Wellness Wins is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Jesse Cooper is 5 feet 11 inches and weighs 171 pounds. In 2015, after finding himself “disgusted” with his weight and lifestyle, he decided to get healthier for the sake of his future. This is his weight-loss journey.
The Turning Point
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been overweight or obese. I was always the “fat kid” in school. I just shrugged it off even though all my friends and family would tell me my weight problem was becoming a serious issue.
I was 23 when I decided to change my life. My diet had gotten horrible to the point where I was eating fast food several times a day and drinking nothing but soda. I hated waking up every day feeling disgusted and unmotivated. I finally took a stand and told myself, “It’s now or never, no more putting this off.”
When I first started, I really had no clue what I was doing. I had a Planet Fitness membership
and I would go and do a ton of cardio. It wasn’t until a friend of mine, who was also
beginning to lose weight, helped me incorporate weight training into my routine. For the first year or so, I really didn’t have much of a plan. I was more of a casual gym goer who changed his eating habits by cutting out soda and fast food.
I really started doing my research and started learning about macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and protein) and IIFYM (if it fits your macros), which is essentially a diet where I could eat whatever I wanted, as long as I stayed within my allotted macronutrients for the day. Once I had the knowledge on my side, I started seeing more and more progress.
At this point, I was cooking food at home and never going out to eat. I was also paying attention to the nutrition labels on the back of all the food that I was eating, and weighing out my food so I was getting an accurate serving size and knowing exactly what I was putting into my body. I also switched gyms during this time, moving from Planet Fitness to my local YMCA, which was a real game changer. Having access to a wider variety of free weights and exercise equipment gave me exactly what I needed to move forward with my weight loss. I started experimenting with different types of workout routines.
Once I got accustomed to weight training, I was able to incorporate more and more exercise into
my routine. With a balanced nutrition plan and weight training and cardio that left me dripping with sweat at the end of every workout, I started to see a dramatic change in my physical appearance.
At first, the change was definitely difficult. Getting used to eating junk food and tons of sugar
and then doing a complete 180 on your diet would throw anyone off. It took time, but my
body got used to the change and felt a lot better once it started receiving the nutrition it
My motivation definitely had to come from within me. Every time I looked in the mirror, or put on an old pair of pants that I could fit my whole body into, was more than enough reason to never give up. Even on the hardest of days, I always pushed through the pain and told myself, “Hard work pays off.” I received so many positive comments from friends, family and people that barely knew me, and that, too, was a driving force behind my motivation.
I remember setting a goal for myself from the very beginning, and that goal was to be 180 pounds. But in October 2018, after finishing an extreme workout program, I stepped on the scale and it read 171 pounds. It brought me to tears. Not only did I achieve my goal, but I had surpassed it. Physically and emotionally, I was beyond happy and proud of myself for achieving something I never thought I would be able to accomplish. It’s the best feeling in the world knowing I stuck through until the end and made a difference in my life.
My life has changed completely. I am a happier, healthier and more positive individual. My goal now is to inspire others who struggle with what I struggled with and help them achieve their goals!
My diet and exercise are better than ever. I still follow a similar diet as IIFYM, where I can essentially eat whatever I want, as long as it fits into my daily macronutrients. My workouts have changed the most. I now follow several different weight-training programs, and I focus more on building lean muscle and perfecting my lifting form while also maximizing strength gains. I still do cardio every day even though I’m technically not trying to lose weight. Cardio is something I have always enjoyed and it’s great for your cardiovascular health.
Today, I’m most inspired by the feedback I get from all of the people who I connect with on Instagram. Receiving positive messages about how inspirational and incredible my transformation is makes me want to strive toward a brighter future. Nothing keeps me motivated more than helping others who are struggling and reach out to me for advice. That is something I never thought would happen and it’s an amazing feeling.
Of course I worry about regaining all the weight. I don’t think it will ever happen, but insecurities sometimes get the best of us. I just keep my head up, look forward to the future and don’t focus on all the hardships I have faced. I focus on the path in front of me.
It’s simple really: Never doubt yourself. We are capable of achieving great things in life. If you put in the time and effort, you will see the results. Setting little goals for yourself along the way can help you achieve your main goal in the long run. Stay focused, and never forget why you started!
Need more inspiration? Read about our other wellness winners!
Have a wellness win to share? We want to hear it! Tell us at YStyleBeauty@yahoo.com.
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