Joe Quinones is a Wharton MBA grad turned real estate entrepreneur. Not bad for someone who comes, as he says, “from the poorest of the poor.” But his greatest success story will be making good on the promise he’s made to his two young children.
All his life, Joe has been battling obesity, something not new in his family. He talks about losing both his mother and father when they were in their 50s, how “everyone in their generation from my father’s side and my mother’s side died in their 50s and 60s” because, he explains “my family comes from a particular socio-economic background and education level that create an alignment for health issues, like obesity.”
“I have battled weight all of my life. I never conquered it, but I kept it under control. Then maybe ten years ago, it got out of control, and I shot up to 245 pounds. I went through a divorce and I was stressed.”
Then an unexpected thing happened that provided a surprising source of motivation: his children.
Joe, who had his son and daughter late in life, got a vital request from his then-six-year-old daughter, Anike. She told him that she wanted him to dance with her at her wedding.
That same school year, Joe’s son, , started to have behavioral problems in school. Turned out, it was all because he was scared that his dad was going to die because he was so old. All of this made Joe really think.
“I was in my early fifties. My son was in the second grade. I show up to his class, and I’m old enough to be his teacher’s father. So I kind of laughed and made a deal with him. I said, ‘You correct your behavior, and I promise I won’t leave you until you’re my age, and even then my spirit will always be with you.”
But then he did the math.
He had just promised that he’d be able to “cut a rug” at his daughter’s wedding at the age of 75, and would be with his son until he was 95. That’s when he started to run, seriously run. Now, Joe is fighting family obesity one mile at a time. After losing 55 pounds, Joe has reached his ideal weight, but works hard at maintaining it, all the while keeping everything as affordable as possible as his divorce did not leave him with a lot of spare change.
“I’m in this place of resurrecting and rebuilding, and I know this doesn’t have to be an expensive enterprise. A free app and Kelly Drive. That’s my gym membership.” Joe takes a deep breath, and says:
“I love my kids and I’m going to keep my commitment to them.”