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Gym and Mediterranean Diet

In August 2018, Daniel White’s dad had a near-fatal heart attack. The health scare was also a wake-up call for White himself, who weight over 300 pounds at the time. Resolving not to continue his family’s history of heart disease, White embarked on a weight loss mission—and ended up losing 82 pounds in six months. And the soon-to-be 35-year-old is still going. This is his story.

Before his weight loss transformation, White was eating a lot of fast food and struggling to keep up with his kids.

“I have two young children and my wife often works nights and weekends, where I would be responsible for dinner, which meant fast food of some sort—so much so that I was on a fast food restaurant chain’s frequent eater club. I loved BBQ, so I would smoke a whole 15-lb. brisket just for me to eat over the next couple of days. I grew up in the South, so I loved fried food such as French fries, fried pickles, onion rings, and fried okra. I did not eat any vegetables that were not fried or covered in butter.

“In having the two small children, I would not go to the gym, and it was always too difficult to go on a bike ride with them.”

His “lightbulb moment” for weight loss happened in the intensive cardio care unit of the hospital.

“My father had a major heart attack, and it truly scared the crap out of me. I thought, this could easily happen to me if I did not change my ways. Both my grandfathers died of a heart attack, and my dad almost died of a heart attack, and I did not want to continue my family’s history with heart disease. When I got home from the hospital after my dad got discharged, I went to my family doctor and wanted a complete physical and wanted my blood work checked. The doctor told me I had high cholesterol and put me on a statin. The doctor also told me that I needed to get my weight below 225, as I was morbidly obese.”

White and his daughter.

Daniel White

His first step? Adopting the Mediterranean diet.
“My first change was my diet. I started the Mediterranean diet, where I ate lean protein—chicken, turkey, and fish—and ate as many colors of vegetables I could in a day. I began going on nightly walks. I stopped eating red meat and quit drinking beer and liquor. I lost 33 pounds in about a month, but knew I could do better.”

That’s when he took on a six-week weight-loss challenge at the gym.

“My neighbor took me to his gym for buddy week. The gym is a bootcamp-style gym, and I realized I needed this type of pushing to get to my goals. The gym I went to was Elite Edge Transformation Center in Waukee Iowa, and they offer a six-week challenge where if you lose 20 pounds in six weeks, you get your money back. I knew that was how I would motivate myself. In my six-week challenge, I lost just under 30 pounds. After my challenge I became a member and continued to push myself. My trainers knew why I was there and they used it for motivation to push me for that extra rep, that extra weight, that extra day of coming.”

After that weight loss challenge, he really started seeing changes.

“After my six-week challenge at Elite Edge, my wife and I went out for a date night and she took a picture of me, and I looked at it and said, ‘Wow, I look skinny!’ I was never skinny! I wore size 44 jeans and a XXXL shirt and everything was now huge on me. I was never able to go to the nicer denim stores and get jeans, and that day I went with my wife and bought a pair of 34 jeans… I never wore a 34 ever in my life! I wore 40s in high school and in middle school I was wearing 38s.

“It was the first time she was able to hug me and have her arms wrap all around me.”

“In January of 2019 we had our family Christmas at Walt Disney World, which happened to be the first time I was able to see my parents and sister after my Dad’s ordeal in August. My mom just started to cry when she saw me, as it was the first time she was able to hug me and have her arms wrap all around me.”

Along the way, White dealt with cravings for unhealthy foods.

“I had to work on my macros with my trainer, Justin, to not only lose weight, but to have the right amount of energy. I had cravings of different unhealthy things and I had to find healthy options to fulfill the cravings. For example I wanted a Dairy Queen Blizzard, and instead I ate a banana and spinach smoothie.”

White is excited about how close he’s getting to a 100-pound weight loss.

“I am really happy about losing over 80 pounds in six months! I feel amazing. I have a ton of energy. I actually ran my first 5k two weeks ago, and that is something I never thought I would ever do! I have noticed that my self confidence is higher than it has ever been before, and I am not afraid to go shopping for clothes at a regular store vs. a big and tall store. So far, I have had the following clothes changes: XXXL to a XL shirt; 44 to a 34 pants; 56L to a tapered 46L suit; lost over 12” in belly circumference; went from a 36.7 BMI to a 28.8 BMI.

Here’s his weight loss advice for guys in the same position:

“Find a time to go to the gym when nothing competes for your time. For me, I go at 5 a.m., as there is nothing that takes that time other then sleeping. Go to bed early and make sure you get a full night’s sleep.

“Eat the right things to go into your body that all have a positive impact … Try to eat as many fresh vegetables as you can, and not rely on food that comes out of a box or bag. Find a gym that you enjoy going to and understands what your goals are so you can be in it together. Last [piece of] advice is to stay super positive even if you’re not seeing the scale change. Focus on how much better you feel.”

Jordyn Taylor is the Deputy Editor of Content at Men’s Health.

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“Find a time to go to the gym when nothing competes for your time. For me, I go at 5 a.m., as there is nothing that takes that time other then sleeping. Go to bed early and make sure you get a full night’s sleep.

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