Revamping His Nutrition and Running Daily Helped This Man Lose 119 Pounds

Name: Mark Johnson
Age: 48
Occupation: Designated Supervisor of Locomotive Engineers
Hometown: Davenport, Iowa

Start Weight: 286 pounds
End Weight: 167 pounds
Time Running: 10 months

On July 21, 2019, I went to a training coach. At the time, I weighed 286 pounds, and my manager at the Canadian Pacific Railway recommended I go there to learn healthy habits.

I was the walking dead. I struggled to breathe when I walked. I had tried going to the gym, but I wasn’t having success. My diet at the time was fast food and heavy meals at restaurants.

As I told the coach this, he and I both knew I had to make immediate changes. I told the coach that I enjoyed running—he liked that answer, because he said runners are dedicated to their goals. I knew that if he was going to help me, I had to want it. And if I wanted it, I had to follow the plan 100 percent.

Nutrition was easily the biggest part of my weight-loss journey. I learned how to read food labels, and I made sure to keep my fats, sodium, and added sugars down. I switched to eating a serving of lean protein and a complex carbohydrate roughly every four hours. The protein and carb had to have fewer than three grams of fat, no more than 85 mg of sodium per serving, and very little added sugar.

Meal-prepping was also part of my education. It’s crucial to keep me from going out to eat or grabbing a comfort food. Once I completed it for the week, the rest of the week was easy, especially when I work long hours and travel. Plus, as I tried new foods, the meals I made tasted better and better.

Seeing the scale go down each Monday at my weekly weigh-in—a requirement from my trainer to hold me accountable—was super motivating, and it helped me to keep up with my plan.

While I was eating better, I was also moving my body more. I picked running because of the mental challenge it provided, in addition to the physical. I had run previously between 2014 and ’16, so I knew I shouldn’t go go out fast. I could barely walk at the time, so I started by walking on the treadmill. I remember celebrating going 3.2 mph.

But each week, I upped the speed and went a little further. I’d have the TV on while I ran, and during commercial breaks, I’d play with the speed and incline before returning to my comfortable setting when the program returned. When I started jogging at 4.5 mph, I knew I would never stop. By Christmas, I had lost 93 pounds.

Now, I go outside early in the mornings for runs. What I love about this sport is it doesn’t require others to go for a run. You don’t have to be the fastest or go the furthest—you just have to find a pace that you’re comfortable with and go.

Running and improved nutrition went hand-in-hand for me. The more I improved my diet, the more weight I’d lose and better fueled I’d be for my runs. The more I ran, the more I wanted to fuel my runs better and lose weight.

This has all led to me getting down to 167 pounds—two pounds off of my goal weight of 165. I’ve gone from barely walking to being able to run 8- to 11-minute miles. I’ve gone from a size 48/50 pants to a 32. All of this in less than a year.

If others wanted to go on a similar journey, I have a few pieces of advice. First, find someone to hold you accountable. For me, it was my coach, who checked in with me and made sure I was staying honest.

Also, nutrition and exercise need to be part of your plan. There are many ways to tackle nutrition, so find the plan that works for you. Then add at least 60 minutes of exercise everyday. The key is getting yourself out there.

Finally, make the change for yourself, not because others want you to change. If you want it you will achieve it, and the more you do it, the easier it gets.

From: Runner’s World US

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