Looking for weight loss success stories to keep you going and motivated? You’ve come to the right place!
“The more you delay losing weight – or making another significant change, such as quitting smoking or drinking – the harder it will be later on, and the more you’ll regret it down the road.”
You probably have already heard of this quote.. “If you want to succeed, you should surround yourself with people who are only going to lift you higher.” In case you haven’t heard of a story that could justify this saying, you certainly haven’t heard of Anthony Hamilton. Keep on reading to know more about his journey!
Current Weight: 162 lbs
Starting Weight: 282 lbs
Height: 5’ 8”
What is your name, and when did you start your weight loss journey? Could you share with us which month and/or year?
The name is Anthony Hamilton, and I started the diet started on the last week of July 2016.
Have you reached your weight goal yet? If you haven’t, what is your goal?
I would say I have reached my goal and am now in the stabilization phase of the diet, transitioning from the limited diet I have been on for the past 6 months back to a normal caloric intake, while incorporating more exercise.
Why is that weight the goal? Is it by your choice or decision, or was it mentioned by a doctor, a friend or by your loved ones?
I chose 165 lbs as my goal weight because it is comfortably within the “normal” range for BMI. However, BMI shouldn’t be the sole factor for whatever the goal weight should be – the value of BMI which is considered overweight (>25) is quite low, and if someone is healthy and content at a weight that is technically above the BMI = 25 threshold than that should be their goal weight.
What was the story behind the starting weight? Could you give us an insight on how the starting weight came about?
Main root cause is a combination of not watching what I ate and a very sedentary lifestyle. I would mostly sit at work and then just sit and watch TV at home. I also ate like crap – never cooked and ate a lot of carbs (pizza, burgers/sandwiches, rice/pasta, beer) and fat (McDonald’s and other fast food, as well as lots of cheese). I think depression had something to do with it as well – I had no motivation to eat healthier and especially no motivation to exercise.
What made you start thinking about losing weight? Was there a specific event that pushed you? If there was, what was it and why? How did that event make you feel?
My parents were getting worried so they informed me of a weight loss clinic. This was back in March and I said I would go in April but I didn’t. When my mother saw me in late July she was very emotional, plus there were several events that also helped spur me into going (such as needing a seat belt extension to fit into bumper cars). On July 26, 2016 I finally dragged my ass into the clinic and made a down payment for their fastest-working (lowest caloric intake) diet/meal plan.
Starting the diet was really tough, since it was more or less a cold turkey approach. There were several events though that kept me going:
- I made a non-refundable down payment to pay for the entire diet plan (~$600, and this is excluding the protein shakes and bars I purchased as part of the plan). I understand not everyone can afford this but I would say this was the greatest contributor to my motivation – the fact that if I quit all of that money was wasted.
- After the first 5 days of the diet I had lost >10 lbs. This was my body responding to the sudden change in what it was being provided (much less calories, especially empty ones found in carbs and sugar, and more fiber and vitamins). This gave me insight as to how rapidly the diet would work because it was such a change of pace compared to what I was previously doing to my body.
- I got my bloodwork done and the results were scary: elevated liver enzymes, low HDL (good cholesterol), high LDL (bad cholesterol). This is what really convinced me to keep going, as well as helped me realize that the primary reason for weight loss is for health, not just being good-looking. This is why the attitude from a lot of people nowadays – that “big is beautiful” – is very ignorant and can ultimately be dangerous, because it ignores the health risks of being overweight or obese.
How did you achieve your current weight? Did you follow a specific exercise or diet program? If so, what would be those exercises and what is the diet program? Or did you make your own regimen? If you did make your own, please do share what that is with us. What was the hardest part to follow or do? Do you have a tool (or an app) that you use to help you?
I followed a very strict regimen designed to help lose weight quickly (~5 lbs/week, which is the rate I ended up sustaining throughout the diet). I understand the general recommendation from the medical community is to not lose more than 2 lbs/week, but I was medically supervised. The reason I chose to lose weight fast is so that I would not get discouraged, and it worked – seeing the weight drop off was one of my key motivators.
The diet regimen can be summarized as high protein, high fiber, low everything else. There were actually not a lot of things that were completely banned. For instance, I was encouraged to have red meat, just lean cuts and small portions, and I was even allowed to have carbs/starches, just in very small amounts (i.e., only ¼ cup of cooked quinoa counted as a full starch serving). The diet/food related key points:
- Keep portion sizes small and especially keep carb and sugar intake low (as well as saturated fat intake, but that should be obvious). This can be done by following the USDA food plate guideline, but it was more or less modified for this diet – I would basically have half a plate as veggies (i.e., a salad or some sautéed peppers and onions), ¼ of a plate as protein (4 oz. sirloin steak, 4.5 oz. of chicken, 6.5 oz. of salmon)
- High protein fills you up faster and sustains for longer. Just be sure to supplement with fiber. This is done by having plenty of veggies, as well as adding a few scoops of Benefiber to beverages a day.
- I was on an appetite suppressant (Phentermine). However, I credit this with assisting in the diet; it’s not the sole reason I was successful. I had tried being on it several times in the past but with no luck, because you can “power through” it by eating quickly. It’s designed to just stretch your appetite between meals.
- Snack frequently, but keep it healthy of course (carrots, apple, cheese stick, low calorie protein bar). To the outside observer, like my friends and coworkers, it actually looked like I ate more during the diet because I would eat something every 2-3 hours. Pre-diet, I would never snack and then be starving at mealtime, causing me to overeat (well past when I was full).
- I actually drank numerous protein shakes. They filled me up without adding too many calories, and served as meal replacements in a sense. Anyone can do this – just look for something with ~100 calories and ~15g of protein, while not being too high in sugar (<10g)
- Remember to have your last snack 2 hours before bedtime at the latest! This way you can burn calories a bit more before being sedentary for several hours.
- Drink plenty of water – at least 8 glasses (64 oz.) a day. I basically just carried a water bottle around with me everywhere I went
- Herbal tea is also great as an appetite suppressant. Just don’t make sure to replace with water with it.
As far as physical activity, the diet itself was actually designed to work without exercise. I actually didn’t really start incorporating exercise until ~25% of the way into the diet, and the reason I did this were because my HDLs (good cholesterol) were low, and the only way to raise these is 30-45 min of exercise a day (or red wine, but I tried to avoid alcohol and sugar during the diet). Right now I do 4 days of resistance training a week (which boosts metabolism and burns calories when you’re away from the gym) and 2 days of cardio a week (to burn more specific amounts of calories and improve my endurance with aerobic activity). I use a fitness smartwatch (Gear Fit 2) to count steps, record workouts, and track calories burnt (although I take that measurement with a grain of salt). I use S Health to record meals/count calories.
What is your current occupation? Does it take up a lot of time? How did you manage the time in balancing your regimen and your occupation? Could you tell us from what time to what time is your occupation, and when (or what time) do you get to start with your regimen?
I am currently an automotive systems engineer. It’s a very busy job that has me working long hours (often 10 hours/day, ~7AM to ~5PM), so I preferred the convenience of my diet by allowing me to drink shakes and keep meals small. One good habit I got into because of the diet was bringing lunch to work because I cooked more. This allowed me to eat at my desk, which helped with my busy schedule. I never really started and stopped my regimen; rather, I constantly kept it in gear 24/7. First thing I did when I woke up was take a multivitamin and have a protein shake (other proteins will do, like a couple eggs) in order to kickstart my metabolism for the day.
What do you think was the key factor that lead you to the success of losing weight?
The rapid weight loss was a big factor. Kept my motivation up and made it easy to keep going. Also, family, friends, and co-workers were all very supportive. None of my friends were cynical or incredulous about my methods, and would gladly make sacrifices in order to help me out (i.e., forgoing certain restaurants with fatty, high-calorie cuisine for those with healthier menus). The fact that people noticed the change at work raised my self-esteem as well. Towards the end a few co-workers even said that I inspired them into making their own dietary and fitness improvements, which is awesome.
How do you feel now that you have achieved this much? Being dedicated and seeing the results of your hard work should be able to make you feel like you can achieve anything! What is next for you?
I feel great! I sleep better, am more capable when it comes to exercise/fitness, and find healthier foods more appealing (i.e., my taste changed and I appreciate the nutrition and variety of vegetables more).
In terms of next steps, I’m not quite out of the woods yet. I am currently in the stabilization phase, transitioning from my limited diet to one that’s more normal, so my weight stops decreasing and starts plateauing and stabilizing as it should.
Do you have any advice for the people that are just starting out with their weight loss journeys? Anything that you would want to tell them when they’re about to give up and just let go of the hard work that they’ve already put in?
A couple things:
- For weight loss, if you have to choose between the two, choose a diet change over exercise. When you exercise, the caloric burn is not as much as you think, and definitely not enough to offset a lot of additional calories. Exercise is more for stabilizing and keeping weight constant, while of course improving stamina and overall cardiac health. Also, as you lose weight through dieting, your stamina will improve and you’ll be able to start exercising more.
- If you really want to lose weight quickly – which I recommend as long as you don’t overdo it and check frequently with your doctor – then you can’t have any half measures. This means really cutting down on stuff, not just doing simple, easy changes like “ok I’ll eat more chicken and less McDonald’s, but I’ll still have the same amount of carbs I usually do.” The best thing to do is to really cut out unnecessary empty calories.
Finally, do you have a motivational quote that helps you or that is always in your mind whenever you’re not at your 100%? If there is, what would that be and why?
Not much of a quote guy, but one thought that pops into my head now and then is how angry I am at my former self for not doing this sooner. Throughout college I had plenty of opportunities to lose weight – friends who were willing to work out with me at the gym, friends and family who were losing weight and making recommendations to me (that I ignored). I even lost 35 lbs. the summer between freshman and sophomore year of college, that I promptly gained back when I started the fall semester and ate dining hall food again. I guess the thought I’d like to share is: the more you delay losing weight – or making another significant change, such as quitting smoking or drinking – the harder it will be later on, and the more you’ll regret it down the road. A positive change like that is definitely worth it, and will not be a waste of time as long as you get through the short-term hurdles in order to achieve long-term improvement.
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