He Swore Off Junk Food and Lost 170 Pounds
After college graduation, Lorenza Taylor vowed to slim down. Thanks to cardio and home cooking, he’s almost half his size
WEIGHT BEFORE 375
WEIGHT AFTER 205
VITALS Lorenza Taylor, 27, Chicago, IL
OCCUPATION Project manager
REACHED HIS GOAL IN 4 years
I’m a big guy—why fight it? That’s what I’d been telling myself since middle school, when I’d decided to be the fat, jolly guy everyone likes. I even ran for student-body president with the slogan “Size does matter.” But I never told anyone the truth: My weight really embarrassed me. My doctor always looked worried. I felt sluggish, I was often out of breath, and I felt like a liar. Something was going to crumble. I just didn’t know which would go first—my self-esteem or my body.
THE WAKE-UP CALL
College graduation is supposed to be a time of celebration, but I was in a panic: I’d be leaving a comfortable place full of friends who had already accepted me. I’d have to find a job, and I worried that potential employers might see my weight as a liability. Even worse, I was obese and entering the postcollege world of dating. I promised myself on the day of graduation that instead of accepting my “fate,” I’d lose the weight.
I grew up in the South, where if it wasn’t fast food, it was fried food. I lost 15 pounds the first month just by swearing off the junk. I watched my carbs, ate lean proteins, and added vegetables to my meals. I filled up on an omelet for breakfast, a big salad for lunch, and pan-seared chicken with steamed asparagus for dinner, plus I snacked on fruit throughout the day. When I slipped up and ate fast food, I realized I liked the food I cooked more. (Figure out some of your own tasty carb substitutions.)
The first run was brutal. I doubt I made it 10 minutes. But each time I went out, I could last longer. Soon I was logging miles instead of minutes. After finishing an 8-K, the sense of accomplishment gave me a huge boost. I added more cardio—like cycling and working out on the elliptical machine. But I was still weak. So I started lifting—free-weight exercises, like the bench press—until I could hit my goal of doing body-weight exercises like dips and pullups. Pretty soon I was building muscle, too. (Learn how to blast fat with exercise machines!)
In high school and college, I used to imagine losing weight, walking into a room, and people telling me, “Wow. You look great.” Now I hear it from old friends, new coworkers, and my doctor. I can’t tell you how good that feels. It pushes me to keep going.
Post photos, watch videos, track your progress, and lose weight with our 8-week Belly Off! program at MensHealth.com/bellyoff.