As an event planner, Tim Adams was always up for a cocktail after work or a meal at one of Philadelphia’s many restaurants. Over time, late night beverages and noshing on takeout food caught up to him, causing him to weigh about 250 pounds.
“I certainly was somebody that was looking forward to staff meal,” the 34-year-old told TODAY, referring to an industry term where restaurant or event staff eat together prior to a shift or event. “I was eating restaurant food and I would default to order out. I was not making any meals for myself and I had no idea what nutrition was.”
When he was furloughed in March due to COVID-19, his life changed suddenly. Faced with so much time, he thought he’d make funny videos to share on social media. Adams had always dreamed of being a comedian and thought he “had to be fat to be funny.” But when he took the test video he realized his weight was a distraction.
“Instead of thinking about the funny thing I was saying, the only thing I could see was my body,” Adams said. “What was staring back at me was an unhealthy body that I was not proud of and that was the exact moment that I started my journey.”
He first downloaded NOOM, a weight-loss app that helps people track what they eat and exercise in an individualized plan. Then he called his mom. He needed her help when it came to making healthier food.
“I started talking to my mom about meal prep and everything like that,” he explained.
He started small: First figuring out foods for a healthy breakfast. When he mastered that, he moved onto lunch then dinner.
“As I got healthier and as I kicked those late night eating habits, it allowed me to find other foods that maybe I was interested in,” he said.
He eats lots of fruit and yogurt for breakfast and started enjoying preparing dinner.
“I’m cooking the chicken. I’m breaking down the pork,” he said. “If I wanted to order Chinese food I cut the takeout and I’ll make my best version of chicken and broccoli ... I cut out junk.”
He also stopped drinking alcoholic beverages except for a rare glass of red wine. He used to drink after work frequently.
“I was somebody that was a man about town and going to networking events,” Adams said. “If the clients wanted to have a drink with me, you better believe I was going to have a drink with them.”
A new hobby: running
Then he started running. During his runs, Adams would think about the hospitality industry and what it would be like after the pandemic.
“That became the motivation for running, for the hospitality industry, (thinking how) we could recover and come back better than ever,” he said. “That is what I wanted to do for my body and a message that I wanted to send out to the world: It is a long haul ahead and we have some tough times to go but I think that this new mindset of health and happiness is going to be with me for the long haul.”
He also used the app Strava to track his exercise. He enjoyed that he could see how his running improved — even when the number on the scale didn’t change.
“It really helped me because I am a results-oriented person and I like to see progress and Strava gives you achievement medals,” Adams said.
He lost 50 pounds in six months to weigh 196 pounds. He’d like to weigh about 190 pounds, but he’s happy with his progress so far.
“I've always looked at those before-and-after photos never thinking that it could be my story and, honestly, it doesn't feel real that I've done it,” he said. “Just having the time to refocus on what's most important (worked).”
He shared advice on what might help others adopt healthy habits.
1. Set a goal.
Having a concrete idea of what one wants to accomplish when it comes to weight loss makes it easier for people to actually achieve it.
“You have to come up with a goal first and you have to say to yourself in the mirror what it is,” he said. “You’re already there in your head.”
2. Find support.
Having his mom help him meal plan made losing weight easier. It also helped that family and friends cheered him on while he was losing weight.
“I have a support system that I always knew was there but I never really leaned on,” Adams said. “When I was at my heaviest it was so hard to just be truthful with myself, which allowed me to not be totally real in conversations with other people.”
3. ‘Taking a day at a time.’
“This is an accessible dream that you can take over,” Adams said. “This is your health. This is just your body. This is not way out rocket science type s---. This is just zoning in on you taking a day at a time.”