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How I lost 82 pounds: 'You’re the biggest man I’ve ever seen!'

Andrew Griffin of Waterloo lost 82 pounds

Andrew Griffin

36, Waterloo, Ont.

Pounds dropped: 82

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My turning point: Two years ago, I was standing in line at a store, waiting to pay, when an elderly man in front of me turned around. He looked me up and down and exclaimed, "You're the biggest man I've ever seen! Can I shake your hand?" I didn't know what to say. I looked at him with a bit of surprise, put my items down, and left the store without saying a thing. I got home feeling angry, frustrated and embarrassed but after I thought about it, I knew I had to do something serious about my weight.

My method: It wasn't a straight path: I started a weight-loss program through my work, and within the first three weeks, I had lost about 15 pounds. But soon after, I was laid off – and didn't continue the program. I gained it all back, and had to re-examine my entire life. This is when I decided to go back to school. Since food has always been a strong passion of mine, I signed up for culinary studies.

The education opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities with food: I learned how to prepare vegetables in interesting ways, so they are flavourful and still nutritious. I learned how unhealthy processed foods really are, and started to prepare every single thing that I ate myself, right down to vegetable stocks. I learned how to control the amount of salt, which is a big favourite of mine. I've taken back control of what goes into my body; there's no surprises and nothing artificial.

I learned how to control my indulgences, too. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips, I more often than not go for a nice piece of fruit.

Fitness-wise, I didn't join a gym, but I've taken up going for long walks, just strolling around my neighbourhood and learning new areas. I now ride my bike to and from work on a regular basis. I'm thrilled with my progress but I'm far from satisfied. My goal is to get down to 200 pounds; with the support of my family and friends, I'm confident I can do it.

My kryptonite: My guilty pleasure for sure would be chips, specifically ketchup chips. I've learned to control that craving somewhat, but I do cave from time to time.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

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