After his grandfather was hospitalized for heart problems and underwent triple bypass surgery, Joaquin Rodriguez began reviewing his habits. Back then he was driving an 18-wheel truck and long days on the road meant little exercise and a lot of food from gas stations. Over time, his weight grew until he weighed 264 pounds.
“When you see someone you adored, you see as your Superman, someone who was invincible in your eyes as a child, seeing him sick and not knowing what was going to happen startled me enough to make me over the edge to push to really lose weight and make healthier choices, ”Rodriguez, 30, a sheet metal mechanic in Corpus Christi, Texas, told TODAY.
He just started eating smaller portions.
“I’ve tried a lot of diets before, but it never really worked,” said Rodriguez. “So I thought to myself, it has to be (eat) less. I have to cut. “
That worked for him because he admits he doesn’t like vegetables and the thought of making himself a salad seemed inedible to him.
“That made it really hard for me in the (past) to think that I had to do it that way,” he said.
Eating smaller portions worked and he lost about 1 to 2 pounds a week. Then he changed jobs and was no longer on the road so much. This meant that from the end of 2019 he could incorporate exercise into his everyday life.
“It got easier for me to get more physical and start running,” said Rodriguez. “I started running and doing little local races like 5Ks and 10Ks and they became a passion for me.”
Although he was eventually able to compete in races, Rodriguez struggled when he first laced his running shoes.
“It was very difficult. I remember being very out of breath and falling on myself and wanting to give up,” he said. “I pushed myself to continue down this path and then it turned out that I was doing it dear. It turned out that it was more than a hobby for me. “
When the going gets tough, he thinks of his daughters.
“I wanted to be someone you could be proud of. I wanted to show them that we can’t stop even when things are hard to get through, ”he said. “I just want to be a good example to them of a healthy lifestyle and that change is possible.”
With a change in diet, Rodriguez went from 260 pounds to 230 pounds. Then when he started exercising, he also stopped drinking, going from 230 to 180 pounds. He now weighs 164 pounds. Now he drives longer races and is even interested in triathlons.
“Local runners have been a great help in providing me with information here and there, and I keep asking questions,” said Rodriguez. “I’ve found what works for me and I’ve tried to hold myself accountable.”
His eating habits have also evolved – he’s now even eating more vegetables.
“I’ve been a burger and pizza guy for a long time, most of my life,” he said. “So starting to incorporate vegetables and carrots and fruits was one (change). It was definitely about running, trying to be a better athlete. “
Rodriguez learned a lot about himself as he lost weight and changed his health.
“I had the ability to do something I thought I couldn’t and that helps me in everyday life, at work, at home with the girls and my wife. It really helps me to help other people and inspire them to get better, ”he said.
Rodriguez shares tips to help others who are contemplating healthy lifestyles.
1. Make small changes.
In the past, when Rodriguez wanted to lose weight, he often tried to make too many changes at once. So he slowly started to eat smaller portion sizes and it worked.
“I didn’t want to overwhelm myself. That was a big deal the other times I was trying to lose weight, ”he said. “I was trying to do too much at once and it overwhelmed me and I felt like I wasn’t making any progress.”
2. Find your motivation.
When Rodriguez wanted to lose weight, he wanted to do it for his family. When he was too tired to walk or couldn’t, he thought of his daughters.
“My older daughter, she is 5 and she thinks I’m the strongest man in the world,” he said.
3. Ask for help.
While Rodriguez started running just to get his body moving, he realized he loved it and asked other runners for advice.
“The triathlon club here in Corpus Christi was a great help. They are full of information, ”he said. “You really helped me get to where I am now.”