My story is not much different than a lot of people who struggle with their weight. I love junk food, and of course I have every excuse in the book on why I can’t make it to the gym on a regular basis. I let my weight get the best of me when I weighed over 250lbs. I got to the point of being complacent and really didn’t have a drive to get in better shape.

It wasn’t until spring of 2018 when I was asked by my 7 year old daughter to join her during wellness week at her school. All I had to do was participate in an elementary level gym class! I didn’t want to let my daughter down. I figure it can’t be that bad right? Well we started with a slow walk, and then into a jog. I was starting to feel it in my legs but I couldn’t embarrass my daughter. I was trying to gasp for air and keep going. Then out of all things, we had to skip! Skipping wasn’t bad at first until we did laps of skipping. All that weight on my legs that have had no exercise in years finally gave out. I felt and heard a snap in my lower right calf muscle. I was in so much pain and could barely walk, let alone skip. But I wasn’t going to be the only parent who couldn’t finish a child’s gym class! I tried not to let on how much pain I was in and I finished the class. I am my daughters super hero. I am her Dad and she looks up to me. I would do anything for her. I had to finish and not disappoint her.

After the gym class I had to go back to work. I could barely walk. Luckily, it was not as bad as I originally thought it was, and a few days later I was feeling better. At that point I felt like this was a sign. I could have been severely injured. I even made an appointment with an orthopedic that day I hurt myself. I was in so much pain, I was pretty sure I was going to need some major PT or even surgery. Luckily, I turned out to be okay. I vowed from that day forward that I don’t want to EVER be in the position again where I can’t be active with my children. I want to be able to run and play with them, and of course I want to be around to share in their growing up and milestones. I was on the path to being immobile and possibly worse with a heart attack, stroke, or diabetes.

This is when I made the choice to become healthier for not only me, but for my children and one day my grandchildren. I tried other healthy food prep companies, weight watcher meals, and Nutrisystem. The one thing they all have in common is that I am usually hungry about an hour after eating! I felt like I was on a diet. Each day was tough trying to resist the hunger pains!

This is when my wife went to 95 Nutrition and brought home some meals. At first glance I could not believe the portion size! And then of course after trying the food I knew that the  30 day challenge was for me to get back on track with my health.

I really was excited picking my meals as I can’t believe the variety offered. I looked forward to eating my meals and the best part I was never hungry! I thought to myself, there is NO WAY I am losing weight eating this delicious food with such large portions! Everything is so tasty and it really felt like I had a personal chef creating the right dishes where I didn’t have to worry about what I was eating.

Now I have to add that you do need to exercise as well. 95 Nutrition is not a magic pill. It is a tool to help you eat the right foods, but you need to still be disciplined and exercise regularly. Like everyone else, I am pretty busy working full time, taking care of a home, and also running around with two kids. I was able to make the gym 3 days a week and sometimes 4 if I could find the extra time. I did about 25 minutes of cardio and then all I did was the weight machines. I did about 5 machines each time and did 3 reps of 12 of each exercise. So I did not go crazy overboard but did enough to build muscle and break a good sweat! I felt like going to the gym coupled with walking daily for 20-30 minutes was a good plan for my busy schedule.

I was very disciplined for the entire month and did not cheat at all. I stuck to the food provided and made sure I was staying active. The great thing about 95 Nutrition is that I really didn’t feel a need to cheat. I was satisfied with what I was eating. And of course the weight came off! Over 8 pounds the first week. Then over 15lbs by 2 weeks! I reached my goal of 20lbs lost after 3 weeks, and then I pushed myself to lose 25lbs in 4 weeks. Well I came close. I lost 24lbs! I started off at a weight of 251 and at the end of the challenge I weighed 227!

With the new weight loss I felt better than I have in a long time! I even pulled the goalie pads that were stored away for over 3 years out of the shed! I was determined to strap on the pads and play a full game of roller hockey. I ended up filling in for one game in July and it was experience I will never forget. I played hockey since I was a young boy and played my last game about 3 years ago. I felt that it was it. I was never to play again. Part of that life is over. There is no way I could last a game and no way I was not going to injure my knees with going up and down with all that extra weight. So to play just one game was a huge milestone for me. And I played really well. Like I never stopped playing! The other goalie after the game commented that there is no way I haven’t played a game in over three years. I really can’t wait to strap on the pads again this fall!

So even though it sounds like I am on the right track and I have made it, I still have a long way to go. I want to get under 200lbs. Of course, I am human, and I hit a speed bump. I recently came back from a 2 week vacation and really enjoyed myself at a lot of restaurants. Needless to say, I put back on about 8lbs and that is okay. I am ready to kickstart my diet with another month of delicious 95 Nutrition food! I will hit the gym again and I will get back on track. My clothes are still looser fitting than before, and I am still on the third belt loop hole instead of the first. So, I will keep at it and keep chipping away.

I do not consider myself inspiring or special. I am just a regular guy who I am sure is the same as a ton of other guys with the same story. I am just happy that I at least have my weight under control again. When Sierra told me of a prize of free food for winning the 30 day challenge, I had no idea! I never knew there was a prize, but was pleasantly surprised! I told her it didn’t matter to me either way if I won or not. I just wanted another chance at an active life where I can be there for my children. If I can do that then I already won the greatest prize of all.

Written by: Ryan Willard