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I Lost 160 Pounds and Here Are 4 Ways I Took the Weight Off

Jason Henriques topped the scale at over 360 pounds, before he made a decision to change his life.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

If you are struggling with your weight and feel like it's a helpless situation, you're not alone. However, all you need is a little motivation and a few healthy habits to transform into the best and healthiest version of yourself, according to Jason Henriques, an instructor at Row House Monroe who lost a whopping 160 pounds. In a recent interview with Body Network, the father-of-three tells his story and reveals a few of the simple but effective habits that helped him lose over half his body weight without getting weight loss surgery. 


Jason's Weight Struggle Started as a Child


According to Jason, his weight became an issue at the age of six when he had to start shopping in the "husky" section, and he struggled with it for many years. "I kind of battled with my weight my entire life. There were times where I was up, where I was down, there was always kind of that yo-yo effect," he says. He also suffered health issues as a result, including herniated discs in my back.


The Breaking Point at 360 Pounds-Plus

The pinnacle moment of his life was after he first became a dad. His son was around 3 at the time that Jason was at his heaviest weight of all time. "My scale stopped at 360, so I know I was over 360 pounds and I had a 56-inch waist," he confesses, adding that he still has a pair of those pants "to always remind me of where I was." He adds that "had to lie" to himself every day that he was happy, "but knew deep down" that he wasn't. Jason spent a month in the hospital with stomach issues. "I had gallstones and had to have my gallbladder removed," he said, attributing it to the poor nutrition choices he made and his lack of physical activity. "One day I'm sitting on the floor in my dining room in our house with my son looks up at me and says, 'Daddy, when I get big, I want a big tummy like you.' And right then and there, that broke me. That was a serious wake up call."

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Habit 1: He Started Walking


The next day after his son's comments, "I decided I was going to change everything about my life," says Jason. "I got up and I started walking. I couldn't do a whole lot. I knew the things that I had to do, but I started with walking and every single day I got up and put him in a stroller. We lived close by the beach, so I would push him down to the beach and we would walk between three and 12 miles a day." Little by little, the weight started coming off. 


He Opted Against Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Jason Henriques

Around that time a gastroenterologist friend of his suggested that he undergo a gastric sleeve surgery to help him lose weight. Jason started going through the process, which included six months of counseling. After four months, he was already down 60 pounds on his own. When he walked into the doctor's office he was informed that if he wanted insurance to cover the procedure, he would need to gain weight. "At that moment I looked them right in their eyes, I shook their hand, I got up and I walked out of the office and never went back," he reveals. "I was proud of the progress I made, and they were more worried about the insurance company than how they could help me progress with my journey without a surgery." It was that incident "that put me into hyperdrive," Jason explains. 


Habit 2: He Discovered Rowing

Jason Henriques

Jason joined a gym and attempted to get in shape by himself, but "did it in all the wrong ways," he says. "At first, I wasn't eating properly, I was barely eating, and I was doing lots of cardio." His wife suggested that he use the free personal training session that came with his membership. He didn't think he needed it, but signed up anyway. "One of the first things that trainer did was put me on a rowing machine and he said, 'I want you to row a thousand meters.' So I did and it was absolutely terrible, but at the same time, absolutely amazing." Despite his three herniated discs in his back, a torn MCL in his right knee, "zero cartilage left" in his left knee, and "a bad rotator cuff" in his right shoulder," he "didn't have any of the joint pain" he experienced with jogging, running, or biking. "So I fell in love with rowing right then and there." He now rows marathons – over 42,000 meters –  which he calls a "big deal" because of the endurance and mindset, "a lot more mindset than the physical."

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Habit 3: He Learned About Nutrition

Jason Henriques

He also started "diving even further into nutrition" to find out what his body needed to build muscle and grow stronger. In addition to tracking his macros, he pays attention to protein intake, which is crucial, he says. "Protein will help keep me fuller longer, and it helps me maintain the muscle that I have," he explains. He loves cooking his own food, and prepares nutritious meals the whole family can enjoy, sourcing local meat, eggs, dairy, and vegetables from local farms as much as possible. "I know for me especially, I know if I put a more quality product in my body, I feel better. But if I try to be on a budget and cheap out, I can definitely tell the difference," he says. He loves making burritos for every meal, using low-carb wraps. For breakfast he will scramble six eggs with a cup of spinach, wrap it up, and sear on both sides for added crunch. They can be eaten immediately with a little salsa, or even frozen so you can meal prep ahead of time. "If I don't have the time to prep, I will just go get a rotisserie chicken from the store and shred it apart and make it into a wrap with some vegetables," he says. He also makes sure to drink enough water – about a gallon per day.  


Habit 4: He Changed His Mindset

The fourth and final habit, which is also the most important, according to Jason? Changing your mindset. "We have to be willing to change and we have to have something that we're willing to change for because like I said, that pinnacle moment of my son telling me he wanted a big tummy like me, that changed everything about my mindset. It made me look at everything that I do in a different light."

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Jason's Full Circle Moment

Jason Henriques

Jason enjoys rowing so much he is now an instructor at Row House Monroe. And, when he is at home, that very same son who once wanted to be "big" like him is now 10, and his workout buddy who will row with him at home. "That part just makes me so happy to see that now I went from him wanting to have a big tummy like me to now wanting to work out and keep up with me," he remarks. He has since welcomed two more children, including a daughter who declared that she was "proud" of him at the age of four. "You always do what you say you're going to do and you take care of yourself so that you can take care of all of us," he recalls about what she says. "So it's like my son at three says, 'I want a big tummy like you,' and now my daughter at almost the same age four years ago was saying she's proud of me for setting a better example and proud of me for that. And that part right there was probably one of the best moments of my life to hear that."

💪🔥Body Booster: According to AFPA Fitness, a rowing machine exercises your upper body as well as your lower body. "The rowing stroke when using an indoor rower is composed of 65-75% leg work and 25-35% upper body work," they say.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more