A milestone age and an unimaginable weight were the turning point for Doug Church, 50, of East Lansing. Last April he decided that it was time to take his life back, drop weight from his 360-pound frame, get in shape and take on life. He’s now feeling great at 235 pounds and is ready to lose more. Here’s his story.
What made you want to change your lifestyle? In April 2017 I was about six months away from turning 50 and I weighed 360 lbs. It was hard to just get through an eight-hour workday. I needed to make some changes. My first goal was to weigh less than 300 lbs. before my birthday. I began walking every day and cutting back on the food I ate. When I started losing weight I felt better. I found that the more I moved, the better I felt. I didn’t achieve my goal of being under 300 lbs. by my birthday in October, but I was close enough to be happy about what I had accomplished.
Did your fitness routine change as your weight decreased? A friend suggested that I join her at the gym for a workout class with Walter Crockett Jr at Mind & Body Symmetry. I said I’d try it. I fell in love with the workout and the group atmosphere. I found that this group supports by holding you accountable. If you don’t tell them that you can’t make a class when you don’t come they will call you out on social media to find out why you didn’t show up (I’m not kidding).
What’s your typical workout?
My typical workout starts with 20 minutes of abs before each class. I take three classes a week, two boxing and one cardio. All classes are an hour long. I also participate in strength training with other participants from my classes on some Sunday afternoons. I have also walked or run in numerous 5Ks over the course of my journey. I walked my first race in June 2017. Since then, I have lowered my overall time by 15 minutes and I even placed third for my age group in a race in June of 2018. I now walk upwards of 20,000 steps a day, on average, or to put it another way, eight to 10 miles a day.
How is your diet? My diet is yogurt in the morning, a good lunch (soup and salads, or chicken) and a small dinner on most days. I eat a lot of chicken and salads.
Are there times in your diet where you struggle? When I have a cheat meal, I still try not to go overboard. For example, last weekend a had a cheat lunch of hot wings and beer. But I had a healthy, light dinner and the next day I played golf and went to strength training. It’s good to have balance. You need days like that to get you through.
Any advice to others? My advice is to just start walking more than you normally do. Take that extra trip around the store and instead of emailing someone at work, just go find them and talk to them face to face. Get a step tracker to start watching your steps every day and start setting daily goals for yourself. Find a gym, find a community and connect with people who have the same struggles and goals.