Time for another success story. This week I am continuing with the winners of the last transformation challenge. Bill Kennedy was the second place winner in the Elite Holiday Challenge. Let’s see what Bill has to say about his experience not only in the challenge but at my studio as a whole.
My “Serious” Weight Loss Journey, by Bill Kennedy
Most of my life, I have been overweight. I started getting my belly when I was in 6th grade. I couldn’t tell you why other than I had easy access to all the cookies, ice cream, candy, etc that I wanted. It was always in our house and I was often allowed to be alone. My mom was heavy too. We did TOPS and NutriSystem together all before I was 15. I’d lose weight, but as soon as we stopped eating the cardboard box food, we’d go back to eating like before and gain back the weight, plus more. On top of that, I was still growing too.
So, then we moved to Minnesota in the middle of winter before I turned 16. I remember having Slim-Fast lunches, but really not caring about the number on the scale anymore. Graduated high school, then college never caring about how much or what I ate and exited college at about 250 lbs. I only remember that because I went to buy a suit at JC Penney and remembering that I barely fit into the largest suit they sold there at the time. On to adulthood and I’d eat my occasional salad to be healthy (with way too much regular dressing, stupid me). I ate my way to 320 lbs. I did have some success when I joined Weight Watchers in 2005. I lost 65 lbs. I don’t know which version of the points system it was or how it compares today, but it did start to teach me a little about eating more sensibly. I did start to make connections with points, calories and types of food. But, I got bored.
My dad became my greatest inspiration to lose weight. No, he didn’t go on and lose 100+ pounds and make me want to be like him. Exact opposite. I love my dad dearly and over the last decade, I’ve watched his health deteriorate. He is already handicapped with multiple herniated discs in his back from working in the Navy and other military related ailments. But, he also gained a lot of weight and was diagnosed with Type 2 Adult Diabetes. This is also evident in his Aunt and Cousin.
Back to my story, so it was September 2011 when I decided, enough was enough. I’d been working at the weight thing for the year prior and had some success. I’d learned about real eating, real workouts, etc., but failed at putting it all together for the long haul. I’m a numbers and logical guy and I need that to work this out for myself. So, I started tracking. Calories in, out, workouts, etc. I made sure to eat less than my total calorie expenditure. This was the key. I was able to eat better, workout better and lose weight.
I have been an Instructor of Tae Kwon Do in Walker, MN since 2009. I am a role model for children, adolescents and adults. I felt that I had to lose weight or I was not staying true to what I was teaching. I am friends with another instructor in Grand Forks who has been an advocate of Kettlebells for years. I wanted to add that level of work to my routine and was seeking out Kettlebell instructors. Well, the closest one to me was Justin Cox at Elite Performance and Fitness in Bemidji, MN. I decided I wanted to try out classes with Justin. After just a couple of classes, I knew it was a great fit. And it had to be if I wanted to do this type of class because there was nothing like this in Walker, MN.
Well, it’s been a year and 3 “challenges”, but I pulled one off. Most important is how much stronger I am now. I can feel it. I can see it. My wife can feel it and see it. Everyone around me can see it. Over the last year or so, I have lost 6 inches in my waist, dropping 3 pant sizes and 2 shirt sizes. I told Justin when I first started coming to his gym that I wanted to become a trainer so I could bring this back to my community. We are making that a reality in January. Justin’s workouts are great, but his vision is the most powerful part of his plan. He doesn’t just want you to be his customer, he wants true success for you. I don’t consider Justin to be my trainer, but a partner in my fitness plan. Due to distance, I will not always be able to come to his gym, but we will always be partners in fitness!
Elite New Year’s Transformation Challenge
I can’t tell you how excited I get when think about all that Bill has already accomplished and how much more he is still capable of. You can bet that Bill is going to be bringing it full force at my New Year’s Challenge. Will you be?