Being active with your kids and being able to scamper after them at the park is something many people take for granted. Hiking, biking and playing are all staples in childhood — staples that become difficult to participate in when you aren’t entirely mobile.
More than two years ago, Owensboro, Kentucky, resident Jacob Kiper realized that he wasn’t able to do these “dad” activities with his sons because he weighed nearly 300 pounds.
It wasn’t just the weight that was the issue: Kiper has a family history of heart disease and other health problems, and his wife began to worry that if he continued in his current lifestyle choices, he would suffer the fatal consequences.
“Over the years, my wife started to get very worried knowing that I have a family history of heart disease and health problems related to poor diet,” he told Good Morning America. “She really wanted me to give an honest effort to take back control of my health.”
“Before WW, my diet was less than healthy,” he admitted. “I ate lots of fried food. I’d have doughnuts frequently. Rather than eating one serving of food I was probably eating three or four. My daily diet was a wreck.”
With a stark change in diet, the weight began to fall off. By being more conscientious about what he was putting in his body, Kiper was able to look better, feel better and live better.
He ended up losing a total of 129 pounds.
“The first week I saw the scale drop, and there was a moment of, ‘Oh, I can do this. This actually works,'” he said.
“Then I was four weeks in, and a coworker asked me if I was losing weight. I hadn’t told anyone so that felt really good, and that was a big motivating factor to keep going.”
“I went out in the backyard with my kids and decided I was going to try and run and chase them, and as I was running I realized that five years into their life this was the first time I’d ever been able to run with my kids. This was several months in, and I realized I could run and not lose my breath. I actually had the ability to run and chase my kids.”
“I can chase them. I can wrestle them. I can run with them, hike with them, and hopefully they’re not going to have a lot of memories, other than pictures, of an unhealthy dad. I like knowing that I’ve given them a better version of a dad.”
In addition to being a better father, Kiper feels that his life changes have also made him a better mental health counselor.
“Part of my job is encouraging people and coaching them through making general wellness changes in life,” he explained. “When I’m trying to coach people through making big life changes to improve their overall wellness while I myself was living a very unhealthy life, I was very aware of that hypocrisy.”
“Now that I’ve retaken control of my own health, I feel much more empowered and I feel much more confident making patients at our clinic make some of those decisions. I’ve seen how many of the patients have responded to the changes I’ve made and that helps me be more effective at doing my job.”
His story is encouraging to those who may face similar issues, and after Good Morning America picked up his story, he made sure to share it on Facebook.
“I am extremely honored that Good Morning America reached out to do a story on my WW weight loss journey for Father’s Day,” he wrote.
Kiper has managed to maintain his weight loss, and he and his family are planning to do something for Father’s Day that wasn’t always an option: Go on a family hike.
“My kids just turned 8 years old, and for sadly half of their lives I gave them a dad who couldn’t be physically active, who couldn’t chase them, didn’t have energy,” he said. “I like knowing now that I’ve given my kids the dad they deserve.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.