By LMQC Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell, St. Ambrose communications professor, RAGBRAI-er, pizza lover and longtime weight watcher.
At the start of his final semester at St. Ambrose University, Luke Maiers went for a physical. Before he even entered the office, though, Luke knew what the doctor was going to say.
“He was going to say that my weight was an area for concern, and that was nothing new. I had been hearing that my whole life.”
Luke weighed 334 pounds at the time, January 2017. And the doctor’s words didn’t seem to have an impact. His behavior didn’t change during that final semester.
“Between eating at the cafeteria, going out to eat, late night snacking, and going out with my friends, it was detrimental to me. I used to have the mindset that I would rather be fat and happy than skinny and miserable.”
That’s what he told himself and that’s what he showed people. Luke is a friendly fellow with a big, ready smile. But inside, Luke admits, he didn’t like the way he felt and he was sick and tired of people judging him based on how he looked.
Like many of us who have been on this journey, Luke says he dreamed of snapping his fingers to “magic” the weight away.
After graduation, his lifestyle had changed a bit for the better and he lost a few pounds but he was not on a new path. Yet.
Luke finally took control of his life in September, 2017.
“One day, I woke up and thought to myself that I was sick and tired of the way I was. It clicked. I had tried several times in my life to lose weight and none of those times had been successful. Not this time. I wanted this. It was genuinely like a switch was flipped mentally and I was ready to accept the change.”
Luke didn’t set any goals at first. He altered his eating habits – he stopped drinking pop, for one thing – and began to exercise a bit. By December, he was down to 320.
At New Year’s, he set the goal of getting below 300.
“This seemed impossible at the time, but I would eventually achieve that by the end of February. About that time, I would get on an exercise bike and would ride that every day after work for about 30-40 minutes. I would continue my diet as well.”
Luke also added weight training and walking on the treadmill daily. Over the summer, he began running. By June, he could run a mile without stopping and in December, he ran a 5K.
Luke is down 100 pounds since his start. He’s had some setbacks, because as he admits, this process is unforgiving. And the odds of getting discouraged are high. You have to be resilient, he says.
“It was truly a mental battle that I had not anticipated would be so tough,” Luke says. “People who think it is easy to just drop the pounds are foolish. This is 1000% a mental challenge.”
Even though he’s done what he initially thought was impossible – lose 100 pounds – Luke plans to continue to shed weight.
“However,” he says, “I have shifted my exercise towards weight training. I hope to build up muscle, so I can look good in a swim suit.”
Today, Luke works at McGraw-Hill Publishing in Dubuque, making time for the gym and watching what he eats. He’s creating a life he can live for a long, long time.
|Meet Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell. Alan is a communications professor at St. Ambrose University and a former reporter for WQAD-TV who has exercised – and dieted – his entire life. Read Alan’s other blog posts.|