By Eric Barton
Rhon Ernest-Jones didn’t have a problem with wine exactly. OK, maybe he did.
“Yeah, I had a problem with wine,” he admits. “It was making me fat.”
So in December he quit drinking. Ernest-Jones figured it was the first step in getting healthy. Then he started walking, three miles at first and then up to six in about an hour and 20 minutes. He added portion control to his routine, and suddenly he saw the pounds drop.
Ernest-Jones knew it was time for the change. He had put on a lot of weight when he was mayor of Coral Springs from 2004-2006. It was the long hours, coupled with all those events with food, that converted him from athletic to overweight.
Things are different now. He has dropped nearly 50 pounds. To cap it all off, he’s training to participate in the Turkey Trot & Paddle on Thanksgiving Day in Fort Lauderdale. He’s hoping for a time of 35 minutes in the 5-kilometer run.
“The Turkey Trot has been a real motivator for me, because it supports Leadership Broward, one of my favorite organizations,” says Ernest-Jones, a 63-year-old civil engineer who now lives in Fort Lauderdale. “The idea of running a 5K last Thanksgiving, that would not have happened.”
Since dropping the weight, Ernest-Jones has reacquainted himself with skinny clothes deep in his closet and donated a bunch of the stuff that’s now baggy.
His biggest tip for other dieters: cut meals in half.
“If you get a wrap for lunch, eat half of it and save the rest for a few hours later,” he says. “I eat five or six small meals a day, and it has made all the difference.”
At just over 200 pounds, Ernest-Jones still wants to shed another 10. Despite the way he looks and feels, he makes no promises about where he’ll finish in the Turkey Trot.
“I might come in last,” he says, “but I’m going to be there.”
Turkey Trot & Paddle: sign-in on Thanksgiving Day opens at 6 a.m. Race time is 7:30 a.m. at D.C. Alexander Park in Fort Lauderdale. For information call 954-767-8866 or visit turkeytrotftl.com.