It was around the age of 9 that Dr. Jason Cleveland of Lake Worth, Florida, started to develop a weight problem. Eating too much and choosing poor quality food were his primary downfalls – a result of poor eating habits he learned from his parents. Cleveland, now 42, doesn’t necessarily fault his parents. However, he does admit they simply didn’t know much about proper nutrition for kids – a problem that’s becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society.
This poor nutritional foundation ultimately resulted in Cleveland reaching his highest weight of nearly 250 pounds. It wasn’t until attending a wedding in May 2010 that he realized it was time for a change. “I had to have my entire tuxedo enlarged to wear. I am a wellness practitioner, and I could not believe how far I had fallen,” he said.” The next day I started my quest.”
To lose the weight, Cleveland adopted an 80% diet-20% exercise motto – a plan he created years earlier for patients at his practice. “I do not start any of my clients on exercise until they have lost a significant amount of weight for fear of injury,” he said. After losing the first 40 pounds, Cleveland began cardio only – something as simple as jumping rope.
These basic diet and exercise changes proved to be successful, and Cleveland shed more than 60 pounds. Today he weighs a slim 184 pounds – just 15 pounds shy of his goal weight.
Like many true weight loss success stories, Cleveland experienced a few “ah ha” moments along the way that made a big difference in his weight loss.
“Just like all of my patients that go through the transformation, mine was at a clothing store,” he recalled. “My pants had gotten so big and I had to buy new belts just to hold them up.” Cleveland’s original pants size was 42. The same day he figured that out, he dropped to a 34. This explains why he was in such great shock when he saw himself on TV in early 2013 and thought, ‘Who is that skinny guy on there?’
With triumph came struggle, the biggest of which was the mental aspect of weight loss. “Eating less food but more times is really the key. But telling yourself that this is the new you, and this is how I am, now that’s the real hard part,” he said.
As for current and future goals, Cleveland hopes to reach 170 pounds and then run a half marathon. Eventually, he also aspires to run a full marathon, but he hopes to get a few smaller distance races under his belt before he makes the big 26.2 mile leap.
For those who may be struggling to lose weight, Cleveland has several pieces of advice, this being our favorite: “Be as strict on yourself as you would be to your best friend if they asked for your help, because in the end this is the time for you to be your own best friend.”