Body image and weight-loss is a sensitive subject for many people. However, for Hector Conesa, losing weight became a matter of life and death.
“I've been over-weight all my life,” Conesa said. “By the time I was in my mid-30s, I had ballooned to over 450 pounds. I was constantly in pain, and my weight started to take a toll on my back and joints. To judge the potential damage my weight might have inflicted upon my body; the doctors ordered a MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) procedure to be performed. I didn't fit the first MRI machine because of my size, and the second MRI test couldn't show a clear image of my spine because of my [body] mass.”
Although the MRI tests were inconclusive, the New York City native said that other exams denoted extreme problems.
“After having other tests performed, I was given frightening news by my doctor,” he said. “I was told that my organs were so stressed and I was so overweight that I wouldn’t live past the age of 40. So, I told myself, ‘I have to do something about this.’”
During the fall of 2012, Conesa said that he began taking his health more seriously by monitoring his diet.
“My diet was the foremost issue,” Conesa said. “For nine months under the watchful eye of my doctors, I was placed on a 500 calorie-a-day regimen. No sugar. No carbohydrates. And the only foods I could eat were vegetables and fruits such as apples and oranges. My body began to shed the fat, and that was when I lost nearly 250 pounds.”
Even though he lost half of his initial maximum body-weight, Conesa felt it was time push himself to rebuild muscle and his endurance, so he began to run and lift weights while preparing meals that would provide him the right amount of energy to maintain his performance.
“From there, I started weight lifting,” Conesa said. “Also, I became more of a runner. I would average about 15 miles a week while on my weight-loss journey, and I’ve even run in a couple of 10-kilometer races.”
But, these days, he has minimized the running and is focused on building muscle. However, Conesa credits ‘clean’ eating for his ongoing success.
“My nutrition is key to staying fit,” he said. “I prepare my meals right down to the exact calorie I want to take-in. My food intake consists of a lot more proteins than carbohydrates."
Conesa said that properly losing weight is about focus, accepting the fact that change will not occur overnight, and being consistent.
“I still have to keep myself motivated every day,” he said. “Although I lost a ton of weight, there are some mental ‘blocks’ that I continually need to get over. I’ve learned to stay focused on the positive aspects of life, rather than on what I think I see in the mirror. Once again, consistency is the key to my success.”
Conesa is now a certified fitness instructor and can be seen in the parks and gyms of Fairfield, California, giving advice and motivation to others on their path of healthier living.
One of his clients has a sincere matrimonial interest in his perseverance and happiness.
“Every day I am inspired by Hector and his journey,” said Shanna Conesa, Hector’s wife. “Five years and counting and he continues to push himself as hard as he did when he first started. Seeing that he’s overcome his weight problem makes me believe that I can do anything. It reminds me to be patient and trust the process. He had to make extreme changes to lose that much weight, and he never gave up. It's easy to quit, but he never did.”
For Conesa’s future, he said that it’s up to him to continue what he started.
“Consistency is the key, and you must have a long-term plan,” he said. “Nothing just happens. First, you must love yourself enough in order to take care of yourself then work hard to ensure your success down the road.”
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