‘It’s changed my whole outlook on life’

Mace immediately began charting the calories, carbohydrates, fat and fiber he consumed each day. He and his wife visited Kellie Dye, nutritionist at Conway Regional Fitness Center, and began attending a weight management class at the fitness center.

“I don’t diet. I eat anything I want to eat. I just don’t eat as much as I want to eat,” Mace said. “It’s strictly portion control.”

He said he was astonished when Dye showed him and his wife, Janet, portion sizes on a plate.

“I thought a plate was to fill up,” he said. “She taught us to take a bite or two and set the fork down and let it rest.”

For the first couple of days, it was an adjustment, he said, but soon he became accustomed to smaller portions.

Mace said he and his wife love to grill steaks. The first time they purchased some after he decided to change his eating habits, he told her, “Let’s just eat a portion.”

“Those two steaks lasted us three whole meals,” he said. “That just blew me away. I couldn’t have done it without my wife. She is a health nut. She got me on the right track of eating healthy, and that makes all the difference in the world.

“If it’s healthy, she’ll eat it. I told her, ‘I wouldn’t eat that nasty stuff.’ Now I don’t go a day without eating it.”

Mace and his wife do not eat very much fried food anymore, and they limit their meat to three- and four-ounce portions. “I cheat once in a while. If you don’t, you get burned out,” he said.

In addition to making healthier choices about what he eats, Mace works out at the fitness center three times a week. He weighs once a week and keeps his chart religiously, he said.

“This paperwork – all that is accountability. If you get in the groove, you’ll do well,” he said. “I’ve seen so many folks lose it and gain it back. I’m not going there.”

What Mace has gained from his hard work is more energy and a greater appreciation for life.

“I feel a lot better. Got a lot more get up and go,” he said. “I take no more medication. Not even aspirin. [The doctor] said everything was perfect. He couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t believe I kept my weight off, either.

“It’s changed my whole outlook on life. It made me stop and smell the roses, take one day at a time. I used to go through a buffet and think, ‘I’m gonna get my money’s worth.’ And I did, but I paid for it.”

Dye said of Mace’s success, “I didn’t do anything; he did it himself. I gave him guidelines to follow, and he just took it and ran with it. What made Jack successful is I gave him guidelines for calories that are appropriate for him. The calories were not real low. It was very realistic for him to follow.

He spread his calories out. He kind of thinks in calories per meal and per snack, so spreading out his calories really worked for him.

“He also was a very good record keeper, and all the studies show if you keep accurate food records you’ll lose weight so much better than if you don’t. I would say it was Jack’s food record keeping that made him so successful.”

She added, “A lot of people can lose weight, but with Jack, I really feel like he’s going to keep it off. The hardest part is keeping the weight off after you’ve lost it. But I really feel confident if anybody can keep the weight off, it’s Jack.

“It was a pleasure that someone took my advice and took it to heart and really practiced it. I’m just sharing in his success, but he’s the one who really did it.”