SUCCESS STORY / Jermaine Pittman, 32, of Smyrna lost 52 pounds

‘You have to steel your mind to say I’m going to do this, results or no results.’

When he started: “I started in March 2021. I’m done on the journey. I officially reached my goal weight pretty early in November 2021,” said Pittman.

Age: 32 years

Personal life: “I’m in cybersecurity. Me and my wife and our fur baby Nala, a little Yorkie, live in Smyrna.”

The lifestyle change: “I saw my neighbor. We’re at a cookout and she came over. I was like dear God, what happened to you — she was like you gotta go see this lady.” He met with Nancy Masoud, a metabolic specialist with LockedIN Wellness. “I had chest pain and no one could tell me where it came from. I went to a number of different doctors; they did EKGs and echocardiograms. For my age, I had an extremely high level of cholesterol. They didn’t say it was correlated with my chest pain, but they wondered. I was put on a statin and I didn’t want to be on that the rest of my life starting at age 30. That was a real turning point for me when no one could tell me why I had these random chest pains.”

Change in eating habits: “I cut out all oils, all sugars; no gluten, no wheat, and no dairy, and that was hard, those were the big things.” He did food sensitivity testing and eliminated foods he had a sensitivity or intolerance to.

Jermaine’s how-tos:

1. “The first major step is one of the hardest steps we all have to make as human beings — steeling your mind to make a change. You have to steel your mind to say I’m going to do this, results or no results. In this world, the true and only competition is yourself.”

2. “It’s OK to make mistakes, just don’t make habits.”

3. “The third step for me was honestly, to look back. Once you get into your professional career, life kind of becomes more linear. You are in the infinity loop. I get up, feed my face, and live for the weekend ... but look at how all of that was affecting me and my mindset. You have to look back at yourself.”

Exercise routine: “For part of it, no, I didn’t work out, but I did incorporate at least a mile-long walk four times per week, at a minimum. Now I walk 2 to 3 miles every three days as well I cycle on my Peloton.”

Biggest challenge: “The biggest challenge is getting started and having enough dedication to see it through ... but the next biggest challenge is finding enough love for yourself to pick yourself up and do it over and over again.”

Jermaine’s top tips:

1. Find your conviction: “Whatever that conviction is, use that as your fuel as you see the changes — even if it is not from what you look like, let that be your fire and fuel.”

2. Don’t forget your snacks: “We meal prep all day long. I can’t tell you enough when you miss that snack, that is when you find that soda snack.”

3. Find an accountability partner: “Right now, we have four to five friends that are on the diet. We check in on them, and treat it like it’s a community. That’s so powerful when you make those lifestyle changes.”

How his life has changed: “Life has changed dramatically. All I did was change my eating. I was not a gym rat. I completed the diet. I went from 260 pounds to 208 pounds for a total of 52 pounds lost. It really tells that important story around self-care and self-love. It is genetic for me to produce that much cholesterol; even if it is, what I was eating was making it multiply by five. When you love yourself better, you start to love the people around you better too.”

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