HIS STORY Dennis McGlynn says he was injured in 1994 and was in a coma for more than six months. After he came out of it, he had to relearn virtually everything, including how to walk, to talk and to laugh. He was in a wheelchair and thought that would be his fate for the rest of his life. Through physical therapy, he was able to learn to walk with a cane.
"I gradually gained all the weight because I was eating like I was eating for two," says McGlynn. "If someone didn't finish something, I'd just finish it for them. It wasn't just meals, it also was snacking between meals and no exercise. If I had nothing to do that day, I'd sit at the computer, surf the Web and eat a bag of chips," McGlynn remembers. "I ate like there was no tomorrow."
Although everyone was encouraging him to lose weight, it was his then-girlfriend, Amy Schmidt, who made the difference. When he started going out with her, he says, he didn't want to be fat. McGlynn says staying healthy for Schmidt, now his fiancee of four years, is important for him. In fact, it was Schmidt who joined Weight Watchers first and invited him to a couple of sessions. "I sat in on a few meetings and decided it wasn't too bad," says McGlynn, who now walks without a cane. He also began exercising daily.
"I decided that this is the way my life is going to be."
DIET While his previous diet could be described as anything and everything, one of his go-to foods was Big Macs. Once a daily occurrence, snacks now are only an occasional treat. Instead, he starts his day with buttered whole-wheat toast and coffee. When he lunches, he eats a half sandwich or a bagel. Dinner is a little more flexible, incorporating lean protein and lots of vegetables. He also is strict about portion control.
EXERCISE McGlynn walks 3 to 5 miles daily. He also rides an exercise bike for up to two hours a day while watching morning television.
ADVICE "What is in the past is gone forever," McGlynn says. "Always look to the future, 'cause there's always another thing around the corner. Hey, a fiancee and weight loss were waiting around the corner for me. It is up to you to make that next thing around that next corner a positive thing."
39, St. James
Occupation: On disability
273 Weight before March 2012
180 Weight after Sept. 5, 2013