iOS app Android app More

Ben Quit Drinking Soda And Lost 170 Pounds

Ben Dempsey Weight Loss

First Posted: 12/16/11 08:20 AM ET Updated: 12/17/11 10:40 AM ET

Got a success story of your own? Send it to us at success.stories@huffingtonpost.com and you could be featured on the site!

Name: Ben Dempsey
Age: 29
Height: 6'0"
Before Weight: 360 pounds

How I Gained It: I was always obese. I have nothing to blame but pure laziness, poor eating habits and not exercising. I just didn't care. I knew I was big, but I didn't know I was that big until I looked back. I was also addicted to soda. On average, I consumed nearly 10 20-ounce bottles a day. On a bad night, I could drink a 2-liter bottle with dinner.

Breaking Point: On July 22, 2009, I woke up and decided I had simply had enough of being obese for my entire life. I had tried radical diets in the past and lost anywhere from 30 to 50 pounds, but then I would gain it all back and more. That day, something changed. I knew I had to get my weight under control and defy each plateau as they arose. I didn't want to die by age 35.

How I Lost It: The first thing I knew I had to cut out was the soda. I stopped cold turkey. It was unbelievably hard the first week -- by day three I couldn't stay up past 9 p.m. and I was having withdrawal symptoms like headaches and constant nausea. But I pressed on, and I am proud to say that I haven't had a soda in over two years, and it was one of the best decisions I made along this weight-loss journey. It was the jump-start I needed.

Loading Slideshow...
  • John BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/17/i-lost-weight-john-henderson_n_5515251.html" target="_blank">Read John's story here.</a>

  • John AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/17/i-lost-weight-john-henderson_n_5515251.html" target="_blank">Read John's story here.</a>

  • Christina BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/14/i-lost-weight-christina-liendro_n_5485541.html" target="_blank">Read Christina's story here.</a>

  • Christina AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/14/i-lost-weight-christina-liendro_n_5485541.html" target="_blank">Read Christina's story here.</a>

  • DeAnna BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/07/i-lost-weight-deanna-taylor_n_5379433.html" target="_blank">Read DeAnna's story here.</a>

  • DeAnna AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/07/i-lost-weight-deanna-taylor_n_5379433.html" target="_blank">Read DeAnna's story here.</a>

  • Paul BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/10/i-lost-weight-paul-jay-birch_n_5474633.html" target="_blank">Read Paul's story here.</a>

  • Paul AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/10/i-lost-weight-paul-jay-birch_n_5474633.html" target="_blank">Read Paul's story here.</a>

  • Kourtney BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/03/i-lost-weight-kourtney-luster_n_5406288.html" target="_blank">Read Kourtney's story here.</a>

  • Kourtney AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/03/i-lost-weight-kourtney-luster_n_5406288.html" target="_blank">Read Kourtney's story here.</a>

  • Danielle BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/30/i-lost-weight-danielle-gilmore_n_5379289.html" target="_blank">Read Danielle's story here.</a>

  • Danielle AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/30/i-lost-weight-danielle-gilmore_n_5379289.html" target="_blank">Read Danielle's story here.</a>

  • Pamela BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/26/i-lost-weight-pamela-arias_n_5405713.html" target="_blank">Read Pamela's story here.</a>

  • Pamela AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/26/i-lost-weight-pamela-arias_n_5405713.html" target="_blank">Read Pamela's story here.</a>

  • Sherlonda BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/23/i-lost-weight-sherlonda-tyrus_n_5310512.html" target="_blank">Read Sherlonda's story here.</a>

  • Sherlonda AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/23/i-lost-weight-sherlonda-tyrus_n_5310512.html" target="_blank">Read Sherlonda's story here.</a>

  • Justin BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/16/i-lost-weight-justin-willoughby_n_5310166.html" target="_blank">Read Justin's story here.</a>

  • Justin AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/16/i-lost-weight-justin-willoughby_n_5310166.html" target="_blank">Read Justin's story here.</a>

  • Kerry BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/19/i-lost-weight-kerry-hoffman_n_5310330.html" target="_blank">Read Kerry's story here.</a>

  • Kerry AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/19/i-lost-weight-kerry-hoffman_n_5310330.html" target="_blank">Read Kerry's story here.</a>

  • Lacy BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/12/i-lost-weight-lacy-lane_n_5276296.html" target="_blank">Read Lacy's story here.</a>

  • Lacy AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/12/i-lost-weight-lacy-lane_n_5276296.html" target="_blank">Read Lacy's story here.</a>

  • Marqkria BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/09/i-lost-weight-marqkria-mcmiller_n_5226557.html" target="_blank">Read Marqkria's story here.</a>

  • Marqkria AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/09/i-lost-weight-marqkria-mcmiller_n_5226557.html" target="_blank">Read Marqkria's story here.</a>

  • Gina BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/02/i-lost-weight-gina-digregorio_n_5153436.html" target="_blank">Read Gina's story here.</a>

  • Gina AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/02/i-lost-weight-gina-digregorio_n_5153436.html" target="_blank">Read Gina's story here.</a>

  • Sarah BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/26/i-lost-weight-sarah-swagler_n_5119632.html" target="_blank">Read Sarah's story here.</a>

  • Sarah AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/26/i-lost-weight-sarah-swagler_n_5119632.html" target="_blank">Read Sarah's story here.</a>

  • Emil BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/29/i-lost-weight-emil-oprisa_n_5113935.html" target="_blank">Read Emil's story here.</a>

  • Emil AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/29/i-lost-weight-emil-oprisa_n_5113935.html" target="_blank">Read Emil's story here.</a>

  • Nikki BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/05/i-lost-weight-nikki-hauck_n_5160077.html" target="_blank">Read Nikki's story here.</a>

  • Nikki AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/05/i-lost-weight-nikki-hauck_n_5160077.html" target="_blank">Read Nikki's story here.</a>

  • Lauren BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/22/i-lost-weight-lauren-richmond_n_5111063.html" target="_blank">Read Lauren's story here.</a>

  • Lauren AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/22/i-lost-weight-lauren-richmond_n_5111063.html" target="_blank">Read Lauren's story here.</a>

  • Darrell BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/19/i-lost-weight-darrell-mctague_n_5104908.html" target="_blank">Read Darrell's story here.</a>

  • Darrell AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/19/i-lost-weight-darrell-mctague_n_5104908.html" target="_blank">Read Darrell's story here.</a>

  • Jessica BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/12/i-lost-weight-jessica-johnson_n_5002531.html" target="_blank">Read Jessica's story here.</a>

  • Jessica AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/12/i-lost-weight-jessica-johnson_n_5002531.html" target="_blank">Read Jessica's story here.</a>

  • After BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/15/i-lost-weight-amanda-clay_n_5070828.html" target="_blank">Read Amanda's story here.</a>

  • Amanda AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/15/i-lost-weight-amanda-clay_n_5070828.html" target="_blank">Read Amanda's story here.</a>

  • Miesha BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/05/i-lost-weight-miesha-avery_n_4988688.html" target="_blank">Read Miesha's story here.</a>

  • Miesha AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/05/i-lost-weight-miesha-avery_n_4988688.html" target="_blank">Read Miesha's story here.</a>

  • Rachel BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/08/i-lost-weight-rachel-reso_n_4913990.html" target="_blank">Read Rachel's story here.</a>

  • Rachel AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/08/i-lost-weight-rachel-reso_n_4913990.html" target="_blank">Read Rachel's story here.</a>

  • Shelly BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/28/i-lost-weight-shelly-matthias_n_4980658.html" target="_blank">Read Shelly's story here.</a>

  • Shelly AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/28/i-lost-weight-shelly-matthias_n_4980658.html" target="_blank">Read Shelly's story here.</a>

  • Ernie BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/01/i-lost-weight-ernie-lauro_n_4904095.html" target="_blank">Read Ernie's story here.</a>

  • Ernie AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/01/i-lost-weight-ernie-lauro_n_4904095.html" target="_blank">Read Ernie's story here.</a>

  • Dave BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/21/i-lost-weight-dave-douglas_n_4815846.html" target="_blank">Read Dave's story here.</a>

  • Dave AFTER

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/21/i-lost-weight-dave-douglas_n_4815846.html" target="_blank">Read Dave's story here.</a>

  • Meredith BEFORE

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/24/i-lost-weight-meredith-white_n_4867161.html" target="_blank">Read Meredith's story here.</a>

I also stopped eating fast food, fried foods and potatoes, and cut back on salt. I limited bread to whole-wheat only, and I tried to have red meat only once a week. I aimed to eat 1,500 calories and drink a gallon of water every day. Every now and then I would allow myself an apple or cranberry juice, or a glass of 2% milk with dinner.

When January 2010 came around, I resolved to finish a 10K. I signed up for the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia. At that point, I was doing my best to just be able to walk for a short period of time without giving up. I made it my goal to walk every day, twice a day when I could. The length of time didn't matter; I just had to do it. As I got faster, I was able to start jogging some. Only July 4, 2010, I completed my first 10K race at 1:42:02 with my wife by my side.

The next year I continued pushing myself and set a huge goal to complete my first half-marathon. I did it in 3:03. Two days later I signed up for a full marathon, which I'll be running in March 2012.

I never thought I would be where I am today, but it has truly been a journey to remember. I have defied my body both mentally and physically to get where I wanted, and it's not over yet! I want to help others realize that they, too, can defy the odds and crush their weight-loss plateaus with a lot of hard work and determination. You have to just press on toward the goal no matter what.

After Weight: 190 pounds

2011-12-07-benfullbody.jpg


Check out more of our inspiring weight loss stories below:

FOLLOW HUFFPOST HEALTHY LIVING

Filed by Sarah Klein  |