Nfld. & Labrador

100 pounds and counting: Advice for keeping those weighty resolutions

A man in St. John's says he lost over 100 pounds by educating himself about healthy food choices and staying consistent.

Steve Saunders says his first step to success was seeing nutritionist

Steve Saunders holding the pants he used to wear at 350 pounds. He's dropped ten sizes since then. (Submitted)

Life certainly feels different now for Steve Saunders. He no longer has to arrive early for meetings to catch his breath before walking into the room.  And he really doesn't mind looking in a full-length mirror anymore. 

The St. John's-based real estate broker recently surpassed his goal of losing 100 pounds —  dropping 108 as of mid-January.

"It hasn't been easy that's for sure. It's been a long road," said the 47-year-old, who tipped the scales at 350 pounds a couple of years ago.

Up and down battle 

Saunders, who is six feet five inches tall, has been overweight most of his life, and while he has had significant weight loss in the past, the pounds always piled back on. 

He decided to get really serious about his health a year ago, and jokes that he made an emergency call to nutritionist Tara Antle.

"Looking around at people having heart attacks in their 40s, massive heart attacks and strokes, I just said, 'I don't want to be that person.'" 

Saunders says life at 350 pounds was very uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally. (Submitted)

That call put him on the right path, with a plan that included learning to read food labels and starting the day with a healthy breakfast.

"It takes food and drink to put weight on, and it takes food and drink to take weight off. You have to understand what you're putting in your body," said Saunders.

"I would get up in the morning sometimes and just rush out the door, grab coffee and a donut, or two, then if I was lucky throughout the day I could get 10 minutes to stop and grab a burger, fries and a pop, then I wouldn't eat again until supper time," is how he described a typical day.

"Then getting home and sitting down watching TV and eating a bag of chips. This stuff is no good for you."

Saunders says he lost the weight through diet changes alone, but has recently added some weight training and toning exercises to his routine. (Submitted)

Saunders has replaced junk food on-the-run with a full breakfast and supper, and a lighter option like a protein shake for lunch, with plenty of small snacks in between to prevent overeating. 

"I rarely go past two-and-a-half hours without eating something else."  

Occasional treat

Saunders doesn't count calories, but he does watch his intake of carbohydrates and sugars, and measures food by eyeballing it on his plate.  And while he rarely eats out at restaurants anymore, he hasn't given up his old comfort foods entirely.

"I come home on Fridays and I deep fry wings, and I have a couple of beer. I'm just not doing it every night."

It takes food and drink to put weight on, and it takes food and drink to take weight off. You have to understand what you're putting in your body.- Steve Saunders

He's also learned to break some of the habits he formed at a young age.

"There's nothing wrong with leaving some food on your plate and I would never, ever do that," said Saunders.

"I grew up in Twillingate, and you know in the day when I grew up not having a second plate of food at the dinner table, people looked at you and said, 'Is everything OK?'" 

Dressed for success

While Saunders feels confident he is on the right track to maintain his weight loss, he has some added motivation to keep fitting into his new wardrobe.

"I had a lot of clothes, I estimated I dropped off $15,000 worth of clothes at the Salvation Army after Christmas, because I'm not going back!"

"You gotta want it, you really, really do. And if you want it, you can do it. Stick with it. That's the biggest thing I can say."

About the Author

Maggie Gillis is a news editor/presenter with CBC Newfoundland and Labrador in St. John's.