He’s al­most half the per­son he used to be

Healthy eat­ing and ex­er­cise pay off for Leth­bridge man

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Editorial - BY DANETTE DOO­LEY danette@nl.rogers.com

Friends of Jordan Har­ris who haven’t seen him since last sum­mer could be for­given for walk­ing past him with­out say­ing hello.

Har­ris, who is from Leth­bridge, has lost an in­cred­i­ble 150 pounds over the past 10 months – drop­ping his weight from 420 to 268 pounds.

His weight loss jour­ney started in May 2017 when he took a hard look at his life.

“I was get­ting to the point where I wasn’t re­ally en­joy­ing the things I liked to do – go­ing in the woods, on the ski­doo, rid­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle, hunt­ing and fish­ing. I found do­ing those things was a lot harder,” he said.

Har­ris, 25, also knew that health com­pli­ca­tions were likely just around the cor­ner.

He was hav­ing trou­ble sleep­ing at night and was di­ag­nosed with sleep ap­nea.

It was only a mat­ter of time, he said, when he’d likely need to face other health prob­lems at­trib­uted to his weight.

Har­ris ini­tially thought he’d con­sult with a physi­cian about the pos­si­bil­ity of gas­tric by­pass surgery. How­ever, he de­cided to try to tackle his weight prob­lem through healthy eat­ing and ex­er­cise.

He used the My Fit­ness Pal app to track his daily food in­take and also bought a dig­i­tal scale to weigh his food.

“I started watch­ing what I was eat­ing and I planned my meals and snacks through­out the day. I re­searched a lot on­line about the things I could eat and the things I needed to cut out.”

Har­ris cut white bread, pasta, po­tato and most sug­ars from his diet. He re­placed juices and soft drinks with wa­ter and milk.

“I cut back on eat­ing out and when I did I made bet­ter choices,” he said.

“I tried to get an hour’s walk in ev­ery day.”

He also uses a Fitbit to track his steps and aims for at least 10,000 steps a day.

Har­ris also be­gan to con­cen­trate on por­tion con­trol.

“What you’re eat­ing makes a dif­fer­ence but the amount you are eat­ing makes a big dif­fer­ence as well,” he said.

Har­ris be­gan weigh­ing him­self once a week, and has lost weight ev­ery week since start­ing his weight loss jour­ney.

See­ing his suc­cess on the scales was mo­ti­va­tion for him to not only walk ev­ery day but to be­gin work­ing out at the gym.

Har­ris thanks fam­ily and friends for sup­port­ing him over the past 10 months.

“I’ve got friends who have seen that I can do it and they started to lose weight, too.”

Har­ris an­swers ques­tions about his weight loss frankly and hon­estly.

He ad­mits it wasn’t easy cut­ting out foods that he’d come to en­joy for years, es­pe­cially when eat­ing out at restau­rants.

His girl­friend Danielle Whe­lan helped him stay on track, he said.

Whe­lan said she’s proud of her boyfriend and did what she could to help keep him mo­ti­vated.

She chose health­ier op­tions, es­pe­cially when eat­ing near him, she said, so as not to tempt him to stray from his diet plan.

“Some­times, he’d get up­set with his weight about not be­ing able to en­joy some of the foods he used to eat. I al­ways re­minded him about why he is do­ing this and about how far he’s come and not to give up.

If he only lost one pound, I would say, ‘that’s a lot bet­ter than gain­ing,’” Whe­lan said.

Har­ris said there are many pos­i­tives about his weight loss. He can now shop for clothes at most stores, he said, rather than re­strict­ing his selec­tions to stores that spe­cial­ize in cloth­ing for big and tall men.

And, of course, the health ben­e­fits can­not be un­der­stated.

Har­ris no longer has trou­ble sleep­ing at night.

Be­fore los­ing the weight he was about to buy a sleep ap­nea ma­chine, he said, but that’s no longer nec­es­sary.

He also feels much health­ier since los­ing the weight.

“I’m so much more en­er­getic now. I feel like a com­pletely dif­fer­ent per­son.”

Har­ris also looks like a dif­fer­ent per­son. Peo­ple who haven’t seen him in a while are amazed at how he’s changed phys­i­cally, he said.

Har­ris said he still has some weight to lose be­fore start­ing a main­te­nance plan.

Choos­ing a health­ier life­style will no doubt help him ac­com­plish that goal.

What ad­vice would Har­ris give other peo­ple who have large amounts of weight to lose?

“Do your re­search; don’t be afraid to go the gym.

You might think peo­ple are look­ing at you be­cause you are big but every­body has to start some­where. And if I can do it, any­body can.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHO­TOS

Jordan Har­ris of Leth­bridge has lost 150 pounds over the past 10 months, go­ing from 420 to 268 pounds.

Jordan Har­ris after his weight loss at 268 pounds.

Jordan Har­ris be­fore at 420 pounds.

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