MATTHEW BRADY: FACING SERIOUS HEALTH CONCERNS FROM BEING OVERWEIGHT HE BEGAN A Y JOURNEY THAT CHANGED HIS ENTIRE FAMILIES HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
When Matthew Brady relocated to Southern New Hampshire for his career, little did he know this would be part of a wellness journey that impacted his entire family.
In January of 2013, the Brady family moved from Oklahoma to New Hampshire. Over the course of many years, Matthew’s weight crept up to 450 pounds. He was not in a place where he believed that he could lose weight on his own. He wanted to consult with his doctor and consider having bariatric surgery. He believed that he would be facing serious health problems, if he did not get his weight under control.
To be approved for this surgery, his surgeon required that he lose 60 pounds. His first thought was, “if I could lose 60 pounds on my own, I wouldn’t need surgery!” With the guidance from a nutritionist, he cut down his calorie intake and food portions. He knew he needed to start exercising. “The only way to get active in our winter tundra was to exercise indoors. I joined the Y. I walked the track in Nashua. I was committed. I started my days at the Y multiple days a week.”
Matthew started losing weight. He was increasing his time walking on the track. He began to add in jogging on the track: partly walking, partly jogging. He was regularly doing 60-minute sessions. “I started running. Light running. Nine laps on the track is a mile. I would walk half a lap, and then run the rest of the mile. The first time I ran a mile non-stop was great. The day I ran 5 miles on the track without stopping: that was a victory day,” he said.
Matthew lost the 60 pounds and was approved for weight loss surgery in May of 2013. That’s only part of his story. Exercising at the Y is his focus now. “The Y is an integral part of my life. It’s the place I go to be active. I actually run marathons now. I had offers to run in races and did the 12-person, 200-mile RAGNAR relay. We started on a Friday at 7 a.m., and finish Saturday evening at 7. I ran three legs of the race. We started at Bretton Woods and finished at Hampton Beach. I was running five or six miles a day, five times a week. Overall, I was running 35 or 40 miles a week at the Y. Someone told me it was marathon training. My first marathon was in April of 2018. I went back to Oklahoma. It was good to go home, but 30 degrees hotter to run outdoors there!,” he said. “Weight can creep up, so I am always finding ways to challenge myself. I introduced weight lifting at the Y into my routine.”
Being healthy at the Y is part of the Brady family’s lifestyle. Matthew’s wife Leslie was also on a weight loss journey. Leslie started by taking Zumba classes at the Y. For Leslie, finding a way to challenge herself socially and emotionally helps keep the weight off. She now teaches several classes at the Y each week including Aqua Zumba, Zumba, Cardio Dance, and Pound.
“Leslie is not an extrovert. She took many Y classes, spoke with the instructors and started substitute teaching. She loves it. She teaches six or seven classes a week now. Teaching is a great part of her healthy lifestyle,” Matthew shared. “With both of us being healthier, helps us both think about how we can be here for our kids. We have a lot of work in helping our kids be healthier, and we are not perfect at it, but it gives us a perspective that we can get there. I know I can do hard things. I hope to be able to instill that in my kids.”
“Between the two of us, we have lost over 300 pounds. I now have the energy to not only workout, but also work around the house without just being winded is a great thing. I feel healthier, and it helps me know that I can be here for my family for the long run. Throughout all of this, I lost half of my size. I couldn’t have done it without the Y,” he said. “I connect with the same members and staff each visit. It’s been helpful.”
The YMCA of Greater Nashua’s mission is to instill values and provide opportunities for lifelong personal growth and the development of a healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
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