Big Losses Lead to Even Bigger Gains | The American Word

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Big Losses Lead to Even Bigger Gains

Taylor Shaw | 4/4/14 6:01pm

Choosing smart choices is American University sophomore Bryan Gershkowitz’s motto.

These smart choices: being active, monitoring food intake and having the right mindset helped him achieve the weight loss goals he made while still in high school. “I couldn’t look past my weight and enjoy anything. I was always wondering, even around my closest friends, what they were saying about me” he said.

During his senior year of high school, Gershkowitz made a goal; within two years, he wanted to lose 80 pounds. If he reached his goal before then, he aimed to lose an additional 20 pounds. Gershkowitz developed a routine. He went to the gym at least three times a week, but strived to do something active every day. He also researched healthy ways to lose weight.

He didn’t call it a diet, more-so creating a different lifestyle. “I wanted something that I was going to build into my life. I knew that if I had to do Atkins or Weight Watchers or anything like that, I never saw where I could get off of that,” he said. “At what point do I stop scanning food into my phone every time I eat?”

By the end of his senior year, Gershkowitz was down 35 pounds. “Coming into college, I needed to get rid of the insecurities, I needed to get rid of hiding behind my stomach because that’s really what it was for me,” he said.

During his freshman year at American, he was introduced to buffet-style meals in the dining hall and talks of the dreaded “Freshman 15,” but still managed to maintain a balanced meal of protein, fruits and vegetables in sensible portion sizes. He continued his routine of regular exercise.

Gershkowitz’s motto “Choose smart choices on a daily basis,” helped keep him on track.
He was personally invested in reaching his weight loss goal. In 19 months, he lost 80 pounds. He posted a photo on Facebook showing before and after results. “People were really proud of me. I was proud of me,” he said. “It was tough. People got concerned because they did see results.”

Next goal: lose 100 pounds.

The hardest part was being around his peers who didn’t have to think when they ate. Gershkowitz admits losing weight isn’t only physical but psychological. “I was never looking down on heavy people because some people, to them, it doesn’t matter. To them, they are able to see past it. They are able to see themselves for more than that. Me, I just couldn’t,” he said.

When Gershkowitz went home to Los Angeles during summer break, he got rid of the clothes in his closet that he could not longer wear.
“I had seen a progression. You almost saw a different person. I gained a lot of confidence throughout the year in myself that I never had,” he said.

During his weight loss journey, he did not focus on the number. He focused on feeling
good. “The whole reason it worked for me because I wasn’t doing it to impress anyone. I wasn’t doing it because I thought I should, I wasn’t do it because of any social norm. I
wanted to be healthy,” he said. “I wanted to look like I was in shape. I wasn’t going to get that way unless I did it for me.”

Surpassing his weight loss goal by losing 104 pounds in two years, Gershkowitz says he wants to be proof that smart choices lead to a healthier lifestyle. “For once I was able to look in the mirror and take a picture that I was proud of,” he said.