At 300 pounds, Eric Morud was sick of having trouble tying his shoe. Sick of squeezing into airplane seats. Sick of the stigma attached to being overweight.
So Morud, a 32-year-old Eagan resident, decided to take drastic action.
Working in conjunction with local trainer Bob Holper, Morud lost 86 pounds earlier this year as part of Lifetime Fitness' 90-Day Weight Loss Competition. His efforts earned him a "Fan Favorite" award from Lifetime Fitness—and the $2,000 travel voucher prize that came with it.
Morud, the owner of TruNorth Painting and a father of a 3-year-old boy and six-month-old daughter, had always been overweight, thanks to bad eating habits and his use of food as a coping mechanism. Although Morud had "infinite" reasons to lose weight, much of his concern gravitated around the example he was setting for his young and growing children.
“There were so many motivators," said Morud, whose weight loss comprised 28.4 percent of his body weight. "Whenever the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing, you change."
"One of the things I’m realizing even more now, is the impact it was having on my family," Morud added. "I’m wasn't worried about my kid calling me fat, I was worried about another kid telling my son that his dad is fat."
At the beginning of the 90-day period, Morud began working out once a day for 60 minutes with his trainer. Simultaneously, the pair tackled Morud's eating habits. Instead of pizza from Sam's Club or a McDonald's meal, Morud began taking protein supplements, eating fresh veggies and cutting out many carbohydrates.
Supervised by Holper, Morud also incrementally cut down his calorie intact over a five-week span. Morud went from 2,500 calories a day down to 1,250 a day. The final two weeks of the 90-Day Challenge, he was on a strict vegetable and juice diet.
The weight, Morud said, melted off.
“I couldn’t belive how resilient the body is," Morud said. "Honestly. If you had told me I was going to be able to work out twice a day and manage the rest of my family and family life, and be on 1,250 calories a day … for a couple of weeks, I would’ve thought you were crazy."
Now that the challenge is over, Morud still has difficulty breaking some of the old habits and behaviors that factored into his previous unhealthy lifestyle. But he has learned the best trick for weight control is simply moderation.
Morud plans to use the $2,000 travel voucher to go skiing in Colorado this winter. His family, he said, is thrilled with the results of the weight loss. Many friends and acquaintances have started asking him for advice or tips on weight loss, Morud added.
But Morud's message isn't only for the overweight.
"I hope that skinny people get an idea of what it’s like to be overweight," said Morud, who reflected on how difficult it is to be overweight on an airplane or other confined settings.
"You don’t have to tell me that you don’t want to sit by me, because I don’t want to sit by me," Morud said.