I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

I fell off the fitness and health wagon pretty hard this month and regained 7 pounds…in two weeks. Between my husband ramping up his fitness goals and my sister-in-law checking in on me, I’m slowly getting back on track and have lost 3 pounds.

But it wasn’t enough to get my mojo going again so I called by buddy, Jeff.

Jeff and I were in high school together. He now lives in Florida with his beautiful wife, Jen and his two kids, Jacob and Emma. Jeff is on his own weight loss journey. I tend to notice that when people are successful at a goal they very frequently talk to other people who are on the same path. They seek each other out to ask questions, share ideas and encourage each other.

So that’s why I called Jeff. I haven’t seen Jeff in a couple of years and I wanted to find out what inspired him to make his health a priority. We chatted on the phone last week and he kindly allowed me to interview him for this blog.

Jeff, what happened that made you decide to lose weight?

It’s a combination of things. I’ve been heavy for a long time and I knew I needed to do something but it’s easier said than done. I like food too much. A couple of years ago, I had a heart scare and spent the night in a hospital. The tests came back negative but I knew I was borderline. That was the beginning. I also had a leg wound that wouldn’t heal properly. Wounds that are slow to heal tend to point towards diabetes. I went to the Wound Care clinic a few times but back in January, I weighed myself and was shocked to see that I weighed 445 pounds. I knew it was bad but I didn’t know how bad. I hadn’t been on a scale in over a year.

So what did you do next?

My wife’s friend, Colleen was telling us about Body by Vi. Customers where I work were also telling me about the program. I heard about it but wasn’t on board. Jen was interested so I went with her to find out more. We watched testimonial videos and talked to people who had success on the program and that’s when we signed up. To date I have lost 41 pounds.

What keeps you encouraged?

The best part is seeing the numbers on the scale go down each week. I feel good that I’m doing something right and doing something good for myself. I’m not dragging in the afternoon after having a huge lunch. I have more energy. Having Jen on this program as well has been a big plus. I didn’t realize how much I rely on her to help me until she went out-of-town for two weeks. It was hard and I struggled. We’re not militant with each other but it’s understood that we’re both seeing results and we’re there for each other.

Do you struggle with anything?

Yeah, snacking is a struggle. If I’m busy at work and didn’t prepare by having healthy snacks, it can be tough. Late night snacking is still a demon. I still struggle with choices. But I’ve seen a lot of transition stories of people who’ve lost weight and bettered their lives. It’s really inspiring.

Besides your target weight, what’s your goal through this process?

The main reason at the base of it all is I want to be around to see my kids grow up. I knew if I continued down this path, I was damaging my body and not going to be around. I can’t live at 400 pounds for as long as I need to be there for my kids. It’s a real eye opener to see that number. I could eat myself to death and not be there when my daughter graduates from high school. That’s a real thing.

Jeff decided to set a fitness goal for himself by coming back to his hometown next summer and participating in a 7 mile race called The Bix.

So tell me why you decided to do the Bix in 2013.

The folks at Body by Vi encourage you to set goals to achieve. So many friends from our hometown do the Bix and it seemed like a good goal to try to achieve. It’s shorter than a marathon and I knew I would have lots of support.

Jeff announced his goal on Facebook and recruited friends from high school to join up in the Bix next year. As of today, 37 friends from Rock Island High School and their spouses have committed to join Jeff next July.  (Yes, I’m doing it too!)

What are some positives from this experience you’ve encountered so far?

I like having the energy to take my kids where they want to go. To walk to the park instead of drive. Play basketball with my son without taking breaks every 2 minutes. I think this has also brought me and Jen closer together. We help hold each other accountable without being pushy.

Jeff, you and I have different challenges to conquer with weight loss. I look at you and see that you’re plugging away at your goal and that motivates me to keep working on mine. What would you say to someone who thinks they can’t achieve their weight loss goal because it seems impossible?

There’s hope for everybody. It requires a commitment to do it, stay focused and find something that works that you enjoy. That’s been the best part of the system we’ve been using. It works. It tastes good, it’s fun and we’re getting results. The results I see in others is also a good motivator.

It’s still hard. It’s still a challenge but it’s a blessing knowing I”m doing something positive to change myself, making a better life for my family and doing this with my wife. Just knowing that we’re doing this together is very satisfying.


I’m really thankful for Jeff taking the time to talk with me and being willing to share his story here. Life is team sport and we need each other. Jeff’s story is now in my toolbox to use for motivation. Thank you, my friend.

If you want to know more about Body by Vi, the system that Jeff and Jen are using, you can contact them here

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