In 2013, Tracy McClinton contacted H+F about her husband, Eric McClinton. Although Eric had always been health conscious, he suffered two strokes before the age of 39. This led him to become concerned with making others aware of the benefits of proper diet and exercise. McClinton’s success story was about his efforts to spread awareness of the vital importance of a healthy lifestyle. Randy Irving is part of that story.
Randy Irving and Eric McClinton are fraternity brothers. Two years ago, McClinton introduced Irving to Memphis Judo & Jiu-Jitsu in Bartlett. Irving had battled with his weight his entire life — especially after college — when his lifestyle became more sedentary. Still, at 275 pounds he was running three miles a few days a week and lifting weights. He loved the kickboxing class, but it really “kicked his butt.” Irving made the decision to commit to attending the class all week, and to eat right during that time. He woke up the next day and realized he had no idea what to eat in order to eat right.
“You can’t do the right thing and get the wrong results, and that applies to eating and exercise. Eating was the fundamental piece.”
Irving took to the internet to see what eating right meant for him. After doing some research, he concluded that he would focus on consuming lean protein, vegetables, and water. The easiest thing to do, says Irving, was to just avoid starches altogether as he observed how removing them from his diet affected his weight. He lost seven pounds in one week, and after six months he went from 275 pounds to 210 pounds. Now, he weighs 190 pounds. His personal goal was 240.
When asked how he was able to turn a corner with his diet, Irving credits the leadership development program at FedEx, where he works, with providing him the mental tools to succeed. “We learned about reaching goals by being consistent and writing down your goals and what you need to do to reach them,” Irving says. “You can’t do the right thing and get the wrong results, and this applies to eating and exercise. Eating was the fundamental piece.” He
found a website where you can plug in menu items from popular restaurants to get the approximate calorie count, and it finally hit home. A sample day prior to changing his diet looked like this: a bacon, egg, and cheese combo with tater-tots and strawberry slush for breakfast, consuming a basket of bread over lunch with coworkers, and a drive-through cheeseburger and a shake with his kids for dinner. “Most of the time
we know the things we need to do,” he adds, “it’s just always easier to do the wrong things for you.” Thanks to his program at work, Irving became aware of habits and behaviors that led to his poor dietary health and was determined to change them. “I really think the difference is not looking at it as being on a diet, understanding how much I was eating, and what it was doing to my body.”
The result? At St. Jude Half Marathon time of 1:51, kickboxing and weightlifting three days a week, coaching his eleven year old son in football and basketball, and a group text set up with his other fraternity brothers to encourage each other in keeping up healthy habits — including McClinton, who says Randy “has truly inspired a lot of people I know.”
by Laura Gray McCann.
Photo by Sarah McAlexander.