Andrew Merydith, 30, weighed 410 pounds at his heaviest.
Setting himself a simple daily target on his Fitbit kick-started a physical transformation.
He shares with Men’s Health how he has lost more than 160 pounds in the last 18 months.
I have battled with the scale for as long as I can remember. Before my most recent weight loss journey, I failed at previous weight loss attempts where I tried to use fat burners, and ended up hovering at around 330 pounds. I bottomed out over a year later when I stepped on the scale and realized I had gained roughly 80 pounds, and I was over 400 pounds.
Depression played a huge role in my weight gain, and working a 9 to 5 desk job also caught up with me. I had no mindfulness when it came to things like drinking water and consuming calories. Between my mental health, sedentary lifestyle and poor decision-making, I created a perfect recipe for obesity.
At my heaviest, I started noticing alarming health issues, and was even breaking my furniture due to my weight. I noticed my legs would go numb during the day, my eyes would swell, and I would wake up with awful lower back pain. Outside of the alarming health issues, I was depressed, had zero self-confidence, and I had pretty much given up on trying to be healthy one day.
Then I received a Fitbit device through my employer, and I decided to set myself the simple goal of walking 10,000 steps each day, as well as logging my food. This was a game changer. Honestly, I was at the point where I had nothing to lose; I am so lucky my work has a partnership with Fitbit because it saved my life. It really helped me make lifestyle changes that I’d had trouble making for the past two decades.
I started drinking a lot more water, logging my sleep, and counting my calories via the Fitbit app. I also tried to get up and move around every hour, which helped with my target of hitting 10,000 steps. Just those few little changes had an enormous impact on my health.
As my health gradually got better, my workouts started evolving and getting harder. In the beginning, I was doing it all on my own, but now I have a trainer, whose workouts really helped me take my weight loss journey to the next level. We’ve moved to virtual sessions during the pandemic. I work out twice a day at a local gym, and do two virtual bootcamps and two kickboxing classes six days a week.
I also run on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The pandemic has actually helped me with my weight loss, because I was forced to adapt and change my workouts, and I was able to take advantage of the extra time on my hands. Focusing on my training also helped me with my mental health during this time.
When I first started my journey in May 2019, at a weight of 410 pounds, I had the goal of getting under 300 pounds by my 30th birthday on December 9.. I made it by the skin of my teeth; 299.5 pounds. Today, I weigh 248 pounds—a total loss of 162 pounds—although I’m still 60 or 70 pounds off from my goal weight.
My friends and family were stunned, proud and happy about my transformation. My weight loss also motivated a lot of my co-workers to be healthier, and it felt great that my journey helped to inspire others.
There have been so many other positive results of my transformation aside from my physical health. First, I’m happy, which I have not been in a long time. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders (no pun intended). There was always a little voice in the back of my head reminding me of my weight, and it’s not there anymore. I also have hope; I am so hopeful about my future.
To anyone else who is at the start of their own fitness journey, I would say: If I can do it, so can you! I’m living proof that anyone can achieve their goals. This is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change focused on breaking bad habits and forming new ones. Start with small, reasonable changes. If you have never worked out before, begin with trying to log 10,000 steps, drinking 75 ounces of water, and counting your calories. Over time, your workouts will get harder, your diet will get cleaner, and you will get where you want to go.
Just remember: you are worth the time and energy you invest in your own wellbeing.
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