‘My Coworker Asked if I Needed a 3XL Shirt, So I Ran Off 55 Pounds‘
Image Credit: Courtesy Larry Knight
From men's health
Name: Larry Knight
Age: 50 years
Occupation: primary school director
Hometown: Pensacola, Florida
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Takeoff weight: 240 pounds
Final weight: 185 pounds
Time is running: two and a half years
In June 2017, I had just been appointed principal of a new school and stopped by the office to meet the staff. They gave me a couple of welcome gifts, one of which was a school t-shirt. They asked me if I need a 3xL.
That moment stayed with me. It stung. I knew I had grown up - I wore an XL in some clothes and a 2XL in others, but I didn't know I looked this tall. I thought of my life and my three grandchildren. I wanted to be there to show them the world and be an important part of their life.
That July, I knew I had to start losing weight.
I started walking. My wife and I went for long walks during the week and really made it on the weekends, running about 10 miles. Those summer miles were nice, but when school started again in September I had less time to run.
Then I decided to run. My thought process was that if I could run for 30 minutes it would mean running for an hour. Running was tough in the Florida heat, but I kept going. I could only run a short distance, like a quarter mile, before I had to run.
I ran into one run whenever I could - during lunch break, after work - and slowly worked my way up a mile without stopping. I will never forget the day. It was September 25th, 2017. I came home completely upset, turned on the ceiling fan, lay down on the floor and asked my wife to bring me water.
In November, I did a 5K race and after that race I said to myself that it was stupid to keep running. But I became curious to keep running and convinced myself to try an impromptu 10K race. For the second half of that spontaneous 10 km, my body ached and my lungs burned, and when I finished I walked into the living room and fell on the floor. My son told my wife that I looked like I needed help. Those 10km hurt, but it was worth pushing me. The curiosity to go further grew again.
By January 2018, I had reached 185 pounds where I am sitting today. Running played a big role in this, but so was what I've eaten for the past three years.
I knew I had made small changes over the years. I was an over eater so I worked on portion control to get started. I've also replaced sugary drinks (like orange juice for breakfast) with water. Whenever I went out to eat, I would have a soda. It was subtle changes that didn't shake my world, which helped me get involved with them in the long run. I knew I wasn't going to give up Whataburger so I just had to find a way to incorporate it into my new life.
These changes were made slowly and on my own terms. I wanted to feel better while running, and my diet reflects that desire. I am truly amazed at the number of changes I have made in response to my body's needs.
To be honest, I didn't know how many changes I made to my eating habits during that time. Recently, one of my sons from out of town visited and asked for fried pork chops, one of his childhood favorite foods. I wanted to fry them when, to my surprise, I had no oil in the pantry. In fact, I couldn't remember the last time I used anything.
After my son left, I checked the pantry and refrigerator. There was almond milk instead of milk. There was fresh fruit and vegetables. I used a mixture of turkey and beef to make spaghetti and meatballs. The pasta was whole wheat.
All of that fuel got me where I am today. I am still 185 pounds and even finished my first marathon in February in the New Orleans Rock and Roll Marathon. This has been a journey of ups and downs, but now, after almost three years, it has become a part of my life. Running has changed from something I have to do to something I have to do.
And now I'm so much better that I've lost weight. It really made such a positive impact on my life. My energy level is great. My mental clarity is better. My confidence has improved. As a school principal where I influence children's lives I believe it is important for them to see me as an example of a moral life, but I also live a healthy lifestyle as an example for them.
My advice to anyone looking to embark on a similar journey is to set measurable goals and find a way to hold yourself accountable. Do things that you don't want to change for the rest of your life. Making temporary changes in your life to get results is often negated when you choose to return to your goal when you achieve your goal. Keep moving no matter what, except for any excuses from you. If you stall, shake it off and start again.
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