After his grandfather was hospitalized with heart problems and underwent triple bypass surgery, Joaquin Rodriguez began to examine his habits. Back then he was driving an 18-wheeler truck and long days on the road meant little exercise and lots of meals at gas stations. Over time, this caused his weight to increase until he weighed 264 pounds.
“Seeing someone you idolized, you see as your Superman, someone who was invincible to you when you were a kid, seeing him sick and not knowing what was going to happen, scared me enough to push me hard to really pursue weight loss and make healthier choices, ”Rodriguez, 30, a sheet metal mechanic in Corpus Christi, Texas said today.
He started out simply by eating smaller portions.
“I’ve tried dieting a lot before and it never really worked,” Rodriguez explained. “So I thought we should (eat) less. I have to cut.
It worked for him as he admits he doesn’t like vegetables and the thought of being eaten a salad seemed unpleasant.
“That’s what made it really hard for me in (the past), was to think I had to do it that way,” he said.
Eating smaller portions worked and he lost about 1 to 2 pounds per week. Then he changed jobs and wasn’t on the road as much. This means he was able to add exercise to his routine starting at the end of 2019.
“It just got easier for me to be more physical and to start running,” said Rodriguez. “I started running and doing little local races like 5K and 10K and they became a passion for me.”
Even though he was eventually able to compete in races, when he laced up his running shoes for the first time, Rodriguez struggled.
“It was very difficult. I remember being very out of breath and being beaten down on myself, wanting to give up,” he said. “I pushed myself to continue on this path and then it turns out I love it, it turned out to be more than a hobby for me.
When the going gets tough, he thinks of his daughters.
“I wanted to be someone they could be proud of. I wanted to show them that there is no way to quit smoking, that we can go through things even when it is difficult, ”he said. “I just want to be a good example for them of a healthy lifestyle and that change is possible.”
With diet changes, Rodriguez went from 260 pounds to 230. Then, when he started exercising, he also cut off alcohol and went from 230 to 180. He now weighs 164 pounds. Now he runs longer races and is even interested in triathlons.
“The local riders have been a huge help in providing me with information here and there and I always ask questions,” said Rodriguez. “I found what worked for me and tried to hold myself accountable.”
His eating habits have also changed – he even eats more vegetables now.
“I’ve been a burger and pizza guy for a long time, most of my life,” he said. “So starting to incorporate greens, carrots and fruit, that was a (change). It was definitely because of running, trying to be a better athlete. “
Rodriguez has learned a lot about himself by losing weight and transforming his health.
“I had the ability to do something that I thought I couldn’t do that helps me in everyday life, at work, at home with the girls and my wife. It really helps me to help others and inspire them to try to be better, ”he said.
Rodriguez shares tips to help other people consider healthy lifestyle changes.
1. Make small changes.
When Rodriguez wanted to lose weight in the past, he often tried to make too many changes at once. That’s why he started out slow by eating smaller portions and it worked.
“I didn’t want to overwhelm myself. It was a big deal the other times I tried to lose weight, ”he said. “I tried to do too much at once and it overwhelmed me and made me (feel) like I was not making any progress.”
2. Find your motivation.
When Rodriguez wanted to lose weight, he wanted to do it for his family. When he felt too tired to run or couldn’t do it, he thought of his daughters.
“My oldest daughter, she is 5 and she thinks I am the strongest man in the world,” he said.
3. Ask for help.
As Rodriguez started running just to move his body more, he realized he liked it and sought advice from other runners.
“The triathlon club that is here in Corpus Christi has been a great help. They are full of information, ”he said. “They really helped me get to where I am now.”