Mike Theokas jokes that he is “half the man I used to be.” Although this statement accurately reflects Mike’s impressive weight loss of 358 pounds, the details of his journey certainly demonstrate his tremendous growth since he arrived to Structure House in March of 2010. Mike initially came to SH because he realized that he was headed for a crisis if he continued to engage in his unhealthy eating and sedentary patterns. He decided that he wanted to start controlling his own actions, rather than allowing food to have control over him.
Over the course of two Structure House stays, Mike adopted the Structure House principle of eating only 3 meals daily with no eating in between. He focused on consuming what his body needed for nutrition rather than relying on food for comfort or entertainment. Initially, Mike did not feel comfortable working out in a gym with people whom he perceived as more fit than himself. Thus, he started to increase his activity through functional activities like walking to do errands or parking in spots a distance away from his destination. Eventually, he gained enough confidence to start a workout program in a gym and he now attends the gym regularly and enjoys it. Most recently, Mike has volunteered to coach his local high school’s football and basketball teams, and he takes pride in being able to complete running drills with the players. Mike also recently completed a 5k.
Mike advises others to stop dwelling on the past and perceived limitations. Now 296 pounds, he found success by starting small, focusing less on the number on the scale and more on healthy day-to-day living. Once he changed his lifestyle, mindset, and habits, the weight loss came with it, and he exceeded many goals and milestones along the way. Mike also advocates using mindfulness and meditation techniques to “press the pause button” and deal with the moment at hand before it spirals out of control. He also keeps in touch with his Structure House support system; the friendships that he developed while on campus have added to the support that he receives from his family and lifelong friends at home. Above all, Mike acknowledges that the prerequisite to his success was being willing to ask for help. He recognizes that once he allowed himself to really listen and fostered a desire to change, the healthy behaviors naturally followed.