OneStepStories-MikeNI decided to take back my health. 14 months later, I had lost 80 pounds and was geeking out about workouts and nutrition.

During an annual health screen, I weighed nearly 300 pounds, was identified at pre-hypertensive and pre-diabetic, and had high cholesterol. Normal life included no exercise and boredom eating. I would sit down to read or write with a bag of chips to “snack on.” An hour later, the bag was gone. I got winded walking up a flight of stairs. I wasn’t able to play with my nieces and nephews for more than a couple of minutes. I was overweight and embraced the nickname “Big Mike.”

I went home for Christmas in 2014. My youngest brother who was working on his Juris Doctorate and recovering from a back injury went running. I thought to myself, “If he can find time to work on a healthy lifestyle, why can’t I?” At that moment, I decided to take back my health. I got home and went for a run. I changed the way I ate and was able to correct my health issues in six months.

At first, I just banged out steady state cardio and quit eating junk food. The initial weight loss was quick. But then, I hit a plateau. I turned to a pro MMA fighter friend for training. He introduced me to exercises that varied my heart rate and the idea of macros. After I learned how my diet beyond simple calorie deficit impacts my fitness and how increasing V02 Max positively impacts my health, I was able to shed weight and change my body drastically. 14 months later, I weigh 220 with about 15% bodyfat.

My biggest supporters are my coaches. Whirlpool has been helpful in reimbursing some of my gym membership fees. Recently, Whirlpool Marion has been providing nutritional information on cafeteria menu items which has also been helpful.

I often get asked what I am doing. How am I losing all this weight? It’s become more frequent recently, even with folks who remember what I looked like when I lost 70 pounds. They think I’m still losing weight. Thing is that I am not. I’m just getting leaner.

It’s never too late to start. I also recommend making small sustainable changes rather than a complete upheaval of one’s life. Small sustainable changes eventually become habits. Eventually, you change enough habits that you can meet your goals.

Mike Newbern, Marion, OH

March 29, 2016