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Before and after: Jill and Shawn Fowler have lost a combined total of 260 pounds since September 2019.

The new year is a time for goal-setting and many will focus on shedding pounds from their waistlines. For anyone who doubts their ability to do it, Jill and Shawn Fowler are testimony to the possibility.

The Fowlers own and operate Modified Sound and Tint in East Alton, and between them have lost 260 pounds since September 2019. They point out while losing weight takes work, it can be both easier and more rewarding than most people think.

Jill notes their strategy was to determine how much they wanted to lose and adjust their calorie intake and physical activity. 

“It’s not what I would necessarily call easy,” Jill says. “It’s just a matter of getting into the mindset to do it. That’s the biggest hurdle.”

The Fowlers both point out that quality of life was a big motivator. 

“The quality of my life had gotten really bad,” says Shawn, whose weight had increased to more than 500 pounds. “I was pretty much to the point where my activity consisted of just moving from one couch to another. I was having trouble walking and couldn’t even do normal things like going grocery shopping with my wife. I felt I was a burden on the people I loved.”

The Fowlers started by working with Clean Eatz in Edwardsville. Clean Eatz supplies meal plans every week that provide healthy, portioned meals already prepared. 

“They helped a lot,” Jill says. “All of my lunches are ready to go every week. I don’t have to do any planning or food prep.” 

She adds it’s more difficult to go out and grab fast food when you know you have food ready to go at home in the refrigerator.

The Fowlers say doing it together helped and they also approached weight loss with a different mindset than they previously had. 

“We tried dieting before but were never able to lose this much weight or keep it off,” Jill says. She says one of the keys now is not becoming discouraged after those times they eat a little more. 

“We enjoy things like Thanksgiving but then turn around and get right back on the plan,” she says.

Both the Fowlers stay active with exercise. Shawn says he started out by doing pool exercises because he was so heavy he was unable to do anything else. He now works out, walks and bikes. He says Jill has really embraced the exercise and gets up every day at 5 a.m. to work out.

Jill says she hit her goal weight of 175 pounds in June and has been maintaining that ever since. Shawn started out at 524 pounds and has lost 150 pounds. He says he wants to lose at least another hundred pounds. 

“I’m not one of those guys who wants to become Mr. Universe,” he says. “I just have a realistic goal of getting down to around 300 pounds.”

Shawn has his own YouTube channel. He posts videos in which he talks about what led him to the decision to change his life and how he did it. The channel can be found by searching for Shawn Fowler on YouTube. He says he is happy if he has changed even one life for the better. “I’m confident that had I not made the decision to change my life, I would not be alive today,” he says.

Before he started losing weight, Shawn was watching a reality program on television about an individual who only weighed 45 pounds more than he did and the individual had died. 

“The person’s wife was talking about how much she loved him but that he had become a burden,” he says. “That was a big turning point for me.” 

The rewards for the Fowlers also turned out to be monetary. They participated in a weight loss contest sponsored by Clean Eatz earlier this year in which they won $25,000. 

“The contest was nationwide across all of their franchises,” Jill says.

Modified Sound and Tint, the business the Fowlers operate, does window-tinting, installs remote starters and is a full audio shop. They can do radio replacement and provide full audio services for cars and trucks. Information about the business can be found on Facebook by searching for Modified Sound.

The Fowlers common sense approach to weight loss has resulted in improved health and better quality of life. 

“We live a pretty realistic lifestyle,” Shawn says. “We’re proof it can be done and that you don’t have to sacrifice everything to do it.”

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