BJ before and after losing 44 lbs

At 44 years old, BJ decided to improve his life and be there for his family for as long as he possibly can. He started by fasting, cutting sugar and sodas, and exercising – and he lost over 44 lbs in just 8 weeks. 

  • Where do you live? USA, Blackfoot Idaho
  • What do you do for work/career? Counselor for an adolescent unit of a psychiatric hospital
  • Anything else you’d like to share? I’m 44 yo and married for the 2nd time. Between my wife and I, we have 9 kids, so we stay pretty busy that way.

Tell us about your lifestyle before you decided to make a change

I guess I could say about myself that I’m a yo-yo dieter, as my weight has always been an issue, throughout my whole life. I’ll lose weight through a diet and then I’ll gain again. On the good side, I’ve always been the type that exercised. 

At one point I admit I might have thought I could even exercise my way out of poor nutrition. 

But once I hit my 40s that no longer worked. I also had a surgery a few years ago that really slowed me down and after that, I gained even more weight.

I guess the starting point was after I went on a little trip to Yellowstone National Park, a while back. I remember when I got back I weighed. 

326 lbs. Most I had ever weighed. 

And I’m about 6′ 5” (1,96 m). That’s when I had a serious wake-up call. 

Before starting on this new journey, a colleague of mine told me about “The obesity code“, by Dr. Jason Fung. I read it and found some very relevant tips. According to Dr. Fung, weight gain and obesity are driven by hormones, and only by understanding the effects of insulin and insulin resistance can we achieve lasting weight loss. I would recommend this book to anyone who’s looking to get back on track.

The Obesity Code, Jason Fung MD - the book that helped BJ get back on track
Image source: amazon.co.uk

Doctor Fung goes by the principle of eating more fat (maybe close to ketogenic, I always say they might be close cousins). Fewer carbs, moderate protein, good fiber, and fasting. I’ve always been the one fasting as part of my faith, but have never thought about it from a diet point of view.

How did you start? What were the first changes that you made? Are you following a particular diet? How did you make time to make a change?

I’m part of the Mormon church. My oldest son recently left to be a missionary for two years. My initial objective was to lose 100 lbs before he gets back. 

After I set this goal I gained 7 lbs.

This just comes to show you that even with an initial set-back you can get back on track and focus on your goals. After that, I started fasting a bit more as well as focus on my diet, and the weight started coming off quickly. 

To be honest, it was easier than I thought. My biggest problem was always thinking that if I try to eat healthy I won’t enjoy my food. I know in the back of my mind that I have to eat more vegetables, but I still don’t like it. So here’s what I did:

  • I had to get off soda. I had been a Diet Mountain Dew junkie for the past couple of years and it was pretty bad. It was a rough couple of days, but I went cold turkey and got off of it. I started drinking Perrier and it seems to be going fine.
  • During the first week, I dropped the sugar and processed food. Plus eating on an 18h fast-6h eating window. 
  • In the 2nd week, I went to 24h fast every other day. So I’d go and I’d eat breakfast, lunch & dinner (no snacking), then fasting 24h then eat dinner. I did that for a week.
  • Starting from the 3rd week I would eat dinner and then 36 to 40h without eating and, in the meanwhile, drinking a lot of water or tea. At first, I was adding a bit of coconut oil to my tea, the theory behind it being that it gets your body more fat adapted. I did find out in this phase that I’m not a huge fan of green tea. 

The result? In less than two months I lost 44lbs.

I most recently weighed in at 282 lbs. A pretty quick loss, but I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic.

What drove you to make a change? A particular event?

I’m in my 40s, 44yo to be exact, and my family is growing up. It wouldn’t really surprise me if within the next 10 years I’ll be a grandpa. That idea of wanting to be a healthy grandpa that can move and do stuff with the kids was really what got me started. 

Plus for me, being active is a way to connect with the people I love.

I want to be able to continue to do obstacle races. This is something I enjoy doing with my sons. And I have lots of boys, so I do have to keep in shape.

I would say it to anyone. 

Find your core WHY. 

Whatever works for you as a reason why. I’ve seen that what speaks universally to most people is knowing that you want to be there for the people you love, in a good shape and for as long as you can.

What are your favorite healthy meals?

I’ve started to embrace more fat and have eaten more oil, a bit more butter. For some reason, I’m not a huge butter fan (my wife seems to love it). I like broccoli, but I’ll cook it in oil or a bit of grease and have it with chicken.

Compared to the keto diet, I’d say I’ve probably been more on the dirty side.

A typical meal for me would be one that sounds good for me. Since I’m only eating in smaller windows I do tend to have a fattier meal – but trying to focus more on healthier fats. 

I’ll make a chicken in the InstaPot, salads with nuts and seeds, cheeses that I like, olives, avocado, vinegar & oil.

It’s fairly easy for me to go without eating. What’s more difficult for me to do is to eat a lot of things I don’t like. Having found a way around that was a change. I may not like veggies that much, but if I find some fats that I like that go with it, seems to be fine.

What types of struggles have you dealt with during this time? What was the hardest thing? Are there times where you have had to show yourself compassion along the way?

I guess vacation has been a bit of a struggle because you do have the constant feeling that you might not be able to get back on track, plus the overwhelming temptations of eating unhealthy. 

Right now, I just got back from vacation so I’m at a bit of a stall, but I know I’ll get back on track. I did enjoy it, even if I knew it might take me back a bit. 

I’d still like to lose another 60-70 lbs, but I’m hopeful about it. 

I think for me regulating and making sure I get back on track would probably be the biggest struggles. 

Go on a vacation and relax knowing you’ll get back to it after.

BJ on a family trip during his weight-loss journey

I realize I might have to regulate a bit my vacation meals in the future, but right now I’m pretty confident that even with a break I didn’t go totally overboard. 

I’ve also struggled with compassion for myself all my life.

Maybe now I am the most compassionate to myself in a way, and that’s probably because I am a bit more hopeful and confident because I’ve seen results. 

I know I can get back on track. And it was actually fairly easy for me.

My wife is also one of the reasons why it’s easier for me. She’s fantastic. She made it really easy on me as I just have to adapt a bit my meals after she cooks. Plus, I’ve seen that it’s actually a bit easier with my fasting. Even if I’m fasting and my family’s having lunch, let’s say, I can spend some quality time with them.

How has your life changed since you transformed? What are you most proud of?

I’ve got to admit it was so pleasant for me to see that I’m down a few sizes. 

Shirts no longer hugging me, pants that were in the closet for a few years now fit again.

BJ after picture -44lbs

Plus, seeing that I am more active and able to do more and more things with my family. That’s probably the biggest accomplishment for me.

I feel like I found some ways to make my life not so hard. And health is one of the ways to make life easier.

Health problems can come either way, but I feel good knowing I’m trying to reduce their chances.

Are you exercising too? If so, what is your routine? 

I don’t like going to gyms. Too much of a time crunch. So I have some weights in my basement. 

If I’m adding in my stretching exercise as well and I’m in a good week, I’ll probably exercise 5-6 days/ week, 30min-60 min daily.

I’ve been doing P90x and beach-body workouts, Insanity, more cross-training. A yoga session some days, a cardio workout, plus weight lifting.

What about tracking? What works best for you?

I’ve been using measuring and the Progress App. I’ve realized that I’m always unclear about my consistency (if the measures are done correctly) so I tend to rely on the scale more, together with waist measurements.

I weigh and measure about once a week.

What would you want other people who are struggling with their wellness to know?

I was battling a wrist injury so I wasn’t really able to work out for the first six weeks of my journey and I still lost a lot of weight. 

Find something that works for you (exercise/diet), don’t give up and be compassionate to yourself.

All in all, for me personally, this has been the easiest thing I’ve done. If someone would have told me “drop the sugar and sodas” and “eat in smaller windows”, I probably would have started long ago.

What worked for me was sticking to the mindset of “I’m not going to quit”. I don’t want to be the dad that was sick and tired all his life. If you don’t give yourself the time to give up, you’ll wake up one day halfway through your journey, feeling healthier and more in shape than ever. And that’s one amazing feeling.

And whatever happens, get back up!

“Fight on, my men”, Sir Andrew said.

 ‘A little I’m hurt but not yet slain. 

I’ll just lie down and bleed a while 

and then I’ll rise and fight again.”