An Iowa man on a steady fitness journey lost an incredible 250 pounds (about 118 kg) over the course of eight years in a healthy way. No longer obese, he hopes his weight loss story will inspire others to pursue their goals and succeed.
Heath Thompson, 35, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has always been a “big kid.” He told The Epoch Times that his weight reached an all-time high when he stopped caring about his well-being.
“I no longer cared whether the weight was going to kill me,” he said. “I honestly don’t know what my heaviest weight is… people talk about it ‘aha! The lamp moment, and I honestly didn’t have that. I just woke up and said, “Let’s lose weight for my New Year’s resolution.”
Thompson was wearing an 8XL shirt at the time but wasn’t able to find a scale that recorded his weight until October 2014. He registered 476.8 lbs (about 216 kg) but by then he had already been on a ten-month food and fitness overhaul that would completely change his life.
“In the beginning, my workout routine was non-existent, just the occasional walk around the block,” Thompson said. “Being heavy as I was, that alone was stressful. My eating habits took a lot of time to change.”
Thompson upgraded his breakfast from “giant bowls of sugary cereal” to a meal replacement protein shake, changing every day from the start. He lost 100 pounds (about 45.3 kg) in the first year but said his weight loss was not a linear process.
“There were peaks and valleys along the way,” he said. “The biggest hurdle was my brain, and the fights I had emotionally when I felt like I was failing… Motivation is a great thing, but it comes in waves, and when motivation is low you have to rely on dedication.”
To counter his days of low energy, Thompson coined his own motto: “Dedication over motivation.”
“You can’t control when you’re excited or not, but you can control how dedicated you are to creating a healthy version of yourself,” he said. “I think this applies to any goal a person has, not just a weight goal. Something that helps me is constantly setting new goals for myself to push for.”
Thompson said he has had support from loved ones since the beginning of his fitness journey and that he feels “blessed and grateful” for the congratulations he received as his story spread. He is making efforts to spread positivity by posting candidly about his journey on social media.
In September 2022, Thompson shared a workout update on Instagram with the caption, “I’ve lost over 210 pounds, and I’m not done yet.”
Reflecting on the trip so far, he said it was hard for him to put into words how much the trip had changed him.
“Something as simple as running was hard at my heaviest. Even more than the physical changes, my personality has blossomed. I’ve gone from not making eye contact in public to being a voice and a name that people know in the community!”
Before his weight loss journey, Thompson would enter the room with his head down, looking down at the floor. Whereas now he enters the room and welcomes “All eyes are on me.”
Thompson, who now works full time out of a local nutrition club, says the best advice he gives to others who’ve been through a similar situation is to take it slow and enjoy the process because small changes over long periods of time “can and will” lead to big results.
At the time of writing, Thompson weighed 265 lbs (approximately 120 kg). He exercises and does moderate weight training five days a week, follows a macro-based diet, aims to keep under 2,200 calories and more than 250 grams of protein per day, and breaks down using the Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) calculator to calculate his numbers.
He hopes to lose another 30 pounds (about 13.6 kg) before taking part in the Week-long Iowa State Cycling Challenge, the annual Great Record bike race across Iowa in July.
“People ride their bikes from the western border of Iowa all the way to the eastern border and finish by dipping their front tire into the Mississippi River. I’m going to ride it for the first time…that’s something I never thought I’d say at 500+ pounds!” he said.
Currently, he bikes to the gym for a minimum of 5 miles at the end of weight training Monday through Friday.
Come spring, Thompson plans to bike ten miles every day during the week and 30 to 50 miles on weekends.
He still faces some challenges every day which he thinks we all do. However, he changed his way of thinking from eating to feeling satisfied, rather than eating food to fuel the body.
As for what holds in store for the future, he said, “I don’t have an end goal in terms of weight, just milestones that I hope to push.” He is set to reach 235 lbs (106 kg) by July.
However, his ultimate goal is to inspire people and make them see their weight loss journey for themselves and stick to their goals no matter what they are.
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