Who: Sam Shane
City: Sherwood Park, Alta
By The Numbers: 308 pounds at my heaviest, currently at 197 pounds, for a total weight loss of 111 pounds.
The Weight Gain: I was a scrawny skinny string bean of a kid. I started gaining weight in my mid-twenties. I was eating away emotional pain and went from manual labour to working in a bank due to injuries form a car accident.
Sam Shane Siemens before.
At this point, I had tried the grapefruit diet, the starvation diet, the no-carb diet — you name it, I tried it.
Final Straw: I was buying ugly slip-on shoes and realized I was buying them because tying shoe laces was difficult and exhausting. Later that month, I was at a specialist to discuss diabetes medicine and when I brought up losing weight, the doctor waived his hand dismissively and sarcastically said, “No one actually does [lose weight] you know.”
I was getting tired of being referred to in conversation as “Hey, big guy.” Tired of being offered “fries” as the side dish by servers automatically. And the list goes on.
"Food is energy, you can’t create energy from nothing — it boils down to the amount of calories in and the amount out."
Story continues below.
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The Plan of Attack: Research, research and more research. And it brought me back time and time again to math and principles of thermodynamics. Food is energy, you can’t create energy from nothing — it boils down to the amount of calories in and the amount out.
I started trying to lose weight on March 1, 2015. I was at 256 pounds.
The Exercise Factor: I bought an elliptical machine and some hand weights. I wanted to have a trainer but that was not feasible in the family budget. I binged on Chris Powell episodes — that man is a hero. Before this, I was known for saying “I hate walking.”
Sam Shane Siemens' current weight.
These days I use the elliptical machine, mountain bike, walk and use small hand weights. I work out five times a week between 30 minutes to an hour regularly and usually longer sessions on the weekends for up to two hours.
"The thing I am proud of is making a change and having it last."
The Food Element: I started eating more vegetables and whole grains. I started eating less meat and cutting out processed white flour — this was the hardest thing. Because of this, fast food became very rare.
I also started counting calories, which is where the math came in.
Sam Shane Siemens after.
The Current Day-to-Day: These days I have mobility, I can tie my shoes with ease and I enjoy exercise and crave veggies.
I maintain the weight by exercising, calorie counting and using a scale. The thing I am proud of is making a change and having it last.
Here is my advice for anyone struggling with weight. Plan, plan and plan more! You can do it! You will feel pain, exhaustion and may even injure yourself in the journey, but it sure beats dying from sitting on the couch.
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Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.