Got a success story of your own? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be featured in our I Lost Weight series!
Name: Jason Gerstenberger
Before Weight: 400 pounds
How I Gained It: I started gaining noticeable weight in grade school. My mother became sick with MS and my parents divorced. I had a loving family, and they were all athletic. I lacked a sense of stability from an early age. My parents shared custody of my little sister and me, so meals weren't always on a consistent schedule. Sometimes we indulged in fast food when we spent time with each parent, trying to have family moments. I guess I just snowballed out of control.
My self-esteem shrunk to almost non-existent, and by the time I was a sophomore in high school I was 320 pounds. By the time I was a freshmen in college the scale in the gym only went to 350 and I couldn't tell how much I weighed anymore. I was eating fast food late at night, skipping breakfast and eating almost all processed foods. Whatever commercial looked good, I would indulge in that item.
I always knew I needed to lose weight, but when you have 200 pounds to lose the goal just seems impossible. No part of me ever thought I would figure out a way out of the life I was trapped in.
Breaking Point: Easter Sunday one year I just decided I didn't need to live this way anymore, and that the only difference between me and my healthy friends were decisions we all made. They weren't put on this earth to be thin and fit and I wasn't put here to be fat. Over a short period of time this idea became something I really bought into and believed with all my heart for the first time in my life.
How I Lost It: I lost weight quickly in college, but then gained it back and hovered around 360 pounds until I really decided to become accountable by researching best practices and taking action. I ate clean foods. I only ate one cheat meal per week. I always ate breakfast. I stopped eating three hours before bedtime. I focused on protein, high-quality carbohydrates and good fats. I ate a few Greek yogurts each day with ground flaxseed as snacks between meals and made sure I got enough fiber. I never starved and never counted calories. I lost 155 pounds in 10 months flat, and ultimately cut my size in half.
Now, I have more self esteem. I try every chance I can to help people believe they can lose weight too. I'm a weight loss coach and personal trainer now. I started a weight loss website and created my own weight loss course. I am way healthier than I was before. I really just want to help anyone, even if it is just one person, to believe they're worth the change. I know how tough it is to live with that feeling of hopelessness.
After Weight: 200 pounds
The Huffington Post publishes photographs as they are submitted to us by our readers.
Check out more of our inspiring weight loss stories below:
For more on weight loss, click here.