needed to lose the extra weight I had been carrying for years, once and for all.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your support system like?
Evan: My girlfriend was my biggest supporter in my weight loss journey. She always reminds me that if I was able to quit smoking after trying and failing for so long, I can do anything. That was such great motivation, and I try to live every day with that thought in mind.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your diet and exercise program like?
Evan: I adopted a diet that focused on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats and nuts. I eliminated bread, sugar, fried foods, (a past favorite), and processed foods from my diet. I switched from eating out six days a week to only once a week. I recorded every bite that went into my mouth on the MyPlate calorie tracker. Six days a week I got up early to do a minimum of 40 minutes of cardio with my favorite workout buddy – my Jack Russell Terrier, NOLA.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's the biggest challenge you faced?
Evan: I prefer to exercise outdoors whenever possible. Riding my bike and going on nature walks are some of my favorite activities. Living in South Florida, weather can make this difficult. Getting up at 5am to beat the sun and humidity has been a challenge for me, but I work hard to stick with it. I really enjoy what has now become "me time."
Initially, sticking with some of my diet improvements was also challenging. In particular, giving up refined sugars and not eating at night was rough. Eventually, it became easier, and in a surprising turn of events, I now find myself craving fruit!
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your biggest secret to success that you want to share with others?
Evan: Eat as clean as possible! I cook my own meals from whole ingredients – no processed foods. Drink plenty of water and get regular exercise. Track every calorie you eat or burn through activity. Being honest in the MyPlate Calorie Tracker was an important key to my success. I use the MyPlate app to stay on top of my tracking when I'm out and about.
Most of all - never give up! You CAN do this! With perseverance and a positive attitude you can achieve anything you put your mind to!
LIVESTRONG.COM: What is your life like now?
Evan: I am very proud of overcoming my weight issues and becoming a leaner, healthier version of myself. I am strong and always try to LIVESTRONG in everything I do! I came out on top in my battles with weight and smoking, which confirms for me that I can do anything I set my mind to!
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.