When Ed Fackler moved to Japan in 1991, he already weighed 270 pounds as a result of a love affair with food he developed during childhood. Biking 10 miles to and from his job as an English teacher brought his weight back down to 177 by around 1994. That didn’t last—once his role and the demands of his job changed, he stopped biking, and by the time he moved to the states in 2006, he’d ballooned to 380 pounds. “I was eating about 6,000 calories a day,” Fackler says. (Search: How many calories should you eat a day?) Eventually, his scale topped out at 392 pounds.
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The Turning Point
In 2011, Ed went on a men’s retreat in Wisconsin, where he and his friends, business partners, and mentors had to forage for their own food, build their own shelter, and hiked up a mountain of boulders. Ed really struggled during the climb. “It was really tough,” he says. “The other guys with me were worried that I would have a heart attack.” His friends’ concern convinced him to take his health more seriously.
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Before Ed had even gone on that retreat, he’d taken a DNA test from Inherent Health. The results suggested what percentage of dietary calories should come from carbohydrates, protein, and fats based on his genotype. Following his revelation on the mountain, he decided to act on the results. Using the test as his guide, he reduced his carbobydrate intake to 25 to 35 percent of his total calorie intake. As part of the program he also learned about the importance of consuming fresh, whole foods. Additionally, he tracked how many calories he consumed. Within a month and a half, he dropped 27 pounds.
Ed lost another 25 pounds before plugging exercise into the equation. He entered a contest at his gym, XSports in Libertyville, IL, which offered a $10,000 prize to the person who lost the most weight in three months. “I worked out crazy hard,” Ed says. He hit the gym five to eight times a week, met with a personal trainer once a week, and limited his calories to 1,700 to 2,000 a day. By the end of the three months, he’d lost 23 percent of his body weight.
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Following the competition, he has continued to exercise an average of three times a week. He takes boxing and boot camp classes at Energy Sports Complex in Lakemoor, IL, runs on the elliptical, lifts weights, and bikes 20 to 40 miles on the weekends. Ed uses a heart rate monitor to keep track of how many calories he burns while he exercises and weighs himself every morning. “When I’m going after a goal, I want to know early on if I’m doing something wrong,” he says.
To date, Ed’s lost 133 pounds and would like to shed about 82 more, for an ultimate goal of 215 pound lost. His pant size has already shrunk a high of 58 to a size 40. “I’m not quite half my size, but I’m closing in on it,” he says.
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In January of 2012?, Ed created a YouTube video diary called Gettin' Fit with the Facks. “I wanted to hold myself accountable,” he says. “If you tell people, and tell enough people, it holds you accountable.” He also shares his progress, along with helpful articles and motivational photos, on his Facebook page. “I post stuff that helps people realize they can make good choices too,” he says.
“I get to wear cool clothes again!” Ed says. “Nice looking clothes only come so big. You have to buy tailor-made clothes.” In addition to the style-factor, Ed is able to save money by avoiding the often-pricier plus-size apparel.
But the benefits of being slimmer don’t stop there. “The reward is not just wearing cool clothes,” he says. “It’s my health, my ability to live longer, being able to ride a bicycle, sit in a normal airplane seat—stuff only obese people suffer through.”
Set goals—and write them down! “If you don’t write them down, you will not keep them because you’ll forget,” he says.
Focus on the present. Don’t get so caught up in how many pounds you have left that you lose sight of what you’ve already accomplished, Ed says. “My job is not to worry about pound 215 when my next pound is 117.”
Be patient. “You didn’t gain weight overnight, so you won’t lose it overnight either,” he says.