Featured Testimonial: John McCarron
After working with me for a couple years and plateauing [after losing 20–25 pounds], what was the "light bulb" moment that took it to the next level?
The "light bulb" moment came after looking at the picture above. After seeing the picture, I was disgusted with myself. It was hard to get results; I was suffering from severe sleep apnea and had to sleep with a machine. Ironically, it's very hard to actually sleep with a machine and mask on your face. I was always tired and had bad food cravings. I was at a point where I thought I was "destined" to be fat until a good friend told me about a documentary called Hungry for Change.
After watching the documentary, I realized that my situation was not unique and that 90% of things out there regarding weight loss are not actually based on science. I also watched Food Matters and Food Inc. I started to educate myself on vegan, juicing, and vegetarian concepts.
What specific foods did you give up or drastically cut back on that you used to eat all the time?
Besides Giddy YoYo Chocolate, I gave up all food that was packaged and anything deep fried. I no longer could go out with clients for wings and beers. My typical food intake when I was fat was a Tim Horton's breakfast sandwich and a large coffee with two sugar and two cream. Lunch would be a sandwich or chicken burger. For dinner, it would be anything from Chinese food to barbecue, except for Fridays, when I would hook up with clients for liquor and wings.
Now my meals are typically a smoothie in the morning with water, blueberries, Greek yogurt, chia, and hemp. My mid-morning meal is a double shot of wheatgrass and juice with kale, beets, celery, spinach, and carrots. For lunch I have a large salad with no dressing—or very little dressing—with fish or chicken. My mid-afternoon meal is a handful of almonds, pumpkin seeds, and fruit if I need energy. For dinner, it's salad or another juice and some chicken. I snack on a little dark chocolate every day as well.
The key change I made was to eat food that was nutritionally dense, raw, and organic.
What changes in your activity level did you make?
[After] increasing my training sessions with a personal trainer to six days a week, I found that trainers push your intensity to higher levels. Rather than training two or three days a week, I wanted to increase my activity to six or seven days a week without overtraining.
I also train on my own for an hour a day outside of the trainer. My own training workouts consist of an hour of cardio, usually on the bike or cross-trainer—something non-impact, as I have a foot injury—where I will burn anywhere from 500 to 800 calories in an hour. Some days the intensity is lower if I feel stiff or tired, but the key is to keep doing it even if I feel too tired or sore. On days like that, I usually find that during the second half of the cardio session I can pick up the intensity.
Sometimes I will do cardio first thing in the morning before getting ready for work, and other times I will do it after working out with a trainer. If I am too tired in the morning, I will sleep, as rest is very important in controlling my bad cravings and getting results. On the weekends I like to add weights to the cardio workout.
What were the hardest things to change?
Work, family, and self-balance. I was a workaholic working in a high-stress, cutthroat industry. My compensation is basically straight commission; my phone is never off. Finding a way to fit everything in is still something I am working at. I had to make myself a priority and take time out during the day to work out. My friends, family, and co-workers understand now that I need to do this, and it's not an option [for me to] miss a workout.
The other hard thing is to maintain a social life and entertain friends and clients without indulging in liquor and bad food. It's around me all the time. Whenever I have an urge for bad food or liquor, I usually hold off on acting on it. I wait five minutes, and usually the urge or cravings will go away.
What obstacles do you face daily that make it difficult to keep your weight down?
Time is the biggest obstacle, [as well as] being around people who are negative and training around my injuries from a bad car accident. I had to get rid of past relationships, both professionally and personally, that were counter-productive, and surround myself with positive people that bring out the best in me.
I had to set goals and have rewards when I reached them. I always have something to strive toward. When I decided to lose 100 pounds, it was very daunting. Then I said, "When I lose 100 pounds, I will reward myself with a trip to Africa," something I always wanted to do but never did. The trip is booked, and I also added a Kilimanjaro hike.
My next goal is go on a hike in Bali (another "bucket list" place for me) in 2015 when I get to and maintain a range of fat of 10–15%. The key thing was to set a goal, set the reward, and be around people who were encouraging. I find if I surround myself with people who are smart, successful, conscientious (do what they say they will do), and are genuinely good—combine that with goals and rewards, [and] it's very hard to fail.
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