WASHINGTON, Mo. (KTVI) – A man from Washington, Missouri, who once weighed 540 pounds is now down to 270.
Jeff Brinker, 57, sells industrial automation equipment and has traveled on a company expense account for 30 years.
“So I could always eat whatever I wanted to eat. So now it’s become about eating to survive as opposed to eating what sounded good,” Brinker said.
Brinker had gastric sleeve surgery in 2016. Initially, he lost some weight but gained it back.
His initial weight gain was partly due to his professional and personal habits. In addition to traveling for work, Brinker and his now-ex-wife ran a barbecue and catering company from 2005 to 2015. During that time, Brinker said he gained an unhealthy amount of weight.
About a year ago, Brinker’s daughter Samantha, who is a first lieutenant Air Force pilot, approached him to talk about his size.
“After more than a few conversations, it dawned on me that, you know what? I need to fix this,” Brinker said.
So one year ago, he made major lifestyle changes.
“Just cold turkey. I tried several times to ease into it, or follow some sort of a program, and it never stuck,” Brinker said. “I just had to get my mind around … eat less.”
Brinker weighed 450 pounds at the time Samantha inspired him to make lifestyle changes.
“I cut my calories from a tremendous amount to about 1,200 a day,” said Brinker, who also cut out all added sugar from his diet.
“I had a sweet tooth. So I just quit eating added sugar, gave up sugar in the coffee, and reduced the calories, and cut out the simple carbs like white bread,” Brinker said.
While eating five small meals per day, Brinker also joined a gym. His new workout routine consisted of spending about an hour in the gym every morning using the exercise bike and doing some light weight training.
Now, he’s in the gym every morning at 4:30 a.m. His total workout lasts 90 minutes, and includes 30 minutes of cardio and an hour of weights. He also now eats about 1,600 calories per day.
Brinker eventually dropped from 540 pounds in 2017 to his current weight of 270 pounds. His 60-inch waist also shrunk down to 42 inches.
Brinker said his new wife Martha, his son, and his daughter keep him motivated.
“My son and daughter check in with me on a regular basis,” Brinker said.
When Brinker started his journey one year ago, Martha had some weight she wanted to get rid of, too.
“My wife today has been incredibly encouraging,” Brinker said. “She has never been heavy, but she said, ‘You know what? I’ll eat like you eat.'” She ended up losing 60 pounds.
Brinker himself would like to lose another 25 to 35 pounds, but he’s happy just to be in better shape.
“Now it’s more about strength training and just being physically active and healthy,” Brinker said.