Weight Loss Transformation: Joe Binkley’s time at the bar was hurting his health
Vitals: Joe Binkley, 30, Norwalk, OH
Occupation: Restaurant supervisor
Time to Goal: 4 years
The Set Back
Most guys pig out in high school. Me? I practically starved myself. I’d grown up a heavy kid, and that was the only slimming strategy I knew. When I turned 21 and became a bartender, I swung to the other extreme: Tons of junk food and alcohol made my body balloon. I guzzled energy drinks to stay alert at work, which helped for a while. My sales were so good that my boss promoted me to the bar’s busiest section. But I couldn’t keep up. Sales slipped. I was demoted. My body felt broken.
The Wake-Up Call
I spent years trying random diets, but my weight only yo-yoed. I’d pound diet soda, but I didn’t realize how much it hurt my energy. And when I was tired, I’d revert back to my old ways. Finally I realized I couldn’t just cut out things like late-night Taco Bell runs–I had to stop the thing that caused me to make those runs in the first place: alcohol.
I used to eat stuff like half a box of low-fat Cheez-Its at once, without worry. Fat was the problem, right? But as I researched healthy eating, I realized I needed a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fat–and that nutritious food could fuel me far better than energy drinks could. So I switched to six small, well-balanced meals a day to keep myself revved. Now a meal is a chicken breast with vegetables, and a snack is a banana and peanut butter. And most important, I cut out booze entirely.
Once I decided to lose weight, I vowed to run a local 4-mile race. I started training slowly– alternately running and walking 3 or 4 times a week until I was able to run half an hour straight. Six months later, I finished the race in just over 36 minutes. Now I’m active in local races and log about 11 to 18 miles a week of training. I also lift weights 3 days a week–stability exercises, deadlifts, and shoulder raises–to increase my strength and flexibility.
I don’t work at the bar anymore, but I’m still in food service–and at my current job, my energy level earned me a promotion to supervisor. The old me would never have been able to handle the new job. Now I talk up healthy eating to anyone who will listen.
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