By the time I turned 19 years old, I weighed 400 pounds. I’d always been heavy, and thanks to a combination of bad diet and inactivity, my weight had gotten even more out of control. Most of the day I’d be in a chair playing video games or lying in bed; I was always eating—KFC, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and Pizza Hut. Whenever I got bored, I’d eat. I rarely drank water, just sodas and juice.
I was deeply depressed, and physically I was a wreck. Just walking or getting out of a chair took effort. I’d look at myself in the mirror and I’d just want to cry. What really scared me was when I started having chest pains. I had regular tightness in my chest, to the point that I started thinking I’d have a heart attack if I didn’t change my health.
The first thing I did was cut sugar out of my diet. Committing to water over sodas helped with that. And I switched to a one-day-a-meal diet. Eating as much as I wanted—but only once—really seemed to work for me.
Exercise-wise, I started small. I usually do have a lot of energy, so I channeled that. Whenever I felt fidgety, I’d get up and walk around the house. Pretty soon I was hitting 10,000 steps a day. Then I started lifting weights, beginning with a pair of 20-pound dumbbells that I’d curl, press, and squat. When I felt like quitting, I thought about all the people who’d mocked me for my size. If I gave up, all those kids that made fun of me would win. And I wasn't gonna let that happen.
Once I locked in a diet and exercise plan, I lost weight very quickly—at one point it was 15-20 pounds a month. Since February 2020 I’ve lost 150 pounds. I feel great. I have more energy, and I don’t run out of breath when I walk to the bathroom anymore.
I’ve been pretty locked down because of the pandemic, but the few friends I’ve gotten to see were shocked at how good I looked. Everyone knows that I've always struggled with my weight, so everyone has been very happy and supportive. My mom, who’s seen me every day, said she could see me transforming almost every week.
It was almost like a fresh start for me, mentally. When I was at my heaviest, I had very low self-confidence. I never talked to anyone if I didn't have to, and I never felt good about how I looked. Since I’ve lost so much weight, I feel much more secure in myself. I even started going out of my way to talk to people more.
I’d like to keep going, hopefully getting to around 215 pounds, which I haven’t been since I was in middle school. I'm happy with how far I've come, but I’m even more excited to continue this journey of mine.
The key for me was finding a routine that worked for me. Everyone’s body is different, and you need to learn what works best for you—mentally as well as physically. If your mind isn’t it, nothing else matters. —as told to Jesse Hicks
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