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Lowcountry man shares his 400-pound weight-loss secrets

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By Victoria Hansen
vhansen@abcnews4.com

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- They have names like "The Juicy Lady's Weekend Weight Loss," "7lbs in 7 days," "The Hallelujah Diet," "The Dash Diet," "The Overnight Diet," and even "I Can Make You Hot."

Diet books are a big part of the multi-billion-dollar weight loss industry. Their titles are often enticing, making shedding weight seem simple and quick.  But anyone who has every tried to lose weight knows it's not.

"There is a real hunger out there for the truth. People are tired of being lied to," said new author Bryan Ganey. "Deep down, we know none of it is going to help us, but we keep going back for more. I know I did for years. I tried the diets, bought the diet foods and wasted all the money and all I got was heavier and more disappointed."

Ganey knows diet disappointment.  He once topped the scales at nearly 600 pounds.

"I have lost 375 lbs, down from 577," said Ganey.

It wasn't easy and it was far from quick.  

Maybe that's why his book is called "Impossible: How I Lost Nearly 400 Pounds Without Surgery".

"My book is different because it isn't a diet book, it's a motivational book," said Ganey. "We all know how to lose weight: eat less and exercise more."

It's just not what we want to hear.

"Back when I was starting out over three years ago, I was told losing the weight on my own would be impossible, that weight-loss surgery would be required. That statement really made an impact on me and got me to thinking."

He had lost weight before, but it always came back.  He started thinking about how he could make it last.

Ganey had a lot of time to think. He was stuck in a hospital bed for six days. This after suffering what he thought was a heart attack. Turns out, it was pulmonary embolism -- a blood clot that traveled to his lungs, blocking his oxygen flow.

 At first, Ganey says he  felt like a victim. But his pain turned to anger when he looked back at his habits and realized he had done this to himself. He skipped breakfast, ate fast food and drank more than a gallon of soda a day.  

At the age of 37, his weight had crushed his health. He knew he would need to take baby steps. "The first step is to stop wanting it all right now," said Ganey.

"The biggest enemy in any lifestyle change is ourselves, but not for the reasons people think," said Ganey. "It's not laziness or a lack of discipline. The problem is correctly managing our own expectations."

Ganey started slowly. He gave up soda. He ate breakfast and refused fast food. Then he tried something he could barely do at the time -- he walked.

"The best and first exercise for someone just starting out is walking. It's easy to do anywhere and it's free," he said.

But Ganey made mistakes along the way, mistakes he wants to share.

"I was choosing the typical diet and starvation route, eating 1,500 calories a day," said Ganey.  "Once I increased it to 2,500 or so, I realized that if I couldn't stick with an eating plan for the rest of my life, there was no point to doing it."

Ganey still likes to eat and he eats a lot. He says he just eats the right things.

"Not all food comes in a box with a picture on the front of it," said Ganey. "If you eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean meats and low fat dairy, you can eat constantly and still lose weight."

He also says he had to beat the scale obsession.

"Another big mistake I made was weighing too often," said Ganey. "The scale becomes the thing we live to impress."

Now he just weighs himself once a month.

"Another mistake I made was over-exercising. We all get this idea from commercials on TV that we need to work out several hours a day, 7 days a week," said Ganey.  "The reality is your body needs to rest."

Ganey goes to the gym to weight train three days a week.  But he walks every day.

Something else he's learned? Losing weight doesn't necessarily make you happy. But it can make you healthy.

"You don't magically become someone else, you are still the same person, there's just less of you," said Ganey. "I can buy clothes at a regular store, fit in any car, fly in an airplane, take the stairs and walk any distance."

Ganey has found freedom, a freedom he wants to share with people trapped in the quick fix diet culture.

"People will want to read my book because I give you the approach, the mindset and the mental check list that I used to lose nearly 400 pounds," he said.
 
To learn more about Bryan Ganey, his book and his weight loss journey, you can visit his website at www.bryanganey.com.


  • Victoria Hansen

    Email: vhansen@abcnews4.com Reporter Profile




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