Imagine losing one-third of your body weight in less than a year. That feat surely sounds like a dream come true for a number of overweight Americans, although it may seem impossible to many.
But one Annandale man has achieved just that objective—all since the first of January this year.
Gary Bollinger, a 41-year-old and five foot, seven-inch tall director for a wholesale company, has dropped from more than 250 lbs. to a svelte 165 lbs. in the months since New Year’s Day 2018.
The former Reston resident has officially lost 85 lbs. but says he lost a few other pounds before the official count started.
This drop started with a new year’s resolution to shrink to 200 lbs. Once that goal was reached, Bollinger moved the goal down to 185 and then 165.
He credits his success to a holistic, multi-pronged approach.
“I was unhappy and unhealthy,” explained Bollinger. “Now, I am happy to have done more than lose weight; I have made a lifestyle change.”
He began using a free app called My Fitness Pal. It tracks exercise, calories, water intake and even alcohol consumption. The app also features recipes, blogs, personal stories and photos. Users can upload workout details.
More importantly, his eating habits were altered.
“As clichéd as it sounds, I focus on the quality of calories, not the quantity. For example, instead of having a big bowl of pasta like I would have had before, I will now have a small bowl of pasta with a large salad and side of vegetables,” said Bollinger.
“I have not given up anything completely. I never gave up carbs or alcohol or cheese. I still have pizza and beer on Friday. Fortunately, I am not into sweets,” he added.
In addition, Bollinger enrolled at the Annandale branch of Gold’s Gym. He began using the elliptical machine frequently.
“I was doing one hour of cardio exercise at first but have shifted more to weight training now that I have lost weight,” he said.
Initially, Bollinger met with the Gold’s fitness manager, who was motivational for him.
The program started off with a Gold’s high-tech body scan that evaluates weight, body mass index, and percentage of fat as part of one’s overall weight.
“I was embarrassed and ashamed,” Bollinger said about the scan’s results. But the staff, including Gold’s general manager Brent Arnholter, inspired and encouraged him.
“Brent always complimented how hard I worked and my attitude.”
This summer, Arnholter featured Bollinger on the gym’s Facebook page as an example of significant transformation.
“I remember Gary when he first signed up in January and I somewhat recognized his facial features and asked myself if that could be the same guy and in fact it was,” Arnholter said. “I told myself I have to feature him on our Facebook page to spread his success. This is what members at our facility need to see!”
Bollinger has now incorporated yoga into his gym routine.
“I do yoga on Saturdays,” he said. “Saturdays are my day of rest, and yoga is part of that rest.”
He is also able to be a bit more flexible on calorie intake.
“Now that I have reached my goal weight, I don’t have to think as much about what I eat.”
The successful dieter noted that his slimmed-down physique has inspired people at his office to join a gym, lose weight and/or start using the app Bollinger fancies.
Bollinger said he is delighted to inspire and motivate friends to change their lives.
His advice to them: “The most important thing to keep in mind is it’s a process. It’s scientific and a numbers game. Don’t be discouraged if change does not happen quickly because in the end, the process works.”