Thursday, August 14, 2014

Guest Entry: My Weight Loss Journey, by Mike Calvert

Hi everyone!! I'm very excited to have the most important man in my life share a contribution on my blog.

Over the last 6 years, my husband has gone from smoking 3-4 packs a day, to gaining weight (up to 300 lbs!), to being medicated for the rest of his life, to losing over 140 lbs.

Last month, I had seen a few articles with the Huffington Post from other people telling their weight loss stories. I suggested my husband write his own story, just so he could have it and re-read it if he needed motivation in the future. Well, maaaybe I sent it to Huffington Post ;) There is no way this man's story wouldn't be inspirational to others, and if your story can change someone's life for the better, why not share it?

They loved what he wrote, and they published it this morning, though they compressed his story for length.

Here is the full, uncompressed story from the most amazing man I know, my husband, Mr. Michael Calvert!!


My Weight Loss Journey

Name: Mike Calvert
Age: 29
Height: 5'11"
Before Weight: 300 pounds

I was 20 when I met my wife. I had been smoking like a chimney for almost a decade, and I had no aspiration of quitting or doing anything differently. A couple years later, when she started having allergic reactions and her health was impacted just by me smoking, I knew I had to stop.
That was probably the hardest thing I’ve mentally and physically had to do.
In 2007, as a New Year’s Resolution, I made the decision to quit, “Cold Turkey.” I started cutting back, and then in March, I threw the pack away. I was good for about 3 months, and then I relapsed.
I had a cigarette on the 4th of July.
The first time I quit, it was for my wife. She never asked me to quit, but I did it because of her, for her and her health. She helped me realize that I needed to do this for myself, and not for anyone else. This was a decision and a lifestyle change I consciously needed to make.
In March of 2008, I quit again. Cold turkey, again. But this time, I did it.

Why did I tell you that? To lead me to how I gained my weight.

How I gained My Weight:
After I quit smoking, I could actually taste. I tasted food, drinks, snacks… anything meant for consumption, I consumed, because it didn’t taste like ash. I absolutely loved food. I also didn’t have a little stick of cancer making my metabolism run through the metaphoric roof, so my body took a lot longer processing everything that I was eating. That year, I spent fully enjoying food, and the next year, my wife got pregnant with our first child, which led to sympathy weight gain. It just happened, no one really paid too much attention to it, but I went from a 26 waist to a 46 waist.

Breaking Point:
I saw a picture of me and my son and realized I hated the way I looked.
When I was 20, I was a skinny 140 lb guy, and in 2 years had more than doubled my weight to 300 lbs at my heaviest. It felt foreign, and unacceptable. I didn’t like the way I looked, and I knew I had to change.  Then, with perfect timing, during a company Christmas party a couple of co-workers suggested we participate in a “Biggest Loser” type of event, and we would add some monetary value to sweeten the deal.
I am usually a type to think things over, but at that moment, I took it. I saw it as an opportunity to change and I took it.
I put $200 in the pot.
I’m not a competitive person, I just wanted to give myself motivation. So we started week one and I weighed myself in. I started a simple diet with a simple plan of walking every day at lunch with friends who were doing it too.
Slowly people quit off for one reason or another, whether they got hurt or they didn’t want to walk at the pace. In the end there was one other person with me through the whole thing.
I stuck through and beat the competition by losing 20% and weighed in at 215 pounds.

Just like when I quit smoking and relapsed, I did the same with my weight-loss journey. I reached my goal and felt great and started eating again. But, just like smoking, I did it for the wrong reason the first time.
While the weight-loss was for myself, it was for my image, and not for my health. I wanted to look better, and I wanted people to see me differently. Work was stressful, home life was stressful, we just had another baby, we were saving to buy a house.
Within a year, I was right back up to 270.
Along with the weight gain that stress brought on, I also started having anxiety and panic attacks, only I didn’t know that at the time.
During one such anxiety attack, I thought I was actually having a heart attack. I had my wife pick me up and drive me straight to my doctor’s office. He told me no heart attack, but I had a text book definition of anxiety, and I also had high cholesterol.
He started me on Lipitor, and basically I’d have to be on it for the rest of my life.
That’s where it got serious for me.
I had an amazing wife, two beautiful children—a boy and a girl. We have a wonderful life, and I wanted to be around for everything it has to offer. My maternal grandfather had died of a heart attack, and my uncle had just gotten out of the hospital from a heart attack. Dying was literally the last thing on the list of things I want to do in life. I knew Lipitor wasn’t going to fix it, but being medicated really hit a nerve with me. It really changed my way of thinking.
Just like smoking, this was a decision and a lifestyle change I consciously needed to make.

How I Lost It:
Just like before, I started with eating well and walking. I kept a food diary of literally every single thing I ate or drank, all day, every day. I drank more water than I probably have in my entire life, and I also was very loyal to taking my vitamins.
This time I also ended up running! My wife purchased me a second-hand commercial treadmill as a surprise and it really helped to motivate me and get me going. I also joined a fitness group online to help keep me accountable and motivated. I downloaded apps on my iPhone to help me do pushups, sit ups, squats, and pull ups.
Eventually, I participated in a 5k and a 10k… what a great feeling that was! But the best was on May 4, 2014-- I completed the OC Half-Marathon in less than two hours, with my family and friends cheering me on at the finish line, wearing shirts they made for me. 

After Weight: 155 lbs

I have lost a total of 145 lbs in my journey.
My goal is to maintain my weight and gain muscle mass.
Though I have been mostly running, I’m interested in biking and swimming, and hope to complete a triathlon one day!
I am proud to be an involved, active father and positive role model for my children, happy to be a healthier and happier man for my wife, and proud of myself for doing something I wasn’t sure was even possible.

I truly love my life and value everything I have. It is worth living for.

Facing A Family History Of Heart Attacks, Mike Calvert Lost 145 Pounds, via the Huffington Post


  1. This is so awesome. People don't realize how devastating obesity is to their health. My Grandma ended up with a stroke, heart disease, and diabetes at 62- which motivated her to lose weight, but the damage was done. My Aunt hit age 55 and her body was done with the extra weight- she was bumped into high glucose. She finally motivated herself, lost weight, & is back in a normal glucose level. My in-laws both have diabetes, my FIL has heart disease, 3 heart attacks, & a triple by-pass. My MIL has high colesterol, and is recovering from pancreatic cancer (it doesn't run in her family). My cousine had a hysterectomy at 35 due to uterine tumors- ditto both of my SILs. I can't even go 15lbs over without my body eating the estrogen store in my extra fat & manufacturing ovarian cysts, so I stay at a lower weight.
    It's not about vanity or society. No fad diets, just eating less & exercising 5 days a week. Taking a year or two and getting to a historically healthy weight.

  2. Yeah!! Way to go Mike!! Iman and I are trying to get into getting healthy because we know we need to be healthy when we have kids!!