A Vegas Pool Party Helped Motivate This Guy to Get Healthy and Lose 125 Pounds
Richard Arquette vividly recalls the moment when he felt most aware of the weight he’d gained. He was on vacation in Las Vegas with his best friend, and she’d bought them tickets to a Steve Aoki concert that included a pool party at the MGM Grand. “When we arrived, I began to have a panic attack seeing others at the event,” he says. “I immediately felt like I was the largest person at that pool, and my self-confidence disappeared.”
Arquette told his friend that he needed to leave and, seeing that he was upset, she reluctantly left the party with him. “I realized that I was embarrassed by where I was physically and mentally, and that I needed to make a change,” he says. At the time, Arquette, 28, who works as a college administrator in Pullman, Washington, was hovering around 315 pounds. He’d convinced himself that he was fine, but deep down, he knew that wasn’t the case. A combination of poor diet, poor portion control, and lack of exercise had created a perfect storm of unhealthy behaviors.
“Thinking back, my weight has always been something I struggled with, even as someone who was fairly active in high school as a competitive swimmer,” Arquette says. While being active as a teenager helped mask the consequences of unhealthy eating, at first, his bad habits caught up to him when he stopped swimming in college. “The freshman 15 was probably the freshman 30 for me,” he admits. His weight steadily continued to climb from freshman to senior year, and all through graduate school.
After his turning point in Las Vegas, Arquette started by working with a nutritionist to help him figure out where he was going wrong with his eating habits and make a few simple changes to his diet. Those changes included portion control, for starters, and increasing his water intake. “Then I transitioned to a diet that was focused around a protein, vegetable, and small amount of starch,” he says. He started making purchases with weekly meal prep in mind, too, so it would be easier to stay on track. His nutritionist advised him to take it slow: “Making small and progressive changes allowed the transition to a better diet to be much easier than the experiences I’d had before,” he says.
Next, he worked on being more active. First, he bought a bike, and initially took short trips to get himself acclimated. Once he felt comfortable, he started biking to and from work daily. He also started to use his long-dormant gym membership, integrating a strength training routine a couple of days a week. As the pounds started to fall off, Arquette’s motivation soared. Once he’d lost 30 pounds, his insurance approved him to see a physician who focused primarily on weight loss. That led to a conversation about gastric bypass surgery, which Arquette decided to undergo in December of 2017.
Following the surgery, Arquette lost another 40 pounds over the next four months. Once he was cleared to work out again, he got back in the gym, stayed active, and continued to eat healthy. As he continued to work out regularly and be mindful of his diet for the remainder of the year, his hard work paid off: His weight dropped to a healthy 190 pounds—a total loss of about 125 pounds. “I will never be finished. I know that this journey is life-long and I can always accomplish more to bring myself to the next level,” he says.
He’s also started doing yoga, and soon, he plans to go back to the MGM Grand—the place where it all started—for another Steve Aoki show, to make it up to her for leaving early. “This time, I want to be present in the experience that I missed out on because of where I had let my health go,” he says. “I understand now that my health is not as simple as a single diet, workout, or quick process. I feel healthy. I feel confident. My life has changed.”
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