Success Story: Losing 110 lbs. and Gaining Self-Esteem
This student scoffed at stereotypical college weight gain and lost 110 pounds instead.
Name: Sean McCoy Age: 22 Height: 5'10" Starting Weight: 285 lbs. Current Weight: 175 lbs. Location: College Station, Texas Occupation: Student at Texas A&M University Sean McCoy was just like any other high school senior preparing to graduate and get out on his own. However, his severe weight issues sidelined his excitement. “When you’re a senior and you realize you’ve gained 95 lbs. over a four-year time period, you get kind of scared for what the next four years will bring,” he says. By then, McCoy’s weight hit its peak—285 lbs. After the initial self-realization, he made some positive progress, but unfortunately, his weight returned. “I adopted a much more sedentary lifestyle and my bad eating habits started to really take their toll on my weight. I had succeeded in losing approximately 20-30 lbs., however, I didn’t change my eating habits so I gained it all back once I gave up the effort.”
Visualize a New You
“There were several times where I was disappointed with my progress and questioned myself, but as long as I could envision myself with a six pack, I knew it was worth it. ”
McCoy was lucky his weight hadn’t gotten bad enough to affect him physically, but his battle with obesity did do a number on his self-esteem. “The reason I never exercised before college was that I was afraid of people judging me and I didn’t want to be the fat kid in the gym being laughed at, which is actually very far from reality,” he says. “I can still picture the bathroom scale that told me I weighed 285 lbs. Seeing '285.0' made me look at myself in the mirror and think, ‘I have to do something about my weight.’ I had no idea what to do or how I would do it, but that it had to be done.” Clothes shopping had even become a source of stress. “I had gone from wearing size 38 jeans to size 44 jeans. I tried size 40 at first, was a bit shocked when they didn’t fit, then my heart sunk when the size 42 jeans didn’t even fit,” he said. McCoy’s weight problems intensified further in school. “There were classrooms in my college that had seats so tiny that I barely fit into them and it made sitting throughout an entire class period very uncomfortable. I knew I needed to do something about it because I was no longer happy with who I was; not just unhappy with the image in the bathroom mirror, but unhappy with the very sedentary and lazy lifestyle I lived.”
McCoy finally decided he had to make a change and hit the Internet for fitness guidance. “I stumbled across Scott Herman’s exercises on YouTube. His videos led me to his Facebook page and his own fitness site, where I learned how to eat for my physique,” he says. He credits much of his success to eating quality, wholesome food every two to three hours and increasing his intensity in the weight room by incorporating drop sets and supersets into his workouts for optimal muscle growth. He knew it wouldn’t be easy, but stuck with it. “Adopting this kind of lifestyle during college can be especially difficult as you are forced to choose between social activities and bettering yourself.” But with strong willpower and determination, McCoy went from his original weight of 285 lbs. at the age of 18 down to 175 lbs. at age 22. After applying all of what he learned from his favorite trainer, McCoy is set on sticking to his new path. “Even if I do achieve my dream physique, because of the things I have learned about nutrition, I will continue to eat clean and will be teaching my children how to properly eat to better their futures as well,” he explains about staying motivated. Since his weight loss success, McCoy’s motto has become, “If you put forth that effort for several years your body will repay you with a physique that most people believe is impossible to achieve.” McCoy’s own weight loss journey even inspired him to change his major to Food Science. “I was planning to major in Civil Engineering, however I was much more interested in nutrition and fitness, spending hours in the gym and online trying to soak up as much ‘good’ information as possible. Learning about what happened to food when it entered the body was very fascinating to me,” he says. McCoy acknowledges that many others are in the same boat as he was and encourages people to seek a support system. “Get involved with a social networking site that has an active community of people working towards goals that are similar to your own. Seeing other people’s progress compared to your own creates a great way to stay motivated towards reaching your goal," he suggests. When others come to him for advice, "I make it very clear that in order to achieve a lean physique you must be willing to give up eating for pleasure and develop a ‘food is fuel, not fun’ mindset.” McCoy continues, "This kind of transformation cannot be achieved without failing a few times and being able to learn from those failures is key to success.”