Before: 257 pounds
After: 170 pounds
Occupation: Personal Trainer
City: New York, NY
Reached his goal in: 4 years
When I was on the baseball team in high school, coaches often benched me because I was overweight. But at least I was trying, right? So when summer breaks rolled around, I took what I considered to be my well-earned rest: I sat on the couch and ate for months. Then I graduated and went to college in Miami, where I wanted to spend time on the beach with all the girls in bikinis—but man, I felt awkward out there. I was big! What beach babe would look my way?
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The Wake-Up Call
The beach tempted me, but it took a pair of size 46 pants to actually change me. They were the largest size available in my school-issued uniforms—and they were tight. I felt as if I'd hit a physical and emotional limit.
My college was known for good food, which meant temptation was everywhere. So I set a few rules for myself: One, eat at least a palm-sized portion of protein at every meal. (The thickness and size of an average man's palm is about the size of 4 ounces of meat—or roughly 30 grams of protein, says nutritionist Christopher Mohr, Ph.D. Aim to include that size portion in every meal. If you do, Mohr says, you'll stay fuller for longer, which means you'll be less likely to give in to cravings. For more nutrition advice, read The Truth about Protein.) Two, eat vegetables regularly—and even try a new one every now and then. Three, eat a piece of fruit whenever a snack craving hits. Amazingly, that's all it took for me to start losing weight.
A buddy joined me at the gym for my first couple of trips, which was a great way to start out. He taught me some basic weight exercises, which made me feel less awkward. And when I hopped on the elliptical, I fell in love with a good sweat. The machine was easy on my knees, unlike running, and I could push myself to go 5 more minutes each time I exercised. Soon I moved to light jogging on the treadmill and then running outdoors around campus. I was always increasing the challenge.
Freshman year I had a crush on a girl who wouldn't even look at me. By junior year, we were dating. We're no longer together, but the relationship was still a reward for my hard work. And with my new job as a personal trainer in New York City, I'm not lacking for Friday night dates. I tell my clients I used to be big, and they can't imagine it. But when they eventually believe me, they start to believe in themselves, too.
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