Transformation Tuesday: Joe

Welcome to back for another Transformation Tuesday series! Today we’re hearing from Joe, who has lost over 155 pounds on Weight Watchers and is never looking back!

Joe DragonJoe Dragon (4)

Q: When did you realize that you had a weight problem?
A: I realized I was in serious trouble when I saw a picture of myself with NYC in the background. However the majestic skyline wasn’t there! I had become so large that I was blocking ¾ of a major city in the picture.

Q: What made you decide to do something about it?
A: One would think that the picture would have been the wakeup call I needed. One may even venture that my father’s heart history would of made me get a jump start on this years ago. However it wasn’t until 2 years later when I found out I was a Type II Diabetic that I started my weight loss journey.

Q: When did you start?
A: June, 25 2009

Q: How much weight have you lost?
A: 155 pounds!! One freakin person!!!

Q: What is/was your goal?
A: I would like to lose another 20-30 pounds. However I am finally at a place where I am pretty much content with my body. It isn’t perfect and I will always see something that needs improvement.

Q: What weight loss program or eating modifications do you follow?
A: I am on Weight Watchers. I joined in 2009 and haven’t looked back!

Q: Can you explain your basic program?
A: Weight Watchers is a points based system. All food has a specific point value. So with this plan you truly can eat anything you just have to be honest and point it out based on portions. Everyone is assigned a daily point value based on a scientific formula.

Q: Do you exercise?
A: Yes! That is an important factor in this journey. When I weighed 403 pounds I started this journey by walking 2 miles a day. I took my time and slowly over time increased my speed and then distance and before I knew it I was up to 4 miles a day in under 60 minutes. Now I work out 4-5 days a week with routines as simple as taking a walk to all out boot camps and half marathons! The key for me and many people is to keep changing it up so you don’t get bored. I also play volleyball at the local high school. I love volleyball and I get 2-2.5 hours of exercise without realizing it because I am having fun. That is key to; find something you enjoy and you won’t view it as a chore or hassle but rather look forward to it!

Q: How often and how much?
A: 4-5days a week 45-60 minutes usually. Some days if I take a class or two it could be 90 minutes.

Q: Where and when do you exercise?
A: Gym-anytime
Outside-anytime! I got fat in the rain, snow, heat I can lose in the rain, snow and heat too!
High school gyms-fall and spring at nights

Q: What exercises work for you?
A: I love Tabata (high intensity interval) training.

Q: What are your trigger foods?
A: Pasta and carbs in general but the big one is pasta. It’s my kryptonite! I cannot be trusted to eat one serving or even two normal servings. The deal in my house is I cannot be trusted to overdo it. So we make 3 servings for 2 people and my other half gets to grab his portion first and I get the left overs so he knows there will be NO SECONDS so take it now!

Q. How do you cope with temptation?
A: I am human so occasionally I will give in to the temptation and indulge. I think doing that every now and then is a good thing. This isn’t meant to be a punishment so why deprive myself of certain foods. This is about learning to live my life within limits and in a healthier manner is all.

Q: Have you ever gotten discouraged? What do you do about it?
A: If anyone says they haven’t they must be a machine. Everyone feels discouraged and gets in that head space where you start to question everything and all the efforts. The Why me? Why bother? How come I can’t? Why isn’t this working? Usually the reason things may not be going in the direction you’d like is because you are not being 100% honest with yourself. Are you “truly” doing everything by the book?? Chances are you’re not. The Why me and why bother…. Well in those states I tend to think about how far I have come. Sometime that works and sometimes I need to just have a pitty party for myself. Once I am done with that I pick up where I left off and start fresh. I also found that getting away from the kitchen helps me not turn to food first thing to cope.

Q: How did you feel about looking at photos of yourself? Has that changed?
A: I never liked my picture. Mentally I knew I was a god guy at heart and just hoped others could see past the weight. I would smile but always worried how fat I looked. I never felt good about myself. To this day I still struggle with this. I want people to see the handsome Joe I have always been but fear that my weight still blocks out the Handsome, Funny, Sarcastic at times (ok all the time) person I am deep down. The reflection I saw wasn’t the person I knew I was deep down. I will always find something wrong with my body but as I mature I am learning to love my flaws too.

Q: What is the best benefit of losing weight for you?
A: No longer on any medications for the diabetes and I have quite smoking too. My confidence has grown leaps and bounds in the past 5 years. I am more likely to try new things and I am more involved and active in my life. While my life is extremely I wouldn’t change anything I love being able to show up and prove to my self and others that if you work hard you can accomplish everything I have. I didn’t win a weight loss lotto. I didn’t obtain any magical powers I did this with hard work, determination and a burning in my belly to make this MY time!

Q: Do people ask you for advice? What do you tell them?
A: I am asked all the time for advice. Since I am back in school to get a degree in Nutrition, I tell them to keep eating junk until I get my degree LOL. I need a job after all this work people.

Seriously I tell people the truth and my journey and try and show that I am just an average guy who was successful at losing a lot of weight without pills or surgery. I try to get people to see that they too can do this and it starts with baby steps and building off those into bigger and bigger steps. This journey is your choice. You determine the course and the way it’s going to go. If you go in doubting or easily give up then you will struggle. If you go in knowing this won’t be easy but it is doable and mistakes will happen and it’s not about hurry up and get it done but rather a lifestyle change and take it slow you will have a much better shot at success.

TAKE THE WORD DIET OUT OF YOUR VOCABULARY! THE WORD FOR MANY MEANS TO DEPRIVE YOURSELF OF SOMETHING (FOOD). NOBODY WANTS TO BE TOLD THEY CANT HAVE SOMETHING!! THIS ISNT A DIET IT’S A CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE!

Q: What have you been able to do that you couldn’t have done before?
A: Sit in a booth at a restaurant (BIGGER deal than you may think)
Parasailing
Travel, get on a plane (still a nervous flyer though)
Jog,run,walk, miles upon miles and not be winded to the point of questioning if my heart will stop!
I was in Weight Watchers Magazine…a NATIONAL publication and CENTERFOLD…just saying!
I will be in this Januarys Diabetic Living (small article)
I have given speech about my journey to hundreds of people across the capital region.
Twice on News Channel 13 telling my story
I am able to shop in any department store and not in the Big and Tall section!
Pose in front of the NYC skyline and see it behind me!
Admit my body isn’t perfect but it looks a heck of a lot better than it used to.
Ride rides at the amusement parks and not worry I won’t fit!

Joe Dragon Joe Dragon (3)

Thank you, Joe, and congratulations on your success! We’re glad you were willing to be be a part of our Transformation Tuesdays, and hope your story inspires others! Just like us, now you’re another person who’s been there. 🙂

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