In the photo on the left, taken in 2017, Erik Sponaas weighed 262 pounds. In the photo on the right, taken in November, he weighed 183 pounds. (Before photos contributed by Erik Sponaas contributed the photo on the left. Onelife Fitness contributed the photo on the right.

Erik Sponaas, 38, of Cumming lost 81 pounds

SUCCESS STORY / Erik Sponaas, 38: From 262 pounds to 181 pounds

Former weight: 262 pounds

Current weight: 181 pounds

Pounds lost: 81 pounds

Height: 6 feet

Age: 38 years

How long he’s kept it off: Started in March and reached his current weight in October.

Personal life: “I’m a network engineer for Kids II Inc. in Buckhead. I’m married and have three kids,” Sponaas said. “My wife has been very supportive with me turning my life around.” He lives in Cumming.

Turning point: “Early March 2018, I went to a doctor for a checkup and my blood pressure was superhigh and he ended up putting me on blood pressure medication and cholesterol medication,” Sponaas said. “I kind of felt old to be put on those medicines. I asked the doctor what could I do? He said, ‘I don’t know, get under 200 pounds and you’ll get off the meds.’ I started tracking everything I ate. I went to Onelife Fitness and met with a personal trainer.”

Diet plan: “I like to just track it and fit it into a budget — that becomes a lifestyle,” he said. Fifty percent of his diet is protein. He has a protein shake with kale and berries and two eggs daily. He meal preps chicken or turkey burgers for the week. “If I want to eat somewhere, I’ll eat there,” Sponaas said. “I just make it fit the budget of the day.”

Exercise routine: He does weight training daily covering different muscle groups, and he does spin or interval training four times per week.

Biggest challenge: “I guess hitting plateaus and kind of working past them. … The conscious activity of tracking what you are eating will help you make better choices,” Sponaas said. “… When results stop is when you need to change something.”

How life has changed: “I certainly feel younger,” Sponaas said. “I was never a gym guy, but I kind of turned into one. I do recommend a personal trainer. I was totally against it at first, and my wife signed me up. It’s not all about yelling at you. I treat our relationship as though he’s the coach and he’s teaching me what to do. … I would say life for my kids has certainly changed. I’m a lot more active. I think my son and I went to the pool at least three times a week this summer because I was in better shape. I’m getting out and doing more with my kids. I had such high blood pressure my doctor wanted to see me a few months after. I had already dropped 25 pounds. He said, ‘I say this every day and nobody actually goes and does it.’ He’s just floored. I ended up getting off my blood pressure and cholesterol medication. The personal trainer I work with has a master’s in health and fitness, he was able to help me tweak, he knew what he was doing. I’m pretty happy with my trainer and the spin classes at Onelife Fitness, and they don’t pay me to say that — in fact, I pay them to say that.”

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