My goal in writing this food blog is to share the varied recipes that I have come across and enjoyed over the four years as I have physically transformed my body. I was so absorbed in addressing my weight loss and shedding the pounds that it took about a year into the process to suddenly realize that I had adopted and was living a healthier lifestyle, not only by regularly exercising but in my eating habits, which I had dramatically changed.
In March 2013, at the age of 51, I decided I needed to take back my life. I was 270 lbs and was keenly aware that I was in that high risk group for developing Type 2 Diabetes or another serious health condition, all because of my lazy lifestyle and horrible eating habits. I couldn’t ignore the reality: I was obese and worried about my health and my future. I was tired of how I looked and felt and decided to get my butt back to my gym, where I had a membership that I had been using sporadically for two years. Even though I’ve worked out at gyms since my late 20s, my pattern was to work out for a period of time and then take an extended break. I had never cared about addressing my eating habits.
About a week after getting back to the gym, I asked a staff member a simple question about training and ten minutes later I was sitting in front of my new trainer, Amad Siddiquee, having to detail my horrendous eating habits and poor nutrition as well as discussing my sedentary lifestyle.
Through Amad’s guidance and unflagging encouragement, we set a goal of losing 70 lbs, which I initially thought was simply impossible so I smiled and pretended to agree with him that it was a great plan. However, unlike previous efforts to get fit, this time I was armed with valuable knowledge—what my daily caloric intake and burn should be—and fitted with the technology to track my caloric consumption and burn. I quickly realized this was indeed doable, and I committed to changing my life.
Because I like to cook, I started looking for recipes from online and from friends and family and magazines that were easy to prepare and tasty and that fell within my caloric and nutritional requirements. I discovered the joys of broiling and grilling my proteins and steaming my veggies. My refrigerator and kitchen counter top soon became packed with fresh fruit and veggies, many of which I was rediscovering from my youth.
By putting in the time and sweat and overhauling my eating habits, in eight months I had reached my goal of losing 70 lbs and in fact, surpassed it by losing an extra five lbs to weigh in at 195 lbs. In November 2013, I transitioned to strength training with Amad in an effort to add some muscle mass, not an easy feat for a man in his 50s.
As of April 2017, I now weigh between 205-210 lbs. Through dedicated strength-training, I have put on some muscle. It’s a daily balancing act of deciding how I am going to move my body to burn the calories I need to burn and how I am going to fuel my body through my food choices. But I never will revert back to my past life and I continue to only look forward…both to new physical challenges at the gym and exploring new nutritional choices and helping others meet their weight loss and lifestyle goals. At age 55, I am the weight I was in my 20s and can honestly say that I’m in the best shape of my life.
Now that I am a certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, I am more determined to provide recipes on this blog that are delicious and on the healthy end of the eating spectrum. I will offer tips and shortcuts to speed up the cooking process when I can and I will always try to include the nutritional breakdowns when available.
Jareer Elass -April 2017