Luis R., a 37-year-old technician from Bel Air, MD, had tried and failed many times to lose weight. “I weighed 323 pounds, wore a size 52 pants, and XXXL shirt,” he says. “I was sick of being fat and people kept telling me that I needed to lose weight for my health, but that just made me feel more frustrated. I knew that for it to stick, I needed to be the one who decided to get healthier.”
In January 2015, Luis did what a lot of people do and vowed to lose weight. But again, he kept trying and failing. Over the next few months, he had doctor’s appointments that made him realize what his weight was doing to his health. “I had high cholesterol and had to go on medication for it, I had pre-diabetes, and I needed a CPAP machine for my sleep apnea,” he says. Something clicked in his brain and in May, he sat down with his wife and made a commitment with her. Both were going to get healthier and lose weight. And to do that, they each got a Fitbit Charge HR.
Luis bought a treadmill and started walking for half an hour in the mornings. “It wasn’t easy and I would get tired right away, but I wasn’t going to give up,” he says. Next he joined a gym and started going twice a day, every day. “I’ve always been an early bird so I would wake up at 4:00am to go before work, and then swing by after work for more.” Soon, walking on the treadmill turned into walking on an incline and half an hour became 45 minutes and then an hour. To keep making things tougher on himself, Luis added weight training and increased his step goal from 10,000 steps to 15,000 steps a day.
Along with moving more came overhauling his diet. “We used to eat fast food or rice and beans with a pork chop for dinner, but we switched to salads, chicken breasts, and veggies, like broccoli and carrots,” he says. “And I stopped drinking beer and soda, and replaced them with water.” Going through these changes together made it easier. “My wife and I are always supporting each other,” he says. “Like when she got frustrated at the beginning because I was losing weight more quickly than she was, I made sure she stayed motivated and stuck with it.” And together, they’ve seen results: Since starting, he’s down 58 pounds and his wife has lost 30.
Even better than clothes fitting well (he’s now a size 44 pants and XL top!) was the news from his doctor. “My cholesterol levels are healthy, I don’t need medication, and I’m no longer using a CPAP machine,” he says. “Before I always felt stressed and tired, and now I have so much energy that I have a hard time sitting still,” says Luis. “Losing weight isn’t easy. You have to make sacrifices and it takes a lot of discipline, but I’ve never felt better.”
Luis’s Advice to Others:
Pick your favorite meal of the day
“I love dinner, so I try to eat lighter breakfasts and lunches,” he says. “That way at the end of the day I can treat myself to a little more food.”
Go after goals together
“Every Saturday morning my wife and I go out and walk a 5k route in 45 minutes,” he says. “Now she wants to train to run a 5k, which I’m going to try to do with her.”
Stick to the salad bar
“My workplace has a cafeteria, but I only go to the salad bar section,” he says. “I don’t even go to look at the other stations, because I don’t want to get fried chicken or anything greasy.”
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.