Todd P. played football in high school, so when he decided to do something about his weight, he realized that to succeed he needed a player-coach relationship.
“I knew I hadn’t done anything about it before because no one was making me do it,” he says.
So, in 2005 Todd told his wife he didn’t want a tie or another shirt for Father's Day—he wanted a coach. “Help me find somebody who can help me lose weight,” he asked.
Although he was sincere, Todd, a salesman who works for an agent of a moving company, knew that he hadn’t entirely bought into the deal. “I asked my wife to do it for me because I was lazy,” he says. “And, I thought, ‘Now it’s off my back and she can’t blame me if it doesn’t work out… oh, and hand me another hamburger.’”
Todd’s wife presented him with a list of three personal trainers and he chose Derek Curtice, the founder of SimpleFit in Memphis. Even then, Todd wasn’t fully on board.
“I weighed about 280 lbs. Derek asked what my goal weight was, and I said I didn’t have one. I thought I could buy into losing maybe 25 or 30 pounds,” Todd recalls. “So Derek said, ‘Great, 200 pounds it is. Let's lose 80.’ And I’m thinking to myself, ‘This guy is crazy.’
Yet when Derek knocked on his door at 5 a.m. a few days later, Todd let him in. Todd says that at that moment he became committed to his weight loss “hook, line and sinker.”
The two worked out together for an hour three days a week, starting with simple squats and crunches and gradually adding in resistance bands and weights. Even after Derek left, Todd says he would work out another 20 to 30 minutes. On alternate days, Todd worked out on his own, following a 45-minute routine Derek created for him.
At the same time, Todd changed his eating habits. Making these changes was hard. “I traveled a lot in my job and I never ate breakfast,” Todd says. “By lunchtime, I’d be starving, so I’d really pound that all-you-can-eat buffet. If I was home, I’d have a bag of Cheetos before dinner, fall asleep watching TV and wake up at 10:30 for a glass of whole milk and chocolate chip cookies.”
It was also while traveling that Todd observed the habits of his co-workers and bosses and felt the stirrings of a desire to help himself.
“My bosses and I would plan to meet up at breakfast, and they’d get up early to work out. Meanwhile, I’m just wanting to sleep in,” Todd recalls. “But sometimes I’d go try out the treadmill—when no one was there—but after five minutes, I’d be thinking, ‘Forget this!’”
These habits and half-hearted attempts had their predictable effect. Todd gradually found maneuvering through life more difficult. Climbing two or three flights of stairs to meet with a client, Todd says he would have to walk around in the hallway for a few minutes so he wasn’t huffing and puffing when the client answered the door.
But now, Todd buckled down and gave it his all. Incredibly, in just a little over 10 months, Todd battled his weight down to 172 pounds—a loss of 105 pounds.
Today, at age 38 and maintaining at 175 pounds, Todd considers himself fortunate. He’s pleased that his life insurance carrier no longer considers him a high risk but has moved him into the “extremely preferred” category. But more importantly, he has a new outlook on the future.
“I want to be here to play with my son, and my son’s children. Derek and I would talk about family and he’d always say, ‘Do you know what a tremendous gift you’re giving to your wife and son? You’re going to be around for them,’” Todd says. “Derek more than gave me back my life. He gave me a new life.”