By Gary Johnson (Posted February 4, 2018)
Photos: This is what I looked like in 2005. I weighed 235 lbs.
Hey folks, I promised full transparency. Yep, I am putting myself out here. I get emails and tweets from a lot of you who say I inspire you. Thank you. “I’m just a dude from DC with a media platform.” For those of you who struggle with weight loss and “follow me,” I want you to know that I appreciate you. “The struggle is real.”
Nothing is more discouraging than not being able to lose weight no matter how hard you try. When I resigned from my government job in 1995, I weighed 235 lbs. I am 6 feet 4 inches tall. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) weight guidelines at that time I was “Overweight.” A few months earlier, my doctor warned me that my cholesterol ratios were too high. My health was in jeopardy. Despite the doctor’s warning, I made no changes to my lifestyle. Within months I weighed 265 lbs. and my body fat percentage was 22%.
I was trying to balance family life and a heavy travel schedule and did not take time to exercise. One evening while dining at a restaurant with my family, in-laws and friends, I started to sweat profusely. I tried to play it off as “nothing” but soon found that I wasn’t fooling anyone when my mother-in-law said: “My goodness I think he’s having a stroke.” I calmly told everyone that I was OK and attempted to leave the table to collect myself. I never made it, never fooled anyone and ended up in the emergency room of my local hospital.
Test results revealed high cholesterol and a host of other correctable conditions. After giving my family a scare, I decided to get serious about my health. I bought a gym quality treadmill and began using it. I stopped eating fast food and started using some Slim-Fast products. Slowly and surely I started losing weight. I shared my story with Slim Fast and the company selected me to be a paid endorser of their products. I lost 35 lbs. in 5 months and lost 4 inches off of my waist.
Two years later, I gained the weight back and added 10 additional pounds. I now weighed 275 lbs. I decided to lose the weight again. This time I decided to use Nutrisystem. Nutrisystem ships meals directly to your home. The Nutrisystem plan is based on portion control and moderate exercise. Once I started eating one entrée per meal, I started to lose weight. Six months later, I loss 30 lbs. and kept the weight off for about a year.
Over the past 20 years, I have lost and gained over 30-60 lbs. four times. This is not a healthy way to lose weight.
In 2015, I hit my all-time high in weight — 345 lbs. I decided to lose weight the old fashion way by making healthier meal choices, eating smaller portions and exercising consistently. I cut out sugar by not drinking orange juice and replaced that with low-sodium organic vegetable juice. I also cut out sugary drinks like sweet tea and energy drinks. I NEVER drank sodas.
Here I am at Ft. Washington Park in October 2017.
I began riding my bicycle to specifically lose weight and lower my cholesterol and blood pressure. I took a cycling class years ago in college and enjoyed it. I got my bike out of the garage and started riding after work and on weekends. I began to participate in a few organized rides. I decided to start slowly and ride in my neighborhood park during the week and go to Haines Point in downtown DC on weekends. I started losing about 2 lbs. per week. Believe me, losing 2 lbs. was a great motivator.
The following photos were taken in the same spot with the same “hoodie.”
Photo on the left: Gary Johnson taken December 4, 2015. Photo on the right taken February 4, 2018.
Losing weight is one of the most difficult challenges I’ve faced. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is paramount. I owe it myself and I owe it to my family to be healthy. Some of you have been brutally honest with me along this journey. In addition to my family, Mildred Muhammad, Kirk Caldwell and Ronnie Williams stand out. I hear you and I appreciate you.. I believe my current weight loss method will be my most successful because it’s the most practical solution to date.
People gain weight for a variety of reasons. If you’re having trouble losing weight, don’t give up. Find a method that works for you and stick to it. Don’t overdo it. Be patient and remember that “slow and steady wins the race.” Losing weight is a lifestyle choice for me. I’m a work in progress, but I am on the right path. If I can do it, believe me, you can too.
Stick with it and if you have to, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You know where to find me.
Here I am in February 2018. The struggle is real! I have a LONG way to go. Here’s to your good health.
Thank you for your support.0