My Weight Loss Journey

It has taken about a year, but I found a way to lose 90 pounds. Before you say that’s a short time to lose that much, I have a history of being able to lose huge amounts in a short time. Which has been part of my problem in maintaining the loss. Another part of my problem is that I’ve been athletic since I was 7.
When I was in my early 40s, I lost 63 pounds in 30 days. I was following a popular weight loss program then. I was running 3 miles a day. My attitude was, “Since I can lose a lot of weight almost whenever I want, plus I’m physically active, I didn’t have to worry about anything.” I ate what I wanted. As much as I wanted. Whenever I wanted. But all of the time there was this small voice that kept saying, “You can’t keep doing this. It’ll catch up.” Nothing could have been more prophetic.
Fast forward. I’m 67. I tipped the scales at 305! But I’ve always carried my body weight well (yet another problem). I know what I weighed, but I didn’t look like I was that heavy. Anyway, the reality was I weighed more than 300 pounds.
Even with all that weight, I was still playing ball multiple times a week but my knees were starting to go. My ortho doctor told me that I had to stop running for exercise because my knees were pretty much bone-on-bone and I’d be looking at knee replacement in the near future.
About this time I contacted a personal training studio, now known as Next Step Fitness. I drove out to their location. Talked to one of their trainers to get an idea of how it all worked. I was drawn to the fact that the owner is a Navy veteran, as I am. I got the info and filed it away.
One night after finishing a ball game, I’m taking off my cleats and suddenly feel a burning in my chest. Not devastatingly painful. Felt like your lungs feel after you sprint or have been running hard. Still, I knew it wasn’t good. I got to the ER and they immediately put me on a gurney and sent me up to the Cath Lab. Time for an emergency angioplasty. Yes. Heart Attack. During the procedure, they found what they said was older blockage and wanted to know when I had THAT heart attack. WHAT?! I don’t remember that at all. So, after the current procedure, they scheduled me to have the other blockage removed.
My doctor told me that staying active and staying away from alcohol, cigarettes and illegal drugs all of my life, had literally saved me. He said that just because my heart attack didn’t incapacitate me, it had been a massive heart attack and I shouldn’t dismiss what had happened to me. I did my rehab and was chastised by my cardiac rehab team several times for pushing too hard, too early. But they were happy with my attitude and progress.
A couple years later I had separate surgeries and had both of my knees fully replaced. I did the physical therapy and got back to daily living.
Then my wife unexpectedly passed. Total life changer. Now I’m 70 and on my own for the first time in 52 yrs. I putzed around for a couple of years trying to move forward. Then in January of 2022, I contacted Next Step Fitness again. The trainer I met and talked to those many years ago, Roland Garcia, remembered me. We set up an appointment so he could evaluate me.
After my evaluation (they call it an assessment), we put together a schedule. In February of 2022, I began my workouts at Next Step Fitness. A side note to this. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a Navy vet. Roland is a Marine. We had that veteran connection and many know of the “rivalry” between the Navy and Marines. That has helped our relationship.
I need the motivation that Roland provides. It’s not like Boot Camp, but he is incredibly instructive and encouraging. No question that he knows what he’s doing. I’ve learned a lot from him because of his education and experience in fitness and exercise science.
At this same time, I began getting serious about what and how I ate. Having the heart attack also helped to change my approach. You put it all together and here I am at this moment, 90 pounds lighter.
I know this has been lengthy, but I felt it important that I tell you where I came from and where I am now.
There’s no question that I couldn’t have done much of this without Next Step Fitness. I’ve worked mainly with Roland, but have also had a couple of sessions with Renee. They have totally convinced me of their knowledge and reliability. The husband and wife ownership, Kerry (who’s also a trainer) and Patricia complete the team. They all make it comfortable and enjoyable. Everyone gets to know you and all show genuine care. I can definitely tell that I have improved in many areas of strength, flexibility and weight management.
I will finish with this.
Don’t ever give up. Even when you feel like you can’t go on, take that next step. Set your goals and keep doing what’s needed to reach them. When it comes to fitness, Next Step Fitness will get you there.
By Torri Pantaleon