Determined to lose weight, Mark McGaffic tried it all. Exercise. Trendy diets. Weight loss programs. You name it. Mark simply wasn’t seeing any results. That is, until he signed up for Nutrition for All and the Get Fit Challenge at the C.W. Avery Family YMCA. Because of these weekly classes, Mark has undergone a complete transformation. In 2014, not only has Mark lost 60 pounds, he’s also completed a triathlon—a feat he could’ve never possibly imagined.
“It’s been phenomenal. I’ve loved the journey,” he said, while sitting in the lobby of the Avery Y. With a slight grin on his face, Mark paused and added, “Shirts I bought that I was disgusted buying, I’ve now given to Goodwill.”
Mark’s transformation began in January when he started Nutrition for All, a 12-week class that helps members eat right and stay healthy. He took on a paleo diet, kept food journals and completed weekly weigh-ins. With the support of instructor Julie Miller and his peers, he cut 30 pounds.
By springtime, Mark’s momentum hadn’t let up. He began the Get Fit Challenge, continued the paleo diet and started prepping for his first triathlon. By this point, Mark had shed upwards of 50 pounds. In August, Mark’s hard work paid off when he completed the Naperville Sprint Triathlon.
“I’d have to say, I’ve never experienced anything like it,” he said. “The triathlon itself. The training. Working with Julie Miller and the group. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.”
Now, Mark says, he’s hooked. He’s itching to participate in another race. And when that time comes, he expects to improve his final time significantly. One day, Mark even hopes to complete a Half Ironman.
“My focus is on exercising and being able to prepare for triathlons,” he said. “The bug has hit me. I’m not racing again until next year, but that’s motivating me.”
In the meantime, Mark will focus on reaching the goal he’s had in mind from the start: Losing 110 pounds. In fact, he hopes to hit his target weight by the first quarter of 2015. Perhaps he’ll even surpass it.
“My goal is still 110 pounds overall,” Mark said. “My brother and I have a discussion about this regularly. He believes—and he might be right—that the goal of 110 pounds might turn into 130 if I keep it up.”
With the kind of dedication that Mark has to healthy living, any goal is attainable. He’s certainly already proven that.