Everyone meet Ray Kelly:
Spotlight Story – Introduction
I first met Ray Kelly at an executive networking event in Scottsdale, Arizona in April 2013. We hit it off right away; he’s a really positive guy and people are drawn to him by his nature and his cool British personality. As I learned more about him, I found out that Ray was enjoying a successful business career in the technology and education industries, and was an ex competitive soccer player before suffering a few career ending injuries. Like many successful businessmen, Ray started his career with good nutrition and exercise habits, but his extensive travel (he’s travelled to over 100 countries) and exotic business meals at all hours of the day had slowly taken a toll on him. Consequently, Ray had gained 70 pounds over the past 25 years, and I realized that he was troubled by a clearly overweight girth, a general lack of fitness and deteriorating health. He is now in his early 50’s, married with 4 kids and is the CEO of a company in Salt Lake City that provides academic and social services to help at-risk high school students graduate or return to high school after dropping out.
I learned that like a lot of business executives, Ray knew the importance of a healthy diet and had remained moderately physically active. Even though he tried and temporarily succeeded in many fad diets over the years, the reality was he gradually put on more weight as he was unable to sustain the good habits he picked up. Remarkably this was important enough for Ray that he tracked his weight monthly over the years and his trend is really obvious:
Sometimes I just meet somebody that I know needs an intervention, and I felt Ray could really do well with my help and was ready to listen. So I told him about my own journey and asked him to give me the chance to show him a new lifestyle. Ray eagerly accepted and 6 months later I'm happy to let Ray tell his own story:
Ray's Story in his own words:
When I came to the states in 1983 I was extremely fit. I weighed 180 pounds with 12% body fat and at 6 foot I carried it pretty well. I was a soccer player so I wasn't particularly muscular, but I did have a six pack and I could run forever! Although I continued to exercise and play my beloved soccer when I was in town, I was beginning to travel a lot so I found it hard to stick to my workout regime. I also slowly got used to the typical American diet, which meant my nutrition was really bad. Slowly and gradually this took it's toll on me and my weight crept up. By the time I was 35 I already weighed 200 pounds and when I met Drew in April 2013, I weighed 252 lbs with 31% Body Fat (that's 77 pounds of fat), and had a whopping 45" waist. Even worse, my doctor wanted me to go on medicine to control my dangerously high cholesterol levels and blood pressure. I was also becoming pre-diabetic and I snored so much that my wife and I weren't getting much sleep. To compound it all I had to stop playing sports as I was constantly getting injured and had begun to get a terrible limp and pain in my left hip; a specialist had just confirmed this was due to my arthritis with a hip replacement in the cards in the near future.
I had tried so many fad diets and being goal oriented I was generally successful at first, but always fell back into bad habits. I had simply not found any way to create a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Then I met Drew. Wow! What an inspiration Drew is. He told me about his Fit2Fat2Fit journey and I realized he had truly walked a few steps in my shoes, and knew what he was talking about. Drew convinced me that I needed to make some lifestyle changes and not just go on a diet. I read his book and recognized that I could do it, but was going to need a support system, encouragement and, most importantly, a lot of accountability during the process. Fortunately for me, Drew offered to take me on as his client (luckily we live close to each other) and on May 1, 2013 we started our journey together.
Drew agreed to meet with me at least once a week to review progress, to discuss nutrition and to introduce me to High Intensity Interval Training (aka Tabata Training). To ensure accountability I weighed in weekly, and told Drew and the rest of my support network about my progress (or lack thereof sometimes). I'm a goal setter and a fairly focused individual, so we developed the following goals for the next 6 months:
1. Increase my well physical well-being and confidence; feel good and look healthy by November
2. Prepare my body for hip replacement surgery in November
3. Improve my blood chemistry profile to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease
4. Reduce my weight from 252 lbs to less than 220 lbs
5. Reduce pant size to less than 40" from 45"
6. Increase my upper body strength and flexibility
For the first month, Drew asked me to stay out of the gym and off the soccer field, and introduced me to stretching and core twice a day for 15 minutes. I was never one for stretching over the years and if I had my time back I would have ensured that I properly stretched before and after games instead of a minute here and there. He also asked me to adopt a strict NO grains, NO dairy and NO sugar diet for the first 30 days that he called a "cleanse". Although it was difficult at first, I started to see the results on the scale and was excited to lose an astonishing 22 lbs that first month.
During that month I learned a lot about the Fit2Fat2Fit model and realized that I had started out on my own Fit2Fat2Fit journey. In a nutshell, Fit2Fat2Fit, is perfect for individuals that are ready to make lifestyle changes and are wiling to give it a minimum of 6 months.
Drew's Plan for Me – Nutrition Plan:
Drew's nutrition advice for me was particularly solid and balanced and he has introduced me to what is now my favorite meal – The Spinach Shake! If you haven't tried it then you must. It's truly a game changer. I also learned that I needed to drink plenty of water (I now start the day with a pint of water instead of ending the day drinking a pint of beer)! Another solid piece of the program is that you must never get hungry, so I learned that I needed to eat 3 good meals a day with mid morning and mid afternoon high fiber and high protein snacks to stave the appetite and keep energy levels high between meals. My wonderful wife, Tricia, became an awesome member of my support group during this period. She helped me clear the house of all the unhealthy foods and has eagerly taken on the same nutrition changes, and is cooking many new healthier meals. She also started to enjoy the lifestyle changes and has her own story to tell on that. Here are some important lessons I learned and nutrtion changes I made:
– Being healthy is mostly about good nutrition habits
– Don’t let yourself get hungry and eat 5-6 times a day (every 3 hours)
– Eat a balanced diet keeping aware of the foods that you eat
– Don’t count calories but reduce the quantity of empty or bad calories
– Eliminate dairy (it’s really not good for you)
– Learn what eating clean is – eliminate or significantly reduce breads, desserts and fried foods
Drew’s workout plans varied constantly based on my needs, but generally followed the plan in the book. I learned that some people can become exercise junkies but to create sustainable lifestyle changes it was important to incorporate some exercise routines into the plan for the week. I knew that with my travel schedule it was not going to be realistically possible for me to workout as much, but it was important that I scheduled my workouts like an obligation. Drew was particularly good at realizing and accomodating issues that I faced physically such as my bad hip or recovering injuries from other sports. Here are some important lessons I learned and exercise changes I made:
– Set short term goals but keep an eye on the long term goals
– If your body needs rest ..rest that part of your body but don’t quit
– Don’t use numbers (weights) as the sole determiner of your workout success
– Change the routine regularly
– Use High Intensity training to make aerobic workouts useful
Results over the past six months:
During the first six months of my own Fit2Fat2Fit journey I’ve exceeded all my goals am really excited that the lifestyle modifications have continued to stick. I’ve learned how to cope with a crazy travel schedule and to bring my own food, or pick it up when I get to a location, wherever it is in the world. I’ve learned that a balanced nutrition program and the elimination of certain unhealthy habits were the most critical changes I made during these six months. Consequently, I’ve broken through so many barriers that I'm certain the changes will stick. Although I still have to have hip surgery next week (unfortunately arthritis doesn't improve) I am ready and expect a speedy recovery.
I am now down to 200 lbs which is my lowest weight in 25 years and have lost over 50 lbs. It feels good to know that it took over 25 years to gain those 50 lbs and only 6 months to them. I'm also down to 22% body fat and have lost 45% of my fat pounds. Even better, I've lost 7 inches off my waist and have had to buy a totally new wardrobe
It gets better! I'm not taking any prescription medications and for the first time in 25 years I've received my first "Excellent" report from my doctor on the results of my blood chemistry profile. In fact he called me to ask what I've done to achieve this stunning turnaround. My total cholesterol is down to 113, which is less than half of my previous level. My LDL is down to 46, a third of my previous level and my triglycerides are down to 59, a third of the number from 6 months ago. Similarly, my blood sugar levels and blood pressure levels are back to normal and my wife and I are getting a good night's sleep as I have stopped snoring. Most importantly, I have more confidence, extra energy and I feel great. There's even an added bonus…my wife has made the same lifestyle changes so consequently she has some amazing changes too. She has lost over 28 lbs and looks great in those skinny jeans she has had to buy.
Our own Fit2Fat2Fit journey has only begun, but our results from the last 6 months are stunning to us and I am so proud and so thankful to Drew for coming into my life and helping me make these important lifestyle changes.