45, St. James
Occupation Real estate sales
525 Weight before July 2008
279 Weight by March 2012
A former competitive eater, Ed Jarvis remembers inhaling food so fast that he neither smelled nor tasted it after the first few bites.
Oddly, it wasn't the competitive eating that caused him to balloon. "Sponsors don't really want obese people representing the sport," says Jarvis, who was ranked No. 2 in the world by the Major League Eating/International Federation of Competitive Eating before retiring about five years ago. "I took it upon myself to train everyday by going to a buffet and eating 16 pounds of food. No one told me to do that."
While nagging from family members -- including his wife -- couldn't easily sway him to lose weight, they finally prevailed. "I decided I wanted to be around for my children," says the father of two, who says he never had diabetes or other health issues related to obesity while a competitive eater. "I was always working out. I was big but I was always moving."
Losing weight saved Jarvis' life in another way. After he lost 150 pounds on The Dukan Diet, a doctor was able to notice a lump in his throat. "I thought it was my Adams apple," Jarvis says of the swollen thyroid that was nearly four times larger than normal but that had been hidden under fat. The lump was cancerous and was successfully treated, Jarvis says. He was back losing weight as soon as he was declared cancer-free. And he says the same competitive nature that drove him to train hard as a competitive eater served him well in his weight loss.
Jarvis starts the day with yogurt and fruit or an egg white omelet with vegetables and turkey. Lunch is 12 ounces of canned chicken and vegetables. Dinner is a mixed salad with protein or grilled meat with grilled vegetables. "I keep everything in moderation," Jarvis says. "In my previous life, there was no moderation.''
Is he down on competitive eating? Absolutely not. "Competitive eating wasn't my problem," says Jarvis, who even today is active in the sport -- as a judge.
Jarvis is at the gym every morning at 5 a.m. doing 5 miles on the treadmill and then 90 minutes of spincycle. He also works out in the evening.
"Don't call it a diet," Jarvis says. "That sounds bad and isn't realistic. You can't stay on a diet forever. You can change your life forever."