“Weight loss is math,” he explains. “You simply burn more than you take in. For me, being in the numbers profession, that was the biggest realization. It’s just really not that complicated.”
1 child + 2 obese parents =
Recipe for disaster
An only child, Hrynyshyn grew up in Pittsburgh in a family plagued with obesity and diabetes. His mother, a woman of Italian descent, specialized in carb-laden pasta dishes that resulted in Hrynyshyn’s quickly becoming an overweight child.
“We ate nothing that wasn’t pasta,” he laughs. “If Mom could’ve figured out a way to serve it for breakfast, she would have.”
A self-described “average-sized” teenager, Hrynyshyn packed on the pounds again in his late 20s and found himself heading down the same road to obesity and health problems that his parents had traveled. It was at that point that he decided to take control of his destiny.
“I looked at my parents and their numerous health issues and poor quality of life and realized that I wanted my life to be full and active,” he says of the catalyst for his decision.
Motivation + Determination = Success
Trading in bad foods for healthy options and a sedentary lifestyle for physical activity sounds easy enough, but it requires a willingness to change, a dedication to the commitment and a determination to succeed. Hrynyshyn had all three. “I am a highly competitive person, and I looked at this as a personal challenge,” he explains.
Having worked out in spurts over the years, Hrynyshyn knew what to do; he simply lacked the commitment to do it. Between building a successful business that demanded nearly 70 hours per week as well as juggling the responsibilities of raising a young family, he knew his eating habits were less than desirable — a fact he justified by occasional sporadic bouts of exercise.
“I figured if I were exercising, I could eat whatever I wanted,” he says. “I would skip breakfast, eat a huge lunch, get home after 8 p.m., eat another large meal and then go straight to bed.”
In order to make the necessary changes to reach his goals of a fit body and a healthy lifestyle, Hrynyshyn first visited his doctor for a complete physical along with a thorough metabolic blood chemistry work-up. Once he was given the green light, Hrynyshyn took baby steps. The first one? Get moving!
Realizing that he needed an exercise that he could do anywhere, Hrynyshyn laced up his jogging shoes and hit the road every night after work and on weekends. He set his sights at completing one mile and continued for six months until he was completing six or seven miles per day, seven days a week.
In addition to running, Hrynyshyn cut out carbohydrates and began grazing, eating six or seven small meals every day. Within six months the pounds began to melt away, and by the end of nine months Hrynyshyn had dropped 50 pounds. The only problem? He had no muscle.
“I was so skinny that people would ask me if I were ill,” he recalls.
At that point, Hrynyshyn turned to his wife, Dawn, for motivation. “I give huge credit to my wife,” he says with pride. “She is in phenomenal shape. She runs 20 to 25 miles per week and works out with a trainer.”
Hrynyshyn began working with his wife’s trainer and added weight training to his workouts. Before he knew it, this 40-year-old father of three was in the best shape of his life!
Time management + preparedness = no excuses!
Unlike some people who rely on fad diets, surgery or supplements to get instant results, Hrynyshyn relies on good old-fashioned hard work. And while the other options might seem more appealing in our time-crunched world of instant gratification, in the long run they simply don’t work. In fact, statistics show that people who lose weight on fad diets run a greater risk of putting the weight back on (and then some) than those people who simply make lifestyle changes.
“I refuse the diet concept,” he says. “The body is a natural thing, and weight loss has to be a natural progression. You didn’t put on 50 pounds in two days; you’re not going to lose 50 pounds in two days.”
Hrynyshyn now views his body as an engine that needs fuel in order to run properly. A typical day for him consists of lots of protein, healthy fats such as peanut butter, lots of fruits and vegetables and gallons of water. He stays on track by keeping healthy snacks on hand and a bag packed and ready to go at all times so that he can visit his gym at a moment’s notice.
“My friends joke that you will always find a gym bag, a stupid organic snack and a gallon of water in my car,” he chuckles.
Tease all they want, it is that preparedness that allows Hrynyshyn to maintain his healthy lifestyle while still meeting the demands of work and family.
“I have to have systems and organization in place while still allowing for a little flexibility,” he explains. “Every single person has 168 hours per week — no one has more or less. If you don’t control that time, someone or something else will.”
He goes on to say that there are really no excuses for not making the time to improve your life. It’s simply a matter of time management. “Now I look at how to fit my day into my workout—not how to fit my workout into my day,” he says.
Motivation + S.M.A.R.T.s
= a long and happy life!
Hrynyshyn is proof that losing weight the good old-fashioned way is something that anyone can do — but everyone has to find his or her own motivation. For Hrynyshyn, that motivation comes from wanting to be around to enjoy his family. He measures results by the scale and how well his suits fit.
For those who struggle with getting started, Hrynyshyn offers some S.M.A.R.T. advice. “SMART is a goal-setting process in my business that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Trackable,” he explains. By applying this principle to weight loss and exercise, you can set appropriate goals and gauge results.
He also recommends enjoying the moments and relishing every victory, no matter how small. “Don’t focus on the entire workout,” he advises. “Instead focus on getting the most out of each exercise or repetition.”
Of course, once the results start coming, the motivation becomes easier. Hrynyshyn says he is most proud of the fact that his lifestyle is no longer something he has to think about; rather, it is embedded in his subconscious, and it is just “what he does.”
His healthier lifestyle also allows him the occasional indulgence in some of his favorite treats such as chips and salsa and pizza (only now he just eats the toppings), but he does avoid French fries at all costs. “I can’t eat just one,” he grins.
Perhaps his greatest accomplishment, however, comes from a renewed self-esteem that has improved not only his personal life but his business life as well.
“I feel great, and my confidence and energy levels are up,” he describes. “In my business, where there is a lot of one-on-one interaction, it is important to look good and feel good about yourself,” he adds. “The theory that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression is alive and well.”