A former “Jeopardy!” winner has lost 200 pounds after his business was shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Joshua Swiger, 43, from Hawaii, appeared on “Jeopardy!” in January 2020 and won $16,400 after his first appearance.
He told Fox News Digital that he was basically “morbidly obese” for 20 years before he finally decided to lose the weight. During that time, Swiger said he tried to lose weight a few times, but always “got frustrated with it and gave up.”
After several failed attempts, Swiger said he thought bariatric surgery was going to be his only option for losing weight. So in July 2020, he met with a doctor to talk about the procedure. At the time, he weighed over 400 pounds.
Because doctors encourage patients to lose some weight on their own before undergoing bariatric surgery, Swiger went back to losing weight – this time, more successfully.
He said during the process of trying to lose weight for the procedure, he learned about nutrition and physiology.
“I was able to stick with it long enough to see consistent results,” he added. “Instead of losing 20 or 30 pounds and then giving up when things got difficult, I learned to just hang in there and keep going and eventually, start losing the weight again.”
“When I gave up on doing it my way, that’s when I learned how to do it the right way,” he said.
Swiger told Fox that he did a low-carb diet, because “that’s the easiest place to cut calories out.”
“Because you need some fats and you absolutely need protein, but you can get by without carbs,” Swiger said. “I don’t necessarily say everybody should do low-carb, but that’s what worked for me.”
Swiger said he never ended up doing the bariatric surgery. Instead, he lost 200 pounds on his own over the last year and a half. Currently, he weighs between 200 and 210 pounds, he told Fox.
Another thing that helped Swiger with his weight loss was the closure of his private tour company in Hawaii.
He told Fox that though he loved his tour business, it was also “incredibly stressful” because he ran it on his own. In response to the stress, Swiger said he turned to food for comfort.
That changed when the pandemic hit.
“When the whole business crashed, my faith tells me that God provides, so I wasn’t worried that we would be homeless or something like that,” Swiger said. “So I actually felt a lot better when I lost my business because… the stress of not knowing where the income was coming from was actually a lot less than the stress of trying to keep up with the business.”
Not having the stress of his business allowed him to focus on losing weight, he said.
Now, Swiger is a personal trainer, using the same communication skills and his love of people that he used when he was a tour guide.
“There’s somebody out there who weighs more than I did who’s going to be an even bigger success than me and I can’t wait to help that person,” Swiger said.
Swiger said he’s currently working on new goals.
In March, he’s running his second 10K run followed by a half-marathon in April, a sprint triathlon in May and in August he’s doing a 10K Spartan Race.
By December, he plans to run a full marathon.
“I like doing things for the challenge for myself, but my motivation right now is to not just be the guy who lost 200 pounds, but the guy who lost 200 pounds and ran the marathon.”
“These things all seem impossible, but impossible is so relative,” he added.
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