WASHINGTON, Mo. (KTVI) – A Washington, Missouri man who once weighed 540 pounds is now down to 270.
Jeff Brinker, 57, sells industrial automation equipment and has traveled on a business expense account for 30 years.
“So I could always eat what I wanted to eat. So now it’s about eating to survive rather than eating what felt good,” Brinker said.
Brinker underwent gastric sleeve surgery in 2016. He initially lost 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 restaurant business 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 an Air Force first lieutenant pilot, approached him to tell him about his height.
“After more than a few conversations, it occurred to me that, you know what? I have to fix this problem,” Brinker said.
So, a year ago, he made some major lifestyle changes.
“Just cold turkey. I’ve tried many times to get into it or follow some kind of program, and it never stuck,” Brinker said. “I just had to think about it…eat less.”
Brinker weighed 450 pounds when Samantha inspired him to change his lifestyle.
“I cut my calories by a huge amount to about 1,200 a day,” said Brinker, who also cut all added sugar from her diet.
“I had a sweet tooth. So I stopped eating added sugar, gave up sugar in coffee, cut calories, and cut out simple carbs like white bread,” Brinker said.
While eating five small meals a day, Brinker also joined a gym. His new workout routine was to spend about an hour in the gym every morning using the exercise bike and working out with light weights.
Now he’s at 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 strength training. He also now eats around 1,600 calories a day.
Brinker eventually went from 540 pounds in 2017 to his current weight of 270 pounds. Her height of 60 inches has also shrunk to 42 inches.
Brinker said his new wife Martha, son and daughter keep him motivated.
“My son and daughter contact me regularly,” Brinker said.
When Brinker started her journey a year ago, Martha also had some weight she wanted to get rid of.
“My wife today was incredibly encouraging,” Brinker said. “She was never 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 25-35 pounds, but he’s happy to be in better shape.
“Now it’s more about strength training and just being physically active and healthy,” Brinker said.