HIS STORY

Michael Freed says he was overweight most of his life. “A lot of my eating was emotional and had very little to do with being hungry,” he says. While sitting with a relative in an emergency room in 2014, Freed heard the long list of medications the person was on. “I was shocked,” Freed said. A month later his own doctor told him he needed to either lower his triglycerides or go on medication. Not wanting to start down that road, Freed and his wife educated themselves on triglycerides, sugars and cholesterol — and made changes.

“My wife does all the cooking, and she’s brilliant at it. She adjusted our favorite recipes to meet my new dietary needs,” Freed said. “We rarely eat out, but when we do, we have something different. My wife figures out the ingredients and a week later makes a healthy version of it.” Freed also goes to Weight Watchers, though he maintains an even stricter regimen to keep his blood-sugar levels in check. He periodically indulges at special events but gets back to healthy eating the next day. “Any new weight comes right off,” says Freed.

HIS DIET

Freed has black coffee, a glass of water and a piece of fruit when he’s up at 5 a.m. to exercise. At 9 a.m. he has either oatmeal with almonds or walnuts or an omelet with extra egg whites and vegetables. Lunch is usually a salad with leftovers. Dinner is a protein such as chicken, fish or lentils plus a vegetable. Always a dessert eater, Freed has a Dannon Light & Fit yogurt after dinner. He snacks on fruit and baby carrots during the day.

HIS EXERCISE

Freed originally got his exercise only from weekly yard maintenance but gradually increased his activity. He does 10 minutes of abdomen exercises daily using the Daily Ab Workout app and goes to a gym for 90 minutes twice a week, where he does circuit training (a series of high-intensity strength-building routines), jogs on the treadmill and lifts weights. He walks indoors and outdoors daily at work.

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HIS ADVICE

“It’s about creating a lifestyle that you can maintain. There are plenty of plans where weight comes off fast, but it comes back fast. Make small changes like using the stairs, cutting out a daily snack, or starting a new exercise. You can’t make drastic changes all at once.”