An overweight personal trainer telling you to slim down is a bit like a doctor telling you to cut out unhealthy habits before they nip out for a cig break. It feels hypocritical.
So when Kemuel White, a PT from Ohio, lost his clients and had to get a different job due to his weight, he knew something had to change.
The weight gain was down to his poor diet – huge sandwiches, pizzas, sneaking leftovers before going to bed. And things only got worse when, after taking up a new job as a security guard, the sedentary lifestyle and free food at corporate events caused Kemuel to hit 335lbs, forcing him to wear 4XL shirts and 46inch waist trousers.
Kemuel, 36, said his weight not only impacted his lifestyle but his mental health, and he struggled with bouts of depression.
At my best point I was training about 20 clients and I was working with two high school football teams.
But I was setting such a bad example for clients with my weight and my eating habits.
If I was a client there was no way I would have hired myself because I was sick. I was morbidly obese. My eating was out of control.
I would eat two servings of oatmeal, four slices of wheat toast with jam for breakfast and then I would have an Italian foot-long hero from Subway everyday for lunch.
After dinner, I would just eat leftovers all night. I would eat sandwiches with meat from dinner. I would eat leftover pizza if it was the weekend.
I was always grazing, but I was never satisfied. I battled with depression a lot and it ebbed and flowed which also made it difficult to motivate clients. I just gave it up.
Determined to change, Kemuel started a vegetable-based diet in August last year, and even began growing his own veg to stay motivated and on track.
Swapping meat pizzas for vegan alternatives and late night snacks for home-grown salads, the 36-year-old dropped 140lbs in a year.
I found myself at 335lbs and I knew something had to change. Last summer, my wife and I quit eating meat during the week. We live on a plant based diet.
It’s really about discipline but I’ve lost 140lbs.
Kemuel, who now weighs 195lbs, said his vegetable based diet has been the key to his transformation but he does allow himself one meaty cheat meal every week.
His lifestyle change has also impacted his wife Ayisha White, 38, and the couple’s two young children aged five and 18 months.
It’s been a positive lifestyle change for all of us.
We started growing our own food in our garden and we try and eat as much as we can from that.
I feel so much better physically and mentally.
I really want to help other people now. I’m never going back to the way I was.
The weight loss and lifestyle change has helped Kemuel rediscover his love for personal training, and has helped him get back on track. He is now working as a PT once again and has five clients, with aspirations to take on more.
Way to go Kemuel, keep setting the right example to those you’re trying to help!
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.