His and Her Side of Extreme Weight Loss!
He Lost 115 lbs!
She lost 185 Pounds!
Growing up, both Tasha and I were overweight from the first time we ever stepped on a scale. I was 13 when I remember vividly realizing that I had developed breasts after being bigger than all my friends for so many years. It was literally like one day I looked down and said wow, what are these? None of my friends or family had any issues with their weight while I was growing up, quite the opposite, actually. My brothers, sisters, and mother all ran marathons and prided themselves on being athletic and healthy. My sister still to this day holds records at her high school for being so fast. It was extremely hard sitting on the sidelines watching them enjoy something I didn’t believe I was capable of accomplishing. My sister would encourage me to go on runs with her but it always hurt too much. At a very young age the thing that my mother and I did together was go to McDonald’s. Sadly it was our bonding time and on this journey to getting fit I have gone through the drive thru and had to throw it out the window just to smell it or take a single bite. Instead of these differences motivating me, it drew me further down the path of depression and overeating to try and fill that void.
My mother hired trainers and put me on diets, but when you’re that young, you’re not losing weight or being motivated for the right reasons. Even when I did lose weight I always put it back on. Family members would hide food from me, and it all felt like a sick joke. At my heaviest I was at 335 lbs, size 48 waist, 57% body fat, and only 5’10 at the age of 21. My life had gotten out of control and I was killing myself one fast food meal at a time. I finally got insurance and went to the doctors to find out I had high blood pressure so high that the doctor wanted to take me to the ER and put me on medicine immediately. Even though my family was very fit, I knew so many people that had to take pills every day to survive and I refused to be one of them. I told my doctor to give me one chance and if in three months he didn’t see a change, he could put me on the medicine. I am an all or nothing type of guy and jumped right in! In that first three months, I lost 40 lbs and fell in love with fitness all at the same time. I started researching workout ideas nonstop and ignited a true passion within me. I would work out six days a week doing cardio and then fell in love with lifting weights. It was the therapy I desperately needed all along. The weight started dropping off and I felt incredible, strong, alive and happy. For the first time I was living my life for me and then I stumbled upon the true gold of my transformation, and that has been motivational videos. The words of Eric Thomas, Les Brown, Tony Robbins, and most of all Kai Greene filled my mind in any times of struggle and pain. I promise you, there was plenty of pain.
This has been the longest, hardest struggle I have ever endured and in the end it has made me the strongest version of me — something I never thought possible. Goals that seemed so far away have come and gone and I cherish every small victory. I got down to 195lbs and 17% body fat with a 32” waist, and am now back up to 220 lbs in muscular gains. I went from chubby little boy to morbidly obese man to personal trainer at the gym where I worked so hard every day. I now change others’ lives and it feels so incredible having a job where I do what I love and love what I do. I’m so happy to say that my biggest success story just happens to also be my biggest support and best friend, Tasha. Since I met her, fitness has become not just my own, but our dream and we both are now bodybuilders in-the-making. In the future, you WILL see me on the Arnold Classic stage, giving a motivational speech, and writing a book with the full story!
My 5 tips:
- Trust yourself completely.
- You have to see yourself as your future self when you look in the mirror even if no one else will.
- Consistency is key, especially with diet so plan ahead (Thank you Quest for making it easier!)
- Surround yourself with like-minded people
- You have to learn to love the struggle and thrive off it in times of weakness.
My first memory of getting on the scale was when I was 12. I vividly remember looking down and seeing 205 lbs. I stood at 5’4, and wore size 18 pants and an extra-large shirt for my school uniform. I remember always feeling like the biggest girl in the class. Growing up I always heard things like “you’re just big boned” from my family and took it as my own truth for a very long time. The majority of my family is overweight so heart problems, diabetes, and strokes related to that obesity all have been sad realities in my life. I do not place blame on anyone in particular, but it is my family’s culture to get together for any reason and eat to celebrate. Every emotion of happiness, sadness, stress, anxiety or anger I can remember was associated with food, either to fix it or celebrate it. Even from the age of 8 or 9 I would go to buffets with family and end up getting sick at the end of the night every single time from over-eating. Until very recently I never knew that was a disorder. As far as physical activity went, I used to play softball but could never run the mile in gym class, climb the rope or exert myself for any length of time. Instead, I excelled at my studies. It wasn’t until I saw the number on the scale for the first time that I ever had the desire to lose weight, and that was the same year that my mother had gastric bypass surgery. I always needed a partner and again I place no blame on anyone, but nothing in my house changed after my mom had surgery — except for the number on the scale when she stepped on, and my growing issues with food. As I got older, I kept gaining weight. By the time I went to college I had every excuse to not live a healthier life. In college I found a community of like-minded people and was truly celebrated for my size at BBW (big beautiful women) social events. My entire life I got the stares and rude comments from people, and these social events felt like a safe haven where the dating pool was only looking for people my size! I reveled in it and for the first time I wasn’t just pretty for a big girl, I was just pretty. In the midst of my happiness I started feeling extremely ill and finally convinced myself to go the doctor. At the time I was 18, 360lbs, size 28 pants, 56% body fat and found out I was also diabetic. My A1C was at a whopping 11, where above 6 is abnormal. I literally helped take care of my Grandma during high school and helped check her blood sugar and give her insulin injections and I was already in the same shoes at age 18. I was terrified and begged to not have any medication. Instead I decided to change my diet. By the time I was 19 I was around 315 lbs just by slightly changing my eating habits and walking around campus instead of taking the bus so much. I wasn’t putting forth the effort so I plateaued at 315 lbs for a few years.
At the beginning of 2014 I graduated with my bachelor’s and decided that this year would be “my year.” I saw my Grandma pass away the previous summer due, in part, to obesity related issues. Now that school could not be my excuse for not being healthier I got a job where I was on my feet for 12 hours a day and started being stricter with my food. By June 2014 I was down to 290 lbs, size 24 pants, 2XL shirt and met Randy at the local gym. He was such an inspiration to me and we clicked immediately! He was very upfront in wanting a partner in his healthy lifestyle and always wanting the same, I jumped at the chance! It started with wanting to go three times a week and very quickly turned to so much more. He taught me about weight training, exercising properly and most importantly, he opened my eyes to motivational speakers and the strength they help you find in yourself. Being the nerd that I am, I dove in headfirst. Randy and I became the most well-informed people when it comes to fitness. After 10 months of extremely hard work with many ups and downs, I have lost 115 lbs with 22% body fat and I’m well on my way to a bodybuilder bikini show. I have lost 4 1/2 feet of inches off my body and wear size 11 pants, M shirts (no “XXL” anymore!). I work out six days a week as therapy for my mind, body and soul.
Now I actually enjoy running, lifting heavy, and have the endurance of a triathlete who enjoys Crossfit. I am not afraid to try anything and feel invincible.
Now that I’ve lost half the fat on my body and 185 total pounds, what else could possibly stop me? The physical aspect has become a series of fun challenges and the true hard part to this day is still the nutrition. When you go from disordered eating to very controlled dieting, which are both extremes, it is a learning process. I have created an entire series of recipes for every type of lifestyle I’ve tried, and believe me I have failed more times than I can count! But persistence is the key to my success. I ALWAYS get back up, no matter what knocks me down. Moving forward and helping others find that passion is now my life’s work. I now take on clients for personal training, like Randy and I’m starting a meal prep business – which, of course, includes my best friends in cheating clean, Quest Nutrition! In the future, you WILL see me in a body builder bikini show, give a motivational speech, write a cook book, and change others’ lives!
My 5 Keys to success!
- You matter! This is the most important first step in taking time every day for you. Know that you matter and are worth every single ounce of effort you put in.
- You will fail, get over it! You will miss workouts, eat way too much, and slack on Mondays. Sometimes that’s okay! ! As long as you fail forward and use that pain of failure to propel you.
- It is a learning process! Try new things and change it up often. If it works, great, if it doesn’t, try something else. Nothing works for everyone and you have to find what works for you.
- The secret is there is no secret! Every single person asks what the secret is and there simply isn’t one. No magic pill or shake or wrap will change your thinking and it all starts with your thinking and what you believe is possible. You may not always be able to know you can do it, but you must know it is possible.
- Be your own biggest fan! When you first start and see success everyone will be your biggest fan, but they quickly fade away. You have to rely on your inner strength to carry you. Your biggest enemy is yourself. Never let your fears stop you from achieving greatness.
More than anything, this journey has been a long process of discovering ourselves. We consider ourselves so lucky to have a supportive partner when so many have to do it all alone. More than anything we want to spread our story to show that literally anyone can have what we have! We have a lot of exciting and scary new adventures ahead and would love everyone to come follow along so we can build a new kind of fit community, support system and way of life. Until then keep #lifeinmotion!