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Editor's Note: Roman Jimenez wrote a bi-weekly sports column for SDGLN for a period of 18 months, called "The Athletic Supporter." He has been a longstanding and very actively involved member of the local LGBT sports community, most notably in the AFCSL softball and SDTF tennis organizations. We have been following his progress this past year and applaud the mental, emotional and physical determination this required, during an already challenging and difficult period of his life with the loss of his close friend and mentor, Wyatt Strehlow.
We wish Roman continued success and are proud to present you with his very own "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" story, in his own words.
On July 1, 2010, I weighed 334 pounds.
I had a 46" waist and wore a size XXXL shirt.
Shopping for clothes was impossible and I found that sleeping was both painful and difficult.
I had difficulty breathing during sleep and the weight bearing down on my joints, especially my shoulders, caused a lot of pain.
I was too heavy for someone who considers themselves an athlete, and way too heavy for someone nearly 40-years-old with two parents who had already died from heart problems before they were 65.
My romantic life was non-existent and so was my energy level. Faced with possible extinction and eternal celibacy, I decided to take drastic measures to lose weight. I couldn’t afford surgery or a meth habit, so I had to be creative.
I did something so radical, few people have ever tried it before: "Diet and exercise."
My results have been dramatic and in three phases:
Below are 10 things I did that worked for me.
I’ve included some feedback from my personal trainer, Chris Adams on some of these items, so you can get a sense of what was "right" and what could have been "better."
Chris is an "Elite-level" certified personal trainer (CPT) from 24 Hour Fitness at the Mission Valley Mall and I’ve been working with him since February.
1. Atkins® Diet: I cut carbs out of my daily food intake. This wasn’t easy because carbs are basically sugar and sugar is in everything. Pastas, potatoes, breads, fruits and many vegetables are full of carbs and are an Atkins no-no. This diet is all about protein.
Chris says: "I’m not a fan of the Atkins diet because your brain needs carbs, but if it’s a start, it’s fine."
2. Cardio exercise: A fat guy in a gym can be a little self conscious. To avoid feeling like I was being judged, I went to the gym early in the morning. I would do 20 minutes on the machine and then go home. I did this about five mornings a week. This also helped with Phase I weight loss.
Chris says: "Twenty minutes is a good start, but cardio needs to be mixed with other exercises, too. Man was not cut on cardio alone."
3. Cheat days: One of the things you crave when on Atkins is, well, everything you can’t eat while on Atkins. I wanted pizza and ice cream. Hell, if someone ever made an ice-cream pizza I would have been all over it. So once every couple of weeks, on a weekend, I would have a "cheat day," where I ate anything I wanted. With an ice-cream mustache, I happily started my diet all over again the next day.
Surprisingly, Chris says: "Cheat days are fine and will help keep you motivated and sane."
4. Weight lifting: About eight months into my weight loss program, I started lifting weights. I should have done this way sooner.
Chris says: "Weight lifting will increase your muscle base, which increases your resting metabolic rate. This means you burn more calories during the day. Then, without doing any extra work, your muscles do the weight-loss work for you."
5. Diet switch: When I finally broke down and got a personal trainer, it was a huge help. Under Chris’s guidance, I switched my diet to a high-fiber, low calorie food intake, where I eat about five times during the day, but with smaller portions. This increased my metabolism and I seldom ever felt truly hungry.
6. Log your eating! Keeping track of what you eat, every time you eat, is vitally important if you’re trying to count calories or just keep yourself on a nutrition plan. Most smartphones have apps available to help with this very goal. I love the "Lose It" app on my iPhone. Check it out, it’s free.
7. You will plateau: With each phase of weight loss I hit a plateau: a spot where I stopped losing weight for weeks or even months. My response was to keep doing the same thing I had been doing, hoping it would change.
Chris says I waited way too long to change up what I was doing and to get the help of a professional. "Your body adjusts to what you’re doing, so you have to switch it up so it will react the right way."
8. Set goals within your goals: I didn’t start off thinking I wanted to lose 135 pounds. Instead I set one goal: 30 pounds in 49 days. After that I set another goal, and then another. With smaller goals in set time frames, I found I had more energy and was never daunted by the enormity of my objective.
Chris says, "If you get a trainer it’s helpful to tell him/her what your goals are, both short term and long term, so they can build a program that works for you and your goals."
9. Make yourself accountable: If you are one of my Facebook friends, you have seen posts with weight-loss updates and check-ins at the gym. I’ve been very public. Because people know what I’m doing, they’ve asked how it’s going and have commented with positive encouragement. With so many people knowing what I’m doing, I feel they will hold me accountable if I fail. On tough days when going to the gym just seems like a bridge too far, I use that as inspiration to steer my car in the right direction.
10. Lean on your friends: If you let your friends know what you’re doing, and how serious you are about it, they will help you. They’ll encourage you to eat healthy and they’ll be sure not to invite you over for ice cream pizza.
How I feel today is how you can start feeling tomorrow
As of this writing, I weigh around 232 pounds and I want to lose 35 more. My size 36" jeans are a little loose on me and my shirts now only have one X in them. Because I now sleep like a rock, I have more energy. I feel great, look better, and lately, I’ve been going out on a lot of first dates.
My weight loss has changed my life.
You can change yours too! If you don’t know where to start, use these tips to put you on the path to living, feeling and looking better.
If you want to seek the help on an expert, I highly encourage you to do so. While personal trainers can be expensive, the really good ones, like Chris, have "introductory" offers that are a great value.
Good luck! Remember, if I can do this, you can do this!
Note: Roman's personal trainer, Chris Adams, is offering all readers of this article a free initial consultation. Call Chris at the gym at (619) 294-2424.
Photos, above, left, top: Michael Marianas (left) and CPT Chris Adams of 24 Hour Fitness in Mission Valley at San Diego Pride, 2011; middle: Roman Jimenez in 2010; bottom: Roman Jimenez today.