I’ve you’ve ever neglected your physical health because of an overwhelming schedule, you’re not alone. Just ask Matt Galit, now a 33-year-old police officer in the San Francisco Bay Area, who once struggled to practice healthy habits during a particularly busy time in his life.
In 2011, Galit was a full-time college student with a full-time job, and he was running on empty. “I would work during the day, then go to class at night,” he remembers. “I would arrive home so late, I wouldn’t even have time to make dinner.”
To save time, he turned to convenient fast-food options, choosing between a 24-hour Subway and a Carl’s Jr. five nights a week. Eventually, his weight crept up to more than 300 pounds.
One February morning as he was getting ready for work, Galit bent down to tie his shoes. When he stood up, he noticed he was out of breath. It was a turning point.
“I felt so terrible and ashamed that tying my shoe was now a difficult chore for me, physically,” he says. “I knew right then and there, I had to make some serious changes.”
Galit had another huge motivator on his side. He had long dreamed of becoming a police officer, but to seriously pursue law enforcement, he would have to get in shape.
“At my weight, I would never have been considered for a position as an officer,” explains Galit. “Even if I had miraculously been hired, I would never have been able to perform in the police academy in the physical condition I was in.”
Though he wasn’t quite sure where to begin, he was confident his diet was the biggest contributor to his weight gain. He decided to start with just one rule he wasn’t allowed to break: He could not eat anywhere that had a drive-thru.
As part of his new commitment to eating better, Galit turned to MyFitnessPal for help, logging all of his meals and exercise.
“I immediately loved how MyFitnessPal could give you a basic rundown of how many calories you needed to maintain a caloric deficit and lose fat,” he says. “I also loved how I could log my workouts and see the direct benefit exercising had to my weight loss.”
According to Galit, being able to clearly see what he put into his body each day kept him accountable. When he had hard days where he missed his goal, he could quickly identify what corrections he needed to make later in the week to get back on track.
The payoff didn’t take long. Galit, who weighed himself weekly, began to see a noticeable difference after a month. He also woke up in the morning with more energy, which helped him be more productive at work and school.
The results became undeniable in the fall of 2011, when a friend showed him a recent picture of himself. Galit was floored. “I would always try to avoid taking pictures while I was overweight because I didn’t like the way I looked,” he says. “When I looked at this picture, I didn’t really recognize myself. It was eye-opening! I felt so proud, and it made me want to push harder.”
Galit eventually lost more than 100 pounds, and with his new, healthy lifestyle in-tow, he enrolled and graduated from the police academy — a massive feat that still isn’t lost on him today. “I feel a great sense of pride in myself every time I put on my uniform,” he says.
Looking back on his journey, Galit says becoming aware of what he put in his body each day made the biggest difference. He now advises others who want to lose weight to discover their “why” and to remind themselves of it every day.
And if they’re as confused on where to start as he once was, he advises simply picking one rule and committing to it, no matter what. “If they can stick to following just that one rule, they will be on their way to forming other lasting habits.”