Wellness Wins is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Nate Merdell is 6 feet 1 inch tall and currently weighs 180 pounds. After finding himself in constant physical pain because of his weight, he realized he needed to change his lifestyle. This is the story of his weight-loss journey.
The turning point
I realized my weight was an issue the moment I couldn’t stand the pain anymore. My lower back, knees, and ankles were in constant pain, and the only medication that was going to work was diet and exercise.
The turning point for me was just not being satisfied with myself anymore. I always had it in the back of my mind that I was going to lose the weight. The hardest part was stopping the excuses about why I couldn’t do it and just getting started. In January of 2017, I did just that. I made a resolution and started this journey to a better life.
My first step in losing weight was addressing my diet. I didn’t use any mainstream diet; instead, I just separated the good from the bad. The list of things I don’t eat consists of bread, white potatoes, white rice, pasta, fatty meats, anything with sugar added, cream, milk and soda. Things I do eat now are oatmeal, chia pudding, eggs, avocado, cottage cheese, lean meats, quinoa, brown rice, fish, fresh fruit and veggies. My main exercise to take off the weight was swimming. Every morning before work I would swim 2 miles.
My body felt uneasy while going through these changes. It craved sugar, fatty foods and all the stuff it was used to. Kicking those cravings was indeed very difficult, but I got motivation from my family and friends. Once my weight started to drop and I could see the progress I was making, my self-motivation took over. And once that happened, giving up was not an option.
After I lost 100 pounds, I felt better than I ever imagined. All the pain and suffering was over. To be able to look at myself in the mirror and see the difference was incredible. I never used to smile as much as much as I do now. I also gained an incredible amount of confidence. I always wore bulky clothing, like hoodies and long-sleeve shirts, to cover up my body. Now I have a whole new style, and I like showing off my hard work. I have a whole new outlook on life. Never in my life have I felt more accomplished. I can do anything now.
I’ve kept the same diet since day one. No bad starches, sugar or fatty foods. Just healthy grains, fruit, veggies and lean meat. I do allow myself one cheat meal a week. For exercise, I swim on Mondays. Tuesday through Friday I’m in the weight room, focusing on a different muscle group each day.
I start every day with a healthy breakfast consisting of chia pudding or oatmeal with banana, strawberries, blackberries, almonds and granola, [as well as] two boiled eggs, cottage cheese and an avocado. I make sure to eat three meals a day. Nothing after 8 p.m. I take my daily vitamins. I do weight training in the morning and core exercises at night.
I get a lot of inspiration from looking at where I came from. My before pictures keep me focused on my future. My family and friends give me continuous motivation. Also, people are always reaching out to me on social media. Being able to help others that are starting their journey means a lot to me. And it pushes me even further. One thing I’ve learned during this journey is that progress is the biggest motivator.
I tend to overwork myself at times. I work out six days a week — twice a day on four of those days, two hours in the morning and one hour at night. I struggle with rest, but I’ve been working on getting better at it.
The most important part of starting this journey is starting. Progress will eventually happen, but you have to start first. Remember you’re in the driver’s seat. People around you will support and motivate you, but that doesn’t matter unless you do it and make it happen. The human mind is the most powerful thing in the world. If you believe in yourself, you’re unstoppable. The body achieves what the mind believes.
Need more inspiration? Read about our other wellness winners!
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- ‘I felt publicly humiliated’: How not being able to buckle her seat belt on a plane inspired Joanna Pearson to lose 215 pounds
- ‘Weight just started falling of’: The buzzy diet that finally helped one woman lose 94 pounds
- After Nicholas La Monaco lost 151 pounds, ‘my glasses, shoes and wedding band no longer fit’