While most people overindulge over the holiday season, others find the motivation to turn a new leaf and embark on a journey toward a healthy lifestyle.
Patrick Whitbred, 27, said that he was overweight his whole life up until Thanksgiving 2012 when he realized that his lifespan was going to be cut short unless he took action and developed healthier habits.
Whitbred explained that physical activities were never a problem for him, having actively engaged in sports throughout his youth, but explained that his diet was the source of his problems.
“I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted,” Whitbred said.
At his heaviest, Whitbred said that he probably weighed 300 pounds, but weighed 280 pounds on the fateful night in 2012 when he decided to turn things around.
“It was just walking upstairs, tying my shoes, bending over, it was just exhausting and it shouldn’t be like that,” Whitbred said of the difficulties that ultimately resulted in his decision to make a change.
Unsure if he could sustain a healthy lifestyle, Whitebred said that he set the initial goal of living a healthy lifestyle for three months. Of the first three months, Whitebred said they were the most difficult, explaining that he always felt “starved” and was discouraged by the lack of immediate results.
He noted that during the first three months of his weight loss, he primarily focused on developing a healthier food intake, however when he decided to ramp up his exercise routine, the results started to show.
“That just accelerated the weight loss,” Whitebred said of the addition of exercise to his weight loss plan.
At his lowest weight, Whitbred weighed 166 pounds; a weight which he said was unhealthy due to the fact that he was focusing too much on losing weight instead of becoming healthy. Following the realization, a year and a half into his healthy lifestyle efforts, Whitbred started lifting weights to add muscle to his newly slimmed down body.
Whitbred has surrounded himself with a powerful support system by working at the YMCA in King as the sports director. Whitbred noted that he’s actually worked at the YMCA for the past nine years, having originally started volunteering at the center at the age of 14.
Whitbred recently accepted a position at the YMCA in Clemmons and will be transitioning to his new position in the near future, an opportunity in which he says he is excited about.
While working at the YMCA, he has been aided and encouraged along his journey by an assortment of different individuals including Allison Mabe, associate wellness director, Stephanie Durick, his trainer during the Transformation Nation challenge, and perhaps most importantly his fiancé Sarah Coleman.
Whitbred met Coleman through a body pump class that she was teaching at the YMCA. Whitbred explained that due to his busy schedule, the only real time during the day that he had to devote to exercise was between 5:30 and 7:30 a.m. and it just so happened that Coleman was the instructor for the 5:30 a.m. class that he was taking.
“She pushes and motivates me with things that I wouldn’t normally try,” Whitbred said of Coleman. “She’s just a good motivator.”
Whitbred explained that Coleman has helped him achieve a balance between cardio activities and lifting weights, adding “you leave her class knowing that you couldn’t do anymore.”
Whitbred and Coleman are scheduled to get married over the Labor Day weekend.
A point of pride for Whitbred is the fact that he completed his first half marathon in 117 minutes with Coleman by his side, noting that he just barely beat her by a minute.
As for his role as a mentor and role model at the YMCA, Whitbred says that he’s conscious of the fact that his story can impact others and hopefully help them steer their lives towards a healthier lifestyle, adding that he tries to be as open about his journey as possible.
One of the initiatives that he tried to get off the ground this summer was a program called Camp Jump Start. The program was aimed at youth that have similar weight issues as Whitbred did in his youth, combining together the need for conscious dietary nutrition as well as an active lifestyle. Whitbred said that unfortunately the program failed to gain traction and draw in participants, but he is hopeful for another program like it in the future.
In addition to the dietary and exercise factors, Whitbred said that water intake is crucial. He explained that at first, getting in eight glasses of water a day was extremely difficult, adding that he desperately wanted to go back to the days in which he consumed 60 or more ounces of Mountain Dew a day, but he resisted the urge and now happily drinks more than a gallon of water every day.