If you are still in need of motivation to stick to your 2018 New Year’s resolution, look no farther than Longview, Texas where Jack Stallard is a walking inspiration, 100 pounds and counting.
It’s fairly easy to find the sports editor at the Longview News-Journal. Jack Stallard is the guy with all the tiny football helmets positioned carefully around the perimeter of his newsroom desk. But for most of his life “tiny” is something he admits he knew very little about.
“I weighed 403 pounds,” he said in an interview last week with WFAA. “You know, just a big old guy. I don’t remember a time I wasn’t a big guy.”
But he reached a tipping point in a late 2016 on a visit to his doctor: a doctor who told him that if he kept living at his current pace that he wouldn’t be a “living” 403 pound big old guy much longer.
“And he literally said the words ‘I’m looking at a dead man.’”
Stallard’s obesity led him to develop Type 2 diabetes and his blood pressure and cholesterol were pretty gigantic numbers too.
"That was my come to Jesus. I had a little chat with myself and decided that if I want to stick around a little bit I’d better do something,” Stallard said. “And that’s it. Honestly, that next day I started."
He started…..walking. Just a few hundred feet at first, finding out that his 400+ pounds was going to make it more difficult than he imagined it might be.
“I walked from my driveway to the end of this road, less than 100 yards. Walked there and back and I thought I was dying. It was horrible. And I sat on the couch and I said boy I don’t know if I can do this.”
But he kept at it. He kept walking every morning rain or shine, hot or cold until he was walking at least three miles a day.
“Yeah it hurts for a little while and there are certain things hurting,” he said as we walked with him at a high school track in Kilgore. “But overall I started feeling better almost immediately.”
And then the next phase: ending his relationships with his three most delicious girlfriends.
“I had to break up with Little Debbie, Betty Crocker, and Marie Callender all in one swoop, you know, they’re done.”
It was a lifestyle change, that at his employer’s request, he agreed to detail in his own newspaper last month: a blog he called ‘One step at a time: Get honest, real in search for healthier lifestyle.’
And by the end of the first year he’d shed more than 100 pounds. The step tracker on his wrist gave him an even more surprising number.
“A little over 1,100 miles,” he said laughing at the surprising mileage he totaled in that first year. “I don’t even like to drive that far,” he laughed.
His cholesterol and blood pressure returned to normal. His diabetes disappeared. His doctor told him to put his medication away. And then there were the little victories. He could finally fit behind the wheel of his pickup truck without pushing the seat completely back and leaning the seatback near its maximum. Ad he could finally fit through the tight squeeze of the gate at his local high school track.
“It was a tight fit. So yeah. A little different now.”
Stallard is sharing his journey because he knows it’s a familiar path for so many others just like him. People who are singled out and made fun of in public, often ridiculed for their size.
“Little kids are honest,” he said. “If a little kid tells you you’re a big guy…you’re a big guy. That happened every once in a while in the grocery store and it stung a little bit. But what do you do? They’re right!”
But now he’s on the right path with a goal to walk off 50 pounds more and get back to the 250 pounds he weighed in high school.
And at the same time, maybe gain a little something too.
“I’m proud. I’m proud of myself. I’m not so proud I’m ready to quit and say I’ve done great things. I’ve still got work to do.”
Work, just like life, best conquered one step at a time.