Brian Whitten’s tips for getting into shape:
• Consult your physician before starting any major weight-loss attempts.
• Diets only work while you’re on them, but a lifestyle change lasts forever.
• Shop only the outer ring of the grocery store, and don’t eat it if you can’t pronounce it.
• It never gets easier, you just go faster.
• Work-out with other people if you can. It gives you people to talk to, makes it easier and makes you feel like you’re working toward a common goal.
FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE
The Dayton Daily News Neighbors section is your destination every Thursday to read good news about your neighbors, your friends, your schools and your community.
Brian Whitten spent more than half of his life overweight.
He began seeing gains when he was around 15 years old, and by the time he decided to make a life change three years ago he topped the scale at 350 pounds.
“I remember one of the last straws was the day my wife and I took a trip to King’s Island, we waited in line forever for a roller coaster only to be told I couldn’t fit. That day I was only able to ride two rides out of about eight that I stood in line for. It was not a good feeling,” says Whitten, 32, of Dayton. “I ran into an old friend in the Oregon District, and he was riding a bike. He worked at a local bike shop and talked a lot about biking in general. He told me he was going to build me a bicycle. I sort of laughed it off, but I was interested and agreed that I would ride it.”
It was the start of a major life change for Whitten. On Jan. 15, 2010, he decided to commit to a new lifestyle.
“When I first got the bike I could only go around the block before being out of breath. Every ride I could go a bit further though,” said Whittten who also worked to limit his calories to 2,000 a day.
On his 30th birthday that year he did his first “century” — a 100-mile bike ride that took around eight hours to complete. He felt like he was in the best shape of his life. The first year Whitten rode his bike 2,500 miles, completely changed his diet and lost 125 pounds.
One word made all the difference: willpower.
“I went from a size 46 to a size 36 in pants and XXXL to a XL in shirts,” said Whitten. “The reaction from everyone I know was completely overwhelming, to be honest. People were more than supportive, they were downright fanatic. I couldn’t walk into the bar without being mobbed with compliments. If I ran into someone who hadn’t seen me in a while, they would be completely shocked. I stopped by my wife’s class reunion, and those people hadn’t seen me in years and some thought she had remarried. If people hadn’t seen me in years, they didn’t recognize me.”
“I stopped growing a beard because I was thrilled to have a jawline and no longer had a double chin.”
To date Whitten has lost 150 pounds, has a size 34 waist and has room in a large T-shirt.
In January of 2012, he quit his job as a recording engineer and got a job at K&G Bike Center, where his biking addiction began and where he now teaches classes to other beginners. He ended 2012 with a total of 7,300 miles ridden.
Whitten says he got there one bike ride at a time.
“(I tried to) take it slow, going a little further every time. … The best part about biking was that it was fun. It didn’t feel like exercise,” Whitten said.
In the first room of their house, Whitten and his wife Tiffany have created a bike/dining room that stores a “stable” of bikes
“These days I feel awesome,” Whitten said. “I have a huge sense of accomplishment, but I try not to get ahead of myself. I know I still have work to do.”
Bike ride with Brian
Brian Whitten, who works at Kettering’s K&G Bike Center, 4090 Marshall Road, Kettering, sells the tools people looking into biking needs, but he also leads classes on how to safely bike on roadways.
Whitten leads a 25-mile intermediate ride on Tuesdays that leaves Kettering’s K&G Bike Center at 6 p.m. The ride, which is done all on roads and is intended to teach how to safely bike on roadways, usually takes around two hours to complete. On Thursdays Whitten teaches a 40-mile advanced riding class that goes much faster. Both rides require helmets and blinking bike lights. For more information, call (937) 294-8869 or go online http://kgbikes.com.
“I always love talking to people and inspiring them with my story. If I could do it anyone can,” Whitten said.