Read Mario’s story.
What is your name?
How old are you?
I am 47 years old.
Do you have children or grandchildren?
I have three boys.
Where are you from?
I am from Guatemala.
What is your work?
I work in La Brea Park, in the department dealing with apartments for new tenants (Carpenter, electricity, pipelines)
Have you always done physical activity?
I have played soccer my whole life since I was seven years old.
How long have you been doing exercise?
What type of exercise do you prefer?
Why did you decide to start to exercise again?
When I was 34 years old, I stopped playing soccer because I got a thyroid disease. I stopped exercising completely. I spent six months sick, and I did not even know I was sick during the first three months. My disease advanced so quickly that I was hospitalized three times for periods of four to five days. I became so thin, that I soon weighed 130 pounds, when at one point I weighed 170 pounds. Since I was so thin, after my thyroid disease was controlled, I started eating more than I should have. But no one told me thyroid disease works in two ways – you either lose weight or gain it. At first I was losing weight, but this changed and I started to gain weight. My metabolism started to slow down and the doctor told me that I needed to take pills for the rest of my life. Since I was so thin, I did not follow instructions and after a year I went to the doctor weighing 225 pounds. It was then that I started taking pills and started exercising. I was only able to lose 10 pounds with the help of the pills. As a result, my weight was maintained at 215 pounds, and for my height this was overweight. I stopped doing exercise completely, and I ate everything I liked to eat (tortillas, white bread, pastries, beans, rice, soda, etc.). This was going to be the end of me. Eventually, I was diagnosed with high sugar and high cholesterol. This was the beginning of diabetes. The doctor prescribed so many pills that my bathroom looked like a pharmacy. I would take 4 types of pills for sugar levels, two for cholesterol – well, then came to a point that I was taking 15 pills a day. I finally went to the doctor and he told me if I did not go on a diet and start exercising he would have to start injecting insulin into my system. I don’t know if he told me that to scare me, but the truth is that it did scare me and my son would not stop asking me to go running to motivate me. On July 11th of 2012, I set my self to do it and that is how I began.
What were/are your health goals?
My goal was not to be diabetic. I was tired of taking so many pills. Now my goal is to get back to my normal weight of 170 pounds.
Have you seen changes in your health since you started exercising?
Definitely. I’ve since started to eat differently – I eat green salads, fruit, I drink a lot of water and all this with my exercise routine, I’ve lost 35 pounds. Today I’m feeling energized and the best part is that I’ve been able to control my sugar and colesterol. I don’t have to take pills anymore.
Do you prefer exercising by yourself or with a workout partner?
I find more motivation when I workout with someone else, but a lot of times I don’t find anyone to exercise with. But that doesn’t keep me from working out.
How has your workout routine affected you?
I sleep better at night, I’m more careful about what I eat and how much I eat (I prefer Subway) and I feel more agile, especially since a big belly isn’t getting in the way anymore. But the best part is definitely that I’ve manged to lose all that excess weight. As I mentioned, I lost 35 pounds!