GULFPORT, MS - Mississippi continues to hold the top spot for obesity in the US and fighting weight gain is never easy, especially as we get older. One coast businessman has taken control of his weight and his health at age 60. And he faces challenges many of us don't each and every day.
Rob Stinson is a chef and owner of four restaurants in Biloxi and Gulfport. He started putting on the pounds gradually and recently decided his weight gain was out of control.
Stinson is around a lot of delicious food day in and day out. Coming up with recipes to share in his four restaurants and a catering business takes time; and a lot of tasting. He loves his work but he says running multiple restaurants started to take a toll on his health.
"Katrina was the deciding factor. That's when I stopped working out because things got so hectic. Then after that, I started opening restaurant after restaurant after restaurant, and it got even harder to find time to work out."
Stinson opened his first restaurant on the coast in 2002. He said the weight gain was gradual, but once he topped out at 240 pounds, he decided he had to do something.
"I'm at that turning point in life where I recently turned 60 and I wanted to get healthier."
In a little over a year, Stinson dropped nearly 50 pounds.
"I've never been a lethargic person, but I was getting that way. So now I have more energy, clearer thinking. And I'm just generally happier knowing I feel good about the way I look today is a big difference from a year and a half ago."
And because of his healthier lifestyle, he no longer needs prescription drugs for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
"I was on two cholesterol drugs, two blood pressure drugs, and a stomach medication every day. Now I'm on none. But, of course, that was gradual and I had my doctors monitoring me."
Rob said it's important to lose weight the right way with a sensible diet and exercise. Stinson started choosing from his healthier menu choices and also added a healthful light breakfast to his daily routine.
"I never ate breakfast. That was the biggest mistake I made. I had several doctors tell me at my age you're going into starvation mode. So now I eat nuts, berries, yogurt, and egg whites."
But a workout program pushed his lifestyle change into higher gear. He said personal trainer Nolan Halliburton helped get him on the right track with dietary choices and his workout routine.
"It was a holistic approach. A balance of diet, cardio, and doing weights."
Rob said for him it's a lifestyle change, not a diet. And it's something he plans to stick to the rest of his life.
"I really enjoy what I eat now I don't feel like I'm missing anything."
Rob shares healthful tips on his Fit to Eat program on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.