Jerry Hensley

Making a Change

One morning, Saint Joseph London food service worker Jerry Hensley woke up and decided to make a change in his life. Jerry says he was 273 pounds and miserable.

Since March 2019, Jerry is down about 60 pounds and strives for his goal weight of 190 pounds.

“I can’t pinpoint one certain thing that made me want to lose the weight, but I looked in the mirror and thought I’ve got to do something,” Jerry says. “My family was supportive. My kids helped me keep focus on losing weight and staying healthy and active for them.”

The challenge is portion control, as Jerry says he finds it difficult to maintain his diet when he goes on vacation or out to eat. A trick he uses to curb his appetite is drinking apple cider vinegar diluted in water three times a day.

“I was doing pretty good until COVID-19 hit,” Jerry says. “That put a little damper [on reaching my goal] because of not being able to work out like I was and eating later in the day because of my schedule changing.”

Despite the challenges he faces, Jerry says hearing how he’s an inspiration for co-workers to eat healthy and watching his children and grandchildren grow up is his motivation.

A Self-Taught Jack-of-All-Trades

Jerry attended culinary school with a dream to open his own restaurant, but his talents go beyond the kitchen.

He is a self-taught bass player and singer in his church choir. Jerry has been playing bass for 30 years and learning new songs despite not being able to read music.

“My dad has been a musician all my life,” Jerry says. “He started teaching me a few chords, and I learned how to play by watching. [When I learn a new song,] I just listen to the song and start to play with it. I listen for chord changes, then once I figure out the key, I can pretty much play the song.”

Jerry fiddles with other string instruments, including the double bass, mandolin and guitar. He also recorded an album of southern gospel covers with one original song in a sound booth he built in a closet at his home.

“I sold about 200 copies,” Jerry says. “It wasn’t really big.”

A version of this article originally appeared in the Summer 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.