Welcome to How I Got This Body, our look at some of the amazing things the human body is capable of and the Washingtonians who put their bodies to the test. Want to share your transformation story? Email email@example.com.
Who I am: Alex Schriver, 28, SVP of Public Affairs at Targeted Victory, from Navy Yard.
Why I wanted to make a change: “My father was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2014. It was the epitome of a wake up call. I was over 300 pounds at the time and realized I had to do something. A few weeks later—on my 26th birthday—I walked into my kitchen with a trash bag and threw every single thing away. I taught myself how to eat and maintain a healthy lifestyle from scratch.”
How I was eating before: “I had no concept of calorie counts or portion control. I used to follow the ‘every pizza is a personal pizza if you put your mind to it’ diet. At the end of the day, it’s a math equation. You put X number of calories into your body each day, your body burns Y number of calories each day, and there are things you can do to increase or decrease both numbers.”
My healthy eating plan: “I spent the first six months with no soda, alcohol, fried food, breads, or pastas. Breakfast was granola, Greek yogurt, and fruit. Lunch was a salad with fish or chicken. Dinner was fish or chicken (whichever I didn’t have for lunch!) with vegetables. Over time, I slowly added variety back in as I figured out how to maintain a balance. Everyone says this, but it truly isn’t a diet; it’s a mentality and lifestyle.”
My workout plan: “I started ‘working out’ which in the beginning meant walking. It was all I could do back then. The first few months were only cardio: treadmill and stationary bike. Over time, I started a more regular work-out regimen.”
By taking out choices, it took out the difficulty (and temptation) of decision making.
What changed: “Today, I’m 185 pounds—the same as when I graduated high school. I’ve got as much energy and focus as I ever have. It’s unbelievable.”
How I stuck to my goals: “Routine. I worked out at the same time every day and ate the same thing at every meal each day. As boring as that sounds, it was what worked for me personally. By taking out choices, it took out the difficulty (and temptation) of decision making. I didn’t look at a menu once the first few months. Since then, I’ve learned how to live a more balanced and enjoyable lifestyle, but initially knew it would take an intense commitment to change.”
One piece of advice: “Even small changes can make a difference. After the first few months, I went to see my doctor. He said if I had only done one or two of the five to six major changes to my diet and lifestyle, I would be a healthier person. I did it all at once, but even a few changes can make a difference.”
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Want to share your transformation story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with details.