36, Huntington Station
Occupation Project manager at Intermix, a division of The Gap
Before 275 pounds, December 2017
After 230 pounds, August 2018
When he became a single father to his three daughters, Ryan Knakal says the on-the-go lifestyle brought on weight gain.
“I became a full-time father with a full-time job, commuting to the city and trying to navigate it all. We were grabbing food on the fly with all the running around. . . . I was tired, sluggish and making excuses to not go to the gym,” Knakal says.
But, eventually, his full-time parenting status became the reason Knakal decided to get healthy.
“I wanted to become a better example for my kids,” he says. After consulting with a friend in the medical field, Knakal got serious and started focusing on healthy and clean eating, organic foods and learning about protein and good fats.
“What was once a breakfast of bacon, egg and cheese on a bagel became a protein shake with fresh fruit. No more M&M’s or Reese’s Pieces, but instead almonds and strawberries,” Knakal says. He started hitting the gym regularly and has lost 45 pounds since June 1.
"I’ve become incredibly motivated. I’m a different person physically and mentally and feeling so much better about myself. People get addicted to certain things. I’ve gotten addicted to eating healthy,” Knakal adds.
Knakal starts his day with a protein shake. Lunch options include a salad mixture of kale, spinach, turkey, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, and quinoa (with no salad dressing) or grilled chicken and brown rice. Dinner might be another protein shake or grass-feed beef and vegetables on the side. For snacking, Knakal turns to avocado, strawberries, blueberries, almonds or raw vegetables.
Knakal hits the gym for about 90 minutes five days a week. He runs on the treadmill and does strength training with weights.
“I created my own accountability. I schedule exercising on my calendar like they were appointments. The time is there. You just need to make it a priority. I treat healthy foods as medicine. It’s become more than food for me. It’s about being more health conscious of what you’re eating, breathing, the products you’re using and even the people you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with only positivity. Be a positive person. Be a role model and a positive member of the community.”