Today I would like to introduce Keith Ahrens who I was privileged to meet on line. I have been looking for people with weight loss success stories who are losing it the right way. Diet and exercise. No pills, no surgery, no tricks, just hard work and determination.
Keith has lost an AMAZING 200 pounds going from morbidly obese to a healthy weight. It took a trip to the doctors office because he wasn’t feeling well, to finding out he had what’s called a “silent” heart attack. He needed open heart surgery to repair the damage. However, because of his weight, his doctors actually wanted him to lose weight before having surgery! Can you imagine having to walk around knowing you needed open heart surgery, but you can’t?
But actually waiting was a blessing in disguise. He was able to interview doctors, find out more about his condition, took a hard look at what he was eating and started to move.
The following are questions I asked of Keith which he was more than happy to answer.
1). What was your “Aha” moment when you decided you needed to do something about your weight?
The decision to change my life was learning that I might have a heart problem and my acute awareness of my obesity and how it affected my quality of life. I knew that if I didn’t change my life dramatically, I would die sooner than I wanted to. The “icing on the cake” was being told that I needed life saving open-heart surgery.
2). Had you tried to lose weight in the past – were you successful when you tried?
Many times. More than I could ever possibly remember. I had success when I started each of my weight loss programs but to no avail. I relapsed and gained back more weight than I lost each time.
The problem is that I was “dieting” each time. Diets don’t work. For 23 years I dieted and failed miserably each time. I attribute these failures on three main things.
1. Diets are normally unsustainable for the long term based simply on the nutritional aspects.
2. Most diets that I have tried seemed to always have an ending. The very next day I was back to my old bad unhealthy habits.
3. Most diets aren’t any fun and they seemed like they were more work for me, and a terrible inconvenience.
3). How do you find time for yourself to concentrate on losing weight?
I do not concentrate at all on losing weight and never did. Losing weight for me is a by-product of a healthy eating lifestyle combined with a good and active physical fitness program and the choices I make. Remember there are 1440 minutes in each day and that would ultimately mean I work on a healthy lifestyle for 1440 minutes each day.
4). What kept you going? Were there times where you wanted to give up?
My drive to be more fit and healthier than the previous day has been a big boost for me and has kept me focused. I have never wanted to give up. I have been discouraged, yes. Sometimes even depressed. I found that hitting a plateau was discouraging but I realized that I would breakthrough it in due time. I find myself getting back on track quickly and hope this is the case the rest of my life.
5). How has maintenance been, is maintaining harder than losing weight?
I have been asked if I am at my goal weight. I honestly am not sure what my goal weight is. I am so much more focused on being more fit and healthy today than I was yesterday. I think there is a psychological effect when you hit a goal weight. Is it like ending a “diet”? I hope not.
6). Did you exercise while losing weight, if so, what do you like to do for exercise.
Yes. Physical fitness and activity is a very important aspect of any weight loss program. I firmly believe that they both go hand in hand. I am also a Certified Fitness Trainer and have studied the effects of exercise on the body. It is a critical that the body assume some sort of activity to promote weight loss. It is just healthy to exercise routinely.
I do both cardio and weight resistance training. I normally work my cardio on a treadmill and bicycle. I used to tread water for an hour during the summer. I have just started to walk and jog slowly keeping my knees in mind. I have an exercise bicycle also. I played basketball by myself this summer on occasion. The point is that I try to mix up my exercise program as not to get bored.
7). What are some tips that helped you a long the way?
Stay focused. It’s worth it. It is amazing what we can accomplish as individuals. We must believe in ourselves. We must also realize that no one can do it for us. I tell people that the message in my book is – “No matter how bad things seem to be, there is always hope and that anything is possible.”
8). Did you have people in your life that weren’t positive towards the changes you were making?
No. If you do, get rid of them. You have no use for anyone or anything that is not a positive influence in your life. Life is just too short. Live it.
9). What was a typical eating day like when you were heavy?
Where do I start? Just imagine the worst binge eating anyone could imagine. Eating 95% garbage and 5% good.
10). What is a typical eating day like now that you are eating healthier?
Eating 95% healthy and 5% garbage.
Keith Ahrens, CFT
“Sometimes you have to walk away from something to see what’s in front of you.”
Thanks so much Keith for inspiring others. Sometimes when people are losing weight weather its a little or a lot, it seems too much to get started. But you are proof that by making small changes every day, moving more than you did the day before and watching what you eat, great things can happen!
Keith was also interviewed on AOL’s Health Page. Click here to view that article.
Also, BUY HIS BOOK! It’s such an great read, not only on weight loss, but with having to face open heart surgery. Click here to buy his book.
Here are a couple great pictures showing the amount of weight he lost in food! It all adds up!!
GREAT JOB KEITH!!!!!! AND THANK YOU FOR BEING SO GENEROUS WITH YOUR TIME WITH ME!!!
This is the 3rd installment of this weight loss superstar series. In case you missed the first two:
Diane @ Fit to the Finish
Jen@ Prior Fat Girl