One Foot in Front of the Other
A Man's Journey Away from Obesity
Breaking nearly all of the documented long-term weight loss records—Andrew Leon LeClair has maintained a successful weight loss of 125 pounds for an unprecedented thirty years! Andrew began his life’s journey with a seemingly normal childhood, but the challenging reality of his youth and family life set the tone for his accelerated path to adulthood. Because Andrew realized that he was unwilling to accept limitation or defeat, he chose to take control of his life, rearrange his priorities, and find a long-term strategy to overcome obesity and achieve success and happiness. As a child, after watching his parents suffer in the face of tragedy while dealing with his own struggles, Andrew turned to food for solace and comfort. During a time when baby fat was a fashionable expression of denial, no one knew then what challenges would await Andrew’s arrival later. After years of emotional warfare and dysfunction, divorce was inevitable for Andrew’s parents. While his mother’s second marriage was apparently better for her and initially pleasant for the children, that alliance quickly evolved into upheaval, forcing Andrew to grow up and embrace adulthood sooner than anticipated. Food remained steadfast within Andrew’s life as he tried to find his way through a multitude of grown-up challenges. Though he knew he was not living the healthiest life, he did not view it as a pressing problem either. His lack of concern eventually changed after he witnessed the health issues that resulted from his father’s destructive behavior and disinterest in physical fitness and healthy habits. Andrew realized that he had to find a way to prevent the same fate in his own life and wanted to figure out how to lose the weight that hindered so many of his aspirations. Although Andrew knew that a quick fix did not exist, he was willing to take drastic measures to achieve weight loss. It was a frightening time for Andrew, but the thought of having a serious illness like his father scared him even more. After embarking upon a risky surgical weight loss procedure, Andrew quickly found out that it was not an end to his problems, but the beginning of a new life with more challenges and adversity. He realized that he would have to commit to changing his entire life from food intake and portion control to exercise and fitness in order to begin dropping pounds and having any chance of maintaining that weight loss. Andrew’s new path was not easy, and every time he believed he had found a plateau within his journey that would allow him to relax and let down his guard, a new and unexpected conflict or challenge would arise, testing his tolerance and ability to overcome and move forward. In the midst of Andrew’s physical lifestyle changes, he discovered a career that could be rewarding and provide financial stability. However, with so many life-altering changes occurring along the way, he found himself tangled within battles between maintaining a healthy physical existence and reaching for his professional dreams. Andrew knew that if he had any chance of achieving his objectives, he had to plan a permanent strategy that would provide balance within the various facets of his life. Throughout the ensuing years, the media has placed an increasing amount of focus upon weight loss and fitness with the use of diet programs and products, exercise equipment, and television reality shows promoting weight loss competitions. These types of shows stir up media buzz and public support. However, when the shows are over, the participants often return to their old habits because they chose to lose weight for rewards rather than for life. Consequently, the public hears reports of those same individuals regaining their previously lost weight, along with a few additional pounds. Andrew did not want to be that type of statistic, which was evident by his thirty years of weight loss maintenance after gastric bypass. Unlike many others, Andrew did not pursue weight loss for financial gain or media attention, and he did not have to challenge anyone else to win a competition. The only person Andrew challenged was himself, with physical health and fitness as his incentives. He did not allow life’s periodic curve balls to rule his life or prevent him from moving forward. In addition, Andrew did not seek the assistance of nutritionists, physical trainers, or trendy diet programs for weight loss. Instead, Andrew made a commitment to change his life on his own by taking the focus away from food to concentrate his efforts on living a healthy and fit life—the ultimate success story!
With over twenty years of professional experience – Andrew Leon LeClair is an accomplished international interior designer, who designs luxury hotels worldwide for one of the Top 10 International Interior Design Giants. Throughout his life and career, Andrew has battled weight gain and loss, along with an array of other personal struggles, which was his motivation to write his first book. Andrew’s goal is to share the valuable lessons he has learned along his personal and professional journey, and he hopes to inspire his readers to achieve a lifelong path to physical fitness and emotional health.
The second of five children, Andrew was born on June 5, 1961 in central Maine to David and Marilyn LeClair. Andrew’s parents came from a long line of laborers, who took pride in their hard work and strong family values, and tried to impart that same work ethic within their own family unit.
As a child, Andrew experienced many of the typical activities and events of most children growing up in the sixties and seventies. However, many stressful aspects of his childhood, including serious issues with his weight, expedited his transition into adulthood, and influenced the subsequent choices he made. This dictated the overall direction of his future.
Although Andrew had the opportunity to attend college in Maine – he did not want to settle for a safe and less appealing career. He had aspirations of pursuing life in a more glamorous and metropolitan geographical area. Andrew began his new life, by applying to the University of Miami. Upon notification of his acceptance, he immediately relocated to Florida, enrolled, and quickly acclimated to his new college environment. Andrew’s original course of study leaned toward theatre and drama. However, he faced many performance limitations, because of his weight and appearance.
Determined to improve his life, while he was still attending college, Andrew chose to try a new surgical procedure to address his severe weight issues. This procedure was gastric bypass surgery – a technique designed to change the digestive system to make the stomach smaller and limit food intake. It was a dangerous surgery, especially during the earlier years of its inception. However, Andrew felt that it was the only viable option, which would enable him to change his circumstance and remove his previous limitations.
After his recovery, Andrew finished college and realized that despite his anticipated weight loss, a life in the entertainment industry was not realistic. To Andrew’s surprise, an unexpected mentor presented an opportunity for a career in interior design. His new mentor believed that Andrew had the style and skills necessary to learn, and to cultivate a professional design career.
Although Andrew was inexperienced, he quickly learned every aspect of the business, and grew to love the results of his creativity. Designing nurtured Andrews’s artistic side, while providing him with a sense of adventure and fulfillment, as well as financial security. This was the beginning of a rewarding career, which Andrew has continued for more than two decades, while reinventing his lifestyle professionally and physically. Andrew now resides in New England, where he has earned a prestigious position as a senior designer for DiLeonardo International. Traveling internationally on a regular basis, Andrew is thriving in his career, as he continues to design with his unparalleled artistic vision and talent.
Despite Andrew’s demanding work schedule, he has maintained thirty years of weight loss after gastric bypass surgery. This type of record is unprecedented and a true testament to Andrew’s commitment to nutrition, physical fitness, and a healthy body image.
While his life experiences have been challenging, Andrew’s journey has been a learning experience that has resulted in his personal and professional success.
Perfect Bound Softcover