• Stephen Sieminkewicz used to eat nearly 3500 calories per day, which led to steady weight gain as he entered his thirties.
• Thanks to some simple diet changes and weekly meal prep, Sieminkewicz managed to get his calorie intake under control.
• The new, more strict diet fueled a dramatic 56-pound weight loss in just 8 months.
Stephen Sieminkewicz thought his job would keep him from becoming overweight. The 32-year-old auto shop owner from Raleigh, North Carolina, figured the tough, physical labor of working with cars all day meant he was burning enough calories.
Yet as he crested thirty, with a new daughter on the way, he found himself feeling drained and tired. At 5’8” and 216 pounds, he could feel the extra weight he was carrying. “I could always feel it on my chin and my shirts would always get tight in the wrong places,” he says. “[That] usually left me feeling pretty self conscious in public.” He decided he needed to change.
The weight wasn’t exactly a new development—Sieminkewicz says he’s been heavy since graduating from high school. Despite having a physically demanding job, he wasn’t exercising regularly, and his diet really needed a tune-up. “I never really learned good eating habits growing up and it continued through my twenties,” he says. “I used to eat out for lunch everyday, have huge dinners, and snacked until I was full every evening.” He was consuming 3000-3500 calories a day, most of it from high-sugar junk food.
So he focused on tackling his diet problem. He used a food scale and MyFitnessPal, a calorie-counting app. “Just keeping track of what touches my lips made it so much easier to see where I need to focus,” he says. “Meal prepping measured lunches and grabbing a healthy post-workout breakfast from the gym makes most of my days easier.”
It’s a pretty simple diet: three eggs or a protein shake for breakfast, then a lunch bowl with chicken, rice, corn, and salsa. He snacks on nuts and fruit, and dinner is mostly protein and greens. (He also commends his wife’s great cooking for providing a variety of new and healthy meals.)
At the beginning of his journey Sieminkewicz joined a gym, but rather than hire a trainer, he built his own workout regimen using online sources and by learning from other gym-goers. He combines cardio with free weights, continuing to tweak as he goes. “I am still learning but I feel really good after this workout,” he says.
Carving his own path worked for Sieminkewicz, but like anyone he had to stay motivated. At first it took determination to get out of bed every day and go to the gym,” he says. “After a few weeks, I crave my workout and will be really bummed when I have to miss one.”
The change in mindset has paid off. In about 8 months, he’s dropped 56 pounds. Friends and family have all supported his progress, and he’s come out of it happier and more confident. “I feel so much lighter and agile,” he says. “It makes my work and keeping up with a toddler much easier. I just feel healthier.” With his beach body achieved, his next goal is running a Tough Mudder in November—one year from the start of his transformation.
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