It was October 18, 2009. I sat alone on a bed at the Ravel Hotel in Long Island City, NY with the room service food I had just ordered. I stood up, lifted my shirt and looked in the mirror. I was embarrassed at what I saw.
1. I was seriously out of shape
2. I was lacking self confidence
3. I was eating unhealthy every day
I immediately called my wife and told her we needed to make a change. We had to take control of our health.
Just two months earlier I had photographed an 11-hr marriage proposal in Washington, DC. I was disguised as a waiter named Spencer. During the shoot I was huffing and puffing climbing up and down the stairs. I had ballooned to almost 190 lbs. My face was round, my stomach was protruding, and I brought my pair of size 36 jeans to wear because they were the only ones that fit comfortably.
After that I had another wake up call. I did an engagement shoot (Robert and Tia) where we had to climb onto the side of a bridge. I posted pictures of me to Facebook in a link titled, “I’ll do anything for my clients.”
What most people don’t know is that I was hanging from the ledge because I did not have the strength to pull myself up on my own. Robert and my former studio manger, Anna Beth, had to help me up the rest of the way.
Although most wedding photographers are active during the actual shooting of a wedding, that does not compensate for the hours of sitting editing and munching on who knows what. I've sat for hours at a time staring at a screen and reaching my hand for whatever carb is closest.
How did I make the change? The first thing I had to do was to get support. I got my wife on board. Just like I write down my business goals, I decided to write down my health goals. As a matter of fact, we both wrote our goals down and put them on the refrigerator door with a magnet. I started on a calorie counting website so that I was accountable for what I was putting in my body. It was a tedious process but I learned a lot. Next, I agreed to start researching new recipes that would be filling but still cut out the high sugar and sodium. Instead of starving myself during the day I made an effort to eat three balanced meals with two snacks in between. The weight began to melt away. I combined my new eating schedule with a workout that included lighter free weights and 30 minutes of cardio three days a week. I began using the machines at the gym that I used to ignore because they looked funny, as a challenge. It took about 5 - 6 months to lose the weight.
Soon enough the gym got boring and I needed more variation. That’s when I joined Crossfit for 6 weeks and then FitWit (my saving grace). FitWit is a mix of high intensity cardio with some weight training and calisthenics as well. Its like recess for adults. I’ve been doing FitWit for a year now and I volunteered as an assistant trainer for a while. I built my strength and endurance with this cross training and I have already been through 4 pairs of shoes.
At 32 (April 30th) I feel like I am in the best shape of my life. In less than 2 years, I lost 28.5 lbs and then gained close to 10 lbs of muscle. Now I am on to my next challenge. I put a team (KNIGHT Team - Berkley+Tiffany, Kevin+Chynna, and Jaymin+Tiffany) together for the Peachtree Road Race and I am also running the New York City Marathon. I can’t wait to achieve more towards my goals!!
My family's medical background is filled with preventable issues and I plan to do all that I can to change history. I am running for my life…