Latino To Watch: Abraham Hernandez

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abrah_hernandezBy Suellen Pineda

Abraham Hernandez has for sure a story to tell. Hernandez has helped a lot of people make wise financial decisions during his many years as a financial advisor and a sales and marketing professional. He currently works as a relationship banker for an important bank branch. However, during the last six years, Hernandez has found an entire new and meaningful way of helping people, that is, in the health, wellness and weight loss field.

Six years ago, after experiencing the health and social consequences of obesity himself for over 25 years, Hernandez made the amazing decision to change his life forever. The once 400 pound man was playing in the backyard with his then 4-year-old grandson, when he found the motivating force he needed. He recalls his grandson saying to him, “I wish you weren’t so big, so I could play ball with you—that’s when it hits me,” he says.

Hernandez embarked on a mission to walk for 45 minutes to an hour, five days a week during his lunch break at the bank. “It wasn’t easy at first,” he says. “But after approximately three months into his routine, walking became addictive,” Hernandez says. Not only has he lost over 180 pounds, but he now also runs 5k races.

In addition to walking, Hernandez started eating in moderation the usual foods he normally eats. But, now he says the enjoyment of foods is much stronger. he says food tastes so much better when he pays attention to his food and avoids distractions such as the T.V.

For the first time in his life, and after several attempts to lose weight, Hernandez saw the fruits of his efforts as pounds started coming off. His weight loss journey is now an example and motivator to his family, friends and even co-workers, who are now following his steps. “By you changing your life, you will impact the people around you, leaving a health legacy for your family,” he says.

Hernandez realizes he needs to get his message across. He is actively working in the community, bringing awareness of the benefits of walking and having a healthy weight. He says, “The financial impact that obesity has on this country is phenomenal.” He wants to concentrate his efforts not only on the adult population but also on children. “The statistics on obesity are shocking and something needs to be done,” Hernandez says. “There’s no magic pill to lose weight, we have to change our mindset, change the way we eat and we have to get America to start walking,” he adds.

More About Abraham….

Your hobbies
Reading, collecting model cars and walking. I read everything I can get my hands on but most importantly, I enjoy any kind of physical activity. There are so many benefits of physical activity that have been shown in a lot of studies. I have extensively researched how walking can successfully aid with losing weight and how a healthy weight greatly reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, respiratory problems, heart disease and stroke.

Your favorite Latino food
Mofongo, I love mofongo but it is hard to find a good mofongo.

What do you miss?
One of the things that I really miss doing is playing racquetball. I used to play racquetball a lot but had to stop because of the pressure I was putting on my knees due to my weight. My doctor said, ‘no way you’re killing yourself’ but I’m getting to the point where she’s going to allow me to play again.

Who do you admire and why?
My pastor Richard Tanon and his associate Pedro Rios. Two men who were so ahead of their time pastoring a very large Hispanic church in the middle of the Bronx. They helped improve not only the spiritual but the physical and mental state of their community.

Your favorite book
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. This is the book that the movie Lincoln is based on.

What is your favorite saying?
A huge par of losing weight is believing you can do it and realizing it’s not going to happen overnight.

What is your mission?
My mission is to go out and speaking to the community especially schools. I would love to get schools to buy to the idea that they have to promote physical activity like walking or basketball or something. When I was growing up as a kid in the Bronx, you ate lunch and then they let you into the Gym or yard. You played basketball, soccer. There was always a lot of physical activity that does not exist anymore. I love working with senior citizens because they feel there’s no hope, and they don’t know they can improve their lives by walking. I just feel I have to get on a rooftop and tell everybody to become physically active for optimal health.

What is your wish for the Latino community?
Consider that health has to be part of their lives, by giving your children a legacy of good health we would really help them by regaining control over their health so they can get control over their lives.