Get To Know: Justin

by Courtney Sirotin on August 3, 2012

Post image for Get To Know: Justin

I don’t know about me, but you guys love a good transformation story. You guys also like seeing “Before” and “After” pictures depicting dramatic weight loss. Since I know this about you guys, I’m willing to put my own interests aside to present you with the next installment in my Get To Know series; a profile of my brother-in-law, Justin.

Above is a picture of The two of us taken a little over two years ago. If we both looked a little chunky, that’s because we were. I was pregnant and Justin was just living life the only way he knew how. For the record, I never thought of him as chunky, but as my recent interview with him revealed, he thought of himself that way, so I’m taking the liberty of using that adjective to describe him when normally I would not.

I was in New Hampshire during a large chunk of Justin’s recent weight loss and while I was gone he emailed me and mentioned that I wouldn’t recognize him when I got back. He wasn’t kidding:

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I love learning about how different people approach healthy living, so I asked Justin if I could interview him for this blog. There are as many ways of eating and exercising as there are people, but tonight we’re focusing on Justin and his way. Take it, leave it or just enjoy the ride.

Justin’s Stats:

Age: 29

Height: 5’ 11.5”

Starting Weight: 240 lbs.

Current Weight: 194 lbs.

Goal Weight: 180 lbs.

Me: Is there a term for the way you eat now?

Justin: I eat what feels comfortable to me. I mix and match diets like no carbs, no sugar, Paleo, Perfect Human Diet and Atkins.

Me: What are the rules?

Justin: Absolutely no carbs or sugars besides the natural ones found in fruit for the first two months. I did a 180 degree turn from drinking milk and Coke every day to just having water. Just giving up the milk was a huge thing. I didn’t realize how much sugar was in it. I do a lot of juicing now. Not many fruits, mostly vegetables.

Me: What do you put in a typical juice concoction?

Justin: Beets, carrots, kale, ginger, turmeric, celery, one granny smith apple, cilantro, oregano, parsley and sage.

[Justin provided the following pictures of his juices.]

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Me: On a scale of 1-10, how does a juice like that taste?

Justin: It tasted like a one the first time, a three second time, and by the third time I craved it and it was a seven. Now I drink it and enjoy the kick of the turmeric and ginger.

Me: How did your “diet” change after the first two months?

Justin: After the first two months it’s still mostly no carbs or sugars. Now I have one treat meal per week where I allow myself a burrito, Captain D’s or popcorn. I won’t deny myself happiness. Even now when I “cheat” I don’t eat like before. For example, I won’t waste any calories on liquid anymore. If I’m going to ingest calories they will be from real food. I used to get eight hush puppies, now I’ll get two when I’m cheating.

Me: Any other rules?

Justin: Physical activity. You have to get your metabolism moving and work your limbic system. You have to flush out toxins, sweat and get your body moving. We are designed to be moving. Another rule is that if I am hungry, I eat. I lost a ton of weight but I don’t starve myself. I eat smaller portion sizes. If I’m hungry later I will eat more. I won’t eat mozzarella sticks and cheeseburgers, but I’ll have grapes and a carrot. After two months you can eat fruit. I pretty much allow myself to eat anything I can pronounce on a nutritional panel.

Me: What motivates you?

Justin: I weigh myself three times a day. I’m OCD about it. I’m a left brain thinker so its all about stats and numbers for me. I keep track of how many flights of stairs I can go up, how far I can run, how much I weigh. Numbers are motivating to me.

Me: What is a typical day of eating?

Justin: I wake up and drink 16 ounces of water. At work I snack on grapes, sunflower seeds or pistachios. I have to be prepared or I will cheat because I am surrounded by junk food. I might have, like, a cup and a half of grapes. I eat lunch around 1 pm. I go home and make a big grilled chicken breast. I pan fry it in extra virgin olive oil and that’s it. I usually don’t get a chance to eat again at work. If I do have time I’ll have carrot sticks or celery. I have dinner at 8 pm, usually chicken or fish with vegetables, sometimes I’ll have cheese and eggs too. I have a smoothie before bed with ice, water, almond milk, blueberries, half a banana, cinnamon and one Splenda. I drink water constantly throughout the day; maybe a gallon and a half a day.

Me: How do you incorporate exercise?

Justin: I walk/jog an hour a day, seven days a week. I use exercise to unwind after work.

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Me: What was a typical day of eating before you started dieting?

Justin: I’d wake up and eat fast food of some kind. Subway was a healthy day for me then, and now it’s a cheat day. At McDonalds I would get ten nuggets with sweet and sour sauce, fries and a Dr. Pepper. That might also be my lunch because I had no set eating times. If I got hungry I would get a Snickers bar or whatever I was in the mood for…ice cream, chips, Doritos. I drank a gallon of 1% milk every two days. I used to drink whole milk but realized how fat I was. I thought 1% would make a difference but I didn’t know how to read the back of a food label. Before, I had no limits. I would eat whatever was there. If I wanted something, I would eat it.

Me: What is your favorite meal right now?

Justin: Chicken and mushrooms because it’s quick and easy. I fry chicken, mushrooms, onion and zucchini in a wok with a little olive oil and seasoning.

Me: What one thing that you either started doing or stopped doing played the biggest role in your weight loss?

Justin: Beverages. I used to drink over 2,000 calories a day in beverages. Now, I don’t even eat that much…and I eat like a champion.

Me: Why did you decide to lose weight?

Justin: I had a friend I was seeing who has 23 years old. She passed away because of a weight problem. It was a wake up call for me. Most people wont get a kick in the seat like I got.

Me: What is the hardest part of following this way of eating?

Justin: Being around others eating the things I used to eat. Seeing them enjoy things I crave. I have a constant craving for carbs and sugars. Advertisements for Coke and candy bars get to me. You can’t avoid them; they surround you.

Me: How do you anticipate maintenance?

Justin: I’m worried I will get too confident. I’m worried I will let myself cheat and have trouble keeping my food goals. It will be interesting to see what I have to do to maintain.

Me: What has been the biggest physical difference?

Justin: My stamina and the 47 pounds I lost. Also, none of my clothes fit me.

Me: What has been the biggest emotional or mental difference?

Justin: I like to think losing weight has made me a better person. I had to rewire my brain and it took a lot of will power. I feel like I can deal with stress better, and I have an outlet now for it with exercising.

Me: Do you think you can live like this forever?

Justin: I think it would be impossible for me to live the way I was before.

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Thanks for sharing your story, Justin!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

RUSS August 3, 2012 at 10:42 pm



DONNA August 6, 2012 at 10:58 am

Very motivating!


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