Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Ken Brookes is 62, 6 feet tall, and currently weighs 206 pounds. In 2014, after his doctor told him he had to change his diet or face significant health consequences, he was able to make critical changes for a healthier and happier life. This is the story of his weight-loss journey.
The Turning Point
I have been heavy my entire life. Growing up in the 1960s, I was a real couch potato, glued to the TV, eating full fat, and added sugar to everything. In junior high, I was 5’9″ and 160 pounds, the biggest in my class. On my wedding day in 1977, I was 6 feet and 163 pounds with a 33 inch waist. My wife was a good cook, with her own lifelong weight problem. By our first wedding anniversary, I weighed 195 pounds, on our second, I was 225 pounds, and on our third, I hit 255 pounds. My weight fluctuated slightly in the decades to come, and in May of 2014, I reached my highest weight of 308 pounds. That is when my doctor told me that if I didn’t remove all added sugar from my diet I would become diabetic. That was my turning point.
Just by removing all added sugar I lost 10 pounds in five months. But, I was still overeating and not exercising.
My wife died of ovarian cancer in August of 2014. Since I had then retired, I was able to eat healthier at home. I began eating granola cereal for breakfast, deli meat sandwiches for lunch and frozen dinners. I eventually stopped drinking milk and eating bread. My doctor started me on Kefir probiotic for breakfast, and I now add sunflower seeds and nuts. I then changed to rice, bean, and cheese burritos for lunch, and have since added avocado slices. I now eat granola bars and fruit cups for snacks and have added Rice Rollers, fresh fruit, and pumpkin seeds. I maintain a diet of about 2,000 calories a day.
In September of 2014, my family had an intervention to get me to exercise. They wanted me to live a long and healthy life. My brother bought me a pair of sneakers, since I didn’t own a pair. He started me walking up to three miles a day, which I still do now. My town has a hiking trail next to railroad tracks near my home with a friendly atmosphere on level ground.
The first thing I noticed when I removed all added sugar was how clear-minded I felt, like I was not in a sugar-induced haze or fog. I remember noticing my stomach disappearing and my extremities thinning. I have built up more endurance, and now enjoy performing in plays and musicals, something I had wanted to do but was unable to at my larger size.
Having suffered from classic lower back pain my entire adult life, I now am pain free. I also no longer have constant draining sinuses and can breath freely through my nose.
Everyone in my life reacted positively. Everyone was supportive, my doctor was very pleased, and my sons recently started dieting and exercising and have lost significant weight themselves.
I am meticulous enough that when I start something I must continue it. I eat the same food every day and I walk at the same time every day.
Since losing 100 pounds, I am eating more Rice Rollers for snacks, but have continued with the same diet, approximate calorie intake, and exercise regimen.
I am comfortable with my daily routine of eating the same foods and exercising the same amount.
At first I craved sweets, but over time I have become very disciplined and don’t eat junk food or sweets. I do go off my diet for special occasions but still limit my portion sizes.
I have settled into my healthier lifestyle without any mental or emotional struggles. I no longer crave unhealthy food, and when I get hungry I eat low calorie food. I never want to go back to being unhealthy.
Everyone has to find what works for them. No two people are the same, so no one’s journey is going to be the same. Look for help and support. Family and friends want what is best for you. God wants us to be the best we can be.
All photos courtesy of Ken Brookes.
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