There is a lot you can do to improve your health, but there is probably no more effective way, if weight is a problem, than losing a lot of weight. Two people in Portsmouth have lost an entire person, over 100 pounds each.
Brian Chabot, 20, who weighed over 300 pounds, got a wakeup call while on the job.
“When I first got my job working at Kroger, I started in the summer. It was real hot and I was losing it kind of gradually like that,” Chabot said. “I wasn’t necessarily trying to lose any weight, but after I started seeing that I was slowly using it, I didn’t change my diet, but I started working out with my friends, going to the (SOMC) Life Center.”
Chabot’s mother works at the Life Center and said he found a positive support unit at that facility.
“Even my mom is asking me for diet tips,” Chabot said.
As time went on, the weight loss process began to slow down, but to enhance the process, he changed his diet, began walking more and as a result, slowly built himself up to the point where he is now – 120-pound smaller than he was when he started.
How does it feel to suddenly realize you are a shadow of your former self?
“I don’t know if it has registered yet,” Chabot said. “It has been a really slow change over a long period of time. So I haven’t necessarily looked back. I was there and now I’m here. It’s almost as if I’ve always been here. That’s my mindset now and I’m always trying to push for a little bit more. It’s not that I’m not satisfied at where I’m at but I’m still hungry to get more in shape and even more fit.”
What are your plans?
“Right now I’m trying to get my body fat percentage as low as possible and then I’m going to start eating more food so I can actually start building muscle up,” Chabot said. “Right now I’m trying to lower my body fat percentage. That’s my goal right now.”
Chabot said his biggest passion is drawing, so he plans to go to school, get a degree hopefully work for a major company, “But I’m never going to stop doing my fitness stuff. If I don’t get into art, maybe that’s something I do want to get into.”
Amy Gray is 44 and at one time, weighed 279 pounds. She considered the priorities in her life and that’s when things began to turn around.
“I’ve got three kids and I wanted to be more active in their lives and be here for them,” Gray said. “I felt like I was missing out on a lot of stuff.”
Like everyone with weight problems, she struggled all her life in the attempt to lose the weight. Finally she talked to a surgeon in Ashland, Kentucky. She had a gastric-sleeve surgery done in December 2013.
“That is a tool for weight loss. It’s not a magic cure,” Gray said. “Initially the weight comes off really fast for the first six months, but at that point it slows down and you have to pick up and I had to really work at it from there with diet and exercise.”
A side benefit is helping her with a health condition.
“I have multiple sclerosis. I was diagnosed in 2001,” Gray said. “It (weight loss) has reduced my symptoms considerably and the symptoms that I do have aren’t as severe.”
The other rude awakening of people going through a weight loss regimen is that it is a lifelong process.
“I’m going to have to do it the rest of my life or else it won’t work,” Gray said.
Gray, who now weighs 135 pounds, like Chabot, works out at the SOMC Life Center in Portsmouth.
“I try to go there about five days a week,” Gray said. “I do cardio on the treadmill and elyptical and then I do weight machines. I’ll probably lose five more pounds and then I will be where I want to be.”
What does your family think about the change?
“They’re happy. They’re excited,” Gray said. “I’m so much more active. My two older kids are grown. My youngest daughter is a senior in high school. She’s an athlete and I can keep up with her now. I can do stuff with her. I help out with the swim team at Portsmouth High School where she goes and I know she’s glad to have me around.”
What are your plans?
“I’ll have to stick with my current good eating habits,” Gray said. “And I’m going to have to stay with working out at least three times a week.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.