Mark M.

North Dallas, TX

mark m. holiday 2020

Mark’s Story

My younger brother and I were left orphaned a few years ago after our mother and father passed away from heart disease and diabetes complications, respectively. The stress of now managing the family’s assets, becoming the sole full-time guardian for my brother, and maintaining a road warrior Sales Engineering job left me with an extremely poor work-life balance. I used client meetings and happy hours as an excuse to escape from personal responsibilities and to treat myself out to calorie-rich meals multiple times per day. Even when I returned home, I neglected to prepare my own meals because I was never around long enough to justify buying groceries. I blindly accepted the feeling of becoming winded from doing everyday things like tying my shoes before meetings or running between airport terminals as my new normal. Naturally, my unhealthy decisions began adding up over the years, and during a routine physical last year, I was diagnosed with class 2 obesity, a fatty liver, and pre-hypertension due to my poor diet and lack of exercise.

I realized I was quickly following in the footsteps of our parents and made a vow to adopt a healthier lifestyle. I set a personal goal to not only reverse my diagnosis but also to pursue a renewed bucket list dream of becoming a Classic Physique competitor. I immediately began hitting the gym daily after work and reducing my “dine-out only diet” meal portion sizes, accomplishing a fair amount of weight loss while unsupervised by a personal trainer; however, I started running into plateaus that I was unable to break and finally conceded that I needed help to progress further. So, I approached the North Dallas Life Time trainers’ desk where I met my current Trainer, Nutritionist, and friend, Kelly A. Kelly mentioned that the 60day would be a great opportunity to double down on building upon my stalled progress as he encouraged me along the way. Through nutrition consults, I started feeling more confident making all of my own meals and began to holistically feel better eating my own food compared to when I ate meals out. Since I was raised to finish everything on my plate, this allowed me to control which ingredients I consumed and how large my portions were compared to simply asking for a “light” serving while dining out. In the handful of instances that I decided to dine out during the 60day, I learned to make healthier substitutions that did not leave me feeling guilty or lethargic afterward. In addition to improving my diet, staying physically active with tailored workouts during the 60day has given me the perfect excuse to spend some competitive bonding time with my brother. Because his class schedule aligns with the end of my workday, we are able to spot each other and to attempt breaking one another’s personal weightlifting records before cooling down on the treadmills together. Thanks to replacing my old lifestyle choices, I noticed that I have more energy not only throughout all my work meetings and happy hours but also during and after workouts. Now instead of waiting for a quiet weekend morning to go grocery shopping, I still have enough energy to lift multiple cases of water from the grocery cart into the car after an intense afternoon gym session without feeling completely exhausted – a far cry from how I use to feel just tying my shoes to start the day.

However, among all of the lessons learned and the weight lost, there is one accomplishment that makes me proudest. With Kelly’s help and the added focus of the 60day I can happily say that I was able to reverse my aforementioned diagnoses. I am “overweight” but not overfat, thanks to an increase in muscle mass and decrease in body fat percentages. My most recent ultrasound came back with results of a healthy liver and healthy levels of visceral fat. Pre-hypertension worries are also a thing of the past. Now that the 60day is over I am looking forward to continuing my journey to become a stage ready competitor and to appreciating a newer, healthier, and longer life with my brother despite our family’s history!