Philip Quit Smoking and Lost 100 Pounds
Name: Philip Wilson
Height: 5 feet, 11 inches
Before Weight: 302 pounds
How I Gained It: I have struggled with weight issues my entire life — in fact, my weight started spiraling out of control when I started grade school. I used to stay at a friend’s house after school until my parents got off work. I would eat dinner there, then come home and eat a second dinner. By 9 or 10 years old, I was overweight and wearing husky clothes.
But I really started to pack it on in high school. Once I had my own car, I could get fast food any time I wanted. My parents were never home so we kids fended for our dinner most of the time. Working at McDonald’s didn’t help, either — we ate anything we wanted. I was tipping the scale at about 240 by the time I graduated high school, and I had started smoking to boot.
But that wasn’t even the tip of the iceberg. I went wild in college: For four years I stuffed my face with all-you-can eat wing nights, Chinese buffets and enough beer to last me a lifetime. When I graduated college, I weighed close to 300 pounds, and I stayed there for a while.
Breaking Point: While buying some new pants for work, I came to the realization that my 46-inch waist was beastly. How the hell had I let my weight and health get so far out of control? I was also smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, and I had recently started having bouts of dizziness, weakness and fatigue. I went to a neurologist about the dizziness. She told me I had poor posture and it was putting pressure on nerves in my neck, so she sent me to a physical therapist, who recommended I join a gym to work those muscles. I played football in high school, so I’d had lots of experience lifting weights in gyms before. But when I joined the gym this time, something changed.
How I Lost It: Once I joined the gym, I changed my life completely. I quit smoking and lost more than 100 pounds. It’s rare to quit smoking and lose weight — it’s usually the exact opposite. But I knew my life had to change.
Losing weight was all about my lifestyle, and I realized that lifestyle was going to have to change for good, not just for a temporary period. I needed to change the way I ate, thought and moved.
One of the first steps was finding thing to do. I needed hobbies to take my mind off the food cravings. So I started reading books, going for walks, surfing the Internet — basically whatever it took to get keep out of the cupboard or fridge. Music and my iPod saved me.
I also stopped drinking sugar-filled soda and eating fast food. Instead, I load up on lean healthy protein like chicken, unsalted nuts and low-fat cottage cheese. I also supplement my protein intake with extra whey powder. And I eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. My favorites are berries and fresh spinach, which I combine together to make incredible salads.
Instead of filling up on three big meals, I eat six smaller meals a day: breakfast, lunch, dinner and three snacks in between. Breakfast is usually plain oatmeal with strawberries, some almonds and a cup of green tea with honey. Lunch is often a whole-wheat turkey sandwich with broccoli and maybe some baked chips. Dinner will be something like balsamic chicken with steamed veggies. Snacks include things like low-fat and low-sugar yogurt, baby carrots, bananas, cottage cheese or granola. I also take a multivitamin and omega-3 supplements daily.
Most importantly, I work out. The more muscle I have, the more fat I burn at rest. I work out four times a week — that’s three weight training sessions and one cardio session. I do a full body workout every time I go to the gym, working every major muscle group: chest, back, legs and arms. Each of my workouts lasts about an hour with my cardio session lasting 45 minutes.
I don’t think of this as a diet. It’s a change to the way I live my life. My late father used to tell me, “Bub, you eat to live, not live to eat.” He was absolutely right!
After Weight: 194 pounds
Philip has maintained his weight loss for more than three years now.