April 17, 2024


Travel Adventure

One man’s remarkable health journey: Over 100 lbs. down

4 min read

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — We first met Michael Rooks from Chesapeake last January. He was on a health improvement journey that led him to shed 60 pounds. Jen Lewis followed up to find out how he’s doing more than a year later.

Turns out, he’s doing fantastic and is now down over 100 pounds. Jen caught back up with him working out at the Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studio in Virginia Beach to learn how he did it and how the extreme weight loss has impacted his life.

A Chesapeake man's remarkable health journey: Over 100 lbs. down since we met him

Michael Rooks

”The compliments are nice, and a couple of friends are working out now,” Michael said. “My wife’s working out more. My 4-year-old does mountain climbing when Dora the Explorer is on, and I go jogging with my 11-year-old.”


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This didn’t happen for him overnight: Michael began his journey on Halloween in 2019.

He told Jen he remembers the exact date because, in his words, he was “scary fat.” Back then, Mike was tipping the scale at 320 and sporting a triple XL.

That’s when he started working with Jim White.

Watch previous coverage: Health & fitness expert helps Chesapeake resident maintain New Year’s resolution

Health & fitness expert helps Chesapeake resident maintain New Year’s resolution

Jim said Michael told him right from the start, “I want to do it the right way. I want to work out, I feel great doing it and it’s more than the weight loss, it’s for mental health too.”

“It’s changed his life, his confidence, his energy and just the way he looks at life,” said Jim.

“I can manage stress well now,” Michael said. “In moments where I would get frustrated or just have to take a break, I can power through it. I have more resilience.”

Michael’s health has improved by leaps and bounds as well. He was pre-diabetic, but that is no longer the case. His blood pressure is down, too. He takes no medications, and he took none to lose the weight.

Hard work, determination and an accountability coach are some of the factors that helped him get to this point. The help he received is not out of reach for most people.

“In the state of Virginia, especially in Hampton Roads, we have dietitians that take insurance, and 94% of people are covered,” according to Jim. “This is what they do. They help people get to their goal weights, get off medications, improve their disease statuses, get more energy and improve their disease health and they have full access to it.”

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Now that Michael has lost more than 100 pounds, Jen wanted to know if he has a new goal.

“I don’t have a goal at all,” he responded. “I just do it for my health. It’s just keeping the machine going. Really, it’s no goal.”

He’s maintaining. He keeps up the regular work because of the positive impact it’s had on every aspect of his life, and he’s not going back.

A lot of people have a hard time staying on track, but Jim White doesn’t think for one minute that will be an issue for Michael.

“Eighty percent of people gain their weight back in a year and 95 percent gain their weight back in five years, and Michael is different because it’s taken him two or three years to do this,” Jim said. “So, it’s earned.”


WTKR/Lydia Johnson

Michael told Jen he keeps some of those triple XL clothes in his closet as a motivator and as a reminder of how far he’s come.

“My sleep was horrible,” Michael said. “I remember, I was tired. I would just sweat walking down the street for no reason. Clothes wouldn’t fit. I mean, I just felt like I wanted to jump out of my skin really. So yeah, I was giving up and I just needed one glimmer of hope.”

Now, Michael is offering hope to others by example. Also, he’s a gadget guy: he uses the My Fitness app, a Garmin watch and an Oura ring to keep track of his overall health, food intake and exercise.


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Jen also asked Jim for a few tips for busy people who still want to be healthy and stay in good shape. He mentioned a term he calls exercise snacking.

“It’s doing little workouts throughout the day,” Jim said. “Follow the five-minute rule and do something like walk for five minutes a few times a day.”

Jim also recommends watching portion size, eating fruits and vegetables and getting plenty of sleep: “Try to go to bed at the same time every night and try not to eat or drink alcohol three hours before bed.”

Doing the best you can with the time you have is just fine.

Michael’s journey is remarkable, and we are grateful he shared it with us here at News 3.


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