At your unhealthiest weight, what did your diet and nutrition look like?
"My heaviest weight was about 280 pounds back in 2015. The big thing for me was that I just ate massive quantities of food. Breakfast was half a gallon of chocolate milk and lunch would be six hot dogs and buns with an entire can of pringles. If I wanted pizza, I would have two Digiorno pizzas for dinner."
What habits led to that weight?
"I grew up in a heavier family where being big was essentially a point of pride. Being able to say, 'hey I can eat more food than you' or 'I'm big and strong' was the goal. So my logic was simply, 'ok well I’m going to eat more and be bigger and stronger'. That's what led to the weight gain and being as big as I was."
What was the moment that made you realize you wanted to make a change?
"I wanted to take progress photos to see how I looked while I was working out. And I remember taking photos and just deleting them after every time because I was so unhappy with the way that I looked. I don’t even have photos from those times now because I deleted them after taking them. That was the moment that made me say to myself, 'ok I’m going to lose weight and make a change'."
What parts of life were hindered by your weight?
"Just day to day life. Shirts didn’t really fit right; finding clothes in general was just not convenient. I would get winded walking up a flight of stairs. Sleeping was hard, I was tired all the time. Just day to day life in general was hard."
What was the first step that you took to change?
"Before I started losing weight I was already weightlifting, so I knew what calories were and what counting calories looked like but I basically ignored that knowledge for a long time. But going back to the moment I mentioned in front of the mirror taking photos, I decided then that I was going to take counting calories seriously. So I picked a number of calories that I thought would take me to my goal weight and just stuck with that number everyday. That’s how it started."
How long from when you started counting calories did it take you to see a noticeable difference?
"It honestly only took a couple of weeks for me to notice the change. I was heavy enough to start and I was already working out, so when I dropped my calories much lower and kept lifting it only took a few weeks for me to start losing weight. Once I noticed the change it was really easy for me to keep going because I was motivated by seeing the progress and results."
What new mindset and confidence came with this change?
“For my mindset and confidence, losing weight for me was huge. Simply wearing shirts that fit right on me and not having to worry about being able to sit and fit comfortably in a chair were now no longer stressors for me. I had a new peace of mind across the board; it was huge for my confidence.”
What advice would you give to people who are about to start their own nutrition challenge?
“More than anything, be patient. It’s not going to happen fast, and I know that it’s easy to want results really quick. My weight would fluctuate a lot even after losing the initial weight. At the end of the day you’re not just losing weight for one or two years, it's for the rest of your life. So be patient with it and with yourself.”