Walking Every Day and Going Paleo Helped Me Lose 115 Pounds

CJ Wheatley
·3 min read
Walking Every Day and Going Paleo Helped Me Lose 115 Pounds

From Men's Health

Growing up, I was always a big kid. I love to eat, and that became very important in my life. I ate fast food almost daily because it was easy—going out and having a few beers and a burger sounded way better than water and a healthy meal. By age 21 or so I was 320 pounds, and my weight yo-yo’d a bit. Physically, I felt fine. Psychologically, though, I was really self-conscious, afraid to approach a girl or go out with friends for fear of embarrassing myself.

I spent Thanksgiving day of 2019 with friends, and there were a lot of new faces, people I hadn’t met. Toward the end of the day, a three-year old cousin ran up, grabbed my leg, and started yelling, “FAT GUY” over and over. It took a few seconds for everyone to understand what he was saying but I heard it immediately. His parents were embarrassed but I laughed it off. I recognize that one of the best/worst things about children is that they have no inhibition. He said what no one else really would but probably thought at one point.

That December I decided it was time for a change. I had tried fitness plans and diets in the past, but couldn’t stay motivated. Somehow, this time that kid calling me out gave me the drive to go forward.

I started with keto, but the excessive fat made me physically uncomfortable. I switched to a paleo diet of mainly salads and protein—lots of chicken. I fell off the wagon a few times, but with the help of a nutritionist got a consistent meal plan going.

Photo credit: CJ Wheatley
Photo credit: CJ Wheatley

I also got a gym membership and started walking. I’d begin with an hour at a five-degree incline, switching to the maximum fifteen-degree incline every five minutes. As I got stronger I added more time to the maximum-incline time. I’ve also started running and weightlifting, and I golf and rollerblade—I’m not great at either, but this year is for new experiences and ways to get out of my comfort zone.

I’m currently 115 pounds down from where I started. I’m still a work in progress, with the goal of being around 180 pounds with more muscle. I feel a million times better. Early on, I noticed that I slept better and through the whole night—before, I hadn’t even realized how bad my sleep was. I can buy clothes that I feel comfortable in, and showing off a little is a great feeling. I was at a wedding a month ago and my friends there were shocked at how slim I looked.

Photo credit: Men's Health
Photo credit: Men's Health

Dating’s obviously strange given the current pandemic, but my success on dating apps has definitely improved. Hopefully, once we are back to a safe near-normal, I will be at my goal and ready to get back onto the dating circuit.

From a surface level my journey has been physical, but it has also been psychological, personal, and for general health. I do not plan to be finished with improving myself in all those aspects until the end of my days. —As told to Jesse Hicks



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