Thursday, September 17, 2009

An Average Joe Breaks the 'Fat' Stigma

"Some people think it's a curse to look average. Joe Melin looks average and couldn't be happier about it. Melin, 32, is six-feet-three-inches tall, so he'll always stand out in a crowd, but it was the 365 pounds he had packed onto his frame that set him apart. When his body started to break down, he took action, and he's lost more than 100 pounds in the past year and a half. 'When you're overweight, you always have to get past that stigma first, that's a fact,' he says. 'After I hit the big 3-0, I started to feel, physically, things that weren't there before and it scared me,' he says. 'I was starting to have pain in my kidneys and stuff, plus, I was getting winded simply by going up stairs. I was going down a bad path.' Melin was also feeling that his life had lost momentum. 'There were things that I wanted to have at this point in my life that I didn't have - the standard wife and kids and white picket fence - and I realized that, where I was at, that was never going to come together.' Melin knew he couldn't make the change alone, so he asked a colleague at Citytv, where he is a writer and producer, to recommend a health club with good trainers. 'I needed someone to push me, to give me that level of accountability, plus, the financial investment would add another level of accountability.' In February 2008, he started working out three times a week with personal trainer Jayleen Gordey at Body By Bennett. He also sat down with a nutritionist to talk about food.By last December, he had lost about 85 pounds, but financial constraints prompted him to stop working with a trainer and he began to exercise on his own. By the time he reconnected with Gordey three months later, he was surprised by how much the gap had cost him. He had been able to maintain his weight loss by running on a treadmill about three times a week, but he'd stopped all strength training and had lost quite a bit of muscle strength. 'It magnified the point that structure is very necessary for me.' The last time he weighed himself, in early September, Melin tipped the scale at 253 pounds. He credits Gordey for being instrumental to this achievement. 'I've taken control of my life, and there's definitely a confidence that comes with that, that I didn't have before.' Everyone, including his mom, asks him when is he going to stop, meaning, 'What's his goal? What weight does he want to get down to?' Melin tells them he's already reached his goal: a lifestyle change which, unlike a diet, has no end. Melin vows he will never be fat again."

No comments: