Saturday, December 31, 2011

New year greeted by new man

This was a fun story I did in honor of NYE. 

Fred Green poses with a photo of himself before he was able to shed 200 pounds. Photo by MEGAN TILK

One of the more popular New Year’s resolutions — losing weight — can also be one of the more challenging.

For Boonville resident Fred Green, losing weight became a necessity. At just 34 years old, Green weighed 400 pounds.

Aside from the constant fatigue, he suffered from epileptic seizures, often one a day.

“I ate a lot of the wrong stuff,” Green said. “I ate what a lot of people eat: chips, Little Debbies, cookies, candy, soda.”

His lunches often consisted of a hamburger or two, and chips. At home he took comfort in floury pastas and breads.

Green said he knew it was time to change when his cousin, who weighed a bit more, died of a sudden heart attack in September of 2009.

"That was my wake-up call that I needed to make a lifestyle change before I got too old,” Green said. “So I started working out and changed my diet.”

Scrapping the fries for carrots and the burgers for turkey, he also began working out at the local YMCA daily.

“I looked at it as a challenge,” he said. “I used to have a 12-minute mile or more. Now I’m down to an 8-minute mile.”

With a lot of running, a few abdominal and cardiovascular workouts and some healthy eating habits, Green now stands proudly at 200 pounds. Fitting both of his legs into one leg of his old sweatpants, Green could be deemed the local Jared Fogel, Subway Restaurant’s weight loss success story.

His co-workers say he’s better than that.

“Jared just lost weight,” said Unlimited Opportunities Case Manager Misty Vizcarralagos. “Fred’s done that and made his medical condition virtually disappear. He’s amazing.”

Not only did he reach his goal weight and accomplish his goal of driving but he’s also found employment and is taking online college courses, feats he once couldn’t imagine.

Now an administrative assistant to the case management department at Unlimited Opportunites, Green continues to set goals for himself. While continuing his diet and exercise is near the top of his list, Green also hopes to finish school and one day be a case manager himself.

Green’s last reported seizure occurred nearly 10 months ago, about the same time he hit his goal weight.

“It’s quite liberating,” Green said of his experience. “There’s times where I wonder how I even woke up and got along.”

Once deemed medically ineligible to drive due to his epilepsy, Green now owns his own car.

“I’ve known Fred since I worked with him in 2009,” Vizcarralagos said. “He had a lot of potential but was very shy. I think he was maybe afraid of the unknown but I think at one point he just woke up and decided that was enough. He’s made a complete transformation.”

Since Fred has reached his goals, he's chosen to make education and advocacy his 2012 resolution.

“My resolution is to inform and influence others to live healthier and educate them through what I did and what they can do,” he said. “I want to encourage others to lose weight and live healthy.”

Though he admits there were times he struggled, he’s also found ways to cope.

“There are going to be times where you work out all month and only lose three or four pounds,” he said. “That’s normal. Every one plateaus at some point but you can’t judge your progress just by the scale.

“You’re going to get cravings and if you do, don’t deny yourself, because the craving gets stronger and when you eventually give in, I find that you tend to over indulge, so moderation is okay.”

Looking forward to another healthy year, Green said he will continue his routine at the YMCA and share his experiences and motivation with others.

“Every doctor is stunned,” he said. “I like that feeling. Eventually, it got to a point where going to the gym was fun. It’s like recess to a kid for me. It feels great.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is where abdominal exercise machines can help. One of the advantages of six pack training machines is to help beginners complete certain exercises that are important in the development of their abs.