The Gift of Health

| May 07, 2008

A pair of pants motivated trucker Pete Mycek to change his life and lose weight.

When Pete Mycek, from Spencer, Ohio, was in the Marines from 1984-1988, he was one of the fastest, strongest men in his division. When he left the Marines and started trucking in 1994, he weighed 140 pounds and was in good shape. Nine years later, the company driver for Green Circle Growers out of Oberlin, Ohio, weighed 245 pounds and was so obese he couldn’t walk around the block without getting winded.

On Christmas morning, 2006, he opened a present from his wife Lisa and couldn’t believe his eyes. It was a pair of size 44 waist pants. “That was like a punch to the gut. I knew my weight was out of control, but to actually fit into that pant size was hard to take,” Mycek says.

Also, he’d been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. “It was so bad my wife couldn’t sleep through the snoring,” he says. Other concerns haunted him. “I was afraid my kids would be ashamed to be seen with me. I also couldn’t keep up with them while they were running around. Something had to be done.”

The first steps came that Christmas morning. Mycek walked around the block, the first exercise he’d had in years. He began walking a little further every day and began to radically change his diet. Instead of cheeseburgers and fries for lunch, he brought his own fruit and lean meats with him. He substituted water for soda and salads for extra trips to the buffet.

As the pounds began to melt off, he started running. One year later, on Christmas Day, more than 100 pounds lighter, he opened another present from his wife. This time, it was a pair of size 29 waist pants!

Today, Mycek weighs 153 pounds and works out or runs every day.

How long have you been driving? Almost 14 years.

What was the biggest challenge in your weight-loss quest? Pushing away from the kitchen table and cutting down on portions. I had to completely change my eating habits.

What motivated you to take control of your life? I wanted to have the energy to play with my kids and to stay healthy for the sake of my family.

How do you fit exercise into your day? When I’m home, I run or lift weights at the local Gold’s Gym. When I’m on the road, I bring my shoes, and when I can, I go to a Gold’s Gym in the area. Sometimes I can park there or park close by and run to the gym. It can be done; you just have to plan it out.

How has your overall health improved? I feel less tired and more alert. I sleep better, and my sleep apnea has completely cleared up.

What tips would you give someone who wants to do what you did? You have to want to do it more than anything else in your life, because it’s a complete lifestyle change. It’s also a commitment to your family.

What accomplishments are you most proud of? I recently ran a 5k in 20 minutes, 13 seconds, and placed second in my age group.

What’s your next goal? My next big goal is to complete a half-marathon in Loran, Ohio. After that, I plan to run the Washington, D.C., Marine Corp Marathon in October 2008 in under four hours.

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