After being too embarrassed to take off his t-shirt at the pool in front of his family, Paul Eulette knew something had to change. At 30 years old, he weighed over 270 pounds.

“I was single, had pain in my joints, felt sluggish, and it felt like the beginning of a downward spiral for my health and overall future,” Eulettel told Men’s Health.

Growing up, Eulette overindulged in his family’s favorite Caribbean dishes for emotional comfort and his weight started creeping up during his teens.

Eulette lost family members over the years to poor health. His doctor warned him that at the rate he was going, he wouldn’t last much longer than 30 years.

When he moved to New York City in 2016, Eulette decided it was time to take charge of his health.

“Being winded walking up the stairs of the subway or complaining about walking a few blocks instead of taking a cab was a realization that something needed to change,” he said.

Living in the Big Apple, he was walking more than ever before and managed to lose a few pounds. Little did he know at the time, it was the beginning of a life-changing transformation journey.

When friends noticed his weight loss, they encouraged him to try running. “My first real run was rough, but I powered through the embarrassment of only being able to run two blocks before walking,” remembered Eulette.

He quickly worked his way up to running a mile and pushed himself to go a little further every time, and in the meantime, the pounds were melting off.

To keep his momentum going, Eulette shifted his focus to getting stronger. “Once I felt a sense of accomplishment from running, I opened myself up to new exercises. I purchased a workout class package for various studios and tried spinning, dance, weights,” he said.

He enjoyed them all, but once he discovered indoor rowing — he was hooked. “It gave me a cardio workout similar to running, but also full-body strengthening and helped with mobility. It made me realize how much I was underutilizing my body,” said Eulette.

“The misconception that rowing is boring is the same as trying one bad veggie burger and saying, ‘healthy food tastes bad,’ he said, “you need to find the right recipe.”

On top of working out to lose weight and get stronger, Paul had to learn to change the way he ate. “I learned to properly portion the foods I loved as reasonable treats to reward my progress,” Eulette said.

“That meant less cultural (Jamaican) hard dough bread, dumplings, cornmeal porridge, bun & cheese and less hometown (Atlanta) fried food, late-night waffles, biscuits and gravy, and grits. And it meant more vegetarian alternatives to my favorite savory foods, and going for all the fresh fruits popular in Jamaica—papaya, mango, guava, starfruit, guineps—that are all readily available in NYC.”

In 16 months, Eulette lost nearly 70 pounds.

Looking back on how far he’s come, he’s proud of himself and plans to keep up his new, healthy habits for as long as he can.

“I know the activities of my 30s will affect the health of my 40s and 50s. My goal is to sustain my health and weight and keep getting stronger.”

For anyone wanting to transform their lives, Paul recommends starting small, staying consistent, and rewarding yourself.

“I literally started walking and it is the first thing that made me realize I could do this.”

“If you can go from 275 pounds to running 10 miles you can try new things,” he said.

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