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Fitness | How I Did It

He Dropped Vices Along With Extra Pounds

November 16, 1998|JUNE P. GOMEZ JR.

I began to keep myself in shape when I was in college. I played basketball with friends, spent hours briskly walking around the campus and enrolled in a weightlifting class. I tried to be conscious of what I ate and was successful in doing away with snacks in between meals.

But all my efforts went down the drain. I slowly gained weight at the start of my sophomore year when I started to drink beer almost every night. Beer for me then was a very effective appetizer. Just months before graduation day, I weighed 200 pounds, from my original weight of 155 pounds.

I was hooked on beer and cigarettes. I felt hopeless with my situation when a health problem jolted me to my senses. My doctor warned me that my weight and vices made me a prime candidate for a heart attack. I was horrified by the thought of being paralyzed, or, worse, dead at a very young age.

After days of soul searching, I decided to wage war against my weight, against beer and, most of all, against smoking. I knew it was not an easy task. But with discipline and determination, I slowly made progress and ultimately came out a victor.

My weight-reduction program started with a radical change in my daily menu. I started to eat cereal, fruit and juice for breakfast, a roast beef sandwich and water for lunch, and fruit and water for dinner. I also took a daily dose of multivitamins.

At the same time, I was also winning my fight against beer and cigarettes. I was losing weight, and at the same time I was saving money. My most stubborn opponent was the cigarette. At first, I had an on-and-off battle with this habit. But common sense prevailed.

Why inhale carbon monoxide? Why waste your hard-earned money on something harmful to your health? I kept asking these questions until I quit once and for all. The initial effect of ending my affair with the cigarette sent me into bouts of colds and coughs. This went on for almost a month with my not taking any medicine but water.

I am feeling great. I am praying that with my diet, I'll be able to maintain my current weight of 165 pounds for good. I always bear in mind that nothing is impossible to achieve with a determined heart. Remember, the will to enjoy life to its fullest is worthless if you don't have the will to stay fit.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Vital Statistics

Name: June P. Gomez Jr.

Age: 29

Occupation: Office employee

Old Weight: 200 pounds

New Weight: 165 pounds

Height: 5 feet, 9 inches

Time to Get There: Three months

Want to Share Your Success Story?

The How I Did It column is taking on a new shape. In the past, we've asked you to share your success stories about losing weight. We still want to hear those stories, but we also recognize that there is more to physical fitness and staying in shape than weight management.

So we're inviting you to tell us about your accomplishments in other areas: how you learned to mountain climb or roller-blade, trained for a half-marathon, or discovered a unique way of keeping fit or dealing with a nagging ailment. We'll begin running the first of these stories in the Dec. 7 issue.

As always, tell us your story in a 500-word essay listing what worked in terms of diet, exercise and encouragement, as well as any emotional and physical changes.

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In addition to publication, winners will receive a Los Angeles Times Health section gym bag.

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