NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Call it an epiphany, one of those “ah-ha” moments, whatever happened New Year’s Eve 2009 it changed and possibly saved Jon Smith's life.
"Twenty becomes forty, you get a new pants size you kind of don't look at it and the next thing you know you wake up on New Year's Eve and you are one hundred pounds overweight and I didn't even recognize myself. That next day I ran one mile," says Smith, Executive Director of the French Market Corporation.
It was the beginning of a long journey. The weight wasn't gained overnight and it certainly wouldn’t be lost that way. "At my biggest I was just north of three hundred pounds probably about 307, 308 I quit counting at one point. The combination of just being busy, being a new parent and then dealing with all the nonsense that came with being a business owner during Katrina, that kind of helped jump-start the weight gain and it just never came off."
But he never gave up, he began training for a Half Ironman. To date he's completed three full Ironman races and about 25 triathlons.
"There's not been anything I've done that physically strips you down bear to the studs of your soul like an Ironman and it really forces you to dig in places you didn't think you had, it's not physical it's all mental.” With exercise and a healthy diet, Jon Smith has lost and kept off over 100 pounds. "Eating more greens, being certain that I paid attention to good fats and wasn't afraid of good fats, I quit counting calories. You've got to be able to enjoy life, that's part of the misery that people go through and part of the non-sustainability of diets is the notion that you have to deny or deprive yourself. Daughter just turned eight, I had some birthday cake, it was good," says Smith.
"So many people talk about diets and his whole thought process is eating healthy. If you're overweight it's not just about working out but it's about what you're putting in your body," says Mary Piper, Owner of Louisiana’s Health & Fitness Magazine. The publication featured his success story in their January issue.
His weight loss success is more than a number, it's a reminder of what we're all capable of when we put our mind to it.
"Some days you go forward and some days you go back but anybody, anybody has earned the right to try to be better," says Smith.