Transcript – Howard Hedlund’s Road to Shedding 200+ Pounds – BioTrust Radio #46

Howard Hedlund

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Transcript – Howard’s Road to “Half the Man I Used to Be”

Shawn: Hello, BioTrust Nation. We are back. We have a very special episode for you this time. We have myself, Shawn Wells; Tim Skwiat, my co-host; but we also have a guest. A very special guest – Howard Hedlund. And you might say, “Who’s Howard Hedlund? I’ve never heard of this guy.” But you should know him. And if you’re in the BioTrust VIP Facebook area at\VIP, then you know all about Howard. And Howard is a legend, I would say, on the Facebook group, and for good reason. One, he contributes a ton of information on the Facebook group; but for two, he won the transformation contest for us, losing how much weight, Howard?

Howard: Well, altogether I’ve lost over 200 pounds. In the two Challenges that I have entered, I lost 60 pounds in each of those.

Tim: Which was unprecedented. We’ve had—oh man, I don’t know—a total of eight Challenges in my time here at BioTrust, since 2013. The 60 pounds, Howard, is unprecedented. Here’s a good example of how unprecedented that is. We have milestone prizes along the way, so if you lose 10 pounds, you join the 10 Pounds Down Club. If you lose 20 pounds, you join the 20 Pounds Down Club and we give you a blender bottle, a t-shirts, and something like that, for each one of those milestones.

We’ve, historically, gotten up to a 30 Pounds Down Club. That’s all that we had planned for. So then Howard comes along and we have to create this 40 Pounds Down Club. Thanks, Howard. We have to create some new prizes. [laughs] And then Howard goes on and hits another milestone, and it’s 50 pounds down, and then 60 pounds down; not just once, but twice.

Shawn: Well isn’t it really 120 Pounds Down Club?

Tim: Well you hit the reset button for each. Each Challenge is 12 weeks.

Shawn: Got it. Well, Howard, amazing.

Tim: Otherwise, I’d be up to a Tesla by now. [laughs]

[Shawn and Tim laugh]

Shawn: Exactly. BioTrust-branded Tesla.

Tim: Nice. That would be good.

Shawn: So, Howard, it’s an impressive amount of weight that you’ve lost. One, so tell us what weight you’re at now and what weight you were at originally. Tell us your height, tell us your age, give us a little a little bit of background so we can understand this better.

Howard: Okay. Well, I’m about 6’2″ in height. When I started my transformation, which would have been in about March of 2017, I was well over 400 pounds. I don’t really know the exact amount because I wouldn’t get on a scale. My last doctor’s visit, my official weight was 412. But that had been before the holidays, and as is common, I’m sure I didn’t lose any weight over the holidays, or getting into the first months of a very cold Northern Illinois winter. So, at any rate, I was well over 400 pounds. I am now floating around 200.

Shawn: That is amazing.

Tim: That’s from March 2017, you said, Howard?

Howard: Yes.

Tim: We’re in August of 2018, so what is that?

Howard: 15 months.

Tim: 15 months.

Howard: No, 17.

Tim: 17, yeah, that’s astonishing. This is a reference to your profession, that’s astronomical.

[Howard laughs]

Shawn: There you go.

Tim: That’s incredible.

Shawn: And what is your age, Howard? Because most people think that like to do this you need to be a young buck or a young gal.

Howard: I am 59. I turned 59 just after the first Challenge.

Tim: Wow, that’s super.

Shawn: And you do still work. You still have a lot to do on your plate, correct? What is your profession?

Howard: That is correct. I work for a company called Astro-Physics. We are a very high-end manufacturer of astronomical gear, telescopes and German equatorial mounts. But we produce the kind of equipment that people use to take some of the fantastic images. The wall behind me here has magazine covers that have featured images taken with our equipment, and we have scored quite a few APODs, which are Astronomy Picture of the Day. It’s a NASA thing that is you can check out online, if you’re interested.

Shawn: Cool.

Howard: Quite a few of those shots are taken with our equipment, so it’s very high-end stuff. I’ve been interested in astronomy my whole life, and when I found this job I was actually on the website looking at toys and drooling, trying to clean up the slobber because I was going, “I want that. Oh man, I want that!” And then I noticed the employment link. And I had sold my business at the time and was needing to find a job. I clicked on the employment tab and saw a job description. I didn’t have anything on paper that said I was certified in all these things they wanted, but I knew how to do everything that they were asking for. So, I developed a custom resume that I could never have sent anywhere else. Got it to them and I was working here two weeks later.

Shawn: That’s a great story.

Tim: That is a great story. [chuckles]

Howard: I’ve been here 13 years.

Tim: Wow!

Shawn: That shows your resolve, right there. And speaking of your resolve, how would you describe yourself? I mean, for someone to lose 200 pounds in a year-and-a-half, if I understood that correctly?

Howard: Yeah.

Shawn: That is mind-blowing. But what led you to one, decide enough is enough I’m going to lose the weight; and two, what kept you on track when you could never keep on track before? I mean, obviously, you let it slip and slip and slip and slip and slip and slip.

Howard: Yeah. Yeah.

Shawn: So, what was the turning point, and then how did you keep that going?

Howard: The turning point, and I actually I wrote about this on one of my posts on the VIP group. But the turning point for me came when I was not able to go with my bosses and another colleague out to a show we always go to every year in New York. And the reason I was unable to go is that I was simply not healthy enough for the airplane flight. I couldn’t fit in a in a coach seat. When you’re working the trade show, that’s a lot of work. And we have a lot of equipment that has to be set up and torn down. It actually is two shows at once. So, at any rate, it’s just a lot of work, and they decided they didn’t think I was healthy enough to go with. And that just, that was the final straw. There had been other things and I knew I had to do it at some point, but that final kick in the butt, when I didn’t get to go to New York, that was like, “Okay, well this is it. [chuckles] It’s time to make the change.”

And so that was that was what started me. That would have been in March. The trade show I missed was in April. So it was about time to make flight reservations that I was told I wasn’t going. In May is when I discovered BioTrust and started taking the protein and a few of the other supplements. And they were working and it was helping, and things were going well.

And then in December, I started getting emails about this upcoming Challenge thing, whatever this Challenge thing was. I’ve always been one of those. I wasn’t active on Facebook. I didn’t really want to mess with it. I just looked at those things as kind of, “Yeah, that’s cool for somebody else, but that’s not for me.” But I did at least log on. I had to actually look up my password, [chuckles] but I logged on to Facebook and kind of cruised the VIP group for a while. After a couple of weeks of just lurking, I decided this is really seems like a pretty great group of people. Yeah, maybe I would go ahead and give it a try.

Then things just really took off. Because, boy, the VIP group provides this incredible motivation and accountability. You become friends with all of these people and you don’t want to let them down.

Shawn: How important was that, Howard? The accountability that you talk about, the community, in terms of your weight loss? And then how much do you think you’ve impacted other people’s weight loss?

Howard: Well it was it was huge for me, in terms of its impact. I guess an analogy I might draw is, you know how your mother could discipline you, right? When you were a little kid, your mother could spank you or send you to the corner, or to your room, or whatever. But there was never anything that hurt as much as seeing a look of real genuine disappointment on your mother’s face, right? The feeling that you had let her down and that you had disappointed her. And the VIP group, now I’m not comparing the VIP group to my mother, but it’s the same kind of thing. You’ve got people there that you’ve really become close to and you don’t want to let them down. You have this motivation to be a sort of a beacon for them and to offer support to them, and to help and just to succeed because it makes everybody so happy. It’s a competition, but man, do we root for each other. [laughs] So, I guess that would be one of the main accountability things.

Tim: Yeah.

Howard: It’s not an accountability like you’re going to get disciplined by the group if you don’t measure up, or as I said before, it’s totally non-judgmental. The accountability comes from what it does to your motivation, to your desire to really do well and have people go, “Wow!”

Tim: Yeah.

Howard: That you care about how.

Tim: Howard, you’re an extremely impressive guy and you’ve had that effect on other people in the VIP group, and you and I’ve talked about that offline, that your transformation has transcended you personally. And it’s carried on to others in their own lives as well. Like there’s other people that are in similar situations that you were in March of 2017, and just not thinking it can happen and then they see you do it. And now there’s that inspiration, there’s that motivation that I can be Howard, too. And so I applaud you for leading a charge of many, to be able to take that step in their lives.

Something else that Shawn had alluded to earlier is that we didn’t get to this point by accident. It happened over time. I wonder, had you tried to lose weight before this?

Howard: Yes, I have actually battled obesity my whole life. I was already overweight as a five-year-old. And it’s always been kind of an up-and-down thing. When I was in my early 20s, I did manage to get myself quite slim and in good shape. That was the lowest adult weight I’ve ever had, and that’s what I’m shooting for again. But I was down below 180 pounds. I was running anywhere from 2 to 5 miles every day and also doing some weight work, and I got myself into really great shape.

And as part of that, I had been a little bit too wild in my younger days and needed to go back to and finish college. And so, one of the things when I started getting my life together and got my weight down, I went back to finish school. And that got me doing a lot more sitting and a lot less exercising. The first the first finals week came and finals week was basically all the pizza I could eat [laughs] just to keep going.

Tim: Sure.

Howard: And it didn’t take long before I had gotten out of my good habits and then things spiraled. And there have been other times since then, early 90s, I managed to drop some weight but probably never got below 230. About the time I came to work here, I had lost some weight. By that, I mean I was down below 300. But then things just happened. I’m a stress eater. Very much a stress eater, and since 2012, my wife and I have lost 3 of out of our 4 parents and numerous aunts and uncles. One of the great things about having family that lives a long time is you get to have them for a long time, but when they do finally reach that point, then they all start to drop pretty quickly, and it’s a scary time for us. But there was a lot of stress with that. Just other stresses as well and my weight just kept ballooning and kept ballooning and kept ballooning.

Shawn:  Well, that that brings up a really good question for me is, over this past year‑and‑a‑half you’ve had stress come up, as we all do.

Tim: Right. Yeah.

Shawn: So how is it different now? How do you deal with the stress and still keep to your goals?

Tim: I’ve primarily tried to use exercise as a stress reliever. If I’m upset about something, I’ll put on my earbuds, crank up some music, and go take a good walk. Now that I can walk. Well, that makes a huge difference. I’ve just have to make a conscious effort to try to find other outlets because the stress eating just makes things worse, and you’ve got to remind yourself of that over and over again, that no, I really don’t want to eat that. That’s not going to help. It’s not going to make anything better. I’m not even going to feel better. I’m just going to feel worse. It’s hard to convince your brain of that because your brain wants to lead you down a bad path. [laughs]

Tim: Well, it’s “worked” for you in the past, right? Like it’s helped in a way that stress eating has helped you get through some tough times.

Howard: It has, it has.

Tim: And it’s been reinforced. It’s been wired. We probably don’t eat carrots when we’re stressed. We choose foods that provide us a tremendous reward signal in our brain, and with the dopamine rush.

Howard: Right.

Tim: And that same brain center is located right next to the habit-forming center, so there’s no doubt that that habit-forming center is going to say, “You know what? You helped me get through that time once before. We’re going to do it again.” So, I love the fact that you mentioned. “Haunt” is the word that comes to mind, but that’s not the appropriate word, but the stress eating is still an option for you. The brain still goes that way, right?

Howard: Oh, yes.

Tim: You said you have to be mindful about your choices and make very mindful choices. So a huge tip of the cap to you for rewiring the brain, but also helping others realize that it just doesn’t go away, and you still have to be mindful of it. But now the fact that you are creating new habits, that will become less of a mindful choice moving forward, and the new automatic program that your wiring is going to be the exercise. And so, just keep it up. That’s awesome. You’re already doing a great job there.

One thing that you also mention there, Howard, was you said “Now that I can walk, I do this.”

Howard: Yeah.

Tim: So, going back to when you were 400-plus pounds in March 2017, May 2017, what was the first step—Shawn and I were talking about this question earlier—what should we focus on first, diet or exercise? So, you obviously couldn’t exercise. What were your first steps to getting the process going?

Howard: Well, the first steps were basically cutting the carbs out. I really wasn’t on a specific diet, but I knew that my successes in the past had all involved elimination of all the bad carbs and cutting carbs in general, significantly. That was the first thing. I was doing a bit of exercise because I had blown out my knee in the summer of 2016, and I was still in physical therapy for that. Being on crutches damaged both of my shoulders, so I had physical therapy for that. And the PT guys were great about encouraging me and trying to help me do some exercises that I could actually do. So, I had some light resistance bands, but I wasn’t doing a lot of exercise really until the first Challenge. And that was the first of the Mary Pauley Step Challenges. Those little sub‑challenges that we do, was what really got me going on the exercise bandwagon again.

Shawn: To take this in a kind of serious direction, I mean, Howard, I’m a clinical dietitian and you’re morbidly obese, right?

Howard:  Absolutely, absolutely.

Shawn:  Morbidity, I mean we’re talking about you’re 58 years old and 400-plus pounds. You were lucky to make it to 58.

Howard: Yes.

Shawn: How much did this register in your brain that in your 40s, in your 50s, that there’s a very good chance that any day you could have a cardiac event and be dead?

Howard: Yeah, it had registered with me for quite some time. I am pretty well-versed on science, in general. And a part of that, of course, is understanding medical literature, probably as well as any lay person does. But there’s a difference between knowing that you have a problem and having the whatever it is that it takes to address the problem.

I knew then. I had been told by my doctors that I’m killing myself. I had one doctor actually come out and say, “Howard, you are dying.” And it it’s like, “Yeah, but I’m not dead yet.” [laughs]

Shawn: How dark did it get, dealing with that kind of weight? And like you said, that you couldn’t move around, that you couldn’t fit in airplane seats, that you couldn’t go on trips. I mean, if I’m going to be frank, sexually active, probably in certain ways.

Howard: Yup.

Shawn: If you didn’t really have a high self-esteem, probably. You get made fun of in a number of ways.

Howard: Yup.

Shawn: When you’re out at parties or at work, or you have trouble getting in a car, especially if it’s like a vehicle that’s lower down or a vehicle that’s higher up. Can you tell me about that? Because I think other people are going through a journey and feel alone out there right now, that they have some dark days. And then maybe there’s some people out there that flippantly make fun of people that don’t realize how difficult it can be and how much damage it can do mentally. So, maybe if you can speak to that a little bit, that would be great.

Howard: Sure. There is a lot of a lot of darkness that does, I like your use of the word “dark.” Because the mind, the attitude, the self-esteem all gets very clouded over. There are so many things that normal people do without thinking, that a person who is as severely morbidly obese, as I was, cannot do. I would not sit in a comfortable chair. Now, you would think, “Oh, he’s fat and lazy. I bet he spends all this time in a recliner.” No, I didn’t spend any time on a recliner because I couldn’t get my fat butt up out of a recliner. I would have to have had a very heavy-duty lift chair recliner to use one.

So, if I went to somebody’s house and everybody was sitting. We’re visiting friends and everybody’s sitting around on the sofas and the comfy seats in the living room or the family room in front of the TV or whatever, I would go to the kitchen and grab a straight chair because it was the only thing that I could sit down on and then get up from. And that just makes you just feel like crap. Not to mention, it’s embarrassing, but I had to do it. There just no way. It would have been worse to say, “Okay guys, I’m going to need two of you to come help me get up.” [laughs]

Any time you’d go into a restaurant, I’m sure that most of the people weren’t really doing any more than when anytime somebody walks by, it doesn’t matter who they are, you glance at them. You know, you take a look. But you always felt like they were going, “Oh, yeah, I bet he’s going to eat three meals.” It really hurt a lot of times to think that people thought so little of you because you have the weight problem. And it didn’t matter whether or not I was smart or whether I was a good person. It didn’t matter whether I had any other talents. The defining character for me was, “Oh yeah, the fat guy.” That’s not a good defining characteristic. It’s not something that you’re proud of or that you feel good about.

Tim: Seems like a tremendous psychological stressor, somewhat self-imposed, I guess I would say? Just to add on top of that, which probably fed into things, right?

Howard: Oh, absolutely. I’ve had a low self-esteem problem probably my whole life, as well. I get very mad at myself. I tend to be a little clumsy, and when I do something that is less than graceful, it’s like, “Ah, Howard! You stupid [growling and grumbling].”

Tim: Yeah. I’m there too.

Howard: I know that is really bad. I know that is one of those things, and you guys have talked about it on your podcast before, that we talk to ourselves or than we talk to anyone—I believe I’m quoting or paraphrasing. That we talk to ourselves more than we talk to anyone, and if we talked to anyone else the way we often talk to ourselves, they would no longer want anything to do with us.

That’s something I really have to work on. The problem I have or the excuse I use is that well, that stuff is like a reflex. It’s out before I even have a chance to rein it in. And somehow it seems silly to have just cussed myself out and then go back and say, “Okay self, I’m sorry.” [laughs]

[Tim laughs]

Howard: But maybe that’s what I need to do.

Tim: Well, you’re right. It is that mindfulness. The first step in any kind of change is just being mindful of what’s going on there. And so, your awareness already, right now, is already the first step in the process. Now, if you can try to replace the words you use, and like Shawn talks about, reframing a lot and things like that.

Howard: Yup.

Tim: There’s so many different ways to approach it. I experience the same things myself, especially with the clumsiness. My wife calls me “a bull in a china shop.” Which she makes a joke about it, so it doesn’t make me laugh. But I find sometimes that I get just ridiculously upset about something that’s no big deal at all.

Howard: Yeah.

Tim: I have a two-year-old daughter, so it’s a lot easier for me to make jokes about it, like it was related to some silly YouTube video that we’re watching, but just kind of make it funny or if she sees it, like fall down and make a joke out of it and it’s just not that big of a deal. But just to go back to it, it’s just your mindfulness and your awareness is the first step in the process. And then think about how you can reframe, think about what different type of language you can use. Think about how things could be so much worse.

Howard: Right.

Tim: All of those things. One thing I was going to ask you, Howard, you talked about the VIP group and the accountability, encouragement, and support, how those have been pillars of your transformation. But I wonder, there was a point where it sounds like you felt pretty alienated where you were with your body and things like that. Was there a point too, then, when you joined the group that it was kind of like a bit of normalization, like there’s other people out there like me that are struggling with some of the same things that helped you also?

Howard: Yeah. I think there were quite a few that I was able to use as role models, and that inspired me to go on. And I don’t know if I can I mention names?

Tim: Sure.

Shawn: Sure.

Howard: Okay, all right.

Shawn: Maybe stick with first names, Howard. That might be respectful to people.

Howard: Okay. Well, good old Gym Bob. Okay? Everybody knows Bob that’s on the VIP group. Everybody knows Kathie, on the VIP group. There are just a whole lot of people. I could start just rattling off names, but there are so many of them that have done so many amazing things and that are so positive. And you just feel inspired by what they have accomplished. And it does give you the, “Well, they can do it. I can do it.”

Shawn: That’s awesome.

Tim: Yeah. And were there times when you had weighed in on a Monday or something like that, or did something cool and you couldn’t wait to go back and tell your friends in the VIP group, right?

Howard: Oh yeah.

Tim: There was that sense of excitement there?

Howard: Absolutely. The last weight that I posted for this last Challenge, they gave us till that Thursday to post our final weight. And I got up Thursday morning and I did my usual and I went and I stepped on the scale and I was 200 point-something. I don’t even remember what the point-something was. And I called my boss, I said, “I’m going to be a little late to work today. I’ve got a little weight to take off.”

[Tim and Shawn laugh]

Howard: And I went outside and I proceeded to do a walk/run, where I would walk from little ways and then run for a little ways. So it was sort of a like a HIIT. It wasn’t a jog. It was as fast as I could run. It would be a good jog for a normal person, but it was as fast as I could run. And I always was running on the uphills. So I worked up just a tremendous sweat. I went at it for about 45 minutes and came in and I had broken the 200-pound mark. I had broken [chuckles] the 60-pound mark for the Challenge. [chuckles]

[Tim laughs]

Howard: I took the picture of the scale and it was like, well, I had to get to work as quick as I could. But it was like, “Okay, I’ve got a post this. This is so cool.” [laughs]

Shawn: That’s awesome. That’s great.

Tim: That is awesome.

Shawn: So, we have to wrap up in a bit here, but I have two final questions. One, where are you at now, since that contest is over? And then, two, I’d like to know what advice you would give any perspective people that are in your shoes maybe 18 months ago.

Howard: Okay. Where I am right now is I’m pretty much at about the same weight I was at the end of the Challenge. I still have some weight that I need to lose. As I said, I’d like to get down to 180. I would like to think of it as I have 30 pounds of fat I would still like to lose, and then 10 pounds of lean muscle mass I would like to put on. But that’s going to take time. Putting on the muscle mass, especially when you get to be older, doesn’t happen as quickly as it did when you were 18.

But that is where I have my sights set. And I want to keep the healthy lifestyle going. I’m a bit of a foodie. If you’ve looked at a lot of the things I post on the group. In fact, at some point I would love to talk food with Shelly. Isn’t she a chef?

Shawn: Yeah. Not a professional one, but yes, she’s by trade, I guess.

Howard: I love doing a lot of the same things that she apparently likes to do, which is experimenting and developing. So I’m having fun and using the attempt to eat healthy as a way to try to be creative in the kitchen, and do some interesting cooking and come up with something. One of my buzzwords has been “food substitutions.” So, you take the bad stuff that you love and say what can I substitute to make something that’s equally lovable, but infinitely more healthy?

My favorite example for that, just because it’s so easy for anybody is what is it that we love about spaghetti? Well, it’s the sauce, right? Spaghetti noodles are just a vehicle to put the sauce on, and it doesn’t matter if it’s spaghetti noodles or if it’s macaroni or whatever it is. Well, it also doesn’t have to be pasta. So, I have spaghetti sauce that I make and I put it on cauliflower. It’s wonderful! And I don’t miss the noodles at all.

Shawn: You can use zucchini noodles. I do that, actually.

Howard: Zucchini noodles are another great one. And there are a lot of ways to do substitutions, and a lot of it is just finding them out and getting creative and be willing to experiment. Like any good tinkering and experimenting that you do, sometimes you fail. [laughs] And you have to be willing to accept that not every idea that you have for this great way to make a chocolate truffle, or whatever, that actually burns fat. [laughs] It didn’t work.

Shawn: Okay.

Howard: The main thing of where I am right now is I’m getting closer to the place I want to be. I still have a ways to go and I want to stay on the road. I’m not as focused on major weight loss now, as I am more on strength building and getting at conditioning my body.

Shawn: That’s great.

Howard: And trying to reinforce the good habits.

Shawn: So, the advice that you would give to someone, even yourself 18 months ago, but someone that’s in your shoes that has some weight to lose. It may not be 200 pounds or whatever, [chuckles] but maybe it’s 20 pounds, but they still feel like it’s insurmountable and they don’t know where to start. What advice do you give that person?

Howard: The advice I would give is first off, start. Don’t listen to the negative excuses. That’s what I did for all of those years. When I blew out my knee in the in the summer of 2016, it was because I was too lazy to walk down to the crosswalk and I was trying to rush across a busy street. And I was too fat to trying to rush across a busy street. Why was that not enough to kick me in the butt? Because I was able to make excuses and not start.

I had a colleague here at work who was just doing an amazing job of losing weight. Why didn’t she inspire me? Why was that not enough for me to say, “Okay, enough with the excuses. It’s time to buckle down and get to work.” It wasn’t just missing that trip to New York. It was the cumulative effect of all of these things in my life that I was missing out on and that were getting perpetually screwed up by my weight. And listening to my excuses that I was making was what was stopping me from getting started. And then once I finally decided, “Look, I have to start,” then it’s just a matter of common sense of you know what you have to do. You have to eat less. You have to eat better. And you have to move more. And I know it’s really a cliché triplet, but it is what it is. It is the only way. And it doesn’t mean that you have to starve yourself or try to exist on raw broccoli or whatever. That you don’t have to torture yourself. But you have to consciously reduce the quantity, even just a little. You have to make a conscious effort to get rid of the bad and the junk, and substitute it with things that are healthful and that will actually help your body. And you have to move more than you are moving now. You don’t have to try and go out and run a marathon your first week.

I loved one of the things that I got in one of the early podcasts that you did, where you talked about lean people fidgeting, and the fact that people who are constantly fidgeting tend to always be leaner and in better shape.

Shawn: Yes.

Howard: And so I literally make a conscious effort to fidget. I sit at my desk and if I notice that I’m just sort of vegging at my desk, because I’m stuck at a computer desk all day long. I will start to just move around a little bit, just start to flex my butt back and forth on the chair and tap my toes. Can’t often move my arms because I’m on a keyboard. But you just do something to give yourself a little more motion. You have to be careful. One of the things, and this was something, too, that I was going to suggest, actually, as a—I don’t know if it would work in a podcast, but maybe it’s as a blog article. I think I talked about this with Tim.

People who are morbidly obese, as I was, and as some of the new people coming into the group certainly are, cannot do a lot of the exercises that are on the recommended exercise lists or they have to do very modified versions of them. And I think it would really be great to have, here’s a list of some things that you can do that may not even seem like exercise to a lot of the people in the group, but for you at 400 pounds, for you at twice the weight you should be, this is going to be a something that you can do, something that will help, something that will start you on the journey to where you eventually can do “real exercise.”

Shawn: That’s great stuff. Finally, what was the result of you winning this contest? We should say what that is.

Howard: Well, [coughs].

[Tim and Shawn laugh]

Howard: I’m wearing my Hawaii shirt, so I am going to be taking a trip to Maui.

Shawn: Nice.

Howard: That is better than nice. That is just amazing. I am so psyched about that.

Shawn: And we should say that is BioTrust‑provided, not just you taking a random trip to celebrate your weight loss, but that was the result of you winning this contest.

Howard: That is absolutely correct. There’s also a nice substantial cash prize. And one of the other things, and this is something that I have just loved about BioTrust from day one. It was one of the reasons I became a customer, is the charitable giving. And the fact that there is a $1,000 that is being split between two very worthwhile charities here in my area, that is being given in my name, by BioTrust.

Shawn: That’s awesome.

Howard: And that just means as much as anything.

Shawn: Yeah, that’s great. So, final-final question. Everyone wants to know this one. What are the BioTrust supplements you take?

Howard: The arsenal.

[Tim laughs]

Howard: Because I take quite a quite a few. I should make Josh and Joel quite happy.

[Tim chuckles]

Howard: My go-to things are the protein powders and the MetaboGreens. Those I do daily. And I have done all of the different protein powders. Right now, I’m mostly doing the Platinums, all three flavors of the Platinums, because they are just, they are so awesome. They’re just, they’re a treat. You can do them as a meal substitute. You can do a smaller version as a dessert. You can take the vanilla and put an extra spoon of some good Saigon cinnamon in it, and you’ve got something that rivals Cinnabon, [chuckles] that’s a lot healthier. But I take the BellyTrim, I take the LeptiBurn, Ageless Body, IC-5.

I take OmegaKrill. In fact, OmegaKrill is how I discovered BioTrust, because I was not very happy with the omega-3 oil supplement that I was taking. I had a couple of bottles. I was ordering it online and I had a couple of bottles come that had broken capsules. You opened the bottle up and it’s like “Ew!” The smell was enough to gag you. And they didn’t do anything about it. At any rate, I was looking for an alternative and that was how I discovered BioTrust. But I also started taking now the Ageless Core. I take the Pro-X10 and I take the Joint 33X.

Shawn: Well, that is a good bit. And I take probably that many of our own products as well. I’m pretty passionate about them, being that I’ve formulated them with my amazing team, which includes Tim Skwiat, who provides a lot of the scientific rationale behind these products and does an amazing job writing as well as being on this podcast. So, we are deeply appreciative to you, Howard. This has been super enlightening. One, that you’re a BioTrust customer; two, that you’ve gone through this transformation and been so successful; but three, that you are providing an example, contributing to the community, helping other people with their journey, and proud to do the charitable giving, and just all of it. You’re just a great person and we’re proud to have you be part of the BioTrust family and really be a bright light in that family. So, we’re really thankful. Thank you.

Howard: Well, thank you guys very much. It is an honor to be associated with BioTrust. It’s been my honor to join you for this conversation.

Tim: Howard, we really appreciate you. And on behalf of the entire VIP group, we’re just very thankful that you’re part of the family and as active as you are. Just one more aside, just to kind of tack onto this. You have done two Challenges, you’ve completed two Challenges. After the first Challenge, I think it’s safe to say that there was some disappointment that you weren’t one of the winners of that Challenge. And I could have easily seen you say, “Okay, you know what? I’m done with that,” but you didn’t. You said, “Guess what? I’m going to come back and I’m going to do even better,” and you did. And you won the next Challenge and I’m proud of you for sticking to it and not being discouraged by that. And it’s something to me that deserves a greater recognition. And we were all cheering for you, and you came and you crossed the finish line.

Howard: Well, thank you.

Shawn: Yeah, nice job, Howard. We really do appreciate you. Thank you so much. And we’re looking forward to you staying on your journey and hearing what’s next when you hit that next big milestone. So, thanks a lot, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Tim: Keep up the great work, Howard.

Shawn: All right, see you.

Howard: Sounds great, guys.

Tim: All right, thanks Howard.

Howard: Yeah, bye-bye.