Turlock real estate agent Chris Nichols is used to competing with others in the housing market, but over the last 11 months the former collegiate athlete has been in competition with himself — and his health — to lose 140 pounds.
Nichols, who played basketball at both Turlock High School and Stanislaus State, began his health journey just under a year ago after he saw a friend and former teammate change his lifestyle and achieve fantastic results. At 6-foot-7 and 445 pounds, Nichols set out with a goal to lose 145 pounds in a year on Feb. 22, 2021 and is days away from accomplishing his goal. At a time when many New Year's resolutions begin to falter, he hopes he can inspire other community members in their own fight for fitness.
“You don’t realize that when you work a sedentary job, you have appointments, you have meetings and you don’t move around at all. I think we get so busy with our lives that we put our health on the backburner,” Nichols said. “I did that for 10 years, and then one day I went to go tie my shoes and I was gasping for air. I had to change or die.”
Nichols unleashed his competitive side to enter into a battle with himself, completely changing his diet and even hiring an NFL athletic trainer to make sure he was doing everything he needed to in the gym. While he was an avid gym goer in the past, eliminating unhealthy foods and carbonated drinks from his diet coupled with three-hour gym sessions four days a week took his fitness game to the next level.
Weight training and yoga have helped him avoid loose skin from the pounds he’s lost over the last 11 months, he said, and a healthy diet with minimal carbohydrates has allowed him to shed the weight without any type of surgery or pills. His saving grace is diet Arizona green tea, he said, which he buys in bulk any time he sees it at the store.
Losing weight has not only helped him feel better, but has helped him in the professional world.
“Once you make that lifestyle change, you feel like you can go get anything in the world that you want,” Nichols said. “My business increased, my weight loss increased and my life just got better…When you’re working hard, other people notice that, too. When people see that you’re focused, they want to work with someone like you.”
Nichols has also become an avid runner, and his work travels have allowed him to run in cities like Venice, Boston, San Francisco, San Diego and even through the Great Smoky Mountains. He went from running one mile in over 20 minutes to now being able to run three in 26 minutes. These days, Nichols runs anywhere from 130 to 140 miles a month and hopes to run a total of 1,400 miles in 2022.
With his big one-year anniversary coming up, Nichols has goals for the next year — starting with running a full marathon. For those looking to start their own fitness journey, he shared a word of advice.
“If you start small and just do 10% more each day, before you know it you’ll be doing a half marathon,” Nichols said. “Do what you can do, then try to really challenge yourself with your food intake. Once you have those things working together, your life is going to change.”
Nichols set out on his health journey almost a year ago not only for himself, but for others around him who also needed a kickstart. He’s shared his progress on social media along the way and has inspired others to take a leap of faith as well, he said.
“I’m still not where I want to be, but in the meantime it’s not really about the destination. It’s about the journey of weight loss and inspiring people along the way,” Nichols said. “If just one person reads this and is inspired by it, then I’ve done my job. For that reason, it’s worth it to keep at it. And that’s been huge for me.”