Jon Liebold, 38, of East Lansing, decided to give his health one last chance before giving up. That was when he weighed 475 pounds. Now Liebold, who works in eCommerce Fulfillment, tips the scale at 245 pounds, works out on a regular basis, eats smart and has a whole new outlook on life. Here’s his story:
What made you feel like you needed a healthy lifestyle change?
I just simply was not happy with how I looked or felt. Reviewing some of my medical records from college, they all began with “I met Jon, a pleasant, morbidly obese male…” and that was not how I wanted to be seen.
How did you start your new lifestyle?
I happened to notice State of Fitness and checked them out. I termed the place my “nuclear bomb” because I needed a lot of help, but I also felt like it was going to be my last chance. After getting started and getting over the initial aches and pains of working out again, I finally had all the pieces put into place. With the expert advice of Justin and his team, I started tackling issues one at a time.
What’s your typical workout like?
I find that as I can move better I like to push myself harder and further. When I started out I simply did one conditioning class a day. I eventually progressed to doing six regular conditioning classes a week then I added in strength training. Now, since my “running legs” are back, I have also been running either outside around the building or on a treadmill. I can easily knock out a 5K run every day, depending on time.
How is your diet?
My diet consists of staples that I can easily fix. If the ingredient/food is not going to benefit me in some way then I try to avoid it. I also keep my eye out for new recipes, especially ones that can be varied. This keeps me from feeling like I am having the same meal repeatedly. It gives me variety without sacrificing simplicity.
Ever feel the need to cheat? How do you overcome the urge?
I dislike the term “cheating” regarding food. I like to focus on foods that I know are better for me than others. I try to find a better version, or alternative, for foods that would be an indulgence. I also recognize that there will be occasions where I do not have access to the best meals, especially during holidays. But I simply know that they are coming, and I plan on them accordingly.
How has fitness helped you with your lifestyle?
It has really forced me to accept my body as it is and that it is changing. Each time I add weight to a bar, get faster or can do an exercise that I could not do before, it really reinforces the fact that I am slimming down. It really gets me to push harder when I am suddenly able to do an exercise without having to modify it.
How is your support network? Do you think they’re important?
My support network is amazing. It is incredibly helpful to have people who are watching me change. There have been periods during my weight loss where I would look in a mirror and be absolutely convinced that I was not losing weight yet people at State of Fitness would come up to me and tell me that I look smaller than I did when they last saw me.
Any advice to those who are struggling?
If you are severely overweight, see your doctor about having a sleep study done to determine if you have sleep apnea. This was a serious roadblock for me. Not only was it preventing me from losing weight, but also might have been contributing to me gaining weight as well. Getting a CPAP machine is probably the best thing I did for my weight loss. I now get full, restful sleep so my body can recover and perform essential functions. Above all, do not give up, no matter what is happening on the scale. You have all the pieces, but they may not be put together in the right way to work for you. There is no shame in needing help with weight loss even if it is just someone to help you sort through all the false information out there.