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In 2019 Eric Power got a scratch on his leg, but he didn’t think too much of it until he noticed it wasn’t healing. When he had it checked out, he discovered he had uncontrolled diabetes.
Surgeons had to remove the tissue surrounding the scratch and he needed to be hospitalized for several days. That health scare motivated him to change his life.
“Having this near-death experience was a wake-up call. That was the trigger moment for me. Having your kids see you in a hospital bed for the first time was that watershed moment. I had that scary moment in my life where it set me straight. I want to be around for my family,” he says.
He had been overweight all his life, topping 300 pounds for 30 years and hitting a peak weight of 435. And along with obesity and diabetes, he had a host of other health issues, from high blood pressure to high cholesterol to asthma.
With a low-carb and low-calorie diet, intermittent fasting and walking, he dropped 200 pounds. At that point, he felt his weight was a bit too low, so he has since maintained it between 240 and 250 pounds, where he feels comfortable, since late 2020.
Losing the weight transformed every aspect of his life: from his health to his relationships to his career.
Here’s how he did it.
He followed a low-carb and low-calorie diet
“As someone who struggled with my weight my entire life, I knew I had to get my food under control,” Power says. “Weight loss is the result of many small, good decisions. It’s that moment when you’re looking in the refrigerator or the pantry, and you make the right choice.”
Weight loss is the result of many small, good decisions.
He used the an app to track his food and measure his fat, protein, carbs and calories. He made sure he got enough protein and limited himself to 20 net carbs and 1,600 to 1,800 calories a day. He stopped eating bread, pasta, rice, beans and potatoes. He eats berries and avocados, but hasn’t had an apple in years. He doesn’t eat high-carb veggies like corn and carrots.
“In the beginning, I was all about keeping it simple. I wasn’t so creative. What I was eating was very limited,” he says. At first, he ate a lot of eggs — nine a day, because they’re low carb with protein and healthy fat. He ate turkey sausage along with the eggs, choosing them because he could have six turkey sausages for the same amount of calories as two pork sausages.
“It’s so hard in the beginning, but after you get past the first month or two, you don’t want the other stuff anymore. It’s like the fog is cleared,” he says.
Over time he expanded his diet. For dinner, he’ll have grilled chicken, shrimp, steak or pork with low-carb veggies like asparagus or broccoli, sometimes topped with blue cheese. He adds flavor with low-carb barbeque, teriyaki and parmesan sauces. He makes a Big Mac-inspired hamburger salad.
He’s found low-carb substitutes for some of the carb-heavy foods he stopped eating. “I had to find new things to eat,” he says. Cheese taco shells, lasagna made with egg thins and cauliflower mac and cheese are now part of his meals. He makes what he calls an amazing key lime low-carb keto cheesecake with only three net carbs per slice. It’s his go-to gift for his real estate clients at closings.
He’s mostly avoided packaged keto products like bars, chips and breads. “I think things like keto bread make it harder to break the habit. If you’re still eating everything between two slices of bread, you’re closer to going back to that old lifestyle,” he says.
Since the end of 2020, when he no longer needed to lose weight, he’s added in a bit more carbs, upping his intake to 30 or 40 a day.
He started intermittent fasting
In early 2020 he added intermittent fasting to his plan. “The old Eric would wake up, make a 1,500-calorie breakfast and eat, eat, eat all day. I would have a bowl of cereal before I went to bed. I was never giving my body a break,” he says.
Now, he eats from noon to 8 p.m. every day, so his body has 16 hours to rest, heal and recover. Plus, he says he doesn’t take in as many calories for the day when he eats in a smaller window. “Intermittent fasting wasn’t only helping me with my weight loss, it also helped me control the diabetes,” he says.
He avoided temptations at first
Power knew that, faced with certain scenarios, he wouldn’t be able to resist carb-heavy foods. He stayed out of the grocery store and shopped with an app so he wouldn’t reach for donuts in the supermarket aisles.
He didn’t go to restaurants until he felt confident he was ready to make the right decisions. “I basically stayed home. I didn’t trust myself to go out in the world. Now, I can go to a restaurant and order a salad with chicken on it,” he says.
He added a walking routine
Power didn’t start walking right away — he lost about 100 pounds before he incorporated some physical activity. The first day he stepped on the treadmill, he walked for about an hour. “It felt good. But day two killed me,” he says. He stuck with it, even though he could barely walk a mile or two.
Now, before his first meal of the day, he covers 3.5 miles in an hour on the treadmill. He uses a strategy he calls “push, rest, push,” where he walks for three or four days in a row and then rests for two or three days. “Working out seven days a week didn’t make sense with my time, and it didn’t make sense for my body,” he says.
He used social media to hold himself accountable
At the beginning of his journey, Power created a Facebook page called My Weight Loss Journey to keep himself accountable. “I did all these live videos where I just let myself be vulnerable. It’s grown to showing the world what I can do,” he says. You can also follow his progress on Instagram at mrlowcarb.
He saw the Start TODAY Facebook group on the TODAY Show and joined. He loves how supportive and positive the community there is. “I’ve only posted four or five times, and I get 1,500 or 2,000 likes,” he says.
Here’s how his health has improved
Power knew he needed medication to control his health conditions, but he didn’t like how it made him feel and was determined to get off them. So, while he was losing weight, he had his blood tested every 90 days to check his progress.
“I can see the results on an app and watch them move from red to green. And the app tracks all my previous blood work, so I can see all the numbers going down into a healthy range,” he says.
He’s been off all medications since February 2020. “I felt so healthy then, but I’m so much healthier now. I was a lot heavier then, but I could still get off the medication,” he says. “It’s amazing to think about how quickly I was able to heal my body using food.”
My doctor is my biggest fan.
He’s seen these changes:
“I look forward to going to the doctor and getting my blood work done once a year now. My doctor is my biggest fan,” he says.
His non-scale victories
Along with his health improvements, Power has seen lots of changes in his life now that he’s healthier:
His relationships with his family, friends and wife have grown closer. He and his wife Corey have been married for 26 years, and he asked her to join him on his low-carb journey. She agreed and lost 85 pounds.
One surprising change was how his weight loss and improved health affected his career as a real estate broker. “I hate to say it, but the world treats fat people differently. I was successful when I was overweight, but my business has never been more fruitful than in the last three years,” he says.
His weight-loss tips for others
Power shares some of the strategies he’s found most valuable on his journey:
This content was originally published here.