UK football great Jared Lorenzen lost 100 pounds. His method includes yoga and skinless chicken.

Jared Lorenzen threw a souvenir football Saturday prior to the Central Kentucky Heart Walk at Keeneland Saturday.
Jared Lorenzen threw a souvenir football Saturday prior to the Central Kentucky Heart Walk at Keeneland Saturday.

After a year of rotisserie chicken as a diet staple and workouts including yoga, former University of Kentucky football star Jared Lorenzen has lost 100 pounds off his once 500-pound frame.

Lorenzen, 37 and now the father of two, admitted that he grew up eating meat, potatoes and macaroni and cheese. As he got older and eventually left professional football, those habits didn't translate well into a fit body.

Lorenzen had an epiphany moment when he realized that his weight gain wouldn't allow him to effectively deflect an oncoming tackle and suffered an ankle injury. But like many epiphany moments, it passed.

The UK football great, who played professionally for the New York Giants and the Indianapolis Colts, went through an eight-year stretch where he did not weigh himself. He stepped on the scale and saw that he weighed in at more than 500 pounds.

In July 2017, Lorenzen started the Jared Lorenzen Project, in which he partners with fitness professionals to chronicle his own journey toward healthier habits while encouraging others to get fit too. By April 2018, he had lost 100 pounds, for which he on Saturday received the Lifestyle Change Award at the Central Kentucky Heart Walk at Keeneland.

Joey Maggard, senor metro director of the American Heart Association, said that Lorenzen's receipt of the lifestyle award is not just about being on a weight loss journey, but taking the right steps for long-term change: "It's not about a number. When it comes to weight, it's about lifestyle."

Kentucky All-Stars quarterback Jared Lorenzen warms up before entering the game against the Tennessee All-Stars on Friday, June 18, 1999, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Losing the weight was initially a struggle for Lorenzen. He was exercising and eating healthier, but the weight was barely budging. Discouraged, he found out that his thyroid was underactive.

Once he started taking thyroid medication, the weight started to fall off, he said. In one eight-day stretch, he lost 25 pounds.

"All of a sudden my body was getting what it did to work," Lorenzen said in a phone interview.

Now he walks, aiming for around 10,000 steps a day. And he has discovered yoga, which he recommends.

"It's very mental, it's very therapeutic," Lorenzen said. "... It's one of the hardest workouts you'll ever do."

Aside from skinless rotisserie chicken, which Lorenzen has five or six nights a week, he eats microwaved vegetables and fresh fruits, including strawberries and grapes.

He is a particular fan of water: "I used to drink Diet Coke and Diet Mountain Dew. It was like an IV," Lorenzen said. "Now, nothing sounds good to me except water."

A good formula is to take your body weight, divide it in half, and try to get that many ounces of water in a day, he said.

While his journey to health has had a few bumps, Lorenzen said that the support he gets from sources such as his Facebook group for the Jared Lorenzen Project keep him going. He'll also occasionally have a steak.

But Lorenzen is now firmly entrenched in wellness: "I keep going back to it, and now it works for me."