Andy Aubin has been known as “Big Andy” for as long as he can remember.
“I had always been a bigger guy,” said the 6-foot-3 Aubin. “Before I was just the taller and broader of all of my friends.”
But, then Aubin, 35, of Hatboro, met the love of his life, Jenn, got married, got comfortable and started packing on the pounds.
When the couple’s daughter, Tessa, was 6 months old in November 2011, Andy, at 330 pounds, hit a rock bottom of sorts.
“I always knew I was really overweight,” Aubin said. “I resigned to the fact of me just being me. When you add her to the mix it just became not acceptable anymore.”
So, on Nov. 18, 2011, in his first post on his newly launched blog site, Aubin vowed to not only lose weight, but to begin running.
Running? For a guy whose normal daily calorie intake was “easily” 4,000 calories and who ate a hoagie for lunch and washed it down with soda to fathom running may seem like a bit of a stretch. But, Aubin, the ever-planner, had it all mapped out.
“My plan is to not stop, just keep pushing all year, so as soon as I hit the 5K, transition right into training for a 10K,” Aubin wrote in his post, adding that half marathon training and preparation for the Tough Mudder would follow. “Extremely Ambitious? Hell yeah. Is there I chance I will fall flat on my face, fail, and not complete all of this? Of course.”
Fast forward a year and Aubin succeeded in those goals and more. On Nov. 18, a year to the date his weight loss journey began, Aubin finished the Philadelphia Half Marathon in two hours and 17 minutes. He had also surpassed his 225-pound goal weight, dropping to a svelte 205 pounds.
“I just passed over into healthy,” he said.
The man who once wore a size 52 pants had shrunk to a size 34 and had downsized from a 4XL shirt to a size large.
How did he do it?
“I’m a planner,” Aubin said. “Rather than just wing it, I laid out a long and in-depth plan.”
Besides striving to eat right and exercise, Aubin credits an iPhone app, My Fitness Pal, with helping him to track his food intake and reach a more manageable 2,500 calories per day goal.
“It’s not as painful as you think it is,” he said, while seated at Horsham’s Bryn and Dane’s, a healthy fast-food spot that he said also helped him to keep his eating under control. “It figures out what you need to be eating calorie-wise.”
Aubin, an insurance broker at Aon, said he chose running because in his research he discovered that “a lot of people had good experiences doing it.”
He started with a nine-week Couch to 5K program.
“I wasn’t even at the point where I could do the first run/walk interval,” he said.
Feeling the need to look elsewhere, Aubin tried another run prepping program, Four Weeks to a Mile. In the first week, Aubin said he was unable to run one-quarter of a one-quarter mile track. From there, Aubin said he set progressive challenges for himself and kept plowing ahead.
“My wife is super, super supportive,” he said. “None of this would have happened without her being behind me.”
Another positive push has come in the way of Aubin’s blog. Since its launch, more than 14,000 people have logged on to read it. The blog, which he updates regularly with posts about upcoming runs and more, features race photos, as well as monthly pictures highlighting his weight loss progression.
“It doesn’t mean it’s easy by any stretch. It’s really a matter of really being honest and accountable and just sticking to it,” Aubin said. “I’m just some dude. I didn’t use a celebrity trainer. I did my own thing.”