Healthi Interview Series: Paul

Friday, May 5, 2023 | Coaches, Lifestyle

Hello Healthi family, Coach Ashley here! Welcome to the Healthi Interview Series where I’ll be interviewing Healthi Members on their weight loss journeys. If you are looking for more inspiration, motivation, maybe some real-life experiences of people and their weight loss journeys, look no further!

I’ll be chatting with Healthi members and coaches to bring some insight and fresh perspective on what it takes to lose weight and keep it off.  In these interviews, members will get to share details about their journeys, goals, motivation, food choices, exercises, and more! 

I hope these interviews bring you inspiration and motivation to help you in your journey! Whether you’re just starting your weight loss journey or you’re looking for new strategies to stay on track, there are many effective and sustainable ways to achieve your goals. With the help of your supportive Healthi Coaches and Members, and a commitment to healthy habits, you can reach your weight loss goals and live a happier, Healthi-er life.


Today, I’m chatting with our friend and Healthi member, Paul!

First, please introduce yourself! Tell us a little bit about you, your journey so far, and the Healthi plan you chose.

Paul: My name is Paul and I am from central Illinois. I work as a 7th grade teacher’s aide and am also a track coach for the middle school. I am married and currently have two houseplants that I forget to water frequently so I am lucky they are still surviving and thriving. I started off my journey at about 410 lbs. I have done almost everything under the sun when it comes to weight loss and currently I am on the Calorie Command plan. It is probably the plan I have the greatest understanding of and actually feel it is the most relatable/convenient to my own life. 


What motivated you to start your weight loss journey?

Paul: Honestly nothing motivated me to start my weight loss journey, I was forced into it really. I went to an annual physical after not visiting a doctor for so long. He took all of my records and none of them were on the positive side. He wanted to send me to 3 different specialists to help me lose weight but in my mind, all I saw was a money grabbing tactic so I wanted a second opinion. I went to the second doctor and he also wanted me to lose, but instead of sending me to so many different people, he wanted me to lose in chunks slowly but surely. He gave me mini goals to lose before the next appointment. So eventually over time, after many 3 and 6 month appointments, I was eventually able to be moved to yearly physicals. This right here felt like a great accomplishment. I could finally be “normal” and see the doctor only once a year and not semi-annually to monitor my health.  


How do you stay motivated to continue your weight loss journey?

Paul: I jokingly state that I was motivated in the beginning because I was “trying not to die today” but again, I think that was my discomfort with myself in the start. I always put humor as a forefront because if people saw that, then they would somehow in my mind not see my physical figure. But now, I am SO proud of my physical figure and I just want it to get better and better. The coolest feeling in the world is now I no longer hate shopping for clothes. I get to shop for clothes in the same places that when I was a teenager and in college, I dreamed of shopping at but was always too big to shop at those places. Also, I know it’s not an important thing to the journey as loving yourself, but when you get compliments from others who have been in your life a long time, or you see people who follow you on social media in person, its an exhilarating feeling to have them give you a compliment that you so desired when you were not proud of who you were. 


Have you tried losing weight before? If so, what worked for you and what didn’t work?

Paul: I have done everything all over the board. The worst one I tried was somehow I convinced myself that a diet of cottage cheese and fudgesicles was the cure to all my problems. This was not the case and eventually ended me up in the ER. I also have tried the multivitamin packs along with the shakes/smoothies and that didn’t work for me because it made me so sick, and I didnt look forward to my meals at all. This was a big problem for me because eating was the favorite part of my day for so long. To not enjoy it now was majorly depressing and sent me into a depression along with just my overall digestive system not feeling good. I have done programs similar to the Healthi bites options as well as doing the Better balance plan on Healthi and it worked for me, but it didn’t give me a full understanding of what I was doing. Counting my calories and Macros is the ABSOLUTE best I have done for me. Labels and entering are the easiest things I have done and achieving/hitting goals have been so much simpler now. On this plan, I can do just that. I can modify it to my everyday life. I can understand that if I go over 200 calories, I know what that means. If I went over by a certain number of bites, I couldn’t connect that to a value. With calories, I have a connection I can make it to. 


What’s your favorite healthy snack to munch on?

Paul: Right now I am heavy on salty type protein snacks. It is filling and also gets the salty aspect I crave. I am also a BIG gum chewer. I know it’s not the best for me, but it helps me to be doing something and keep myself occupied.  


Have you incorporated exercise into your weight loss plan? If so, what types of exercise do you enjoy?

Paul: I started this journey with just walking. Taking walks outside, just getting out to help get the weight down while progressing forward. Then eventually as I started walking, one of my friends was convinced I would eventually be able to do a 5k, even if it was just walking the 5k. That December, I signed up for a 5k because a friend of mine told me it was a flat easy course and it would be a great first 5k to do. The day of the race, it decided to snow and be cold. Also, they had changed the race route that year and it included many, many hills. My friend after the race apologized about the number of hills there were. Still, I had conquered my first race. Eventually this led to other 5k’s and 10k’s and I really enjoyed not only the races but the running community was really welcoming to me. Not only that but I worked up to eventually running/walking intervals during the races. I still do that to this day. I will never be a full time runner but what I learned through this community is you don’t have to be. 

After incorporating running, I eventually wanted to build up my strength and cross train with lifting. This honestly has been the greatest part of my exercise plan. Watching not only my body improve physically and get stronger, but also I can see the weights I am able to lift get larger. Plus, it is pretty awesome these days to look at who I am becoming in the mirror. I still have a ton of loose skin, but I am okay with it. It is better than the big belly it used to be!


What’s your go-to exercise playlist, and what’s your favorite workout song?

Paul: I am a big big fan of musicals. Musical numbers have always been a big part of me. Musicals are always stories about people overcoming the odds even when it seemed impossible. This is the story of my weight loss journey. Overcoming the odds even when it seemed impossible. I love hearing stories through song and watching the world interpreted through song. It really resonates with me. 


What do you think are the biggest obstacles to losing weight, and how do you plan to overcome them?

Paul: The biggest obstacle to losing weight is the belief that you are doing enough. If you are doing something to better yourself, then you are doing enough. It is not all or nothing in order to be successful. The first successful step that you have taken is the realization that a change needs to be made and how you are going to make that change. Already, you are a success story. It is what you do after that time on whether you continue that journey or you alter your plan. Take everyday as its own story. Break it down little by little. That is what has made me more successful in my journey. Taking it day by day and watching myself improve little by little over time instead of seeing the big mountain of weight loss that seems unachievable and impossible. Nothing is impossible if you start believing in yourself. That will take your journey from “impossible” to “I’m possible.”  


How do you plan to maintain your weight loss once you reach your goal?

Paul: I honestly do not know if I will ever reach my goal. That is okay. My goal is constantly changing. My goal starting off was to be skinny. It was a silly goal for me to have. Not that it was unachievable, but my body being skinny would make me unhealthy. I would be at an unhealthy weight and an unhealthy self body image for my body type as “skinny.” Now, the goal for me is to just keep improving everyday, and being self accepting and loving on the days that do not quite go according to plan. Also, relying less on the success of my journey based on what the scale says and more what body photos/the man I see in the mirror sees. 


What’s your go-to healthy meal when you’re short on time and need to eat something quick and nutritious?

Paul: As a track coach, a lot of my meals during the season are quick meals that cannot be heated up. So I have a lot of deli wraps that I keep in the fridge along with some sort of pop/air type chip and then usually a fruit with a protein bar/cookie to go along with it. Then making sure to have some sort of zero calorie type seltzer water or gatorade/powerade. It fills me up and makes it quick to eat while still being able to coach. 


What is your favorite motivational quote or mantra that keeps you going when you feel like giving up?

Paul: “Every winner was once a beginner.” 


If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice before starting your weight loss journey, what would it be? 

Paul: Stop comparing your journey to those people who are many steps ahead of you. You are just as successful as they are. They are proud of where you are so stop being resentful of them because you wish that you were where they are in your journey. Also, be patient with yourself. This is a distance race, not a sprint. You have your whole life ahead of you and the greatest part of your journey is everyday you are contributing towards your journey, you are adding to the value of your life!


Wonderful words of wisdom and advice! Truly an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing, Paul!