Michael Feighan, controller for West Michigan Lumber, based in Byron Center, turned his life around thanks to a health risk assessment and some prodding from a fitness coach.
“(Olivia Pare) comes in once a month to check your weight and blood pressure,” Feighan says. “She shows you where you are in body fat and BMI.”
In February 2016 when he filled out his HRA, Feighan learned he was considered overweight, which surprised him. He weighed 201 pounds, and at 5-foot-9 that was deemed too heavy.
“I really tried to make some improvements and get to a healthy BMI,” he says. “If you’re over 30 BMI, you are considered to be obese.”
Either way, the HRA results were eye opening. He had no serious health issues — no pre-diabetes or high blood pressure.
“I did know I was a little chunky,” he says. “I was just carrying an extra 20 pound I didn’t need.”
So he began to monitor his diet and exercised more.
“They had a fitness challenge here for the employees,” he says. “I didn’t finish in the Top 10, so I didn’t win anything.” But he did win in a way — his weight dropped. He’s looking and feeling better.
“Olivia gets people motivated to eat better and exercise more,” he says. “I started eating more fiber, be it more food or more whole grain stuff in the morning. I cut out bread and ate more meat and vegetables. I’ve got an app on my phone that really tracked the calories. My concern was calories. I tried to stay under 1,600 calories a day. You just have to make better choices, eat more filling foods. Black beans, I discovered, are really filling.”
And slowly but surely, the weight melted off.
“From May to August, I dropped 17 pounds, from 201 to 184,” he says. “Now I’m down to 178 and trying to get to 175. The charts say I should weigh 170. The big push this year is to cut out the sugary drinks, whether it’s pop or tea. I put sugar in my coffee so I cut out the coffee the last two months.”
Feighan is gunning for 170. “I thought 201 was a little puffy,” he says. “I feel pretty good right now, but it says I probably should drop another eight pounds.
“I am exercising more. Even though Olivia says to exercise 20 minutes a day, I do 60. I try to walk at least twice a day, try to run a couple miles each week, try to bike a couple times a week. I try to be active every day. I don’t go to the gym to lift weights. But I do feel better now.”
Feighan says his girlfriend has been supportive throughout: “It’s hard,” he says. “The older you get, the harder it is to lose the pounds. It just comes down to discipline and having someone giving you positive reinforcement.”
His secret to success is pretty basic, and it’s a road he thinks is easy for others to follow. It came down to eating smarter and exercising more.
“I reduced the carbs big time,” he says. “I like pizza, bread, doughnuts and burritos. You name it. I cut a lot of that stuff. Pizza, maybe once every couple of weeks. I have not cut out everything. Maybe once every couple of weeks I’ll get a big ice cream.”
He’s quick to note that he enjoys that cone every couple of weeks, not days.