Eat like a caveman
Courtesy Kyle Kranz
Kyle Kranz is a 29-year-old former athlete who lost 85 pounds after gaining weight steadily after suffering a bad injury because of a car accident in middle school. “I was unable to play football and soccer like I previously had,” he says. Then a friend of his, who was starting to focus on his health a bit more, invited Kranz to join him during his freshmen year of high school. While in high school, he credits his weight loss to 75 percent dietary changes and 25 percent working out, which for him, consisted of mostly lifting weights, since the accident didn’t allow him to run. But the greatest difference for Kranz came from curbing what he puts in his mouth every single day. “You lose weight quickly when your diet changes from fast food, soda, and chips to meat and vegetables. I was the high schooler eating pre-portioned and pre-prepared—thanks for the help, Mom!—chicken breast and veggies for lunch. I also found out I actually enjoyed lifting weights, and put together a fairly respectable home gym in a spare bedroom,” he says. Though he eventually recovered and was able to become an endurance athlete, doing everything from swimming to cycling to running, Kranz maintains a caveman-like attitude toward nutrition. “My favorite health advice is something I read from Michael Pollan, when he said, ‘Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants.’ Eating real food and not processed junk was the biggest game changer for me,” he says. (Follow these 40 fast, easy tips to lose weight.)
Be curious when it comes to working out
Courtesy Michael Tamez
It was a life-changing car accident when he was 20 years old that pushed now 36-year-old Michael Tamez to focus on his health. Having always struggled with weight management, it wasn’t until he realized how fragile his existence truly is that Tamez dedicated the next 15 years to being fit, happy, and healthy. Because of his severe sleep apnea, Tamez would fall asleep throughout the day at any given time. “One time I actually dozed off while driving on the highway and smashed into the car in front of me. Although nobody was severely injured, this shook me up pretty good,” he says. The timing of the accident—December, 2001—prompted Michael to make a New Year’s Resolution: He wanted to start working out and actually stick with it for a whole month. After those 30 days passed though, he hadn’t shed much weight, and he wasn’t really inspired by the exercise. That’s when his dad bought him a pair of boxing gloves, and he fell in love with the jab, cross, hook, uppercut three-minute rounds that helped him shed pounds quickly. Then when it warmed up outside, he started riding his bicycle, going for walks and hikes, and cleaning up his diet. His latest discovery? That he loves water sports. He and his wife moved to Florida and go kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, swimming, and bodyboarding. In addition to keeping the weight off, he’s also been able to stop the sleep apnea and bring his blood pressure back down to normal. “I was ecstatic that I cured myself with exercise and food,” he says. That’s why Tamez’s best tip is to do some soul-searching around why you want to lose the weight and find exercises that really inspire you to stay active. These days, Tamez, who shed 105 pounds, has had added yoga and meditation to balance his mind, too.