Dennis LoLeng thought he would never be the same after the accident. He was on his way home when a driver behind him – distracted from his phone, ignoring the road – was putting behind LoLeng's car almost 100 kilometers an hour.
The accident severely injured LoLeng, and three lumbar disc herniations in the lower back. In the following months, he was dealing with almost constant pain. "I knew I was in serious trouble and my doctors prescribed many painkillers and injections," he says. "I was given steroids and I gained weight."
LoLeng, 47, an advertising specialist from the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan, initially abandoned many things that had kept him physically active for years, including his favorite sport ̵
While LoLeng sometimes played through the pain, the occasional double play was not enough to offset the effects of his poor diet. As a result, his weight steadily increased and rose to over 260 pounds. He knew he needed to change something but was not sure where to start. One day, LoLeng was introduced to a coach by a mutual friend, Mauro Maietta, who works for Crunch Fitness in Manhattan. With Maietta's help, LoLeng began training three days a week with a program designed to help him lose weight and overcome his injuries at the same time.
Maietta quickly realized that LoLeng's biggest weakness was his appetite for sugary foods – biscuits, cakes, and other breads. "We focused on his daily diet and gave him an intelligent approach to his craving for food," says Maietta. "He had to earn the weekly cheating and I let him track his daily food intake through a phone app that I could watch every day for encouragement and feedback." Gradually, LoLeng learned the cost of the food he ate and began to find healthier alternatives to his diet – vegetables for white potatoes and noodles, water for soft drinks.