After graduating from the academy, Aaron Lohman, 36, settled into his new job as a New York City cop—and packed on 140 pounds in 9 years. “I figured I didn’t need to worry about the physical qualifications any more,” he says. “I preferred to go out after work with my girlfriend, who’s now my wife.”
That all changed in 2015, after waking from a nightmare in a cold sweat. “In my dream, I was fighting a criminal who overpowered me and threw me off a rooftop,” says Lohman. “But the worst part was thinking about my two-and-a-half year-old daughter, who I realized would grow up without a father.”
He went on a weight loss program that day.
Hold yourself accountable. Lohman started tracking calories and eventually began weighing his food. Out went pizza and beer; in came turkey meatballs and egg whites. He also packs his lunch daily. “I’m fine with boring,” he says. “I’ll eat 8 ounces of chicken and 6 ounces of a sweet potato every day.”
Turn negativity into a positive. Not long after Lohman started working out, a co-worker mentioned the 40-mile NYC Five-Borough Bike Tour. When the other cops overheard them, they laughed. “They were like, ‘Yeah right, Aaron’s going to do a bike tour.’ It made me so mad I thought I really am going to do it. And I did—without walking my bike once.”
Commit to a schedule. Lohman lifts weights five days a week at a local gym, or in the weight room in his station’s precinct. On each day, he concentrates on exercising a single body part (chest, back, legs, arms, shoulders).
Curb cravings with protein. Have protein at every meal, including snacks, he says. For breakfast, Lohman has hard-boiled eggs and Greek yogurt; for lunch, turkey slices; for dinner, chicken or turkey meatballs. In between meals, he has whey-protein shakes.
Post your progress. Lohman posts selfies of his workout progress on Instagram (he now has more than 18,000 followers). “Everyone should try it,” he says. “There’s nothing like the idea of failing in public to keep you motivated.” And his motivational posts give others a boost, too. “There is no top secret diet…just you, the desire to change, and the work you do to make it happen.”