Recently i was lucky……. hang on I meant privileged enough to interview a young man who not only has lost an incredible amount of weight but has also helped and inspired many others.
His name is Joshua Hansen and at one time he weighed 400lb (182kg)
This is a little about Josher’s story (Josher was a nickname given to him by his dear mum)
So Josh lets start with a little intro. Can you tell all the readers where you’re from and what do you do for a living?
My name is Josh Hansen, I’m from Salt Lake City, Utah. I work for the University of Utah in the College of Engineering as an Office Clerk.
I’m actually taking steps to going back to school to either become a Personal Trainer or Nutritionist so I can pursue a job in the health industry.
Thats great! The health and fitness industry is amazing and the main reason why i got into this business is because i wanted to help people.
Now Josh you’re here because you made some incredible changes in your life and you ARE a man of inspiration. So lets start at the beginning. Can you tell us when you realised it was time for you to make a change in your life?
Years ago. I was always a big kid. If I wasn’t the tallest in my school class, I was always the largest. I made some great changes in my early 20s and lost over 60lbs., but the weight came back (plus, more) when I stopped doing what I did to lose the weight.
Throughout my remaining years in college my weight was always on my mind. I knew I could lose the weight, but I just never wanted to put in the effort. I felt like I had more important things to do (ie-school, friends and involvement).
I focused on everything else except myself.
The turning point was my graduation day. In what was supposed to be one of my happiest days, it was quite the opposite. I felt disgusting. I looked disgusting.
My graduation gown barely fit and I actually ripped my gown’s backside. Sure, I laughed about it, but it hurt.
I realized that day that I wasn’t being the person I felt like I was. I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t living. I just existed.
Wow. Can i ask why do you think you ended up like this?
A lot of it was my lack of knowledge about how food works. I was a yo-yo dieter. I’d try something for a few days or weeks and then go back to eating a bag of burgers. Plus, the gym was a frightening place for me. The only thing I knew how to do confidently was the treadmill and still I wanted to hide.
In my career i often speak to people who have had an ‘Ah-ha’ moment. Did you have a similar moment?
Graduation day was a huge ah-ha moment. But, going to the doctors and being diagnosed with a hypothyroid, high blood pressure and given cautions on my asthma, knees and overall health was an eye opener.
I didn’t have health insurance, because I didn’t have a job yet. Faced with that reality I soon realized that it was ME who was going to have to make the changes.
No magic little pill or doctor was going to do it for me. It had to be me. That realization is by far the best medical coverage I’ve ever had.
Thats a powerful moment isn’t it? I think a lot of readers will resonate with that. Ok so Josh tell us about your very first step towards your new life?
I made the decision for change on Thursday, November 11, 2009. Why Thursday? Because, I didn’t want this to be yet another diet. This time I had to start a new lifestyle. It was my way of telling myself this is different, this isn’t an all or nothing diet. There’s no set beginning or ending.
Thats awesome mate.
I started with a simple food journal. I actually didn’t change my diet at all. I just wrote down what I ate during the day. Each day for about a week I looked at it and then made changes I thought I should make. Like less cheese on my sandwiches, more water with my meals or less snacks at night.
I refined my diet day by day to the point that after a couple of weeks I was in a routine of eating five meals a day (three larger and two smaller).
The gym was the same way. I just started walking more consistently. I walked more places at work. I took walks during lunch. I walked on the treadmill at the gym. Then I worked up from there.
I also got connected with an old friend, Kevin, who was a personal trainer. I bought some sessions with him and we started training.
I will always remember our first workout. He pushed me harder than I ever thought possible. I remember doing sitting squats and just feeling the weight of my body strain my whole frame. It was in that moment that I knew I had to get rid of the fat. I had to make the changes for the better.
But, I worked on just being consistent. Kevin helped me get rid of a lot of psychological road blocks in the gym and in the kitchen. I think an effective trainer focuses on this more than just results. Because being a 400lbs guy in the gym is not easy.
Mate what an incredible story. Ok so you’re on your way to your new life. Can you tell us a more about your journey from then until now?
Last year I made a goal to run a half-marathon. I ran one and … well … kind of got addicted. I ended up running an additional four before the end of the year. For this year I initially made a goal to run 12 half marathons in 2012. I thought that was a great goal.
Well, when you’re addicted you can kind of let things get out of hand. I just ran my 10th half marathon this past week and plan on running an additional 14. This includes two marathons. So instead of 12 in 2012, I ended up doubling it to 24 in 2012!
But, running has been such a great blessing in my life. Earlier this year my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The day that I got the news the first thing I did was run. It was one of the most powerful and healing runs I’ve ever done. All I did was just myself onto cruise control and work through my thoughts and feelings. After that run I felt such at peace and that everything would be okay that I often run on the days of her chemotherapy and other treatments.
I also started raising money for the hospital she gets her treatments at, Huntsman Cancer Institute here in Salt Lake City. They have a program called Huntsman Hometown Heroes that solicits donations through run and bike races.
Thats awesome Josh. A massive congratulations! Your mum must be really proud of you.
I initially made a goal to raise $1,000 to run the Salt Lake Half Marathon in full-denim. That’s denim pants, vest and other accessories. I quickly raised that money and ran a whole race in denim. It was hot, but well worth it!
I continue to run in denim, except instead of pants I run in denim shorts along with my vest and usually a pink headband and shoes. I have raised over $1,600 for the hospital and I am still taking donations.
Right now we are forming a team to raise money leading up to a race in October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month).
The fundraising efforts are a lot of fun. Plus, I love the looks I get for running in denim. But, it’s for a good cause. It’s a way for me to honor my mom and the countless others who battle cancer every day. I think if my Mom was diagnosed a couple years ago I would probably eat my way through the pain. I probably wouldn’t have such a good outlook.
Who knows what I would have done? I just know that running has been a blessing to me. That I’m very grateful for!
Its great that you can see that and your choice to exercise was the right choice.
So Josh what did you find harder, the diet or the exercise?
The diet has always been the hardest for me. It took me a bit to get rid of my all or nothing mentality, especially when I refined my diet. But, I didn’t let that defeat me. If I caved and let myself go for a day or weekend, I got right back up and worked a little harder in the gym and just looked forward.
But, I’ve found a blessing in the 80/20 approach. I stick to my diet Monday through Friday closely then on Saturday (also my running days) I allow myself a free meal, whatever I want to eat. Whether its pizza, a burger or pie, I allow myself to not feel guilty about what I’m eating for that one meal.
This approach has kept me on track and I love preparing for my free meal of the week. I’ve tried to discover new places and food around Salt Lake City.
Ladies and Gents that was part 1 of the interview with Josh. Next week Josh talks to us about his life now and he also gives us some great advice so be sure not to miss out.
See you next week.
P.S – Earlier this year i met Jen who has also gone through a similar transformation. You can read her story here Jen in Real Life
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