After an accident which left him immobile for a while, Jeremy Bromwell found himself turning to food for comfort and confronted his issue with mindfulness.

Jeremy Bromwell always had an active lifestyle until he got into a terrifying motorcycle accident. He was an avid runner and weightlifter for years. While it was a challenging experience, it taught him to focus on his health.

“[Exercise] was something I did pretty regularly to help keep my weight in check, so I wouldn’t be giving up the experience when I sat down to a meal at a restaurant,” he told NBC News.

An accident changed everything for him

But in October 2014, everything came to halt when he was hit by an SUV while he was on his way home from work. The accident left him seriously injured; both of the bones in his lower leg shattered. 

Bromwell was expected to heal in a six-month period, but one of the bones grew infected.

Talk about adding some mental and emotional barriers on top of the physical. At the six-month mark I was supposed to be back to normal. That got blown up — it became ‘wait and see, we don’t know’. My brain was not able to wrap around it.

Jeremy Bromwell

Bromwell had to undergo 10 surgeries before the bone was completely healed; the last one was performed more than two years after the accident.

“The motorcycle accident was the first time I had physical limitations imposed that I couldn’t work out on my own,” Bromwell said. “I lost control of the activities I could and couldn’t do. That was where I really started to struggle.”

Food became a go-to comfort

During his recovery, he turned to food for pleasure and comfort, and looking back he admits he went overboard.

“For a long time, I couldn’t do the things I enjoyed. As I started to get more mobility back and I was able to drive myself, I over-indexed for all the things I hadn’t been able to do, whether that was a glass of wine or a restaurant or both,” said Jeremy.

Once I could start to meet friends and colleagues out of the house it was nice to do that. That, combined with not being able to do things like weights a couple of days and cardio three to five days, was the catalyst for the weight gain.

Jeremy Bromwell

The now 38-year-old initially gained 30 pounds, but after going on a four-month long road trip in 2017 with his partner, and trying new restaurants in different American cities, he gained another 30.

He was then hit with a breakup

A few months later, Bromwell and his partner broke up and it was a wake-up call.

 “I was single for the first time in four years and I was really heavy. It’s amazing — when you see yourself every day you don’t see yourself changing,” he said.

You look back and think, ‘What the hell happened to me?’

Jeremy Bromwell

Following the split, Bromwell decided to hit the road again, to try to live and work on the move full-time, while also making the decision to prioritize his health.

“I had a lot of leg pain from carrying around the extra weight. I wanted to move forward in a happier, healthier way and get back to my pre-accident weight, even though it seemed like an infinity away,” said Bromwell.

The right decision was not a strict diet

Bromwell was committed to developing a healthier lifestyle and knowing himself, he knew a strict diet wasn’t the way to go.

“I learned enough about my body through all those surgeries that I knew I needed to listen to my body,” he said. “I wanted to make healthy choices in a mindful way.”

Having a background in analytics and digital marketing, Bromwell is passionate about understanding and tracking data, so he started using Lose It!, an app where he could log his food and track his progress. His goal was to lose a pound per week.

He logged in everything he ate and became more mindful of his drinking, but it was tricky because he was always on the road.

“I had to get back in the habit of cooking for one,” Bromwell remembered. “I had to figure out on the road how to make better choices. I had to balance the experiences of meeting people, seeing new places, and traveling solo with affordable and easier-to-eat healthy cooking.”

The change was easier to accomplish

He still carefully tracked what he ate even on vacation and holidays, without ever restricting himself too much. It seemed infinitely more effective.

I did not feel like I was giving anything up. I was more conscious and more deliberate about my weight and my body and what I was putting into it.

Jeremy Bromwell

He weighed himself once a week and after 13 months was a pound away from his goal weight.

“I was not going to step on the scale every day. I had to do what I needed to do consistently, and get on the scale one time a week max. I was looking for bigger trends over time,” he said.

Today, Bromwell has lost 60 pounds and is on his third year of full-time work and travel. He still tracks what he eats and is now a certified yoga teacher.

“Yoga is something that helped me get back a lot of my range of motion and flexibility. I see a connection to yoga and body mechanics and how joints work. It helped me get back to a functional place in my life.”

It is never a one size fits all

Jeremy’s transformation is proof that making changes works differently for everyone. While strict diets can be effective for many, they can also have adverse effects for a lot of people. He took some time to reflect and find the right plan for him.

Whatever change we want to accomplish, it is always worth taking some time to reflect on what works best for us. That way, it will optimize our chances of realizing the goal, whatever it is.

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