One local man is holding his head high after placing in a nation-wide weight-loss competition.
Jeremy Browning placed second out of 6,000 men in a bid to shed the most pounds in three months under Popeye’s Supplements Canada Strong to the Finish Transformation Contest. Browning earned $10,000 cash as his prize.
“It was incredible,” he says. “This is something that I can look back at and be proud of.”
At five-feet, nine-inches Browning weighed 241 pounds. From February to May he was able to shed 74 pounds.
He says before losing the extra weight he felt like he had no energy and suffered from low self-esteem. The hardest part of his weight loss was adjusting to a life that was far different than one he was used to.
Browning wasn’t always a heavy-set person. After a sports injury that stopped him from being active, he started packing on the pounds.
It all started in 2011 while playing a soccer game. As Browning ran down the soccer field he felt a searing pain in the back of his leg. Falling face-first into the ground, he lost consciousness.
Originally he thought he had been tripped, but he soon learned that he had actually torn his Achilles tendon.
“I thought the guy behind me kicked me and broke my leg,” he says. “It hurt so bad.”
He tore his tendon again two weeks after hobbling out of the hospital. It was a sunny afternoon at the boat dock when he lost balance on his crutches and cascaded down a slippery slope of grass.
Sprawling on the ground he felt pain, and then nothing.
“I couldn’t move my leg, it was limp and I knew it was bad,” he says.
When the emergency department opened up his wound they found not only a torn tendon, but also a staph infection that had settled in both his tissues and his bone.
He received a donor tendon and had antibiotics pumped throughout his body in an attempt to save his leg. Then the surgeon left on vacation.
When he returned the surgeon was preparing to amputate Browning’s leg. He was expecting the infection to have spread and for his body to have rejected the donor tendon.
But as he viewed Browning’s chart he discovered that both the infection and the tendon had worked. Browning was free to leave, with both legs intact.
Months and years later Browning started to pack on the pounds. Unable to exercise, he slumped into depression as the scale inched upwards.
His wife, Jamie, says it was difficult to watch.
“It was hard to see, he didn’t have energy and he didn’t have a lot of confidence,” she says. “I wasn’t overly excited when he decided to do this because I’ve seen him try a bunch of different things.”
After numerous attempts at dieting, he finally found a competition he felt would work.
Popeye’s Supplements was holding separate nation-wide men’s and women’s contests to see who could lose the most weight.
After the three-month competition Browning was declared second place in Canada for most lost weight.
Browning says he couldn’t have completed the competition without the support of staff at St. Albert’s Popeye’s Supplements store and from friend and motivator, Cole Robinson.
Half-way through the competition Browning says he had hit a wall in his weight-loss ambitions and Robinson helped carry him the rest of the way.
Robinson has developed a method, dubbed the snake diet, which focuses on fasting. Browning fasted for the first 48 hours of starting the diet, drinking only salt water. Now he fasts throughout the day and eats during a two-hour window at night.
When he went to the doctor, he was told that his cholesterol and blood pressure had dropped and that his blood-work was perfect.
“When he saw me for the first time he didn’t even recognize me, it was hilarious,” he says.
Jamie says she was concerned at first.
“I felt like he was starving himself in the beginning and it took me a while to see that what he was doing was safe and that he’s getting the proper nutrients through the plant-based diet,” she says.
But she soon saw his energy levels increase.
“Before, he wasn’t confident and he didn’t want to swim with our daughter, he didn’t want to take off his shirt in public and get in the water. Now he’s active with her and does everything,” she says. “It makes me very happy and we’re very proud of him.”
When asked what he was planning to do with his earnings, Browning says it’s not about the money it’s about being healthy.
“$10,000 will come and go but I’m always going to have my health and for me, that’s what’s most important.”