My name is Drew C.M. Rad (@justlikedrew), and I’m 33 years old. I live in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and I am a loan officer at a local financial institution. After reaching over 400 pounds, finding out I had sleep apnea, and suffering an ectopic pregnancy miscarriage, I made the decision to get my health on track, and I’ve lost 241 pounds.
I struggled with my weight since grade school. I always ate poorly, with an undisciplined diet and little to no physical activity. As I became older, I ate even worse. I used food as a coping mechanism for stress, sadness, depression, and anxiety. I struggled to do a lot of simple tasks. I had zero energy, and as a mom, I was constantly exhausted.
My weight was also impacting my health in major ways. In 2015, I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. I underwent sleep testing, and my doctors discovered I would stop breathing over 100 times per hour. At some points, my oxygen levels would go low enough to potentially cause organ failure.
That summer, I also went to the ER with severe pain, which ended up being due to an ectopic pregnancy.
An ectopic pregnancy is one when the egg implants outside the uterus. These pregnancies can’t proceed, and so I had to get treatment. I didn’t even know I was pregnant when this happened.
On top of that, I was informed during those medical appointments that my weight had reached over 400 pounds. I realized at that moment that I had to change. I had allowed myself to reach weights I never wanted to reach. I also had to find out that I was having and losing a baby in the same night. It was devastating.
This isn’t to say that my weight caused my miscarriage. But the entire experience made me realize that my weight was so out of control. I hit my heaviest weight of 415 pounds, when I was just 29. I had to break up with food, to end the emotional relationship I had with eating. I had to start using food to fuel my body, and not t0 comfort my body.
That’s when I decided to overhaul my diet and create a fitness plan to get my health back.
Over the years, I had always found that portion control and high protein (so sort of a lazy keto diet) work best for me. I try to eat limited carbs and keep my sugar intake very low. I have discovered that sugar and carbs just do not agree with my body anymore. I am less bloated and have way higher energy when I focus on eating three protein-heavy meals a day.
Here’s what I typically eat in a day now:
- Breakfast: Two eggs and two pieces of bacon.
- Lunch: Boneless, skinless chicken breast, with some cheese and nuts.
- Snacks: I try to not snack—but if I do snack, I’ll have a small bag of nuts.
- Dinner: Oven-roasted lemon pepper chicken with a side salad.
- Dessert: A small serving of Halo Top ice cream.
I work out four to five days a week now.
I got into using the StairMaster years ago when I heard it was really good for muscle toning and defining the legs, thighs, and bottom. I also started taking classes at the gym, even though I was actually really nervous to start. I saw how hard they worked and could tell it would really push me.
My workout schedule looks like this:
- Sunday: I do a more cardio-based workout of my choosing. I always try to include the Stairmaster and make it my goal to climb 100 floors in 20 minutes. Then I do some equipment and weightlifting.
- Monday: I take a Body Pump/HIIT combo class.
- Tuesday: I take a HIIT class.
- Wednesday: I try to walk for about an hour at the gym. I keep this workout very minimal intentionally. My body needs a day to recover from all the intense work I put it through Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.
- Thursday: I take a HIIT class.
- Friday and Saturday: Rest.
Overall, I’ve lost 241 pounds, and I lost 179 of those pounds in one year.
While this has not been one of the easiest things I have ever done, it has truly been one of the best and most rewarding fights of my life. I feel like I am finally living. I am able to actually live and enjoy my life in ways I never could when I was heavy.
I feel like I am able to be a better mom with more joy and energy for my children. I know it is hard to find time for yourself as a woman with the demanding lives and schedules we all have, but it is time worth making. You deserve this happiness just as much as anyone else.