03/12/2012 08:13 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Weight Loss Success: John McCarthy Wanted To Set An Example For His Son And Lost 130 Pounds

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Name: John McCarthy
Age: 35
Height: 6'1"
Before Weight: 311 pounds

How I Gained It: I was often encouraged to "put some meat on those bones" as a teenager. After getting married, having a child and beginning a career in a sedentary role, the weight just sort of snuck up on me gradually over the past 10 years.

I did lose weight one other time. In February of 2009, I weighed 300 pounds. I lost 80 pounds by June of that year. But by February 2010 I was 269 pounds again, and gradually gained it all back, and more.

I'd start every weekday at Dunkin' Donuts, and get two donuts and a large iced coffee with cream and sugar. Sometimes I'd have no lunch at all, and I'd have fast food at least three times a week. I also drank a lot of soda, maybe as much as an entire two-liter bottle, plus two or three 20-ounce bottles a day.

I was consistently tired, I couldn't do the things I wanted to do with my son and I felt old. My doctor told me I had high blood pressure and was likely going to have an issue with diabetes if I continued on the path I was on. Otherwise, I was in good health; the doctor told me I needed to lose some weight and take care of myself before that luck ran out.

Breaking Point: On Memorial Day weekend I made the choice to lose the weight to be a better example to my son. In June, I joined a gym and changed my diet forever. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and I knew I was too young to feel that old. Clearly I was setting a bad example with my poor eating habits and lack of activity. I was tired of watching. I knew my son would remember I was always there to support his athletics or to take him places, but it wasn't enough. I wanted to get out there and play with him, run, hike and join him.

How I Lost It: With no trainer, nutritionist or fad diets, I've lost 130 pounds using tried and true methods. I eat from the farm not the factory, I drink at least eight glasses of water a day, I get eight hours of sleep a night and I walk a lot.

I have always been a walker -- I enjoy it. When I made the choice to lose the weight, the first thing I did was go for a walk. I walked three miles that day, and I was exhausted. Now I walk four or more miles, three to five times a week, and on the weekends seven to 10 miles a day.

By September, just 87 days later, I'd lost 81 pounds! Today, I've lost 130 pounds, and I'm keeping it off! I haven't gained back any of the weight I've lost. I started 2012 in the best health of my life. My doctor has praised me for my health and said I'm no longer at risk for preventable issues. I was lucky to have a doctor who didn't prescribe a "magic" pill to fix my health issues. He was certain that a good diet and exercise would put me on track, and he was right. I feel great today.

I eat eggs at home for breakfast every morning now. I still go to Dunkin' Donuts, but I skip the donuts and I drink a green tea, black, no sugar. I still drink coffee too, but I drink that without sugar as well. I eat five times a day now, and nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables and peanut butter are some of my staples. I eat at least two fish meals a week. I don't drink any soda, and I have not eaten any fast food since I decided to lose the weight.

I'd like to share the philosophy that helped me to accomplish this: "Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it."

This fall, my son and I were walking somewhere together and we were running late, so we started to jog. Later, he said to me, "I've never seen you do that before." I asked, "What?" and he said "Run."

When I lost the weight the first time, in 2009, I hiked the Franconia Range to the summit of Mt. Lafayette at 5,249 feet. My goal is to do it again this summer. Now I can start hiking with my son. I was tired of watching. Now we're making memories together.

After Weight: 180 pounds

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