Cutting Stress and Staying Active Helped Stephen Lose 90 Pounds
Name: Stephen Slevinski
Height: 6 feet, 2 inches
Before Weight: 250 pounds
How I Gained It: I’ve always been overweight, and most of that I can blame on a lack of exercise. In school, my worst subject wasn’t math or science — it was physical education. I was constantly being picked on and always fighting; even in elementary school, people would tease me for having breasts and legs like a woman. I never realized how important exercise was to weight maintenance.
Breaking Point: I went to college at 160 pounds, but a diet of blueberry muffins, soda, chocolate chip ice cream, burgers and fries quickly helped my weight balloon. Food is such a big part of life. For instance, I can remember watching the movie “Mystic Pizza” and going out right afterward to pick up a pizza. There were several times when, at one in the morning, I would wake my wife up, and we’d drive for 30 miles to the nearestWhiteCastle. It really hit me in my 20s how much weight I had gained over the years. In my closet, I had pants that were every size from 28 to 40. I knew I needed to do something.
How I Lost It: Gaining weight was easy, but losing it turned out to be quite difficult. I struggled to slim down until 1978, when I found out about the Atkins Diet. The first phase of the plan is pretty extreme — no carbs allowed — but after three months of following it, I lost 90 pounds. After that, I slowly started adding some of my favorite foods back into my diet, but I never went back to the unhealthy diet I had in college.
Although I lost the weight quickly, I realized that once you’ve been overweight, you face a lifetime struggle to keep it off. Even though I had started to eat normally, I could not go completely back to normal — blueberry muffins had to go, as well as all soda and soft drinks. I had to relearn my eating habits, and I had to accept that the worst foods for me were those made with flour and loaded with sugar. I regained some of the weight, but I’m happy to say that I’ve lost most of it again and have maintained if for over a decade.
Exercise is a big part of my life now. I try to ride my bike every day, even when I’m traveling. Housework also helps me burn calories — we have a large house and yard, and looking after both of them is like having my own personal trainer right at home. We have a lot of stairs in our house — who needs a StairMaster?
My wife is blessed with a model-like figure, so she’s never had to be as conscious of her eating habits as I have. When we go to a restaurant, the servers are confused when she orders a rack of ribs and I order the salmon salad. But she’s started to join me in exercise, so we have fun figuring out interesting and exciting activities to do together. One of our favorite things to do is spend the day walking the nearest mall — we park as far away as we can and spend the day speed walking through the shopping center. The more we buy, the more exercise we get. But our favorite activity by far is “sexercise” — we try to do this several times a week.
Traveling is a big passion of ours, and I’m happy to say that I’ve managed to maintain my weight while traveling all 49 states and parts ofCanadain a motor home. The key is sticking to my eating habits and staying active. The boredom of the open highway can sometimes lead people to snack, but I suck on sugar-free peppermint candies instead.
But probably the biggest secret to my success has been reducing stress in my life. When I’m stressed, I eat. I treat my stress with a very dangerous drug called food. My wife and I like to “go with the flow,” and we’re selective with our time to avoid stressful situations. It works for us — most people think we are 20 years younger than we really are.
After Weight: 160 pounds
Stephen and his wife just celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary, and he’s passed another milestone — 10 years at his current weight.
Stephen’s not the only one who works out with his wife: Find out how lovebirds Tony and Lori slimmed down together.
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