How I Lost 70 Pounds and Changed My Life
By Jacob Stark
Four years ago when I was in seventh grade, I heard words from a doctor that ended up changing my life. I was at a pediatric weight loss clinic my parents brought me to, hoping to improve the trajectory of my health. After being weighed, measured, and examined, a doctor told me I was pre-diabetic.
I’d been chubby in elementary school, but in middle school things got worse. The scale doesn’t lie, and I weighed 220 pounds. Looking back, it’s hard to say these words: I was fat. In medical terms, I was obese.
My obesity was due in part to unlucky genetics, but also to unhealthy eating habits. My family already made efforts toward health, such as no fast food, sugar sodas or juice. If we had potato chips, they were baked. But as a picky eater, my palate was limited, and I mostly ate typical kid favorites like chicken nuggets and hot dogs. Also, I never met a carb I didn’t like. Because of my pickiness, I didn’t eat the prepared school lunches and didn’t want to be the only one bringing a brown bag from home. By the end of the school day, I was ravenous.
The words “pre-diabetic” scared me and prompted me to change. We talked with a nutritionist about ways to eat better and got ideas and information, but the road ahead seemed insurmountable. I was overwhelmed but knew I had to change, literally for my life.
The first week of the “new me” was excruciating. My father took me on a grocery store trip where we spent hours selecting products that were low-sugar, low-carb, low-fat and rich with fiber. I learned which fruits were healthiest, realized the drawbacks of skipping a meal and quickly became an expert at reading and understanding food labels.
My mom also wanted to lose weight and started the Ideal Protein diet through BodyTech. She brought home other low-sugar and low-fat food products with excellent nutritional value, and she brought me in to meet the counselors and look at the food products. Everyone genuinely wanted to help me and the knowledge I got from them, such as what happens in your body when you eat sugar (and the many alternative names for sugar, which helps me understand deceiving food labels) was invaluable. I found tasty Ideal Protein food products I could work in to my new eating plan.
It wasn’t long before I was in a new routine, eating different foods throughout the day (including Ideal Protein premade shakes that were easy for me to drink at school, so I got nutrients during the day.) I also focused on physical fitness, continuing to play sports and adding twice weekly sessions with a personal trainer.
It was hard watching friends eat candy and French fries without ever gaining weight. But as the number on the scale started to decrease, my eating plan became more and more comfortable. It began to feel less like a diet and more like just living a healthy lifestyle, which was the long-term goal from all of this.
By the end of eight grade, I’d lost 70 pounds and physically felt like a different person. Now I am a rising high school senior, and I have kept the weight off. I still check nutrition labels and search for healthful and satisfying food products. And I still eat Ideal Protein products from BodyTech, which help me maintain health.
I told my mom she’ll have to send me some of these products when I’m in college, but she said BodyTech already offers care packages sent to college kids. I’m grateful for BodyTech and especially Larry, who wrote me a meaningful letter of encouragement during my weight loss days. Combined with the support of my family, it has made a difference on my ever-changing and long-term road to better health.