Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Ron Patton is 29, 6’0”, and currently weighs 180 pounds. In 2017, he was inspired to lose weight in order to start a family and ended up discovering a passion for fitness. This is the story of his weight-loss journey.
The Turning Point
I began to put on a little bit of weight right after college. I started a career in Boston as a packaging engineer for medical company Boston Scientific and moved into an apartment with my now-wife, Nicole. This meant moving away from my hometown, Rochester, N.Y., and away from all of my old hobbies, including martial arts, which I had been practicing for 10 years. Going from a pretty active lifestyle to a sedentary lifestyle caused me to gain a little bit of weight over the first year, but nothing too stressful — a pants size, maybe a shirt size. I didn’t feel that bad. I thought it was just part of getting older.
After getting married, I put on some more weight. I can’t even blame the marriage because I am the main cook in my household. At the time, I loved experimenting with new recipes and new mixed drinks. My wife and I were having friends over every weekend and would indulge in both food and drinks while spending good times with friends. Though I don’t regret the good times, I definitely let myself go, blowing up to around 300 pounds. I hadn’t been weighing myself, but I stepped on an old scale with a limit of 300 and it spun in a complete circle. That’s when I knew there really was a problem.
For me, the defining moment for my weight loss started with my wife. We wanted to start a family but after months of trying without success, we started to get concerned. We went to see a specialist, and he told us that our weight may be part of the issue.
My wife Nicole and I started dieting together in July of 2017. She found great success in Weight Watchers, losing over 50 pounds total and is still doing a great job maintaining. We haven’t gotten pregnant yet, but our weights are both in the healthy range now and we no longer see a specialist!
I began losing weight by tracking via MyFitnessPal, a great weight-loss app. I find that the nonpaid version is perfectly fine for my needs. The app has the ability to set a specific weight-loss goal per week, by setting a deficit based on caloric maintenance needs. I set mine for 2 pounds per week.
My first step was to determine what I was eating and then adjust from there. What I found was that I had too many empty calories in my drinks, and quickly replaced soda and alcohol with water. That alone did a lot of the heavy lifting.
I did not have a specific plan at first other than to track and eat 1,000 calories less than maintenance. In addition to that, I started going to the gym after work to bike and burn off extra calories. I spent about four to five days a week just biking for half an hour to an hour, eventually making my way up to an hour and a half or more. I would watch videos, listen to music, check my email, whatever I would normally do after work, but now while riding a bike.
I did this for about three months, and lost about 55 pounds within that time frame. At that point a friend of mine encouraged me to start weightlifting. I thought I should try it and began following Jim Stoppani’s shortcut to size full-body program. In addition to this, I tweaked my diet to be much more protein focused, adding in protein shakes as a breakfast replacement (Quest brand is my personal favorite) and a lot of Chobani greek yogurt.
Over the next six months, I dropped another 65 pounds, while putting on some muscle. Overall, I was very happy with the results, but I wanted to try bulking back up slowly and gaining more muscle. Over the last three months I’ve put back on 10 pounds and then cut those 10 pounds again while retaining the muscle. Now I am incredibly motivated to keep lifting each week to see how far I can go!
The changes were hard at first. Getting used to going to the gym every day after work instead of playing computer games was quite the shift, but it felt like a good sacrifice. Once I started lifting, things completely changed.
I pushed myself too hard the first week of Jim Stoppani’s program. I was incredibly sore. I would get out of bed and walk like a T. rex due to my calf pain. I remember feeling like I just couldn’t make it, like it would be easier to just give up or not work as hard, but then I remembered my years of martial arts and the words of my instructor, Grand Master Amos Postwaite. He always told us, “This is good pain!” and “I know you can do this. I know you can give me more.” His words inspired me to push through the hard days and eventually I stopped telling myself no. Instead I kept getting stronger and feeling better. I started to crave the burn and the thrill of pushing myself. In weight lifting, I found a new passion and one I hope to maintain for the rest of my life. I have to thank my teacher for keeping me moving and showing me that I could always push to be a better person. I try to embrace his ways each day in everything that I do.
Once I lost the weight, I received a lot of comments, good and bad. Some said I was losing too much, others were really impressed. I felt like people looked at me a bit differently and I looked at myself differently. My confidence skyrocketed and I became much more outgoing, like I used to be.
Physically, I’m much stronger from the weightlifting, but I also notice that I’m never winded anymore when taking the stairs and that I am much more comfortable in smaller spaces because I feel like I have so much more room to spread out.
What surprised me most about weight loss was that every diet ends up being the same. At the end of the day, all diets work by reducing the ratio of input to output, or calories-in calories-out (CICO), as we call it. It’s really that simple, even if it’s not easy. What you eat does not matter as much as how much of it you eat (calorically), from a weight-loss perspective.
I have begun alternating between cutting and bulking cycles while still lifting. I eat either 1,000 calories under my TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure), which calculates my gym time into the equation to lose about 2 pounds a week for one month, or I eat 200 to 300 calories more than that same TDEE to gain around 0.5 pounds a week for two months.
Doing these cycles promotes muscle growth and reduces the amount of fat a person will build up while they gain weight, at least based on my research on Reddit.
Exercise-wise, I am still in the gym four to five days a week, lifting three to four of those days, and biking the other one to two for an hour each time. I find this is a good mix and it keeps me feeling happy and healthy.
I still think about the words of Grand Master Amos Postwaite and how he motivates people to keep doing better. I try to follow his teachings and leave a positive impact on everyone’s lives inside and outside of the gym.
I also always think about my wife, the woman who inspired me to get moving in the first place. She keeps me motivated each day, and keeps me thinking about new ways to cook for the two of us and new places for us to explore together.
These days, I find that I’m a bit too obsessed at times. I will avoid food if it doesn’t fit my diet and that’s not always the best way to live. I’m trying to calm down a bit on that end and reopen myself to the world of food. I’ve gotten a lot better than I was a few months back. I now enjoy the occasional beer and I have welcomed cheese back into my life with open arms. I still struggle to really enjoy baked goods like I used to, but that’s because I now have an understanding of what goes into them. I am much more picky when it comes to desserts because I want them to be really worth it if I’m going to indulge.
For anyone planning to start, start now. Don’t wait until next month, don’t wait until Monday or even tomorrow; just start.
Changes don’t have to be big, I don’t expect everyone to fall in love with the gym like I have, but you don’t have to! Find what makes you move and get out there.
You can do a little better each day and soon you’ll be doing a lot better. Maybe tonight you have one less beer, maybe in a week you skip the beer entirely.
Replace some, but not all meals with healthier options. You can enjoy a doughnut, but if you’re going to do that, try to make a healthier choice at lunch or dinner. Changes can be made day by day that turn into habits and then passions; you just have to be willing to take one more step.
Need more inspiration? Read about our other weight-loss winners!
Have a weight-loss win to share? We want to hear it! Tell us at YStyleBeauty@yahoo.com.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- What happens to your body when you breastfeed?
- Ami McClure speaks out about why she waited to tell the truth about the McClure twins father
- I struggle with laxative addiction and it’s an eating disorder we need to talk about