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John S. Perry:

From Burgers and Buffets to Healthy Choices and 55 lbs. Weight Loss

-- Tips from the Trenches


John Perry found excellent motivation to kick several bad habits and now is nearing his weight loss goal of 60 pounds. This is a must-read that includes several tips from someone in the trenches.

What were some of bad habits before The Daniel Plan that led you to becoming overweight?

I love food, and lots of it. Take me to a buffet, and I have to eat at least my money’s worth. Before Daniel Plan, I would go to a leading hamburger fast food restaurant at least 4 times a week. And each time that I was there I had to drink at least 32 ounces of Dr. Pepper. I used to eat a huge breakfast every morning. On Fridays, I would not only eat that huge breakfast, but I would also add two donuts on top of that. I also do not enjoy sports. So going and playing outside was difficult for me. I look back on 6 months ago and I am amazed that I did not weigh more than I did. Did I say that I love food? I still do, but as the Apostle Paul states, “Do everything in moderation.”

Why did you start the Daniel Plan? How did you hear about it?

I started The Daniel Plan because of my 3 year old son. I love him. He is my namesake. I would start to play with him, and I would get winded quickly. I knew that I needed to lose weight so that I could keep up with him. I also want to see him get married one day. So unless the Lord tarries, this should now be no problem.

I also started it due to life insurance premiums. My agent told me that if I was just 20 pounds less, that I could save a tremendous amount of money on my policy. It was vital to me to have a good policy in place, just in case God calls me home sooner than I am planning. I do not want my wife and son to live on in poverty.

I heard about The Daniel Plan through one of Pastor Rick Warren’s sermons. He seemed excited about losing 90 pounds, and I figured that if he could lose 90 then I could lose 60 pounds. He inspired me to get off of my blessed assurance and strive to be in the best shape possible.

What have you learned since starting The Daniel Plan?

Prayer changes everything. The Living Water desires me to drink a lot of water. I am currently drinking more than 100 ounces of water a day. Minimize caloric intake, Maximize caloric expenditure. I look at each meal and ask, “How can I reduce this meal’s calorie count?” For instance, if I am eating a burrito, do I need to eat the tortilla? Does the tortilla really add the flavor that I enjoy? When I go out, I will eat half of the meal, and save the rest for the next meal. That way I get two meals for the price of one. My frugal self loves that. I also drink water or unsweetened iced tea.

I often find myself thinking, “How much exercise will I need to do to burn off this meal? How long will this meal delay my diet goals?” Just because it is a clear soda does not mean that it is healthy or less in calories. As I stated before, Dr. Pepper is my favorite soda. So I thought Sprite has to be healthier because it is clear. Wrong. It’s actually just as bad. By the way, I have not had a Dr. Pepper since January 14, 2011.

What results have you experienced?

I have lost a total of 55 pounds so far (my wife has lost 30 pounds.) This is equivalent to almost 25 percent of my pre-Daniel Plan weight. I went from a size 36 pants tightly, to a size 32 pants comfortably. I do not get winded nearly as quickly as I used to get when I play with my rambunctious son. My family now eats a healthier diet more often. I would not say that we are perfect due to our crazy lifestyle, but definitely better. The results go on and on.

What advice would you give to others to get started or continue?

Wow! Where do I begin?

  • Pray about it and begin today.
  • Set goals.
  • Ask God what your major goal weight should be. I set my goal weight as the amount that I weighed when I graduated from high school and University, which turned out to be 60 pounds. Also set monthly goals. I want to lose this much by this date, and stick to it. If you miss a month, ask yourself why you missed it. Was it a realistic goal? If so, why? If not, then what should my next month’s goal be?
  • Drink lots of water. Dr. Amen recommends drinking half of your body weight in ounces. For instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, then drink 100 ounces of water daily. Sports drinks and caffeinated teas are not water.
  • Take a multi-vitamin and an Omega-3. When one drinks a lot of water some important nutrients are being washed away, so they need to be replenished.
  • Exercise daily. I hate exercise, yet I force myself out the door 4-5 days a week to go power walking in the morning. I use this as my quiet time with God. I lift up all of my stresses and challenges to Him. I also make sure that I praise Him for His many blessings. Another good way to exercise is by doing home improvement projects. You will be amazed at how nice you look and your house looks after just one month of doing this.
  • Minimize caloric intake, Maximize caloric expenditure. Count and journal your calories daily. On my smart phone, I have an app called Calorie Counter. I try to keep my caloric expenditure 1,000 calories more than my caloric intake each day. If I miss the goal, I analyze why I missed it. Did I really need to consume all of those calories? Was I lazy and slept in? What could I have done differently?
  • Trader Joes. I found some delicious meals at Trader Joes in their freezer section that allow me to control my caloric intake. They also have instant brown rice that I can stick in the microwave and be eating 5 minutes later.
  • Almonds/Almond milk. Almonds are a good brain food. They also help to suppress my appetite. If I am getting the night time munchies, I can eat three trusty almonds, and be fine the rest of the night. Almond milk, especially the unsweetened kind, is wonderful with cereal, and anywhere else that you might need a milk substitute. This has saved me thousands of calories every week.
  • Frozen yogurt. I enjoy having a sweet at night. I used to have an ice cream or high sugar dessert in the evenings. Frozen yogurt has helped in this area. I limit it so that it is not every night. However, if one needs a sweet it is better to have a frozen yogurt than an ice cream treat. One of the leading hamburger restaurants has two delicious desserts. It is hard to stay away from them, but I keep in the back of my head all of the hard work and early mornings that I have experienced to get me to the place that I am now. I want to make it count!
  • Have fun! Find a group, or even a good friend, to do the program with. I was fortunate to have a loving wife that also desired to be her best.