I would like to start off by saying this. I am open and vocal about my experience for one reason alone. It is not to look good, or to brag, or to put myself in a spotlight. The reason I do it is so others that were once in my shoes can know and understand that there is nothing in this world that cannot be overcome, especially being ‘fat’.
I was always the fat kid. I was fat all growing up, fat in Jr. High, fat in HS, fat in college. That is who I was. And you know what else? I made it look good. I owned it. I used it as a crutch. I was your cliché fat kid who beat everyone to the punch by making jokes or cutting myself down. You know, the whole mentality that if I make fun of myself first, no one else can.
My whole life, I knew that I could do better. I could look, feel, and just be better. But it was never important enough. Being lazy always won. I still got girls, still had plenty of friends, still was blessed with a great life–but I was completely selling myself short.
I weighed about 280 pounds. I had a waist size of 42-44 inches. My body fat was through the roof… nearly half my body was fat. I had thought about and wanted to lose the weight hundreds of times before actually doing it. I wanted the easy way out. I didn’t want to fight for it. But that’s the thing–you have to fight for it. You must develop a passion for change and betterment.
The final straw was in 2009. My father had paid to have a nice suit tailored for me to attend a family member’s upcoming wedding. When the wedding arrived, and I showed up at the resort to try the suit on… it didn’t fit. Now, I am not talking ‘it was a bit snug’ didn’t fit. I am talking ‘Tommy Boy fat guy in a little coat’ didn’t fit. There was a certain disappointment in my father’s eyes that day that I had never seen before. He said to me, “Son, you seem to have overcome a lot in life. You excelled in sports, made good grades throughout school, overcame many obstacles… but I just do not think you will ever lose weight. I am beginning to worry. Maybe we need to talk about some form of medical procedure?”
This crushed me. This crushed me not only because it came from my dad, my hero, but also it crushed me because I am a creature of competition. I thrive on it. And hearing that, I felt defeated. My own father had lost faith in me.
I immediately argued that I could lose the weight if I really wanted to. We argued for a bit, and my father did the only thing he knew would really light the fire under me. He made a wager. Now do not get me wrong… I do not think losing weight for a bet is any bit inspirational. It is not the right way or the right reason. But for me, I think it was life’s way of telling me its now or never, put your money where your mouth is.
I won’t go into the bet. But I will tell you this: I made my decision to lose weight on October 30th, 2009. By that Christmas, I had lost about 40 pounds. Within a year, I had lost 100.
There is a plethora of knowledge about how to lose weight out there. But sometimes, that is the problem. All the trainers think they know what is best, no matter what. All the studies are full of “proof” but they also all seem to disprove one another.
So what did I do? What did I change? EVERYTHING. I tried everything. I tried HIIT, I tried slow state cardio, I tried anaerobic, I tried aerobic. I tried no carbs, I tried low calories, I tried portion control, I tried not eating late.
And when I found my niche… when I found out which methods worked for me, I used them. And they worked.
One of the methods of weight loss I had heard a lot about was low carb. Even though many had told me that diets like these were “bad,” I decided to go for it. I am an extremist. If I am going to do something, I’m going to do it 120%, I’m going to bust my ass, and I’m going to do it right. Weight loss was no different.
I decided to go at this low carb thing with full force. Essentially I would begin with extreme measures, and then slowly let off some of the measures with time. I knew there were things I would have to eliminate like sodas, fast food, and junk. But more importantly, it was carbs. All carbs.
So I did no carbs for the first month. When I say no carbs, I mean no carbs. No veggies, no sauces, and of course, none of the obvious carbs. I literally ate nothing but meat and protein and I read labels religiously. During this phase, I did not pay attention to any other macros. I ate as much fat as much and calories as I wanted.
Almost everyone close to me was telling me how stupid I was. How dangerous it was. How much it was going to backfire. But that is the difference between me and most of the folks who end up gaining the weight back tenfold. I HAD A PLAN. My plan was, and I followed it, to slowly integrate carbs back into my diet after that first month. For the 2-6 month mark, I added low carb veggies. No other carbs, period. At the 6-month mark, I added in oatmeal. At the 1-year mark, I integrated things like sweet potatoes and other starchy veggies.
To this day, I still do not eat white carbs like bread or pasta unless it is a special occasion. I do reward myself here and there with sweets, but I do not eat sugar for the most part. I have a pretty strict eating plan during the week, and on the weekends I venture out by eating red meats and the occasional restaurant meal.
Here is the miraculous thing… during those first 8-months, I formed a love for healthy foods. I absolutely love eggs. I love broccoli. I love lean ground turkey. I would rather have these foods than pizza. And this is coming from a guy who would eat fast food at almost every meal. Before, my typical Chik-fil-a order would be a pack of nuggets, a chicken sandwich, large fries (sometimes two orders) and a huge milkshake. When I ordered pizza, I ordered a large for myself. I ate sweets like it was going out of style. By conditioning myself, and mixing that with the great feeling (inside and out), I was able to change my mentality and perception of foods.
I did not go on a diet. I changed my life. I changed the way I thought. I changed the way I acted. I changed the way I behaved. Sure, the foods and the exercise were the main part, but without changing my entire lifestyle, I would still be that same fat kid.
My greatest piece of advice for those struggling is to KEEP GOING. Give yourself a year of solid work. Stay on your food and exercise plans. Give yourself a REAL chance and you WILL see results. And once you get to that point, you will never want to stop.
To learn more about Hunter, follow him on Twitter: @H_Montgomery
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*Remember: Every person is different. What helped one person lose weight may not work for you. These stories are here to inspire and show you that there is not just one right answer. Look at yourself as an individual and find what is right for you.