This is part of a series to share stories about members of Team U-Haul who have committed to make healthier lifestyle choices. Here, Doug Weston III, marketing company president of U-Haul Company of Western North Carolina, talks about his journey.
About five years ago, I weighed close to 220 pounds. I knew I had to get to a healthier weight, so I began making healthier choices for meals. For example, when traveling I would have a chicken sandwich instead of a hamburger, fruit or vegetables instead of fries, etc.
I really thought about my eating habits and realized that the food I was eating for meals was not nearly as much the problem as the snacking I would do throughout the day. When traveling for work, I would regularly stop at a convenience store for a soda and either a candy bar or bag of chips. It was time to make a change: I decided I no longer wanted sodas and packaged candy. I didn’t tell myself I couldn’t have it; I decided I no longer wanted it. After about six months, I had lost 40 pounds, and I haven’t had a soda or packaged candy in nearly five years now.
“Diet” was only part of the equation, though. I began working out almost daily. My wife and I purchased a used elliptical machine and put it in our bedroom in front of the television. That’s where I watch television, on the elliptical machine while working out.
I realized the toughest part of working out is getting to the workout, so I brought the workout to me, in my comfort zone, and incorporated it into my normal home routine. And it worked.
Also, I take regular walks with my family in our neighborhood for family exercise and together time. This is where we talk about our day, share ideas, etc.
Now, I wear a Fitbit device to track my activity. Being a very competitive person, and part of a very competitive family who are all wearing Fitbits, I find myself making time to walk, making more time to use the elliptical machine, etc. All of it is motivation to exercise more. The result: I weighed in at 172.5 pounds at my annual physical recently, in the normal “green zone” on the BMI chart.
What I’ve learned
Here is what I have learned through all of this.
- Most people do not understand the difference between foods that are healthier for you and foods that are “less harmful.” For example, diet soda is perceived as “less harmful” than regular soda, but it’s not good for you. The reality is all sodas are harmful, and we need to educate people more about nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
- You have to tell yourself that you no longer want to harm yourself, you no longer want to be overweight and you do not want sodas, candy, etc. If you tell yourself you can’t have it, you will find a way to get it.
- When it comes to working out, remove all of the excuses! U-Haul has worked as an organization to find ways to make our jobs easier. We bring the computer/tablet to the mechanic. We bring the Level 1 tools to the customer receive area and use mobile devices to do so, etc. The same applies to working out. If you have to drive to a gym, suffer through the intimidation of sharing a workout area with the “walking muscles” that live in the gym and pay to use it, that creates too many opportunities to make excuses for not going.
- Have a support network. Sharing success stories is very helpful, and for me, competition is a means of support. Working and sharing with others who have similar goals is important and helps to drive all involved to quicker and better results.
What are your go-to options for eating healthy or losing weight? Tell us about them in the comments section.