WASHINGTON, Mo. – A Washington, Missouri man who once weighed 540 pounds is now down to 270.
Jeff Brinker, 57, sells industrial automation equipment and has traveled on a company expense account for 30 years.
“So I could always eat whatever I wanted to eat. So now it’s become about eating to survive as opposed to eating what sounded good,” Brinker said.
He had gastric sleeve surgery in 2016. Initially, he lost some weight with it, but then he gained it back.
“It’s like anything, accept it as a tool and then use it. I didn’t,” Brinker said.
A combination of life circumstances led to his weight gain. Brinker travels often for work, and he and his now ex-wife ran B&B BBQ and Catering together from 2005 to 2015. His ex-wife still runs the business, but during that time in his life, he said he gained much of the weight that led him to weighing 540 pounds.
About a year ago, Brinker’s daughter Samantha, who is a first lieutenant Air Force pilot, approached him to talk about his size.
“After more than a few conversations it dawned on me that, you know what, I need to fix this,” Brinker said.
So one year ago, he made major lifestyle changes.
“Just cold turkey. I tried several times to ease into it, or follow some sort of a program, and it never stuck,” Brinker said. “I just had to get my mind around, you know what, eat less.”
He weighed 450 pounds at the time Samantha inspired him to make lifestyle changes.
“I cut my calories from a tremendous amount to about 1,200 a day,” Brinker said. He went on to say he also cut out all added sugar.
“I had a sweet tooth. So I just quit eating added sugar, gave up sugar in the coffee, and reduced the calories, and cut out the simple carbs like white bread,” Brinker said.
While eating five small meals per day, he also joined a gym. His new workout routine consisted of spending about an hour in the gym every morning using the exercise bike and doing some light weight training.
Now, he said he’s in the gym every morning at 4:30 a.m. and works out for 90 minutes at a time doing 30 minutes of cardio and an hour of weights. He also now eats about 1,600 calories.
Brinker weighed 540 in 2017 and had a 60-inch waist. He now weighs 270 and has a 42-inch waist. His jeans are 18 inches smaller than his pants were at his heaviest.
He said his new wife Martha, his son, and his daughter keep him motivated.
“My son and daughter check in with me on a regular basis,” Brinker said.
When Brinker started his journey one year ago, Martha had some weight she wanted to get rid of.
“My wife today has been incredibly encouraging. She has never been heavy, but she said you know what, I’ll eat like you eat,” Brinker said. She ended up losing 60 pounds.
Brinker said he would like to lose another 25 to 35 pounds, but he said he will see where he settles at.
“Now it’s more about strength training and just being physically active and healthy,” Brinker said.