Tom Lennox was experiencing low energy and constant pain when he knew he needed a change. By switching up his diet and developing a solid exercise routine, the 52-year-old from New Jersey achieved a dramatic weight loss transformation. This is his story.
Location: Millstone, New Jersey
Occupation: Director of sales for a pharmaceutical company
Before weight: 243
Current weight: 164
Lethargy and pain were the two words that really defined my life. Lethargy because I never wanted to do anything. Pain because my knees started to hurt, my hips started to hurt, and my back started to hurt—all the time. I was also suffering from chronic migraines, probably from eating crap food and processed sugar. I had very little energy or stamina. It became difficult just getting into the car.
The Wake-up Call:
I was trimming trees in my yard when I realized that I literally couldn’t trim. I was too heavy. I wasn’t sturdy on the ladder anymore, and just lifting the trimmers became a difficult task. I told my wife, “I can’t do this anymore.”
I focused on protein, vegetables, and fruit, and cutting out all sugars. I didn’t cut out carbs entirely but instead ate more complex carbs like 16-grain bread. I also dramatically cut back on the volume of food I ate. My protein would be the size of my fist and no larger. And then I ate as many fruits and vegetables as I wanted. I didn’t count calories, because I’d done that for past diets and it had gotten old. Instead I changed my mind-set to: Don’t worry about numbers; just find the right balance in what you’re eating.
The first month was all about getting my diet and my hunger under control. In the second month, I added light cardio like walking and treadmill running. In the third month, I focused on core—a lot of planks, pushups, crunches, situps. And then in the fourth month, I started lifting. My plank benchmark initially was two minutes. For pullups, I just wanted to get to ten—with intermediary goals of one and five. From a pushup standpoint, my goal was to get to 100. Setting smaller interim goals became really important, because they’re much easier to hit and they build confidence along the way. By the fourth month, I was on a three-day-on, one-day-off rotation: lift day one, cardio day two, core day three, rest day four—then start over.
Every bit of pain in my entire body was gone. Most important, my headaches were gone. Clothes fell off me. I lost 13 inches off my waist and three inches off my neck. Working out became easier and easier. I no longer craved sugar. My goal originally was
just to see if I could drop 20 pounds, and I’d more than passed that. I’m now a totally different person.
Be patient and don’t let the plateaus get you down. I would hit a plateau and I would just hang there for sometimes three weeks. Push through and stay focused. Set intermediate goals. And to whatever degree possible, talk to your friends and other people going through similar struggles. In the end, though, you have to want this for yourself; nobody can motivate you better than yourself.