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Name: Steve Quillen
Before Weight: 339 pounds
How I Gained It: I let myself go in the last 10 years, falling into a sedentary lifestyle and less than sensible eating patterns. I could not weigh myself for a while because my scale would not register over 300 pounds. When I started to lose weight, I weighed in at more than 339 pounds. That's the last recorded weigh in by my doctor, but I continued to pig out over the fall and winter before I actually buckled down and started the trek.
First and foremost, you should know my line of work. I install soda fountain units and systems for various restaurants, cafes, bars and bistros. I am exposed to just about every food you can imagine. Many times, we were offered freebies: eye-popping pizzas, sandwiches, buffets and desserts. My diet consisted of pizza, fried chicken, burgers, biscuits and gravy (one of my all-time favorites), in addition to Mexican, Asian and Italian food. There wasn't much I didn't like or try.
Breaking Point: My weight loss story really began when I purchased a Harley Davidson about two years ago. At the time I bought my Harley I really hadn't ridden a motorcycle since the early '80s. I grew up riding but had not revisited the excitement until a few years ago. My co-workers owned and rode various bikes and encouraged me to take the plunge and buy one. Although a Harley has plenty of power to pull a big boy down the highway it takes a certain amount of strength and ability -- both mental and muscular -- to maneuver the bike safely and comfortably.
As I grew into the bond with my iron horse I found myself enjoying the fellowship and lifestyle of motorcycling. There was something missing from the experience -- so I set out on a change of eating habits to lose the extra weight.
How I Lost It: I became a vegetarian and I haven't looked back. There has been so much negativity about meat these days that I simply thought it best and healthiest to just give it up altogether. I use the calories elsewhere in my diet to make a more satisfying meal.
I gave up fast food and the usual fare that goes with the lifestyle of a biker, the fries, dogs, steaks, barbecue and burgers. I doubt that there are that many vegetarian bikers on the road. It's been a little more than a year now, and I have lost 127 pounds in the process. I eat only healthy foods and occasionally splurge on veggie pizza or veggie fajitas. I do eat eggs and cheese and take supplements to make up for some of the protein. I consume many vegetables and whole grains, along with lots of water and the occasional diet drink, beer or wine.
I can tell you my bike is much faster these days, and I am much more comfortable during and after rides. It pays to be healthy when you ride: It is a much more enjoyable hobby! Losing weight is no easy task, and it takes a lot of encouragement to stay with it and carry it out, but it can be done at any age. People say that the older you get the harder it is. I don't believe that. It's the lifestyle we adopt and adapt to. I would encourage anyone to get out and be active whenever possible and make good choices when eating. It doesn't mean you have to give up eating out or having fun on a ride, you just make more sensible decisions when doing so.
After Weight: 212 pounds -- and still dropping
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