Success Story from Firefighter and Cancer Survivor Joe Shinn

Success Story from Firefighter and Cancer Survivor Joe Shinn
by Lee Labrada

Joe Shinn discovered the lean body lifestyle and Labrada Nutrition through Tiffani Feathers and her husband, Greg, but his transformation goes deeper than mutual goals and friends. Joe was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma a few years ago, and his health, along with the inspiration he had gained from seeing Tiffani and Greg’s transformations, made him realize getting leaner and healthier was a possibility. Hodgkin’s lymphoma, also called Hodgkin’s disease is characterized by the orderly spread of disease from one lymph node group to another and by the development of systemic symptoms with advanced disease.

“Everything happens for a reason, and at one point I had lost 80 pounds. But when I started chemo, the meds made me put the weight back on,” he said. “After the chemo and radiation treatments the doctors wanted me to wait to start dieting to make sure I was healthy and strong enough to do it. (Chemotherapy has the tendency to cause patients to lose extreme amounts of weight and can significantly weaken the immune system.)

“Finally, this January, I said, ‘enough is enough. Seeing Tiff’s transformation made me realize I had a second chance at life,” he said.

Since January, Joe has lost close to 100 pounds, and this December 17 will be his two-year anniversary cancer-free. And while his journey has been incredible, he admits it was challenging at first.

“The first two months were a struggle simply because at first my body was hungry all the time,” he said. “I was eating smaller amounts and I wouldn’t let myself go back in for a second helping like before. I’ve always had the mentality that I don’t want to throw food away, so now I immediately start doing the dishes so I won’t be tempted and it gives me something to do.”

Joe is a firefighter and often works 8, 10 or 12-hour days. To help him succeed on the program he set his mind that whatever he had packed for his meals for the day, was what he would eat, nothing more. In the past that included a lot of junk food, fast food and bread, but now it includes chicken, vegetables, boiled eggs, and occasional peanut butter on multi-grain bread. He also uses the Labrada nutrition blog to see what others are eating to get lean and healthy and this helps to give him additional ideas. Dinner is always with the family at home. He used the Labrada Nutrition Ready-to-Drink shakes and occasionally the Lean Body meal replacement powders two times a day to supplement his diet.

“I have two kids and now I have more energy,” he said. “I don’t have a big family, and I realized I need to be here for my kids as long as I can.”

Then on November 11, Joe participated in a 5K, called The Lemon Run, for charity to raise money to help children who have cancer. Joe’s team was called “Mario’s Mercenaries” to honor 9-year-old Mario who has 6 inoperable brain tumors and wasn’t expected to live until the age of 8. To promote his cause further, Joe put on an additional 75 pounds of weight by wearing his firefighter uniform and running the entire 5K wearing the gear.

“I showed up that day and people were stunned,” he said. “But you have to show these kids they have to fight and I wanted to show them that it might be a struggle to get through it (metaphorically with the firefighter gear), but you can overcome that struggle. I said, ‘I might not make it through the whole thing, but I’ll run with colors flying.’”

Joe’s advice to others who want to adopt a similar lifestyle change, but aren’t sure where to begin: “Don’t give up. I believe everybody can do it. If I can beat cancer, you can beat weight loss.”

Until next time, I am

Lee Labrada
Your Lean Body Coach™