Publisher’s Note: The following entries are all part of my weight loss journey.
My Weight Loss Journey by Gary A. Johnson
Many of you have had a front row seat watching me battle a number of obstacles in an effort to lose weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle. I walk from National Harbor across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Washington, DC to Old Town Alexandria and back. I cycle around the Nation’s Capital, I purchase and eat organic and other healthy foods and yet I “yo-yo” back and forth on the scale. Why is this? In my case, there were 4 main reasons:
- I tend to be an emotional eater who eats when stressed. Guilty!
- Then there’s the issue of insufficient rest. Guilty! (Experts say getting a full 8 hours of rest is critical to losing weight).
- How about eating late at night. Guilty! (Many experts say you should not eat after dinner).
- Portion control. Guilty! (I was putting too much food on my plate).
You see, I’m what’s known as a “Foodie.” The Merriman-Webster dictionary defines a “Foodie” as someone who has an avid interest in food and the latest food fads. The Urban Dictionary defines a “Foodie” as a politically correct term for a “fat” person.
The photo to the left is what I looked like in my home gym last year. My weight has been well over 300 lbs. for over 7 years. On December 1, 2018, I decided to try the popular Keto Diet. The photo on the right is what I looked like after being on the Keto Diet for only 23 days.
Once I addressed the four aforementioned areas where I plead “Guilty,” I made a conscious decision to change the way I eat.
On December 1, 2018, I officially started a Ketogenic diet, more popularly known as the Keto Diet. The Keto Diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. Many studies show that this type of diet can help you lose weight and improve your health. Some studies reflect that Keto diets may have benefits against diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.
I went to Christmas dinner with family and friends and was EXPOSED! I tried to “play it off” and act like I wasn’t aware of any changes in my life. I was consistently confronted with questions. Finally, I couldn’t take the badgering and was forced to “come clean” and address THE issue. What issue you ask? I was noticeably THINNER. I quietly started the “Keto Diet” at the beginning of the month. I was true to the regimen and the pounds started falling off. I was late to jump on the “Keto Bandwagon,” but now that I’m on it, I’m enjoying the ride. It was hard to believe the results, but the “Before” and “After” pics don’t lie. I am putting myself out there in the name of “health and wellness.” And before you ask, “Yes, that is my stomach on the picture on the left. I do not have a sweater tucked under my hoodie.” Trust me when I tell you that the “Struggle Is Real.”
I was introduced to the Keto Diet by Sharon Bowden, who hosted a party at her home to explain the benefits of a Keto Diet. Sharon also showcased an array of quality products by Wakaya Perfection, a company of quality health and wellness products, where she serves as an “Ambassador.”
I’m a Keto rookie. I’ve been doing Keto for 26 days. I’ve lost 15 lbs. I think that is GREAT. This is easy for me because I am not a bread eater, I typically pass on desserts and sweets and I don’t consume drinks with lots of sugar.
So how does Keto work? Based on my research, when you drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat, the reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. Ketogenic diets can also cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels.
There are several versions of the Keto Diet. I’m keeping things simple. I consume less than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day. For me it’s doable. I just went “cold turkey” on the carbs and foods and drinks with sugar. I’m probably unique in this area, because not everyone can just get off of carbs and sugar that rapidly without having some type of “withdrawal.”
I did 20 miles on the bike trail today. For whatever reason this was a grueling ride. By the time I realized that I was “spent” and decided to call it quits, I had 6 more miles to ride back to my van 😮. No point in whining and crying 😢 because you have get back to your ride. After you get your cussin’ out of the way, you just “suck it up” and keep peddling until you get back to the parking lot. Thank goodness the “app” tracking my ride, was able to get me back to the parking lot. When you’re tired every STOP on the trail looks like the other.
November 21, 2018
October 7, 2018
The maintenance on my bicycle is very similar to the maintenance on my car. I had to buy new tires and rims for my touring bike (Ivory). I had an 18 mile “glide” ride with the help of my promotional partner Naked Nutrition. Their protein and Naked Energy pre-workout powder gave me the fuel and the energy my body needed to finish the ride and then come home and workout. I’m positioning myself to a point where I have almost no excuses for not losing this weight. The Naked Nutrition products have allowed me to “step up my game” and go to the next level.
I decided to use Naked Nutrition because I believed their products could take me to the next level.
At Naked Nutrition, they strive to help you meet your nutrition and fitness goals by being transparent about what they sell. That way you know exactly what’s going into your body, and what’s more important than that?
You can read my weight-loss and fitness journey below. Changing my lifestyle has been one of the biggest challenges in my life. I need all the help I can get. Naked Nutrition products contains no additives. This means your body gets more of what it needs. If you are SERIOUS about your health and well being and want to take your nutrition to the next level click here to join the Naked Nutrition nation of users.
September 2, 2018: Today I returned to the Indian Head Rail Trail and rode 24 miles. It seemed harder than last week’s ride, but I made it. I did not do as good a job of hydrating in advance of the ride. I will do better on the next ride.
August 26, 2018: Today I decided to ride on the Indian Head Rail Trail. It was my first time and I rode 26.3 miles. It was actually pretty easy. Maybe I’ll feel the pain tomorrow, but I feel great right now.
The 13-mile, paved Indian Head Rail Trail traverses roughly halfway across Charles County, connecting the small towns of Indian Head and White Plains. Along the trail I experienced natural wetlands and occasional farmland as I passed through the Mattawoman Creek stream valley and some of southern Maryland’s most scenic and undeveloped natural areas.
I feel like I’m seeing some results from a slight change in my eating habits and consistency in my exercise regimen.
August 19, 2018 – I got the cardio portion of my fitness regimen “down.” According to my “consultant” at Herbal Infusion (my health and wellness shop), it’s time for me to “step-up” my game and do strength training. Start time is TODAY!
Do I look like a grandfather of three? I believe you can slow down the aging process with sensible and healthy eating, exercise and the proper vitamins and supplements.
I decided to shift to more of a “plant based” diet with more fruits and vegetables and less meat and poultry. I try not to eat processed or fast food and I continue to drink water. I do the grocery shopping and the cooking, so I have complete control of what I eat on most days while at home. I love beets and I’ve grown fond of creating healthy salads. I add salmon, tuna, shrimp, turkey and chicken to add a source of protein to my meals.
I cut down on food and drinks with sugar and carbs and I’ve had to teach myself how to accurately read nutrition labels, which can be very misleading if you don’t know. I make fresh fruit smoothies with vegetable based protein powder, beet root powder and super red antioxidant powder mixes.
Changing a lifetime of poor eating habits is a full time job that requires a serious commitment. I lost count of the number of times that I’ve fallen “off the wagon.” When I fall, I look for what I can learn and start over. I don’t quit!
July 5, 2018 – At my age you don’t want to be foolish when it comes to exercising in this heat. But if you prepare properly and use sunscreen, hydrate and cycle at a moderate pace you can “steal” a good workout and drop some pounds. And that’s exactly what I did this morning. Me and my girl (bicycle) “Ivory” hit the trail and got in a great workout before the temperature became dangerous and unbearable to be outside. The weight loss journey continues.#TheStruggleIsReal
I still take the All-In-One-Master Tonic on a daily basis. It has worked wonders for me and for most of my friends and co-workers. Three months ago I was at my lowest weight in years. We had rain for about 5 weeks and that hampered me from riding my bike. There was also some significant stress in my life. This lead to me eating late at night and I stopped monitoring my portions of food and the weight came back.
I am back on track. Slow and steady wins the race.
April 7, 2018 (Updated April 22, 2018)
Here’s the scale in my home gym. The photo to the left was my weight on March 6th. The photo on the right was taken today, April 6th. My next goal is to lose an additional 8 lbs. by May. #TheJourneyContinues
April 5, 2018
It is cold and windy along the Potomac River in DC this afternoon. Gotta lean into the headwind. The Cherry Blossoms have to be confused with the mixed signals from Mother Nature. It’s early April and I hear there’s a possibility of snow this weekend. I’m down another 2 lbs. Slow and steady exercise and sensible eating will get me to my goal.
To quote singer Montell Jordan, “This is how we do it (weight loss).” Moderate and consistent exercise and sensible eating. Tonight’s meal was half of one those 1.5 inch thick tuna steaks, a spring mix salad and water. Oh, I can’t forget the “All-in-One Master Tonic.
I take the Master Tonic 3 times a day. You can too!
My First Colon Hydrotherapy Experience (Posted February 24, 2018)
Today I went to Herbal Infusion Health & Wellness to get my first colon hydrotherapy experience. This is part of my weight loss journey and my efforts to reverse the aging process. The owner has been suggesting that I get this therapy for 5 months. Today, I finally gave in. 15 minutes into my session I asked myself: “Dude? What took you so long to do this?”
All sessions are facilitated by a I-ACT Certified Colon Hydro therapist. The equipment is FDA approved and every effort is made to ensure that you are comfortable and your privacy and dignity are maintained at all times. The aromatherapy scents in the room helped me relax. This part of the spa uses the Libbe system. This system has a clear viewing tube that allows you to view what is being released from your colon.
My Weight Loss Journey (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 social 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.
The struggle is real! I have a LONG way to go.
February 19, 2018: I’m still on the weight loss wagon. Consistent exercise and portion control have proven to be a winning formula for me. These self-inspired and unorthodox meals work for me. Breakfast consisted of 2 hard boiled eggs and vegetable sausage. Lunch was organic beets, steamed broccoli and chunks of BellaVitano Merlot cheese. Dinner will be organic chicken, kale and white bean soup. #TooMuchSwag