Dad loses 120 pounds, realizes dream of becoming endurance athlete

April 22, 2022, 8:19 PM UTC / Supply: TODAY

Tracy Helmer nonetheless remembers the despair and lack of management he felt when his weight began to succeed in 300 kilos.

As a registered nurse, Helmer knew the well being penalties of being so heavy and felt them: hypertension, again issues, neck points and joint ache. His achy knees wouldn’t permit him to bend down.

The load achieve “simply sort of creeped up” on him when he turned a father, he stated.

“I feel oftentimes, husbands sort of sympathy-eat with their wives,” Helmer, 48, who has 4 kids and lives in Las Vegas, informed TODAY.

My household’s at all times been a big household centered round consuming as a social occasion. We discover happiness once we eat … however it turned some extent the place it turned from simply consuming being a social occasion to consuming being the answer to our issues.”

Helmer noticed people started to exclude him from events when he became heavier. Men who are healthy "look down upon the ones that aren't, and the ones who aren't always know that," he said.
Helmer observed individuals began to exclude him from occasions when he turned heavier. Males who’re wholesome “look down upon those that are not, and those who aren’t at all times know that,” he stated.Courtesy Tracy Helmer

His food plan included a lot of simple-carbohydrate-rich meals like white bread, sugar, processed meals and chips. He tried to train, however didn’t have the arrogance to work onerous at it and simply bodily wasn’t in a position to end exercises.

Helmer reached his most weight of about 300 kilos in 2017.

“You step on a scale and see a quantity like that, and also you assume, ‘How did I get right here? What have I presumably carried out to permit myself to get right here?’” he recalled.

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“As nurses, we put in 100%-plus day by day that we come to work — and I might nonetheless strive to try this day by day. However then I might come dwelling, and my consuming could be uncontrolled as a result of I attempted to eat away the stresses of the day or shedding a affected person. … At house is after I actually had the worst emotions about myself.”

When his older brother suffered a extreme coronary heart assault, Helmer’s mother and father began to concern considered one of their kids would die earlier than them, he stated.

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A brand new, smaller abdomen

So Helmer tried “the whole lot in (his) personal energy” to attempt to lose the burden, however her couldn’t. That’s when he determined to endure bariatric surgical procedure in 2018.

The process he selected, a sleeve gastrectomy, concerned eradicating about 80% of his abdomen, together with the portion that produces a lot of the “starvation hormone,” in accordance with the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgical procedure.

The remaining new abdomen was the dimensions and form of a banana, permitting him to eat much less and really feel fuller.

Helmer misplaced 120 kilos inside 14 months and now maintains a weight of about 180 kilos. Like different bariatric surgical procedure sufferers, he emphasised it takes steady vigilance and sticking to the proper food plan to remain on observe.

“The largest factor about this surgical procedure that folks take with no consideration is the psychological preparation,” Helmer stated.

“After surgical procedure like this, you’ll be able to nonetheless get again to an unhealthy weight if you happen to don’t preserve a stage of self-control. … You may nonetheless benefit from the meals that you simply like, however you don’t have to eat 25 bites of it — it’s essential eat one or two.”

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Helmer had much more energy when he lost weight and realized his dream of competing in an endurance event last fall.
Helmer had rather more vitality when he misplaced weight and realized his dream of competing in an endurance occasion final fall.Courtesy Tracy Helmer

He now eats a lot smaller meals, making protein and greens his precedence in order that he will get the energy and vitamins he wants with out “losing worthwhile abdomen house on issues that aren’t going to do you any good,” like too many carbs, Helmer stated.

He’s had to surrender beer as a result of carbonated drinks may cause painful bloating for bariatric surgical procedure sufferers. On days when Helmer craves unhealthy meals, he reminds himself they’re not good for his total well being and can make him really feel worse.

However there’s a lot to be ok with: Helmer now not has joint or again ache and feels significantly better mentally.

“I’ve vitality on a regular basis. I’m up early day by day. I’m glad after I stand up. I’m glad after I go to mattress,” he stated. “The largest emotional factor that I’ve is simply pleasure. I simply really feel very, very blessed.”

‘Don’t settle for excuses from your self’

One supply of pleasure is his transformation into an endurance athlete.

Helmer stated that earlier than his weight reduction, he couldn’t even run one-tenth of a mile with out feeling like he was going to have a coronary heart assault.

However as he turned slimmer and fitter, he noticed a meme about Powerful Mudder — a mud run and impediment race — and impulsively signed up for it in late 2020.

“From that time on, it simply turned a hearth that was simply burning,” he stated. “I simply dedicated to myself I used to be going to do it after which I needed to make the plan to get there.”

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Helmer competed in his first Tough Mudder in Laughlin, Nevada, in November 2021.
Helmer competed in his first Powerful Mudder in Laughlin, Nevada, in November 2021.Courtesy Tracy Helmer

The impediment course requires grip, core and leg energy, in addition to total health. Helmer started operating, constructing as much as 30 miles per week. He threw sandbags, did burpees and climbed rocks.

Helmer’s father was his greatest fan and was set to observe him compete at his first Powerful Mudder in Laughlin, Nevada, within the fall of 2021. However when he died that February of a lung illness, Helmer determined to run in his honor, sporting a band together with his dad’s title, Johnny, round his arm.

Helmer ran the race with his late father's name on a band around his arm.
Helmer ran the race together with his late father’s title on a band round his arm.Courtesy Tracy Helmer

He has three extra races scheduled this 12 months, which he stated his previous self would by no means consider. A motivational signal that now hangs on his door publicizes, “I’m not a human being, I’m a human doing.”

“We’re the worst offenders of making limitations for ourselves,” Helmer stated. “Don’t settle for excuses from your self. … If there’s one thing within you that claims you need to attempt to do one thing, make the plan to do it after which discover a option to get there.”

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