Sunday, February 12, 2006

Atkins Diet Weight Loss Success Is 'Comfortable' Living This Way Forever

John Fenz lost 160 pounds, half his body weight, by livin' la vida low-carb

Who says people who are livin' la vida low-carb have to be your average, everyday folk?

This Buffalo News story about a wild and crazy guy named John Fenz who melted away 160 pounds off his body on the Atkins diet.

Wanna see just how messed up this dude is, check out this simple, but telling web site I found about HIM! And to think this 21-year-old University of Buffalo senior wants to be an attorney! He'll have to lay aside his party animal hat for a few years to get through law school, though. Good luck!

But when it comes to weight loss, Fenz is a world-class stud-muffin! You see, he used to weigh in at 325 pounds on his 6-foot tall body. Not good. And he knew it, too.

Fenz endured the names, the stares, the warnings about his health and decided enough was enough when he got to college. One day he saw himself in some mirrors and didn't like what he was looking at which led him to become very depressed about his weight.

"The depression of being myself soon began to be a bit of a nuisance," he wrote. "I did not look forward to going shopping for clothes. A T-shirt accompanied my swim trunks. I never felt like a part of the presentable human community, and my mother sensed that."

Ouch, those are painful words to read, aren't they? I know EXACTLY where he's coming from.

But guess who got Fenz to snap out of his obesity trance and get on the road to livin' la vida low-carb? Yes, it was his mother, God bless her. She suggested he eat the Atkins diet, which Fenz described as "an extended period of chicken wings, cheese-covered scrambled eggs and thick, juicy steaks."

Awww, poor baby had to endure the horrors. LOL! Actually, that's the media version of the Atkins diet because people who follow it as Dr. Atkins suggested know you get to eat more than just that. :) Nevertheless, the results were phenomenal for Fenz.

Like me, he made it his New Year's resolution and quickly lost 20 pounds the first month and 15 pounds the second month (although I had more to lose than he did, I lost 30 and 40 pounds, respectively, in the first two months of my Atkins diet). When he got below 300 pounds (OH, WHAT A FEELING!), he said it was "the first time since high school" he had been that low and it motivated him to continue on to reach his eventual goal of 165 pounds.

"I wanted to be slim and trim," he exclaimed.

That deep-down desire can be the motivation you need to keep going, especially when you have had some quick success on the low-carb lifestyle. Build on that momentum and never let the enthusiasm and thrill of weight loss ever diminish within you. Make it a lifetime commitment to never lose sight of your goal. For Fenz, it was to be "slim and trim." Whatever it is for you, keep THAT at the forefront of your every thought as you travel down your weight loss journey.

I REALLY like the fact that Fenz found a "newfound love" in his life. No, it's not Catherine Zeta-Jones as much as he would like for it to be. It's EXERCISE complete with an iPod full of Beatles classics! Again, I can relate to his "sweaty hell" workouts early on and then suddenly noticing that the trips to the gym were getting easier and he was having "better workouts."

"In a sweaty T-shirt I felt like an Adonis," Fenz noticed.

Hee hee! It is amazing how much better you feel physically and mentally when you start exercising. Despite some of the ignorant negative talk you might hear about exercising while you are on low-carb, it is absolutely ESSENTIAL that you incorporate regular exercise into your life to help you maintain that weight loss for a lifetime. In fact, more and more athletes are turning to a low-carb program to help them maximize their workouts. Imagine that! Try telling this guy he can't exercise anymore!

I could have easily changed my mailing address to the Southtowns YMCA," Fenz joked.

Dude, I can totally relate. They know me on a first name basis at BOTH of my local YMCA branches in the Spartanburg, SC area and I don't even need to show them my badge anymore. I swear they've made me a lifetime member! :)

Once the weight loss kicked into high gear, Fenz started adding back some of the good carbs out of guilt over what he was eating, although Dr. Atkins makes this VERY SAME suggestion in his books. In the end, the goal that Fenz set out for himself was complete. He reached his weight loss nirvana of 165 pounds.

"After losing nearly half my body weight, I was able to look back at pictures and realize I had achieved the goal of a lifetime," he recalled not too long ago. "The morning I stepped on the bathroom scale and saw I had reached my goal weight, there wasn't a burst of confetti and a check for a million dollars, like reality television would have the world believe. But there was a mirror - a mirror strategically placed to show me what I had achieved."

But that feeling of intense elation is also a sign of relief knowing you have done something that most people don't have the wherewithall to make happen for themselves. You have accomplished something that nobody can ever take away from you as long as you live. You lost weight and now the real challenge begins as you attempt to maintain that weight. For Fenz and me, we've got our lifestyle change to keep us at the weight we were meant to be. For others, they will gain it back.

And so goes life. It's not impossible to get there if you remain persistent. John Fenz showed us that.

"Through hard work and persistence, I became exactly what I wanted to be: Someone I was comfortable being with for the rest of my life."

YOU GO BOY! CONGRATULATIONS John on showing the whole world that livin' la vida low-carb works so incredibly well. It wasn't easy (I know!), but YOU DID IT! You really did it! I am so proud of you and wish you continued weight loss success for the rest of your life. Who knows, maybe you'll become a big-shot lawyer someday defending against the frivilous lawsuits against fast food companies.

I can see it now. You'll stare down at that jury looking them straight in the face and say,

"You know, men and women of the jury, it's not the fast food companies who are making people fat, but rather it is the people who are stuffing their mouths with Big Macs and fries making themselves fat. I know this is true because I used to be one of those fat people myself (you'll whip out an old photograph of your 325-pound self). But I overcame it and so can they. It's time that we stop blaming other people and companies for the poor behavior and careless actions that people make and hold them directly responsible for themselves."

What a moment that would be, John! I couldn't find a way to contact John Fenz, but you can probably respond to his column by using this online form at The Buffalo News. Let me know if you hear from him and feel free to share my e-mail address ( with him. THANKS!

2-17-06 UPDATE: Please read this follow-up blog post I wrote after receiving an e-mail from the girlfriend of John Fenz about this blog post. PLEASE READ!!! :)


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