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Austin Andrews: Up Close

Austin
BEFORE / AFTER

In Season 11 of NBC's hit television series, "The Biggest Loser," former contestant Austin Andrews, and father Ken, embarked on a journey to get healthy. Since losing 174 pounds, Austin started a "Check into life" campaign to inspire America to change. The Daniel Plan asked Austin to share more to his story - up close.

What was "the Ranch" like behind the scenes?

The ranch was tough! I was always under camera surveillance, and I constantly had people telling me where to be and when to be their and I barely had time for me sometimes! Filming on the ranch happened 5-6 days a week, 12 hours a day- and in spite of that filming I was working out anywhere from 5-8 hours a day! When I was not in the gym, I was eating or resting, or being interviewed! I had very little free time, but I was always finding new and intriguing ways to keep moving, and prepare food! I had to learn to make things I like to be able to enjoy food! I really focused on making this my new lifestyle!

What tips would you give The Daniel Plan re: fitness, and foods?

I can focus on a few ways to look at fitness and health. One way is looking at it like a diet. A diet has an end date, a diet has do's and don'ts, a diet has always caused me to lose weight, but as soon as I was off of it, I would gain it all back. Or, I can focus on a lifestyle. I can choose to live healthy, recognizing that I will sometimes have a bowl of frozen yogurt, or that I might get stuck eating fast food once in a while. What matters is, what is my normal? How often am I eating these things?

On a daily basis, I log my food. I choose to write it in a journal, cause that way works for me. My Dad, who lost 158 pounds on the show, chooses to log his food online. There is not a right or wrong way. Its a choice, and its figuring yourself out, how you work!

The same goes for exercise! I can tell you till I'm blue in the face that I love to workout in the Martial Arts. I love Muay Thai and I do that all the time. That doesn't make it YOUR best workout. I'm a guy who like to hit things. Its an aggressive way to workout, for some people that doesn't work for them! Maybe running, or cycling or rowing or walking or yoga or .... you get the idea? Each person must decide for themselves, what do I like? How do I make what I like a part of my routine?

Tell us about the connection between your faith and fitness. What's your spiritual testimony?

I would not have made it through "The Biggest Loser" without my faith. My God is my strength, and on that ranch there were days when I had to have His help to get me through. God used "The Biggest Loser" to break me of my deepest bonds, to shred the shackles that I had placed on myself. When you beat your body into a place of submission, God moves in, and shows you parts of yourself, some ugly, some wondrous, and God transformed me. I was a broken, beaten, battered boy when I got to the ranch. I walked off the ranch standing much taller, much more confidently, and I resided not in my own pride or arrogance of my accomplishments, but in God's momentum for my life. I am changed.

How do you stay motivated? What did you do on the ranch, or now, to keep up the healthy habits?

This is where it gets interesting, cause everyday is a battle. I have good days, and I have bad ones but I have come to some key points for myself.

  • First, I have to stay in community. I have to keep people around me to help keep me accountable. I am not a lone ranger, I need support.
  • Second, I have to stay honest, with myself and my accountability partners. If I'm lying to anyone, then something deeper is wrong.
  • Third, I cant stray from what has worked from me, writing my food down, doing the Muay Thai and staying connected!

Also, you have to celebrate the little things! We are on a journey, and that Journey has many steps. Each step has to be acknowledged for it to have the power to move us the way it could. Celebrate the steps your taking! Each step might be small, but its a step!