10 Men Who Lost 100-Plus Pounds—and How They Did It

If you know you need to lose weight but can't get inspired to start, these stories could make a difference. Take inspiration from the success of these 10 men.

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John PasqualePhoto: Courtesy John Pasquale

"Admit you have a problem—and go from there."

John Pasquale, the director of sales and marketing for Hard Rock Cafe, says he's always been husky. But it was a photo from the NFL Draft that made him turn to his brother and admit he had an issue. At 426 pounds, he decided to try gastric-sleeve surgery. It worked—he dropped 140 pounds. But to get from 280 down to his current weight of 238, he needed to adopt—and maintain—a weight-loss and workout program. For Pasquale, admitting to himself that he had a problem was key. "Until you want to do something, nothing anybody says or does will make you want to do it. I watch everything I eat every day and work out five to seven times a week," he explains. "It's so easy to go back to old habits. You have to have the mental strength and discipline to stick to it."

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Rick NdiayePhoto: Courtesy Rick Ndiaye

"Baby steps can add up."

For Wells Fargo specialist Rasseck Ndiaye, a doctor's note finally pushed him over the edge. He was 500 pounds, he could barely walk, he had blood clots in his ankle, and he was borderline diabetic. When his physician insisted he make big changes in his life or his future would be grim, Ndiaye started taking small steps toward a healthy lifestyle. He began by walking a mile through his neighborhood daily; then he joined a local gym and hired a trainer. Next, he tackled his diet by carefully planning nutritious meals. In six months, he dropped more than 100 pounds. To date, he's lost nearly 300 pounds; Ndiaye currently weighs 215. "It's all about nutrition and your mindset—think baby steps! Slowly substitute bad foods for good ones and it will help to keep you mentally and physically strong on your journey," he says.

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Shaun GilioPhoto: Courtesy Shaun Gilio

"Lose it for someone you love."

In 2016, Shaun Gilio, a business development manager for Rossi Chevrolet Buick GMC, lost control of his health. Not only was he in the middle of a difficult divorce, but his mom was also very sick. The stress led him to gain a lot of weight. He remembers hitting rock bottom at the moment he was sitting next to his mother in intensive care and weighing 349 pounds. They made a pact together that he would lose 50 pounds if she promised to recover and stay with him until his birthday. Sadly, his mother passed away six hours before he turned a year older, but Gilio had made good on his promise. "I knew I had to honour her memory and improve my own health," he says. Over the past two years, thanks to working out regularly and tracking his healthy meals through the food-tracking app Lose It!, he's managed to get down to 206 pounds.

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Brett SmithPhoto: Courtesy Brett Smith

"My wife and I got healthy for our children."

Over the years, Brett Smith's weight yo-yoed between extremes. But Smith, the vice president of sales for Universal Glass Company, had finally had enough in the fall of 2008. He had taken his mother for a heart checkup only to find she had four blocked arteries. The writing was on the wall for Smith, and that day he and his wife committed to improving their health for the sake of their children. At the time he weighed 450-plus pounds—he isn't sure of the exact number since his doctor's scale topped out at 400. Smith signed up for the Slim4Life program and eventually started using Lose It! to count his calorie intake. He also weighed himself daily, a practice he swears by.

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jordan grahmPhoto: Courtesy bodybuilding.com

"A car crash changed everything."

By the time Jordan Grahm reached 21 years old, he weighed 420 pounds. Strangely, he found the motivation to transform his life after a severe car collision in 2008. Through diet and exercise, he managed to shed 170 pounds, and his success inspired him to shift his career: He quit his job as a commercial real estate agent and is now a certified personal trainer, a brand ambassador for bodybuilding.com, a weight-loss specialist, and a fitness nutrition expert who has helped dozens of clients find the same happiness he did. He recommends making short-term goals, not long-term ones. "When I first started, I decided to not think about the fact that I had over 200 pounds to lose. I just focused on taking the right steps each day. I focused on losing the first 10, then the next 10, and so on," he says.

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Ira SingerPhoto: Courtesy Ira Singer

"Give yourself a gift."

Ira Singer calls himself the "poster child for food addiction." Singer would make frequent stops at fast food drive-throughs, indulge in late-night eating binges, and plow through plenty of candy and snacks. But after fighting his weight gain for years, he decided to transform his life by making small changes he could sustain. He found a gym he enjoyed and managed to lose nearly 120 pounds (from 295 pounds to 177) over eight months. "Not only did the weight start dropping because I had a trainer guiding me," he explains, but he was able to go off his blood pressure medicine and his nightly CPAP machine, a device that treats sleep apnea. "I have given myself a gift: The realization that I can do what I set my mind to."

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Josh WarrenPhoto: Courtesy Josh Warren

"Fall in love with something."

Josh Warren struggled with high blood pressure, low energy, and a lousy diet; he was battling obesity. After taking stock and discussing his issues with his family, Warren made the decision to exercise more on Jan. 1, 2016. No longer obese, Warren is down to 230 pounds and is still shedding pounds. He joined a local gym and quickly fell in love with working out. "I couldn't get enough, so I hired a personal trainer to push me to my limits six days a week," he says. "The harder we worked, the more I loved it, to the point where fitness and working out has become a top priority in my daily life." To maintain stamina and progress, he explains, he needed to convince himself first. And most importantly: "Have a purpose to keep you on track, especially when you feel like giving up."

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Byron JacksonPhoto: Courtesy Byron Jackson

"Envision who you can become."

Byron Jackson never imagined he could be the kind of person who worked out five days a week and chose a salad over greasy food. Not too long ago, his day began with a breakfast burrito, followed by medications for his high blood pressure and cholesterol, and then a struggle to tie his own shoes. Inspired to feel better, stronger, and healthier, he decided to join D1 Training, a local fitness studio. Though he says the workouts were extremely difficult at first, 18 months later, he's gone from 340 pounds to 230. For Jackson, keeping an image in his mind of where he wanted to be was the game-changer. "Look at the steps it takes to get there. For me it was to stop smoking, eat more balanced and healthy meals, and dedicate time to physical activity," he says. "Always remember who you're doing it for. There were times I wanted to give up during workouts and give in to temptations, but I would always think about my wife and son. The thought of being better and around longer."

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Jeff RobedeauxPhoto: Courtesy Jeff Robedeaux/Weight Watchers

"Don't spend another day overweight."

Jeff Robedeaux used to struggle with everyday tasks—he felt out of breath just taking the stairs or walking short distances. His weight prevented him from enjoying activities with his family and friends, and it hindered his work life. "While on family vacations, I couldn't participate in zip-lining or parasailing, and it really hurt," he says. "I travel a lot for work and was always 'that' guy who would walk down the aisle of a plane and people would be thinking, 'Please don't sit next to me.' I had to purchase my own seat belt extender so I didn't have to ask for one all the time." Finally, Robedeaux signed up for Weight Watchers. The meal planning and weekly support meetings helped him drop from 378 pounds to 240; he was also able to get off the medications he was taking for type 2 diabetes. His advice is to just start today: "Don't spend another day overweight! Don't think of your plan as a diet—it is a lifestyle change."

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Brad HeymanPhoto: Courtesy Brad Heyman/OPTAVIA

"Don't be afraid to ask for help."

Brad Heyman didn't know what healthy eating looked like. He says his oversized meals usually involved loads of mayo, cheese, and carbs, and his next meal was always on his mind. But on a trip to Mexico, he realized he'd had enough of battling his size and decided to do something about his weight. Though he tried to diet on his own, Heyman eventually found success with Optavia, a meal-replacement subscription plan; he especially appreciated the support of the Optavia community. Over a year and a half, he went from 298 pounds to 179 pounds, helped in part by finding a fitness routine that he enjoyed. Most importantly, he says he's now able to be a great husband and father. He recommends reaching out for support: "Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Get support and become a part of something that is bigger than yourself. It's not just about the number on the scale, it's about living the life you want," he adds.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest