Winning the Battle and Finding a new Healthy Lifestyle
Willie McDay, Public Safety Officer before, left, and after, right, his 106 lb weight loss.
Willie McDay, Forrest General Public Safety Officer, has always been a big guy, but as an athlete, the former USM football player had spent his entire life working out to keep his body in optimal playing condition. After graduation, his attitude changed. “I said to myself, ‘When I get through playing ball, I’m never going to work out,’ and I ended up regretting those words,” McDay said, after confessing his undying love for biscuits and all things starchy.
Like most people who struggle with weight, McDay’s weight loss journey has been long and emotional with many ups and downs along the way. “I started three and half years ago, and I lost about 30 pounds. Then I gained it back. It’s been kind of a yo-yo effect,” McDay said. He felt inspired by those around him who had achieved their weight loss goals, like Public Safety Chief, Wayne Landers, and that kept him motivated to keep trying. But the real catalyst for his weight loss came in late February 2015 with the loss of his father who was only 62 years old.
“My father passed in February this year- the end of February with renal failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, and seeing him die in front of me – that really set me back. It really hurt me, and he was always saying, ‘I want you to lose weight and get back in shape because you don’t want to end up like me.’ And, that’s when I really started.”
With his promise to his father always on his mind, McDay cut back to 1500 calories a day and spent his time off at the Family Y on the treadmill or taking water aerobics classes. It wasn’t long before his hard work began to pay off. With a big smile, he said, “I saw the weight falling off, and I dropped like six pants sizes. I was in a 54, and I’m down to a 48.”
Since changing his eating habits and adding an exercise regime, McDay has lost a total of 106 pounds since February. He’s made lots of friends along the way who help him stay motivated. “There’s always going to be something to get you off track,” he said, “but once you start, it’s going to keep you on track. Then you can surround yourself with other people who are losing weight or in the health field, and they’ll keep you going. So the main thing is to start. Get off the couch, and just start doing something. Doing something is better than doing nothing.” McDay has also begun to see some of the health benefits of losing weight, like lower blood pressure and higher energy levels.
More than anything else, McDay wants his story to help someone else who may be struggling to lose weight and get in shape. “I just hope this story helps somebody else. I hope it helps somebody else get in shape or feel better about themselves or just, most of all, to get healthy,” he said. It seems that weight loss is almost always a very personal, up-hill battle. For Willie McDay, a big part of that fight was keeping his promise to his dad. No matter what it is you’re fighting for, remember that there’s always someone cheering you on from the sidelines.
Forrest General offers several options for weight management and healthy living. We recommend talking to your family physician about your goals and getting a referral to a nutrition specialist. We also offer bariatric surgery and a weight loss support group to provide accountability and encouragement on your journey. For more information or any questions, you can fill out a contact form or call OnCall at 1-800-844-4445.