Our good friend, Mike Epstein, is one of our Extreme Weight Loss superstars!!! As one of the leaders of the season 3 pack, Mike dropped a whopping 221 pounds in one year. Not only did Mike transform his own life during his year journey with us, but he went on the inspire and transform the lives of many, many more! The Epstein’s have remained close friends of ours, so while I know what’s going on in this superhero’s life, I thought it would be fun to have him fill you all in :).
It’s Q & A time with Mikey!!!!
Q. Mike!! What’s life been like since your episode aired on TV last summer?
A. What an amazing year of transformation for me, my family and people around me. It was so true when Chris and Heidi told me it was only the beginning after the show ended. I didn’t realize the impact the show would have on others either. I am continuing to pay forward what was given to me by inspiring others through my Hero Unleashed Movement.
Whether it’s somebody who needs to turn around their physical health, students who are learning to build self-esteem and make good, positive decisions, or people who want to create a successful business, I’ve been teaching people to UNLEASH their inner Superheroes and believe in themselves — overcoming obstacles, breaking through barriers and believing in yourself with great lessons and tips from some of our favorite superheroes like Spiderman, Superman, Batman and me !!
I have also started a Hero Unleashed boot camp with my local trainer Mark Quigley, who worked with Chris when he wasn’t with me to help me be the best I could be. And now I can help others to be the best they can be through the physical transformation with the boot camp.
I’ve also teamed with the Hero Network as a spokesperson to help fulfill wishes to those less fortunate who need help. By donating to peoples wishes, you become a Hero. I realized that there are a lot of Heroes in this world who go unnoticed. Survivors of various diseases like cancer, supporters of those survivors, military personnel and many more are heroes.
Q. For someone just starting out, what is the most important piece of advice you’d share with them?
A. When I first started out at over 400lbs, my number one goal was not to injure myself and make sure I had a positive state of mind. I took things slowly at first until I built my foundation and started to lose weight. If you get injured, it not only affects you physically, but mentally. The transformation process begins and ends with your mind. If you have a positive attitude, there isn’t anything you can’t accomplish if you put your mind to it.
Q. Have you ever found it challenging to keep your motivation? How or what did you do to get remotivated?
A. As much as I talk about Unleashing Your Inner Superhero, I am also human. Sometimes I wish I had taken my own advice. After having skin removal surgery the second time for my arms, even though it was something I was looking forward to, I didn’t realize that going from 100mph to 0mph was going to have such a profound impact. This is where your mental toughness comes into play. I had some impulse eating moments and gained some weight back. One of the best pieces of advice given to me by Chris and Heidi was if you have a setback you should Confess, Reassess and Recommit. That’s what I did and am back on track. I’m more excited than ever to continue with my healthy lifestyle and sharing with others. Thank you Chris and Heidi for giving me the tools to handle different situations in life !!!
Q. Do you have a favorite motto or quote?
A. My father used to say “I never had a bad day in my life”. After he passed away, I took that motto on as well. Even though I had some really tough days at over 400lbs and didn’t feel too great, saying that every day and finding the good in every day by smiling, it came true. It was especially helpful in my transformation year and kept me positive.
My purpose and my passion was always my family. I could always find the good in everyday by thinking about them. I would suggest that everyone find a purpose and passion in life and you too can say “I never had a bad day in my life”. It’s contagious !!
Q. What is your favorite food to enjoy on a reward/cheat day?
A. I love pizza. The beauty of pizza is it’s a complete food. I can put all kinds of stuff on it, depending on what I want at the moment. Meats, cheeses, veggies. Awesome !!!
And of course a cheesesteak from Geno’s in Philadelphia. A Philadelphia institution and a late night hangout for me in the “old” days. I went there so often, they hung a picture of me on their wall with all of the stars who visited. Today, when I want one, I get just one and enjoy it.
Q. What are your favorite healthy on-the-go healthy snacks?
A. For protein, my go to is Quest Bars, Ostrim Sticks and Raw Almonds. Easy to carry and non perishable. Great tasting snacks that satisfy my sweet tooth without overindulging. Quest Bars have amazing flavors that you wonder how they made them taste so good and still be good for you. My favorites are Cookie Dough and Cookies and Cream!!
Ostrim sticks are Ostrich sticks with low calories, low fat and satisfying taste. I also cut them up at home and put together with egg whites and veggies for an awesome healthy sausage veggie omelette.
Vemma Bode Shakes are also great meal replacements for on the go !!
Q. Give us your best piece of nutritional advice!!
A. Take your time and enjoy your food. It takes 20 minutes for your body to catch up with your brain. You could do a lot of calorie damage if you eat too fast. Drink a lot of water.
Q. You’re jacked!! What kind of workouts can my readers do to look like you?
A. I love HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). What a great workout. Do all of your cardio in short bursts for a shorter workout that will give you maximum benefits and long lasting calorie burn throughout the day.
Q. Do you have a fave piece of workout equipment?
A. I like doing TRX workouts. The flexibility of doing just about any exercise you can do with weights, machines, Bands, etc. you can do with the TRX straps and your own bodyweight. And for on the go, I work with something called a SpinGym. It’s a gym you can take with you in your pocket. A great upper body and core workout where ever you are whether you are on the road, in your office or on the couch watching tv.
Q. What is your favorite memory from your journey with Chris and Heidi?
A. There were a lot of great moments and “victories” on my journey with Chris and Heidi. Running the Rocky Steps with Chris, Boxing with Evander Holyfield and Chris coaching me in my corner, renewing my wedding vows with Nanci. Having discussions with Chris and Heidi about Unleashing My Inner Superhero. Having my children be able to put their arms around me and hug me for the first time in their lives. All of these were huge and so meaningful.
But the best memory of all with Chris and Heidi, was my “transformation” moment in the first week of finals for being selected for the show. Because I failed my medical tests, I was told I wasn’t eligible to be on the show. I was devastated but realized I had nobody to blame but myself. I also realized that no matter what happened, I didn’t want to go home with my family thinking I was sick and that moment defining me for the rest of my life.
Everyone else who failed their medical tests went home. That was an option given to me as well. As I always tell my kids that they don’t have to be the best, but to always do their best and that’s all anybody could ask. I didn’t want to show them that I was quitting. Not everyone was going to be selected for the show anyway.
Chris and Heidi believed in me. It would have been a lot easier for them to write me off and not have to worry about the “sick” old guy (I was the oldest guy in the cast). It was a challenge enough to help people lose half their bodyweight in a year, let alone have to deal with a guy who failed his medical tests and the medical staff saying it would be too “extreme” for me.
They gave me another chance. Another test. I passed it with flying colors and the rest is history. I will never forget that moment and it was my “transformation” moment for the year. I never looked back.
Q. After a year (and beyond) of cooking healthy now, can you share a favorite healthy recipe with us?
A. I’ve always loved breakfast! Here’s my Superhero Sausage and Cheese Omelet!
Sausage Omelets with cheese were always my favorite. A typical Sausage and Cheese Omelet from Bob Evans is 679 calories, 57 grams of fat, 1030 grams of Sodium, 37 gms Protein. And that’s just the omelet. Add 2 slices of Rye toast and you are looking at a total of over 700 calories.
My version of a Sausage Omelet is using Ostrim Protein Sticks. These things are amazing. I cut up an Ostrim stick into bite size pieces and soften them in a pan. I combine the Ostrim pieces , a low fat mozzarella stick and 4 egg whites. It makes a huge omelette with a lot of protein, and good fats. And I guarantee you won’t taste the difference. Throw in some veggies (broccoli, mushroom, onions) and you have an awesome breakfast. This is friggin awesome!
My Sausage and Cheese Omelet is
Ostrim Stick – 80 calories, 1.5 gm fat, 300mg sodium, 14 gms Protein; Mozarella Stick – 50 calories, 2.5 g fat, 160mg sodium, 6 gms Protein; 4 Egg Whites – 60 calories, .5 g fat, 220mg sodium, 16gms Protein. Total – 190 calories, 4.5gm fat, 680 mg sodium, 36gms Protein.
Throw in a slice of Ezekiel bread – Unsprouted bread packed with powerful, healthy ingredients. It’s complete, healthy, filling and gets you ready for the rest of your day.
You are ready to Unleash Your Inner Superhero !!
Thanks, Mike, for sharing your Superhero Secrets with us!!
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