Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 31, 2013

JOSHUA BALL: Oney’s proof you can do it yourself

JOSHUA BALL
For the Independent

SALYERSVILLE — I’ve lost count of the late-night infomercials I’ve watched depicting dramatic weight loss for four — no, for the next 10 minutes — three easy payments of $19.99, only to read the fine print about results not being typical.

Really?

We live in a world of wanting everything now, including weight loss, much like, no pun intended, Veruca Salt’s rant in “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

Enter fad diets, surgeries, pills … get my point?

We don’t want to work for anything.

Tommy Oney worked for every pound — all 170 — he has lost in the last 12 months.

The 29-year-old Magoffin County native works out at least an hour a day six days a week. Aside from the strict workout regime has come a drastic change in lifestyle. Gone are the burgers, pizza, fries and sweets. Now, Oney eats baked lean meats and fresh vegetables.

What makes Oney’s weight loss incredible is it mirrors that of contestants on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” where those seeking a new life join a ranch and are surrounded by trainers and support staff around the clock.

Oney did it on his own, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

He did find support, much of it in the world of cyberspace. His wife, Heather, an editor of the small local newspaper, started a blog to chronicle Tommy’s journey. He started adding fans, including many of his co-workers at Mountain Comprehensive Care.

But Tommy’s biggest ally has been a My Fitness Pal app for his iPhone. It provided him a mechanism of accountability as everything he ate went into the phone to be calculated.

He went from consuming 11,000 calories a day to between 1,400 and 1,700.

“It’s been an adjustment in lifestyle, not diet,” Tommy said. “This is something I will do the rest of my life. And because of the choices I made, I have my life back.”

Tommy’s story is one we need to hear. Statistics show we are not healthy; our obesity rate is nearly double that of the national average.

Watching someone like Tommy take on life’s challenges on his own is no surprise. The work ethic of our ancestors taught us to take care of not only ourselves, but our own.  Tommy’s story is one we can all learn from because he’s not on television and he didn’t use any particular diet. He changed his actions, and therefore, his life.

JOSH BALL is a freelance writer.