Got a success story of your own? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be featured on the site!
Name: Benjamin Francis
Before Weight: 430 pounds
How I Gained It: I've been overweight since I was a teenager, but my excessive emotional eating started when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I ate whenever I had a feeling I wanted to "fill" and food became that comfort. Nothing was off limits: I'd go to McDonald's and order two or three meals and still not feel satisfied, and then eat popcorn or pretzels -- anything to take my mind off of what my family was dealing with. Part of the problem was that once my mom became sick we didn't have a structured breakfast, lunch, dinner routine, it was more or less "fend for yourselves". I wasn't eating at the right times, which led to being hungry all the time. To put it bluntly, if I wasn't working, I was snacking on something.
Breaking Point: In October of 2010, when I was 27, I decided I was over eating my pain away. I didn't want my pain to be visible to the world.
How I Lost It: That first day, I signed up at Planet Fitness and got right into a routine. I made a goal to burn off at least 1,000 calories a day. I could accomplish this by doing an hour on a treadmill at a brisk pace and on an incline. After I was comfortable with that, I started using the elliptical for cardio and the Arc Trainer for strength-training. As I grew closer to my goal weight, I started circuit training three to four days a week. I hadn't been active since gym class in high school, but once I started working out it really changed my life. Now, if I miss a workout, it throws off my day. Going to the gym relieves stress and helps me focus. I go every day, and it's not a chore -- I look forward to it!
I cut out soft drinks cold turkey, eliminating as much processed sugar as possible. I started eating whole-grain foods and more natural foods. If I look on the side of the box and the ingredient list is long enough for a short story, I know it's not worth it. I also cut out fried foods completely. I looked at the food pyramid to make sure I was still getting the nutrition I needed without damaging my body.
For breakfast, I would do whole grain oats and an omelet. A mid-morning snack might be a banana, orange or fresh cranberries. For lunch I would pick a lean protein and have a nonfat yogurt. My mid-afternoon snack would be peanuts, air-popped popcorn or some veggies. Dinner would consist of a lean protein, broccoli, green beans and some type of healthy starch. My meals varied daily but stuck to these basic parameters.
Once I actually started to see the weight literally melt off, I became more motivated than I had ever been before. I was working out one day in September 2011, and I had my iPod going. I closed my eyes and imagined things I would do once I was "skinny". One of the things I thought of was going skydiving. Three days later (I was right at the weight limit) I did.
After Weight: 185 pounds
Check out more of our inspiring weight loss stories below:
For more on weight loss, click here.
More:Weight Loss Success Story Benjamin Francis Weight Loss Success Benjamin Francis Weight Loss Success Story Weight Loss Success Stories Diet And Nutrition
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more