FARMINGDALE, NY – As Americans all across the country were readying to fill their bellies on Thanksgiving Day, Newsday – one of the most widely-read newspapers in the United States – featured a story that week about Greek-American Anthony Rahaniotis, who has been doing just the opposite: exerting a great deal of will power and determination to make a transformative lifestyle change. The result: he lost 100 pounds in four months.
The 30 year-old native Long Islander, whose father is from Argos and mother from Sparti, told Newsday that after mixed results with diets, he decided he wanted to make a permanent lifestyle change and lose enough weight so that, among other things, he could fit into nice clothes. Now, the Greek-American shares his story with our community, via this TNH interview.
“I initially wanted to lose 30 pounds,” Rahaniotis told TNH, “but by the end of just one month I had met my goal. I realized that this was not a diet but rather a change in my lifestyle. Eating healthier became enjoyable and I continued to eat lean meats, lots of protein and maintained a very limited carb intake. In addition, I continued exercising for a minimum of two hours each day. The weight just continued to come off. I was surprised to be down 100 pounds so fast but I know that I have worked very hard to make it happen.”
Although some advised him not to weigh himself every day, “it kept me motivated,” he said. “Seeing the pounds drop on almost a daily basis kept my energy high and made me strive to work harder. I loved seeing my weight go down every day. If I did not see the number go down, I worked out even harder and watched what I ate that day even more than usual.”
Nonetheless, 100 pounds in just four months is quite an accomplishment. How did he do it? “I needed to be determined and stay focused. I did not allow myself to eat after certain times,” Rahaniotis told TNH. “I also limited my diet to only healthy foods. I drastically cut back my portion size to control my calorie intake. Carbs were nearly eliminated from my diet. Another major factor was that I started exercising on a regular basis, my daily routine included at least two hours of cardio and 45 minutes of weight training.”
Rahaniotis told Newsday that he conditioned himself not to eat after 6PM. We asked him whether that was particularly difficult. “In the beginning this was very challenging for me because of my work hours,” said Rahaniotis, who is an assistant manager at Starbucks. “Sometimes I would be working until 10PM (or later) and it was very easy to come home and snack on anything and everything in my house. Typically, I stay up until about midnight but it is dependent on my work schedule. In order to keep from eating after 6PM I drink black coffee or water. I also snack on different types of nuts throughout the day this helps to keep me full and satisfied.”
He emphasized that “I did not need to condition myself because I was determined and I knew that this was the source of my problems. I would always look to eat around 10PM after I had already had dinner, eating late was my weakness.”
Between his job at Starbucks and pursuit of a MBA, where does Rahaniotis find the time to exercise? “Although it seems impossible,” with such a busy schedule, he said, “I needed to stop making excuses. My excuse was always ‘I am tired.’ I was tired because I was overweight and did not have the energy to go to the gym. I found time before or after work to go to the gym. While the weather was warm, I kept myself motivated by not only going to the gym but by going for long walks. Sometimes it required waking up early or staying up a bit later but it was worth it.”
Rahaniotis is living proof that this can be done, and his advice to his fellow Greek-Americans and, more broadly, to everyone is: “cherish your life and watch what you are putting into your body.”