Male Weight Loss Success Story: Tom Sheds 153 Pounds By Getting Active
To change his life, Tom Larson had to change his body.
Vitals: Tom Larson, 22,Carbondale,Illinois
Time to Goal: 19 months
The Setback: I love my fraternity, but my weight kept me from fully enjoying its activities and the rest of my college life. When the guys played basketball or went to the beach, I stayed inside because I was too self-conscious. And I looked awful at our formals: I couldn’t find suits large enough, and my size 48 pants were ugly. I knew how it happened, too: I was athletic in high school, so I could eat a ton back then and not gain weight. But when I went to college, I kept the appetite but dropped sports—and ballooned 100 pounds in a year.
The Wake-Up Call: When my feet began hurting and I lost my breath walking up small hills, I thought, “I’m going to die if I don’t do something.” So on December 6, 2006, I grabbed a notebook and started a weight-loss journal. I wrote down my weight, what I ate that day, and the reasons I wanted to drop pounds: so I’d stop feeling like an embarrassment to my family, so I wouldn’t need seatbelt extenders on planes, so I’d prove everyone wrong. The journal helped me focus and think about losing weight every day.
The Food: Changing my diet was easier than I expected. Once you announce your plan—which for me meant telling my frat brothers I was giving up fried foods and alcohol—people want to help. I still went to parties but drank only water and juice, and friends supported me. I began eating a lot of high-protein, low-carb foods like grilled chicken and tuna, and lots of fruits and vegetables. I consciously ate slowly so I’d notice when my body told me I was full.
The Fitness: At first I did just 15 or 20 minutes a day on the stationary bike (because at my weight, running would have killed my knees). I lifted weights, too, and carefully tracked my progress in my journal. As I improved, I took on social activities like basketball and hiking with friends—and found enormous motivation by conquering activities I hadn’t been able to pull off with my heavier body. I also found it helpful to set tangible goals for myself, so I started running the quarter mile from my dorm to my gym, aiming to one day do it nonstop. When I finally did, I felt like a champion. Now I run 2 to 3 miles every other day, and in April I completed my first half-marathon—in under 2 hours!
The Reward: I’m the same person I’ve always been, but now I’m happier, healthier, and more social. I feel like people can now see me for who I really am, so I always want to be around them. I love shopping for clothes to wear to nice dinners, and going home for the holidays so all my relatives can gush over me. Women are noticing me more, too. I just attended my fraternity’s latest formal—and with my new body, now I can seriously bust a move.
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