Next, he let go of starches – substituting potatoes and such for vegetables. Then, he replaced beef with baked chicken and baked fish.
The last thing he wanted to get rid of was soda – Pepsi, specifically.
“To know me is to know that I was a Pepsi addict,” Hairston said. “It was so bad, I was drinking close to two liters of Pepsi a day.”
The soda is a learned behavior, he added. “I was a latch-key kid. So I would come home, I would literally get a Susie Q and barbecue potato chips and two cans of Pepsi,” Hairston continued. “That’s what I did everyday after school.”
Old habits die hard. But, Hairston is committed to improving his health. He’s now replaced soda with peach Snapple. And he only drinks every once in a while, when he’s out at dinner.
Today, he’s down to 174 pounds.
“Replacement is the key. Don’t try to just cut things out,” Hairston said. “When you try to just cut things out, you have that craving for it. If you try to replace the things you’re cutting out with something else that’s tolerable for you, it’ll be a little bit less terrible.”
Consistency is another key.
“If you can do it for three weeks, you can do it for a lifetime,” he added.
For more on JJ Hairston and Youthful Praise, visit youthfulpraise.org.