I lost over 100lb after life chewing me up and spitting me back out. If you need motivation to stick with your diet and workout program — read this.
Things could be worse — way worse.
I struggled with obesity for all of my life, yet I dug myself out of a deep hole when the chips were ALL down.
Every single aspect of my life sucked.
I was broke, lost both of my parents before my 30th birthday, was spiritually at my worst, and lost my ability to do powerlifting.
So, without much further ado, here’s the story of how I lost over 100lb in the face of adversity.
How I Lost Over 100lb After Life Kicked my Butt
I used to be obese.
Obesity affects every single area of your life.
Your health, your confidence, your athletic ability, your social capital, your social skills, your dating life, your business life, your self-esteem, and the list goes on and on.
You are in a constant state of discomfort.
You are inflamed, you have frequent indigestion, diarrhea, your joints hurt, you get chafed, your feet hurt, you tire quicker, your quality of life is in the toilet.
And the worst part is that you’re self-aware of these myriad issues.
But food is the only thing that (temporarily) makes you feel better.
Ironically, the very thing destroying almost every area of your life is what gives you solace.
The relationship is highly toxic.
Food is, in a perverse way, gaslighting you into coming back to it for comfort, while being the very source of your discomfort.
The only person that can free yourself from your food addiction is you.
You are the warden and the prisoner.
But many of you have tried and failed.
If you have read this far, you are probably trying to lose the weight.
Obesity, Losing over 100lb and My Origin Story
I tried to lose the weight for years.
I was the fat kid at school.
I was an only child to two older parents.
Food patched over the generational gap.
Food was a tool; a source of comfort.
When the kids teased me for my weight, I turned to food.
It got to the point where I was pressured into going on my first “diet” at age 10-11.
No kid should ever go through this.
Then my weight fluctuated until my late 20s.
At my worst, I weighed in the mid-300s.
I tried everything to lose the weight long term.
There is only one thing that really works.
But you have to be ready for it.
Your obesity shouldn’t be tied to who you are.
You have to address the emotional root cause to your overeating.
Your mindset must shift to the point where the possibility of holding excess fat shouldn’t exist in your mind. It is not who you are anymore. It isn’t part of your identity.
To recap, I was obese from childhood, teased for my size, and underwent my first fat loss diet at age 10-11.
Going through these things impacts a child differently.
What many people who don’t suffer from food addiction or obesity understand are the social and self-image consequences of obesity.
Despite “healthy at any size”, “fat acceptance”, “fat liberation” and all of the synonymous movements — which frankly only exist to prolong the agony of obesity — even the most well-meaning person will view an obese person negatively by default.
There are several negative connotations associated with obesity.
And obesity is a form of social self-hobbling.
The cool kids aren’t going to take you under their wing, the pretty girls don’t want to talk to you, and this will have a knock-on effect to your self-confidence, social skills, and status.
For years I struggled to develop a healthy “relationship” with food.
Instead of a source of nourishment, it was comfort — nourishment was a bonus.
I “didn’t like” many “healthy” foods.
Eating clean felt like a chore.
Whereas fast food or pigging out was real eating.
Anyway, I partied heavily throughout my late teens and early twenties.
I lost much of the weight — but not quite all of it.
Let’s just say it wasn’t through diet and exercise, but other crutches.
After I started to emerge from my self-destructive party phase, get my nutrition on track, and secured a 9-5, my beloved father was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer when I was going on 21.
The news made me spiral back into my old partying habits.
Then I got made redundant.
But my diet did get cleaner.
And I was hitting the gym pretty hard during the week.
Nevertheless, I was partying HARD 3-4 nights per week.
As my dad was receiving treatment, my adored Labrador died suddenly after a short illness at the age of 6.
This singular event was a hammer blow.
My dad was very close to being in remission, but suffered a nasty injury which required him to miss a few sessions.
His cancer came back.
More aggressive than before.
He lost his battle a year later.
I am an only child to older parents, so I felt like I had no one to turn to.
Before he died, I had started dating someone for all the wrong reasons.
I felt like I had found some emotional comfort. (Guys do it too and it was wrong of me)
The emotional comfort allowed for my guard to slip.
And I started piling the pounds back on.
In 3 years, I had gained back around 70 pounds.
Then my relationship fell through as I was unhappy with where I was living and the direction of my life at the time, and I decided to leave the place I was living in for greener pastures.
In my final six months before moving away, I estimate to have gained another 50 or so pounds.
So around 120lb for those keeping score.
I would have 10,000 calorie-a-night binges on pizza, cheesy garlic bread, Babybels, Magnum Ice creams, rum, beer, tequila, Jäger — whatever I could get my hands on.
I would have near-constant indigestion.
It was a cycle of neverending discomfort due to my dependance on comfort.
Cutting Before and After
This is a picture of me cutting before and after.
After reaching my nadir I slowly started to lose the weight, with various ebbs and flows.
But I had shifted around 50lb from my peak and kept most of it off for a few years, although I still had another 80lb to go — to be where I wanted to be.
Then I met a wonderful woman and we had decided to get married.
As we were preparing for the wedding, my mother began experiencing lower limb paralysis.
She was slowly beginning to lose motor function in her legs.
Within 9 months, she was completely paralyzed from the waist down.
Doctors in 3 countries misdiagnosed her.
For 4 months, I was her full-time carer while studying a Master’s degree, working full-time and planning my wedding.
These were the toughest days of my life.
Many nights I thought I was going to die. I suffered from palpitations, arrhythmia, high blood pressure; my stress was through the roof and I would get around 3-4 hours sleep per night if I was lucky.
She was eventually greenlit for a spinal fusion surgery as the specialist believed she was suffering from stenosis (a spinal issue).
The day before my wedding, my mother was hospitalized with acute pneumonia after suffering a suspected heart attack while in recovery.
She was placed in a coma.
The wedding had to take place anyway due to my wife’s family members visiting from abroad and our lack of funds at the time to reschedule.
We rushed to her side as soon as we could.
Later she was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
She passed away 4 months later, 3 days after all international travel was banned due to the pandemic.
She died alone.
I couldn’t be by her side for her final days.
I couldn’t give her a funeral.
Then, six weeks later, life decided to kick me in the nuts again.
While I was down.
Never forget, when life has you down in the dumps, things can always get worse.
But until you’ve really hit your rock bottom, can you begin to affect change – your mindset will begin to shift, in order to never have to experience rock bottom again.
Let me tell you about my rock bottom.
It was no picnic.
To recap, I had lost both of my parents before my 30th birthday and I am an only child who sadly wasn’t that close to my extended family.
My parents weren’t the best with finances or paperwork, so I was left with debts, obligations, and financial entanglements spanning three countries – and I couldn’t do anything about them since the pandemic prevented international travel and my wages took a massive hit.
When I thought things couldn’t get any worse…
Powerlifting was an outlet for me.
A way to vent.
My iron therapy.
Getting stronger, adding weight to the bar, and leaving all my frustrations at the gym was everything to me.
Became almost intertwined with my identity.
Six weeks after my mother died, I lost powerlifting too.
While attempting a barbell row rep PR with 180kg, I felt a pinch in my lower back.
Nothing too severe, I had suffered from pinched nerves before.
So I rested.
When the pain left, I continued training, but the back pain was worse.
So I rested.
When the pain left, I continued training, but the back pain was worse.
So I rested.
And you get the picture.
The pain in my back got so bad that I was almost bedridden for several months.
I finally saw a doctor who advised me to get an MRI.
And this is where the bad news was broken to me.
“You must give up lifting weights,” my disheveled doctor said.
My lower back was in a dreadful state.
Four bulging discs, degenerative disc disease, stenosis, and a fractured vertebra from way back when.
As it happened, I had been powerlifting on a severely compromised spine for years.
I broke my back as a child, but it was never treated.
I had seen various specialists growing up.
None of them gave an answer for my misshapen (broken) vertebra.
None of them were curious.
The only option was to quit powerlifting so I could live pain free.
Even though life f***ing sucked on paper, I laughed.
I was free.
The only way was up.
I could finally focus on losing the weight.
Powerlifting had become an excuse for me to get yoked, strong, but never have to truly confront my dreadful eating habits.
Eating large quantities of food goes hand in hand with powerlifting and strength sports.
Powerlifting, in a way, for me at least, was a cope and to avoid holding myself accountable for overeating.
I could continue living in a state of denial.
“Oh, my gut isn’t getting bigger – it’s my abs.”
“I’m 290lb today – must be putting on a lot of mass.”
“My arms are 20” – this training cycle is working well.”
In actuality I had created a toxic three way relationship between my emotions, powerlifting, and eating.
I wanted my cake and to eat it too.
Once powerlifting was out of the picture, I had to face reality.
I was still obese.
I struggled with eating too much.
I was my own enabler.
But in confronting reality, the task ahead remained clear.
I had nothing more to lose – except the fat itself.
After overcoming various personal tragedies, demons, and struggles I finally had nothing to lose.
My back was against the wall, my boats and bridges had been burned — it was either time to sink or swim.
I felt relieved to lose what was holding me back from losing the weight.
Sure, I miss squatting and deadlifting heavy ass weights.
But the new me feels infinitely better.
People treat you differently when you’re in shape.
For the better, that is.
And I recommend being in shape to everyone — there is no comparison.
The first thing that changed within me was psychological, a mindset shift.
My new mindset didn’t entertain not being lean as a possibility.
I was to get lean. No matter what.
The second part of the mindset shift was to start viewing foods with no nutritional value to my goals (being jacked and lean) as useless.
Comfort foods made me feel uncomfortable.
I began to associate these foods with the feeling of being hungover and malaise.
They got in the way of my seizing the day.
They prevented me from achieving my goals.
Therefore they were in the way, and had to go.
My goals — purpose — were more important than comfort food and alcohol.
Thus I had realigned my values.
Most importantly, I had found purpose.
Before one of my legendary booze and pizza binges, I would console myself by saying, “might as well, I have nothing to live for.”
After shifting mindset, I had to adopt a diet model that would prevent me from overeating.
Filling myself with large quantities of foods high in protein and low in calories, with an unlimited amount of vegetables was the ticket.
I could REALLY eat if I wanted to.
At a Pizza Hut buffet, I managed to eat 21 slices at age 11.
On the average Friday night I could easily consume 10,000 calories worth of pizza, ice cream, and booze.
So, instead of starving myself, I ate like a king.
And you can too.
Some days are harder than others.
Some days are more frustrating than others.
Just like anything worthwhile in life, it was a challenge.
And it continues to be a challenge.
Sometimes I just wanna eat.
But I can keep that s*** under control as overeating is at odds with my goals, purpose, and me.
In a world saturated by comfort, it is a rare flex to go to a Starbucks and to just order a simple black coffee.
People don’t expect it.
They look at you differently.
They know you’re made of more.
You have a purpose greater than just succumbing to your impulses.
You are driven.
On paper, fat loss is ludicrously easy — it’s a different beast in practice.
I tried and failed for decades.
Because food was a source of comfort.
Then, I found other, more important, things could be a source of comfort.
I didn’t need the food.
And neither do you.
Life can become so much better.
I am so much happier.
I feel great.
My energy levels are through the roof.
Every day is a new adventure.
Life is wonderful.
And I want you to feel the same way.
Which is why I’m here to help.
If you are committed to losing your extra poundage, let’s arrange a quick chat and see what we can do to help you live your best life possible.
Book a call here: https://calendly.com/herculeanstrength1/coaching-enquiry
Don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] for personalized coaching and a client questionnaire if you’d like DEDICATED tailor-made personal training on strength training, building muscle, losing fat, developing athleticism, and more — all to your liking, lifestyle, habits, and taste!
Alternatively, you can pick up a FREE eBook on fundamental strength principles offering an introductory workout program.