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  1. Gregory L. Gomez June 18, 2014 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    Good Afternoon,

    My name is Gregory L. Gomez, an elementary school teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District, and I recently came across your website and found it very inspiring! With obesity statistics on a consistent rise, I believe it is as important as ever to inspire readers to take action so they can develop healthy habits to guide them through each day.

    For the past two years I’ve been focusing on improving my health and fitness which is one reason why I created Approaching 40 years old, weighing close to 300 pounds, and being borderline diabetic was not how I envisioned my life turning out when I was younger.

    I just finished writing an in-depth account of what I’ve experienced this past year in my efforts to lose weight and develop healthy habits. This new article titled “A Teacher’s Journey Out of Obesity” specifically addresses what I’ve done to lose more than 40 pounds along with a 14% reduction in body fat thus far.

    I’d be happy to offer this article for you to use on your website, or possibly to send to your subscriber list if you feel your audience may benefit from its content. Some of your readers may be in the same predicament I was in and may be inspired from my recent experience. I could send you before and after photos/pics to include in the article if you’d like, just let me know.

    In the likelihood you don’t accept guest article submissions possibly we can exchange a website review or a Q&A interview with one another. I’m open to suggestions or ideas you may have.

    I look forward to hearing from you and keep up the good work!

    Warm Regards,
    Gregory L. Gomez
    Teacher – LAUSD

    A Teacher’s Journey Out Of Obesity

    My name is Gregory L. Gomez, an elementary school teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District, and I’m a guest author here to give you a little insight about my decade long struggle with weight loss and how this past year has been the start of something wonderful.

    For the record, I’ve had many difficulties trying to lose weight for more than 10 years now. Time and time again I attempted to lose weight but after a week or two of feebly trying to change my habits, I was right back where I started. It was extremely frustrating continually failing to make a difference in my weight and improve my health.

    What finally opened my eyes to the seriousness of this issue was when I found out in 2012 that I was dangerously close to weighing 300 pounds. I was shocked and appalled at my new record weight amount and firmly decided to fix this problem once and for all.

    With numerous failures over the past ten years trying to tackle the weight loss process, I knew I had to do something different this time around to be successful. Therefore, I decided to first focus on my daily nutrition and that is when my eyes were truly opened to how unhealthy my regular eating habits were.

    All the fast food, potato chips, soda, pizza, cookies, beer, crackers, and the list goes on and on. I shake my head in disgust thinking about how I used to eat. Combine that type of nutrition with a complete lack of exercise and you get the perfect recipe for weight gain, and the main reason why I became obese over the past ten years.

    To make a definitive change in my daily nutrition one of the first things I had to do was take back control of my kitchen. Plain and simple, if you have a kitchen stocked with unhealthy items you are going to eat in an unhealthy manner. Therefore I went through my refrigerator, cupboards, pantry in order to get rid of all the unhealthy junk. I was surprised that it actually took two big boxes to get everything out of there!

    Once that was complete, and with a kitchen practically bare, I needed to go grocery shopping. However I felt it prudent to first create a menu of healthy meals for one week to see if that would help me stick with a more specific eating plan. Since I failed many times before in the past, I was determined to take a new approach to help ensure my success.

    There are many benefits to planning out a weekly menu, but in my opinion the most important is to have a specific list of meals to help keep you focused on healthy eating. More importantly, a weekly menu helps take away the need to go out and buy a fast food meal or order pizza which were habits I desperately needed to change.

    So I did a little research in order to come up with a handful of healthy meal ideas that didn’t appear to be too hard to make. Simple but healthy was my plan when first tackling my weekly menu of meals. Why make it difficult to start developing healthy eating habits right?

    With my meals planned out I was then able to make a grocery list of all the items I needed to prepare everything for the week. This became my Sunday evening ritual – create my menu, write out my grocery list, then go shopping so I was ready to start the week off on a healthy foot.

    Approaching my nutrition in this manner really helped me stick with healthy eating in seven day increments. Pretty soon one week turned into two, then three, and before you know it a whole month of healthy eating went by!

    As I progressed through the first month of my new eating ritual, I found out rather quickly that portion size was one of the areas I needed to improve since I would often overeat at most meals. Going for seconds and even thirds was a common occurrence for me so this was something I really needed to improve if I wanted to have any chance fixing my weight situation.

    This point is CRUCIAL to take to heart for it may be the difference between weight loss success or failure. Even overeating on healthy food will still mean the body is taking in too many calories and weight gain will still occur. This is why portion control at meals is most important for weight loss success.

    What helped immensely with my overeating issue was to develop some healthy eating practices. First, I started to drink a couple of glasses of water during meals since that helps fill you up, and also eat my food in a slower manner to give my body time to register the amount of sustenance that was entering.

    Getting in the habit of leaving the kitchen table once I finished my food also helped get my mind out of eating mode. I’d either pack leftovers into travel containers for lunch the next day and/or start washing the dishes. Finally, so my body wouldn’t become “starved” in between meals, making sure to eat a healthy snack really helped keep my portion sizes appropriate.

    All these were habits I needed to work at to become part of my daily routine. It was hard at first, I’m not going to lie about it. I was attempting to break some habits that had ruled my life for the better part of ten years, so naturally there was some stubborn resistance from my mind and body.

    Occasionally I caved in and purchased a fast food meal with french fries and a soda, but afterwards I would reflect and try to learn from these minor setbacks. I found the more often I did this, the less often these setbacks would occur. As the months went by I found myself making much healthier, wiser decisions in regards to my choices of food and drinks.

    As I was grasping a firm handle on my daily nutrition, I also needed to address the exercise portion of my healthy life transformation. I read somewhere that 70% of the weight loss process is dependent on nutrition, therefore the 30% left in regards to exercise didn’t seem that intimidating.

    It was time to get my butt off the couch and start moving again. However since I allowed myself to balloon up to nearly 300 pounds, I was in no condition to simply start doing intense cardio workouts. Heck, I could hardly do three push-ups when I first began my fitness trek so I had a big task ahead of me.

    One quote that really inspired my fitness drive was this: “You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start in order to be great.” Therefore I tried not to dwell on my condition at the time and just started out with the very basics – walking.

    I started walking with my dog around the neighborhood 4-5 days a week. At first we would walk for only about 30 minutes, then that increased to an hour, and soon an hour and a half. To change it up, I then started looking for places to hike and actually found a couple spots not too far from my house that were quite challenging.

    After two months of walking and hiking, I started to jog. Slow at first, and only for a 15-30 minute period. I always kept in mind that I was not in a rush to get myself into shape. I didn’t want to get injured since that would force me to take time off from working out. Exercise plays a very important role in a healthy lifestyle so I always took the careful yet consistent approach.

    By this point five months into my weight loss journey, running/hiking 4-5 times per week was getting a little monotonous and I wanted to change-up the exercise routine. This is when things got really fun and interesting.

    Keep in mind for the better part of a decade I was glued to the couch with a television remote control in one hand, and a bag of potato chips in the other. Now that I was able to run for about an hour without much difficulty, a world of opportunities were now open to me!

    I started playing tennis again and realized I really missed that sport. I also purchased an at home DVD exercise program in order to get a more full body workout than merely running around my neighborhood for an hour. I even signed up for a local Boot Camp class just to see what that type of workout was like.

    The point of telling you all this is to show how my thoughts and attitude towards exercise completely changed. It was no longer an internal struggle dealing with the question ‘Should I workout?’, this was a no-brainer. The question now became ‘What do I feel like doing today?’.

    Combining my weekly exercise routine with a daily healthy eating plan has brought me consistent weight loss progress over the past year. I’m ecstatic to announce that I’ve dropped 42 pounds and my body fat percentage (BMI) that began at 36.4% is now at 22.1%!

    Even though I still have not met my final goal yet, I can definitely see the results of my work and more importantly, I know what it takes to live a healthy life. I am confident knowing that if I continue with my exercise and nutritional game plan, I will meet my overall weight loss goal!

    Eating healthy and working out are now simply aspects of my life. I am no longer torn with indecision on what I should or should not eat. Very rarely do I consume any potato chips or soda. Funny thing is, I don’t even miss those things.

    When you retrain your mind and focus on each day keeping health as your top priority, new habits slowly emerge. When you stick with it, pretty soon the new healthy habits take over and you no longer struggle with the decisions on what to eat, or what type of exercise to do.

    What’s most important to keep in mind is that the weight loss process all comes down to YOU. You have to want to make the change, no one can decide this for you. It took weighing practically 300 pounds for me to finally see the light and realize I needed to make an actual change in the way I lived my day-to-day life.

    Find your inspiration and motivation to start making a positive change in your life. As Stephen R. Covey so eloquently stated, “Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.”

    Let your thirst for a healthy, fit life be the spark that creates a fire within you that will completely change your world. You have the power within you to make a change, the only question left to ask yourself is – How bad do you really want it?

    Gregory L. Gomez is an elementary school teacher and author of where he continually posts tips, videos, and articles to help readers develop and maintain a healthy life. Stop by and visit for some fabulous freebies you can use right away to tackle the weight loss process and start creating a healthier YOU!

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