My weight loss journey started in mid-March 2021 when I was 61. My weight was strictly a symptom of me being lazy, not the lockdown.
When my wife showed me a picture of myself sitting down, I decided that I was tired of being tired. At that point, I weighed over 300 pounds.
I had tried a few diets every once in a while, but always ended up heavier than I was before. This time, with the help of my wife, Nancy, I decided to eliminate almost all sweetened and processed food.
I gave up my favorite sugary root beer soda and stopped my daily trips to Starbucks for a caramel frappucino—with extra caramel. I was a walking heart attack, just waiting to happen.
When I was younger, I had lots of energy. What child doesn’t? But, as an adult, that energy waned from nothing more than doing nothing. We have all heard: “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Well, for me, that’s what happened. All I did was sit around.
After changing my diet, I noticed an immediate change in my energy level. I now always had energy, but not my normal sugar high, which was always followed by a low.
In early June 2021 at my annual physical, my weight was down to 255 pounds, just from the change in diet. I was thrilled that I had been able to lose over 50 pounds just by this.
For me, my journey is really about lifestyle change and being consistent with my exercise.
I work with Fairfax County in their before-and-after school programs. We provide these programs for children in support of their parents. That summer, I was assigned to a school with a track directly across the street.
A very dear friend of mine had spent the last year walking, exercising, and sticking to a strict diet. It was because of her that I started walking.
That very first day, June 13, 2021, I started walking slowly, first with two laps—half a mile—and then gradually worked my way up.
Eventually, I was walking more than 20,000 steps per day. The more I walked, the more energy I had. Some days, I would walk five or six hours. My wife put up with me being gone a lot. She was, and still is, very patient and understanding.
Now, I still have days where I walk several hours, but it’s all about maintenance. I have lost five pounds just in the last two weeks by increasing my steps. I also try to maintain a calorie deficit.
At that point, I had not started any bodyweight exercises. The weight was coming off but I was still in terrible shape.
Growing up, I would do pushups with my father so this was my go-to exercise. However, I was still so out of shape, I could not push myself off the floor.
So, at school, each time I got a break, I would go find a wall and do wall pushups, I started with 20. Eventually, I was doing 1,000 wall pushups a day. Next, I started doing pushups on the couch, and finally, down on the floor.
Pushups are now a part of my daily routine. I start with 30 or 40 in the morning and then do them throughout the day.
I then started adding planks and daily crawls around my backyard. I know. It sounds funny when a sixty-something man says he is crawling. I think I am as comfortable on all fours as I am walking, and sometimes walking feels more difficult.
In August 2021, I hit a wall. I was frustrated and not sure why I was doing all the work. I felt one hundred percent better but still, something was missing. At this point, I was at 209. I had lost almost 100 pounds.
Then, on that first day of school, one of the gym teachers, Kenan Brod, walked up to me and said: “Mr. Everett, you are looking fit.”
I will never forget this. She had seen me at my heaviest, and now, for her to say that, it was the kick I needed to continue on my journey.
My life is completely different. I have boundless energy and—as long as you don’t ask me to hang from a pull-up bar because I have bad shoulders—I can do anything. Well, except run; I was never a runner.
But as far as losing weight, I think I am right where I want to be.
Everett Gooch is a SACC teacher who works with children.
All views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
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Dr. Debi Johnson is a medical expert and health journalist dedicated to promoting well-being. With a background in medicine, she offers evidence-based insights into health trends and wellness practices. Beyond her reporting, Dr. Debi enjoys hiking, yoga, and empowering others to lead healthier lives.