Jason Hisaw Went From Texas-Sized to Downsized
Shedding 90 pounds gave Jason Hisaw the confidence he needed to succeed at work and life
Weight Before: 277
Weight After: 185
Vitals: Jason Hisaw, 30,Dallas,TX
Time Required to Reach Goal: 13 months
The Setback I’ve always loved good food and good wine. So after college, I scored a job as a restaurant manager. But my ultimate goal was to become a master sommelier, so my days consisted of studying all morning and working all night. I ate throughout my shifts, and after we closed the restaurant, my colleagues and I would go out and eat bar food. By the time I reached 277 pounds, I knew something had to change: I couldn’t move through the dining area as well as I used to, and I had to squeeze into tight spaces to reach my customers. It was embarrassing, and I was having a hard time doing my job.
The Wake-Up Call It’s seriously tough to become a master wine steward, and one of the steps is passing the advanced sommelier test. When I took that exam inDallasin October 2008, I felt tremendous pressure. I passed the first two parts of the test, but bombed on the third—the blind taste test. I knew the answers but just didn’t have the confidence to trust my instincts. My weight was part of the problem: It sapped me of self-assurance. From then on, I resolved to change.
The Food Not long after I failed my test, my mom visited me. She looked noticeably thinner, and she said she’d lost 11 pounds just by controlling her meal portions. So I tried that strategy. It was very helpful—and easier than I thought. Now it feels natural: I always pack a lunch and bring it to work so I have a limit. If I’m hungry later, I snack on bananas and apples, or celery and carrots. I’ve also skipped the late-night bar food with my friends. It’s not that I stopped socializing—I don’t need to eat to have fun—but now my first priority is managing my weight so I can succeed at my dream.
The Fitness I used to cope with the stressful restaurant environment by eating—but now I channel the stress into exercise. I run 6 miles, 5 days a week. That may sound like a lot, but once you’re doing it that often, your body thrives on it. Setting goals makes it more exciting, which is why I ran a half marathon last year and another one this spring. I also go to the gym 3 days a week, focusing mainly on body-weight exercises: pullups, pushups, dips, situps, and core work. Then I go on the elliptical or treadmill.
The Reward I flew to California last April to retry the advanced sommelier test. I was 50 pounds lighter—the change was more than enough to give me the confidence boost I needed. Before the exam, I went for a 3-mile run, stretched, and took a shower. I felt so refreshed and sure of myself. And this time, I passed and earned my certification. The success validated all my hard work and brought me one step closer to my dream of becoming a master sommelier. Now I’m studying for that—and I know what can happen when I work hard at something.