Introducing Fitbit Success Stories, a recurring feature on the Fitbit Blog. You’ll read inspirational and personal stories about Fitbit users who have achieved amazing things as a result of their Fitbit tracker, diet, exercise, and sheer ambition. To continue with the momentum of American Heart Month, today’s post is from Adam Webber of the SF Bay area is especially timely. Read on for one amazing story.
My name is Adam Webber. I’m 33 years old and I live in Fairfield, CA in the San Francisco Bay area. In April of 2013, I set a goal to lose 100 pounds. This is my story of how I did it.
I had reached 255lbs. Like most people, life happened. I was eating cheap, easy-to-get food and never had the time or desire to exercise. I put on a lot of weight shortly after the birth of my son. He was born six weeks early and with two congenital heart defects. He spent 10 long weeks in the hospital before coming home.
My wife and I commuted daily to the children’s hospital in San Francisco and often stayed overnight. There was a lot of comfort eating and even more sitting around. Several months later, we (my wife and I) made the decision that if he needed to eat a heart healthy diet and exercise regularly [when he's older], we’d better be doing the same. In April, we purchased our Fitbit Ones and an Aria scale.
As a starting point, I saw my doctor for a physical. My cholesterol was 240. My blood pressure was 150/120. My body fat percentage was 50%. I started getting active. I started improving my diet. I began walking one mile per day. It was all I could do. I began doing something I had never done before: counting calories. I quickly learned that I needed to burn more calories than I take in. I set a daily calorie goal of 1,500 and was burning about 2,500.
Then the journey really began. I lost 16lbs my first week. I was so excited! Then week two happened, and I plateaued for three weeks. I stayed determined that I was going to lose the weight. I increased my walking to three miles a day. I remember thinking how hard 8,000 steps were. But, I sweat through it and eventually it got easier.
8,000 steps turned into 12,000, then 15,000, then 20,000. I was eating 1,600 calories and burning 3,200. Instead of just walking, I was jogging 5 miles and running 20 floors of stairs. The weight was coming off. It was so exciting! I was losing about 10-12lbs a month. Sure, I had plateaus and months were I only lost a few pounds. But every day I looked at the scar on my sons chest and was reminded how important this was.
8,000 steps turned into 12,000, then 15,000, then 20,000. I was eating 1,600 calories and burning 3,200. Instead of just walking, I was jogging 5 miles and running 20 floors of stairs.
I ran a 5k race every month starting in August. I remember being down 32lbs my first race and still feeling like I was going to die. I finished that race in just over 34 minutes. What an achievement. I was so fired up! The weight continued to come off, and then: the holidays. I gained 10lbs back with each holiday. But I kept burning twice as many calories and I was eating every day.
For me, I had to look at my Fitbit dashboard and see that I hit my daily goals. I wasn’t doing a “diet” or New Years resolution. I was making a life change. The holiday weight came off, and I continued to lose. In November, I began counseling with a nutritionist. It was an awakening experience to hear that at my fitness level, I should be eating between 2,100-2,400 calories. So, I increased my calories by a few hundred calories each month. Coincidentally, my level of fitness increased too. I was now able to run 6 miles in an hour and 50 floors of stairs. When I was eating 2,000 calories, I was burning 4,000.
Things were changing. I was changing. In September, I was down 50lbs. In December, I was down 75lbs. I was able to stop taking my cholesterol medication and my blood pressure was normal. My cholesterol is now 165 and my blood pressure is 115/75. I donate platelets every two weeks. My son needed blood transfusions and platelets to recover from each surgery. It meant a lot to be able to healthy enough to give back.
I did most of my daily walking and running on a nearby bike trail to where I live. One day on the trail, I was interviewed by a reporter for the local newspaper who was doing a story on the actual trail. My story and photo made it onto the front page. People started calling me “inspirational.” As a result, I’ve had at least a dozen people I know decide to start eating healthy and get active.
I get asked all the time how I did it. It’s simple: I counted calories, started eating clean (made all my own food or ate things with minimal ingredients), and exercised every day. On February 13th, I achieved my goal. I lost 100lbs in 10 months. I now weigh 155lbs and my body fat percentage is 17%. I can comfortably run 9 miles in 90 minutes. I’m now averaging 30k-35k steps per day. I commented on a Fitbit Facebook post and they asked me to share my story. Although, my Fitbit One was not my reason for losing the weight, it was the reason I stayed so focused on my goal. Looking at the app on my phone throughout the day made me push just a little harder.
Things were changing. I was changing. In September, I was down 50lbs. In December, I was down 75lbs. I was able to stop taking my cholesterol medication and my blood pressure was normal.
My plan is to continue living this healthy lifestyle. I plan to run my first 10k race this April. And I begin training for my first half marathon in March. I am goal-setting to run my first full marathon within the next three years.
My wife is down 85lbs so far. She shattered her leg a few years ago, which limits her to about 6,000 steps per day. We are doing what we set out to do: be an example to our son. He will never see Mom and Dad eating fast food. Instead, he’ll see us eating lean meats and lots of fruits and vegetables. I’ve completed this whole journey while being a stay-at-home dad and coordinating/completing all his therapy and doctors’ appointments. He was with me for every mile in the jogging stroller. So yes, he’s become quite accustomed to long walks.
Is what I did that amazing? I don’t think so. I think it’s something that anyone can do. It didn’t cost a lot of money, but it was a time commitment. We gave up some things like TV and high-calorie foods. But, it was so worth it. It’s really something anyone can do. But it has to be more than a “want.” You have to decide to do whatever it takes and make it an everyday, lifestyle change.