My Wellness Journey: How FLIK Hospitality’s Resident District Manager Jonathan Dutton Took Control of His Health
Just three years ago, one of FLIK Hospitality’s Resident District Managers Jonathon Dutton suffered from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a less than ideal waistline. As his work responsibilities increased, his dedication to wellness fell by the wayside and suddenly he was receiving warning conversations from his doctor.
Over the next 30 days, Jonathan committed to revamping his entire wellness routine to get his cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight back in check. He started to bike to work, took advantage of our knowledgeable FLIK dietitians, leveraged FLIK’s relationship with MyFitnessPal to track his calorie count, and made wellness a priority once again.
We sat down to hear the whole story on how Dutton lowered his blood pressure, lost the weight, and improved his fitness. Check it out below:
FLIK: Start from the beginning. How did your whole path to better health begin?
Jonathan: In high school, I was very athletic. I was into soccer, weightlifting, you name it. From a food standpoint, I could put anything down and didn’t have to worry about anything because I was young and I was so active. In my fit form in high school, I weighed 165 pounds.
That’s the back story. I weighed my heaviest about 3-4 years ago. I was 265 pounds. I had taken on a bigger role at work and it was stressful. I was working long hours. You know how it is. You’re not focusing on your health. You’re not taking that time to sit down to a healthy meal; you’re grabbing the last slice of pizza left at the station at 2 o’clock or you’re traveling and eating at restaurants. You’re just not making good decisions. My cholesterol was really high. And my blood pressure wasn’t crazy, but it was definitely in the pre-hypertensive level.
I had it in the back of my head that I needed to get better at working out. I had to get a little bit more fit. I really started to focus on it about two years ago. My wife wrecked her car and totaled it and I said to her, ‘You know what? Let’s save the money. Why don’t we just go down to one car and I’ll bike to work.’ I didn’t have a long commute. Roundtrip it was 14 miles on a bike. She said I was crazy. Tracy Wilczek [FLIK Wellness Director] said, ‘You’re crazy, John.’
I did it though. I went out and bought a road bike and started cycling to work. And then after a few months, I started weightlifting. And to speed up time, two years later, I’ve lost about 85 pounds and my body fat is at 13.5-14 percent. I just got tested at our on-site gym. But not only that, six months ago, I had my yearly physical. At that time, I weighed 210. My cholesterol was still a touch high around 230, but not as bad as it used to be. My blood pressure was back to normal, even better than normal! I told the doctor, ‘Alright. I’m not going on medicine. Give me 30 days [to lower my cholesterol].’
That’s when I really started to focus on diet. When I started doing that, that’s when I really started seeing changes. I went back to the doctor 30 days later and my cholesterol was below 200.
FLIK: What changes did you make diet-wise? Is there a particular food philosophy that you subscribe to?
Jonathon: I went almost plant-based and even now, I still don’t eat a lot of red meat. I think plant-forward is just a good lifestyle because, for one, there are so many nutrients in vegetables. And I eat a lot of lean protein – mostly chicken, mostly turkey. But for the most part, everything in moderation. Be smart about what you’re eating. Educate yourself. Some days I put butter on my toast and some days, I think, ‘That was a treat yesterday, so today I’m just going to eat it plain and I’m going to go with whole wheat.’ I think when you restrict yourself, it feels sort of like a punishment. You’re not punishing your body; you’re being kind to it.
FLIK: How has the FLIK environment and working in food service helped or hindered your nutrition goals?
Jonathan: The fresh ingredients. I mean, that’s huge. And not just fresh, but interesting too. There are great chefs putting together these great ingredients in a ways that make them exciting and enjoyable to eat. Having a wide range of fresh and healthy options at your fingertips is huge.
And the resources. You have the FLIK dietitians who will make themselves available to you. Don’t be afraid to ask, ‘Here are a couple of challenges I’m going through. Can I have your advice?’ At one point, I wasn’t eating enough. I was burning something like 8,000 calories per week cycling and I was struggling with my energy. And Tracy laid it out for me. She said, ‘John, You’re not eating enough. You need to eat a whole lot more.’
I also use MyFitnessPal. FLIK makes that easy, as you know. I’ll be honest, I don’t track my food every single day, but I bring it back every few months just to kind of test myself: ‘Okay. How am I doing? Am I still staying on track or am I throwing a snack in over here and another one over there without even realizing it?’ Since all the FLIK recipes are in the MyFitnessPal database, it’s a no brainer.
FLIK: What have been the driving factors in sticking to your goals?
Jonathan: When I started out, the question was, how do I combine work and working out and fit it all into my day? It took me 30 minutes to drive to work, but I could cycle there in 45 minutes and take a 10 minute shower. I was essentially getting in 90 minutes of exercise a day, but only adding 30 minutes of time. Does that make sense?
Then I joined a cycling team. I race now. And once [the health benefits] kicked in and I started to become part of this cycling community – that all drew me in and makes it fun. And, you know, it’s not work if it’s fun.
And now my big drivers are my kids. If my kids get into high school sports or skiing or king or mountain biking – whatever it is – I don’t want to be the dad that’s sitting on the sidelines going, ‘You guys go ahead. That’s going to be a little too much for me.’ And when I think of all the things that could be available to me at the age of 75 or 85, – all the potential life experiences – that’s reason enough to take good care of myself.
At FLIK Hospitality, we pride ourselves in having a wellness-first approach to our culinary program. Our chefs work hand-in-hand with our team dietitians to develop delicious and nutritious recipes that our guests (and employees like Jonathan) love!
We pride ourselves in making it easy for our guests to choose the healthiest options. FLIK has a relationship with platforms like MyFitnessPal where our offerings can simply be scanned and added into the program and tracked alongside physical activity. Programs like this are what helped Jonathan keep on track throughout his wellness journey.
Meet some of our dietitians here.
What We Were Talking About in 2018: #Moms4FLIK - Tiffany's Italian Potato Pizza
At FLIK Hospitality Group we believe in great food, great service, and great people. Our wellness first approach ensures our food supports healthy and delicious choices, specially curated by our team of culinary experts and registered dietitians. At FLIK, we believe in seasonality in sourcing our ingredients and providing a customized approach to the culinary and hospitality needs of each client. Our dedication to providing quality hospitality service is unparalleled in the industry.
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