June 27, 2009
Antoine Dove lost more than 150 lbs and met the love of his life on "The Biggest Loser." He did this by staying dedicated to exercise and nutrition. It wasn't easy. Find out what kept him motivated and how he's continuing to live a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Antoine's experience on the reality show was extreme. But it reflects what many people struggle with on a daily basis: losing weight. Antoine said: "I wanted to look and feel better. I was a fun, outgoing guy who enjoyed life but I felt like my body didn't match my personality. When I looked in the mirror I saw a person out of shape and unhappy with how he looks. This pushed me to apply for the show."
Most people don't have the opportunity to exercise six or more hours a day with a personal trainer. Most don't have a nutritionist or medical professional overseeing their everyday health and eating habits. According to Antoine, it's possible to reach the same weight loss he did on the show, but with a much more realistic perspective.
"The biggest step is getting started. Even an hour a day is a great start. You'd be surprised how managing your food and diet can make a significant difference. I set a goal of losing 150 lbs. Through hard work and training, I actually lost 152 lbs. Since the finale, I haven't gained any weight and I'm eating normal. I'm more health conscious and aware of what I'm putting into my body."
First, pick a starting point. According to Antoine, it's important to know that the whole process is about improving your life. "It's a journey; you go through so many things and find out so much about yourself." Antoine's tips include:
Don't let life get in the way. If you really want to lose weight, eat healthier or train for an endurance event (you can do that marathon!), you need to make a promise to yourself. Stay committed and put your health first above any other obligations. It may sound selfish, but it's a critical step to your personal success.
Antoine realized the change wasn't a short-term fix. "This isn't just a fad. This is a lifestyle change for the rest of your life. Sometimes it's easier said than done because it takes a lot of effort to stay committed. After two to three weeks you can get bored, but it's crucial to focus on you and your health. By believing in yourself and staying committed to your goal, you'll see success."
Antoine was very fortunate to have his girlfriend - now fiancee - by his side throughout his journey. "Going through it alone is just a battle with yourself. It's important to have a partner. It makes the process a whole lot easier."
"Alexandra pushed me to go to the gym and I did the same for her on days she struggled. We lean on each other for help. I'm blessed to have someone who understands exactly what I'm going through."
The end result is well worth it. "You have a new heightened sense of life. I think about everything I've discovered about myself." Although it may take small strides to reach your end goal, it sneaks up on you and the result is amazing.
"When I was heavier I felt like an outcast, especially when it came to shopping for clothes. Everything looked like something someone's dad would wear. I wanted to wear younger-looking and fitted clothes, but I couldn't. When Alexandra and I went to a department store and found things that fit for the first time, we were wigging out. Clothes fit and it felt amazing!"
Antoine has had an amazing journey and has a whole new perspective on life. Going on "The Biggest Loser" and losing weight was an eye-opening experience that transformed his life. Here are some key takeaways to remember when setting goals to build a healthier lifestyle:
Commit to making a change in your life. The first steps may feel huge, but it gets easier. There are many resources and tools to help you make healthy decisions in your life. If you feel you can't commit to exercise, sign up for a class where an instructor will push you. To improve your eating habits, buy a healthy recipe cookbook and make an effort to eat-in more often. By setting goals and understanding what's important to you, you can make the change.
Antoine is a physician contractor with Humana's National Network Operations. He is currently located in Atlanta, GA, with his fiancee Alexandra White. Antoine's life recently did a complete 180 degree turnaround after losing 152 lbs on NBC's "The Biggest Loser." His experience on the show and success through weight loss has shown him that anything is possible with hard work, commitment and believing in yourself. Antoine believes that the journey to a happier and healthier you starts with believing in yourself. We are our biggest obstacles to obtaining the fitness goals that we desire.