Every week at Rise, we like to bring attention to one of our inspiring members. This week, we’re focusing on Jake, he’s a rockstar and lost 30 pounds with Rise!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Jake, I’m 37 years old, married and have a 15 month old at home. I work at Stanford as a psychiatrist, seeing patients and doing research. I joined Rise about five months ago, and I’ve since lost 30 pounds.

What has your weight loss journey been like?

I have had weight issues my whole life, but recently I started putting on more weight while my wife was pregnant. Since we usually exercised together, once the baby was born, we weren’t exercising as much. We’d just moved from New York to California. I had a new job and continued to gradually put on weight.

Coming to the realization that I was then my highest ever weight, 245lbs, I decided to get a new primary care doctor. I knew that I was 30-40 pounds over where I wanted to be but wasn’t really thinking too much about what I was going to do about it. I saw some photos of myself, and they didn’t even look like me – it was clear I had gained weight.

I’m a psychiatrist, but a lot of my research focuses on diabetes, so the consequences of being overweight were pretty apparent to me. When I got some worrisome lab results back, I knew it was time to do something different than I’d tried before.

What had you tried in the past?

I had worked with a trainer in the past and tried calorie counting apps, but it didn’t seem to work. I was always frustrated that I couldn’t precisely measure what I was actually cooking or eating.

As a doctor, I like to think I know about nutrition, but in reality, I didn’t know exactly what to do. It is also so hard to see from an outside perspective what exactly you’re doing. Having the pictures really helped me to see what I was doing in a different way.  I love food so much; cooking, eating, going out, but all these things can be mine fields if not thought about more carefully.

What was it like when you first joined Rise?

I signed up with the 3-month subscription and jumped in with both feet. I was worried that there might be some restrictive part of the “diet.” I’m always worried that something is going to get taken away from me, like you can NEVER eat that hamburger. But that’s not how it went. Sure, there are certain things you can’t eat all the time, but it’s not restrictive in that way. In the beginning, I was just eating normally, and it wasn’t like “we have to redo everything,” it was just small gradual changes.

My coach Jillian has been great. Since the beginning, she’s been giving me great feedback. She helped me organize the timing of meals, portion size, and ways to swap high density caloric foods for more nutritious and lower calorie options.

What are some of the smaller changes you’ve made since joining Rise?

To name a few – I used to have a big bag of trail mix at my desk, and it was easy to have multiple servings at a time, but now I just pack a snack size for work and leave the rest at home. Previously, I would stop by the coffee cart around 2:00 or 3:00pm and be really hungry, so I’d grab a coffee and a cookie. Now, I’ve gotten of the habit of eating every 2-3 hours so I don’t get too hungry. When my wife would go out of town, I used to grab food that she might not typically go for, things like pizza or fried chicken. Now I try to avoid them since I know that I’ll have to show Jillian what I ate and explain to her why it was worth it. Rise helps keep me honest.

The other big thing is serving size. I’d never considered it much before. I used to have two big bowls of cereal in the morning. One day Jillian asked me to check the serving size on the box. Turns out it was half a cup. I was probably putting 1 ½ cups in each bowl. That’s 800-900 calories of cereal in the morning! Now, I just have one serving size and add in some cashews, and with that I’m good to go until my morning snack. Splitting things in half, like eating half a hamburger is now a thing, or only 1-2 slices of pizza; making up for the difference with salad or other vegetables. I never did that before, and it really makes a big difference.

I’ve started ordering with modifications, something else new to me. I remember the first time I did that, my wife looked up at me because I’d never done that before. Now when I get a salad, I’ll ask for dressing on the side or without the blue cheese. When I eat Mexican food, Jillian suggested I decide between sour cream and guac. I usually go with guac since it consists of plant-based healthy fats. There were all these micro changes that I was totally willing to do, once I was aware of the benefits, that have ultimately made a big impact.

What were some of the major challenges?

In the beginning, it was hard to take the feedback. I had to change my routine, rethink my meal choices, and think about portion control. I remember thinking that I’d stop eating cheese and crackers while cooking dinner and swap it for olives. I showed Jillian a photo of 20 olives, and she said I should limit them to 6. What!? I thought I’d made such a healthy choice, but wasn’t aware of how caloric the olives were. Same thing with nuts. I’d show her all these photos of nuts, and while they’re healthy in moderation, it’s easy to overdo it since they’re calorie dense. Having an understanding of the what a reasonable portion size was, made it easier to adhere to that.

Another big challenge was socially. I’m an enthusiastic eater – the person who knows all the restaurants, so people just get excited to eat with me. I had to change my role. I was always the person who would order the good hamburger, cocktails, steaks, and really do it up. Often I’d be asked to order for the whole table. For the longest time, I’d eat whatever I wanted when I was out with people. I’ve been working on cooling it. I still enjoy going out, but I focus more on ordering the healthier option and not overdoing things.

What’s your favorite thing about your coach?

Jillian is really good at pointing out things I would have never thought of. For example, the olives thing. Who knew that olives had so many calories? She points things out in a way where I never feel embarrassed, and her suggestions are always supportive. When I first signed up, I got to pick between a coach that was more like a drill sergeant, cheerleader, or somewhere in between. I picked somewhere in between. I also picked Jillian because she works in a university health care setting, so I knew she wouldn’t be intimidated working with a physician.

How do you feel now?

Low and behold after making all these micro changes, my clothes fit better, and I feel more comfortable in my own skin. I’ve lost about 10% of my body weight in less than 6 months.

Just the other day, I was in the airport, where I used to go crazy food-wise when traveling alone. I was in Denver. I was traveling for work, so my dinner was going to be completely paid for. I’m wandering around the airport and ended up getting teriyaki bowl with sauce on the side and no rice. And you know that? It was fine! It’s these little micro changes which I know are things that I am willing to do, and at the end of the day, will make all the difference.

You could be our next member of the week! Work with Jillian Morgan, Jake’s awesome coach. When you signup with her, you’ll get $10 off your first payment.