ST. LOUIS, MO – Married life has it’s ups and downs. For Nikki and Jason Lockhart, it was more “ups” when it came to the scale. Happily married, the busy-ness of life, a relationship, and children led them to put their health on the back burner.
Summer of 2014 would forever change that. With Jason weighing in at 423lbs, and Nikki tipping the scale at 250lbs, they were scared for their children’s future. Worried that their lives could take a tragic turn for the worst, they knew they had to take action. Jason, a truck driver with long hours, said, “(I was)barely making it through work and just didn’t have energy for anything else–if fact, I didn’t even think I would hold my job for much longer since my weight was getting in the way.” Nikki added,”I was tired of being overweight and I wanted to be around for my kids. They needed a good example.”
The first step in their radical transformation was to change their relationship with food. They both knew what to do, but just couldn’t seem to get themselves to do it. Jason, an over the road truck driver, found eating out of convenience led him to a place and weight he’d never imagined. After a few futile attempts on their own, they reached out to local life coach, Charles D’Angelo, for help. He candidly pointed out the direction they were headed wasn’t promising, offering them another path. “My job is to remind my clients that their direction will ultimately determine their destiny. When you decide you are going to make a few intelligent small changes in yourself, you find that in short order you change your entire life,” D’Angelo said.
The changes D’Angelo recommended were simple, but not necessarily easy. All the junk food had to go. The cupboards filled with treats were emptied and replaced with oatmeal, lean meats, green vegetables and fruits. A strategy and daily schedule replaced their spontaneous habits, so now every thing the couple did had a purpose tied into their life goals. “I knew that I could do it after seeing Charles lost 160lbs himself, kept it off, and had helped so many others. He has strong convictions and I started believing in myself again after the first meeting.” Nikki said.
D’Angelo insisted that the changes, while seemingly small, had to be repeated daily. His philosophy is that the thinking behind one’s choices is what really needs to shift if a change is to last. A menu of six small meals and daily walking was the path both took, and it worked for them.
“I lost 220lbs in a little over a year,” Jason boasted. “I did 100lbs in about a year.” Nikki added. Both say their energy and confidence has improved exponentially. “I can ride roller coasters because the belt fits, go to baseball games and actually fit in the seat now,” Jason said. “My confidence soars now that I’m able to shop in the ladies section instead of the big section. I’m a much better parent because I have the energy to do things with the kids, and I don’t feel like I’m an embarrassment to them any longer.” Nikki said.
Both say their marriage, which was good before, has only grown stronger and more passionate, improving their lives together.
When asked if their dramatic drop has inspired any of their family and friends Jason said one of his friends joined D’Angelo’s program and lost 150lbs himself. Nikki hopes sharing her story with Fox 2 shows other’s that change is always possible, no matter what the circumstances are.
As for keeping the weight off, both have maintained for a year so far. “I plan to continue to watch what I eat, following a plan each day, and make sure I don’t miss my exercise,” Jason said. “I want to be comfortable in my body forever. I now enjoy exercising and if I don’t do it, I just don’t feel my best,” Nikki says about her commitment to beating the battle of the bulge. They credit each other’s support coupled with the coaching D’Angelo provided as the secret to their success. Jason said, “I thought I could always lose weight on my own. At 423lbs, I had to realize I wouldn’t. I needed Charles to get me to take action and help design a plan I would follow.”
Nikki added, “I needed to make a change with my weight and wake up. I never thought of food and it’s impact on my entire life. I can now say this changed my whole life.” Now, the they’ve set their sights on even bigger goals, exploring the country and it’s national parks. “We spent three days on the Appalachian Trail. We couldn’t have ever done that before the way we were. We did five peaks and over 30 miles, with full packs on our backs the entire time. If we can do it, so can you!” they said.
D’Angelo said, “To make change like this last, the price is perpetual discipline. Discipline is making routine deposits into your future by getting yourself to do what’s needed, even when you don’t feel like it. Like any muscle, you’ve got to train your mind to follow your direction, and not follow it’s!”