Health Team

Triangle man loses 100 pounds on sub sandwich diet

Posted February 25, 2016

More than a third of adults in America are obese. Using the Body Mass Index (BMI), many of them are "morbidly" obese, meaning their weight has become a life threat.

Losing a significant amount of weight is the prescription for better health, but how you lose weight is also important.

Colin Rackley, 40, has been successful with a Subway sandwich diet. Every day, he eats a six-inch sub for lunch and another one for dinner. And he gets his exercise walking to get his subs.

Four years ago, Rackley weighed 280 pounds and was using a Cpap machine for his sleep apnea. His neurologist gave him the cold, hard truth.

"He said, 'Well, I can give you, without any major changes in your lifestyle, I can give you maybe 10 to 15 years to live.' And at the time I was only 36," Rackley said. "That was a wake-up call."

His doctor told him to find a plan that would work for him, so Rackley turned to articles about losing weight, eating Subway sandwiches and staying under 2,000 calories per day.

Rackley always gets a six-inch wheat bun with the lowest sodium meats.

"It's roast beef," he said. "The veggies I added were tomatoes, lettuce, onions and green peppers."

He stayed away from fattening mayonnaise, dressing, cheese or bacon.

For breakfast and snacks, he ate unsalted nuts, pretzels or raw vegetables. About four days a week, he walks for 40 minutes a day.

"I didn't necessarily want fast results. I wanted long-term results," Rackley said.

It took four years, but Rackley lost 100 pounds.

Natalie Newell, a dietician at UNC Rex Healthcare, offered congratulations to Rackley for his weight loss.

"Losing 100 pounds is amazing," she said.

But she has concerns about the Subway diet as a lifestyle.

"My only concern is some of the vitamins and minerals he might be missing by keeping a very strict diet," she said.

She recommended Rackley add a wider variety of vegetables and to his diet.

"Fruits have a tremendous amount of fiber and vitamins and minerals that we need, and not getting those vitamins can really affect our overall health," she said.

Rackley says the changes he made have been great for his health.

"I don't need the Cpap anymore. In fact, I went to the sleep clinic last week and they said, 'No need to return.' I definitely feel better, not only physically but psychologically as well," he said.

Newell says Rackley's challenge will be moving beyond subs and into a wider variety of healthy foods without gaining back the weight he's lost.

"It's important to lose the 100 pounds," she said, "but you want to maintain that weight loss."

For anyone looking to lose weight safely, Newell recommends starting with a food journal to chronicle every bite and then to make better choices. The journal will show where calories add up. Replace those high-calorie foods with low-calorie versions or other healthy foods.

For a diet to work long term, she says, it has to become an easy habit and that habit must include regular physical activity.

Before starting any weight loss plan, consult your doctor and ask about getting the services of a registered dietician.

1 Comment

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  • Fanny Chmelar Feb 26, 2016
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    Congrats for his success!

    "His doctor told him to find a plan that would work for him, so Rackley turned to articles about losing weight, eating Subway sandwiches and staying under 2,000 calories per day."

    So many thing wrong right there. Ms. Newell nailed it: he was basically on an unsupervised and somewhat ill-advised diet, and the standard "consult doc/dietitian' was put out there. His doc failed him there.

    I'm glad to hear he's going to dump subway and switch to something healthier. Kudos to him for doing things (mostly) the right way! Monitor your habits then change them - diets are for life, not for a temporary fix!