Mark Jones – How back surgery paved the way for a better life

XLIF, or lateral lumbar interbody fusion, didn’t just cure Mark Jones’ back issues. It set him up for a completely healthier lifestyle. Learn more about the changes he’s made and how back surgery paved the way for a better life. Here’s his story:

I’m a goer and a doer by nature, and when my back pain started keeping me from my pace of life last August, I knew that something had to change.

After meeting with my doctor and scheduling a procedure that I hoped would get my back right again, I decided to take another powerful step in the right direction: losing weight.

My plan was twofold.

First, I started by increasing my treadmill walking distance from 2 to 3 miles to 4 to 5 miles about five times a week. I gave myself rest days, because I knew that I’d otherwise end up burned out and bummed out, and I wanted to be realistic about my schedule and my abilities.

Second – and this was my biggest change – was overhauling my diet.

I followed the 80/20 rule. Each day, I would eat 80 percent healthy foods, like veggies, fruits, and lean proteins, and 20 percent foods that were somewhat free of the “healthy” label. Once I set my mind to 80/20, it was easy to see what foods fell in what column.

For about three months leading up to my procedure, I followed this plan. By the time surgery came around, I was down 30 pounds. Though the back pain was still constant, I had more energy and finally felt like my body was running as the machine I knew it was.

After recovering from a successful procedure, I was ready to get back at it.

Since surgery, I’ve lost another 30 pounds and am on course to lose another 60. Now I can run up hills and stairs, lift weights, and complete heavier workouts. I can even do the simple things, like rolling out of bed in the morning without any pain.

My blood pressure and cholesterol are lower, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that I look better in my suits (according to the missus, of course).

You’d be surprised at what miracles can happen in your life if you’re proactive about your health. In our lives there are no fix-alls and no magic pills, but the hard work you put in gives you the greatest gift of all – making you a participant in your life.

Learn more about Mark’s journey to a life without back pain in the winter 2013 edition of Shine magazine.