“I Got Healthy for My Family”
As Anthony Henry’s weight climbed, so did his wife’s concern for his health. Here’s the eating plan that helped him shed 2 sizes in 1 month
Before: 226 pounds
After: 199 pounds
Height: 5′ 7″
When Beth met her future husband, Anthony Henry, in 2003, he had just graduated from the New York City Fire Department Academy and was in the best shape of his life. But starting work changed that. “The heart of the firehouse is in the kitchen, and we often ate rich, elaborate meals,” says Anthony.
Two years later, Beth was pregnant with their first daughter, and Anthony’s weight had risen by 40 pounds. “With a child on the way, I worried about his health and our family’s future,” she says. By 2007, he had gained nearly 70 pounds—and the fad diets he kept trying didn’t make a difference.
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Anthony’s wake-up call came when he had a doctor’s checkup for a new life insurance policy. Not only was he considered obese, but his cholesterol was high, and his blood sugar numbers put him in prediabetes territory. A month after the exam, Beth discovered she was pregnant again. “My fears became unbearable,” she says. “I was just as worried about him having a heart attack on the job as being injured in a fire.”
Fortunately, her fears were allayed when Anthony heard about a new diet for men that Prevention was testing, modeled after the successful Flat Belly Diet. The main tenets of the plan: Eat often, control your portions and caloric intake, and include foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs, for short) in every meal—which studies show help you store less fat in your belly.
From Firehouse Feasts to Healthier Eats
Right away, Anthony knew this program was different. “You don’t have to give up the things you love—you just have to eat healthier portions,” he says.
The tough part for Anthony was learning to plan his own meals. To get him started, Beth packed food he could take to work. After picking up a few tips from her, Anthony took over. He cooked extras of his favorites, like Black and Red Bean Chili, so he’d have leftovers. He also learned to make simple staples, such as grilled chicken breasts, to use throughout the week. Beth started putting avocados (a belly-flattening MUFA) on just about everything. Even picky 3-year-old Ella dabbled in MUFAs, sampling almonds and cashews with her breakfast.
Anthony took a little ribbing at the firehouse at first. “But when they saw how hard I was working, they stopped busting my chops and started helping,” he says. Before food shopping, they ask what he can eat and how they can make it healthier. The plates are still “he-man size,” but Anthony is managing portions, eating about half of what he used to.
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By the end of the month-long program, he had lost 27 pounds and 3 inches from his waist. But the biggest change is his outlook. “The extra pounds felt insurmountable, but I don’t feel helpless anymore,” Anthony says. And his entire family is benefiting from his newfound focus on health. “We’re more active, taking the kids to different parks to play,” says Beth. Nowadays, Anthony walks and jogs to pick up Ella from the baby-sitter a mile away, taking the stroller instead of the car—and he’s even riding his bike again.
Having regained his fire-fighting physique, Anthony is setting big goals—like running a half-marathon and raising $50,000 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation along the way. His other plan? “Get myself in good enough shape to strike a pose in the New York City Firefighter Hunks calendar,” he quips.
Pinup boy or not, Anthony’s progress couldn’t have made Beth happier: “This was a huge turning point, and I do think it’s saved his life.”
Originally posted 2012-03-29 04:20:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter