Name: Joe Ganino Jr.
Hometown: Fontana, California
Start Weight: 389 pounds
End Weight: 232 pounds
Time Cycling: 11 years
Over the course of the past 25 years, I have owned and managed my own business and raised four sons while putting my health and wellbeing on the back burner. I concentrated on being the best father and husband I could be, but it definitely took a personal toll: I was pushing 400 pounds.
It’s not like I didn’t try to lose weight. I had tried every diet out there. But I would lose some weight and then put it back on. This happened over and over and over again. In one case, I lost more than 80 pounds, but again, I gained all of the weight back. I thought nothing would ever work.
It started in 2007, when I bought a bike and began riding. A month later, I went back in to the same bike shop and wanted to purchase a road bike. But nobody would really help me, since I was really big.
I went back the next day, and met a sales rep from Giant visiting the store. I explained that I wanted to ride further and faster, and he set me up with a full carbon road bike. I started commuting to work four days a week, 44 miles a day. It helped me lose 80 pounds, and I was feeling really good.
Then I started a second business and rode less and less. My weight again went back up.
Three years ago, I went to see my doctor and told him I was tired of the yo-yo diets and needed to get serious about making some changes in my life. He explained that if I did not change my ways, I would start to see conditions like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and sleep apnea.
After a couple years of trying to lose weight, I had bariatric bypass surgery on March 26 this year. I weighed 376 pounds.
The procedure has changed my life forever. But it has not been easy. I had to learn how to eat the right types of food for nutrition—and I log everything I put in my body, too (something which I’ve done for 246 straight days).
I also started walking every day, and in early August, I jumped back on an old bike I had and started riding every morning. It was hard. I could only do a mile in the beginning, and everything hurt. But each day got easier. I started to ride farther and faster as time went on.
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On October 7, I purchased a brand new road bike from Trek. Full carbon, disc brakes, the whole ball of wax. I ride 10 to 25 miles, four to six days a week now. I really love being back in the saddle riding all the time.
Each day I wake up and can’t wait to go for my morning ride. I just joined the Riverside Bicycle Club and will be doing club rides on the weekends. The bike has given me the added edge I needed. It reduces stress, burns calories, gives me the private time to think through problems without the cell phone or online clutter in my mind.
Another amazing thing: My 80-year-old father recently confided in me that watching me change my life and ride every day has motivated him to ride four miles a day on a comfort bike. My father just told me at Thanksgiving he has lost 9 pounds, and is going to continue to ride each day.
So far, I have gone from size 50 pants to size 36, and from size 4XL shirts to large. I have lost 157 pounds in 11 months, and my current goal is to lose 200 pounds by March 26, 2019—which would be 200 pounds in a year. I hope to ride my first gran fondo in the next few months. My whole life has changed, and I feel like I can continue on that path as long as I keep riding nearly every day.
Life is not about how you fall down; life is about how you get up. I have experienced shame, embarrassment, sadness, and even loneliness because of my weight. Now, I feel good, look better, have tons of energy and a great outlook on my future. Eating clean and riding will continue to help me achieve my goals for the rest of my life. I’m back in the saddle, and I’m riding away from all my past bad habits.
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