"You're Gonna Die Fat" - When friends' ragging and his own depression became too much to handle, Joey Todoran decided to drop unwanted pounds the old-fashioned way.
Unlike sticks and stones, names aren't supposed to hurt. Unless, that is, you're a 265-pound guy like Joey Todoran. "Whether they knew me or not, everybody made comments about how big I was," Todoran recalls. "A friend even said to me, 'You know, you're going to die fat.'" Although he tried to let the comments slide, years of abuse finally became too much. "I finally said to myself, 'Enough is enough. It's time to take off the weight.' " Of course, it wasn't easy peeling off pounds that had taken years to pile on. Since he was a kid, Todoran had struggled with weight issues, but he didn't really start ballooning until he hit the age of 21. Despite getting a bit of physical activity on the job as a construction worker, his diet plagued him. Quantity was the name of the game, as he inhaled huge amounts of pizza, hamburgers, burritos, and tacos, plus old-world Romanian family favorites like pork-stuffed cabbage and loads of bread. To hide his fat, Todoran bought the biggest clothes he could find, settling on 3X shirts and 46-inch-waist pants. Not surprisingly, this didn't work, and comments about his weight continued.
Inside, Todoran was suffering. "I was miserable and my self-esteem was at rock-bottom," he says. "I was crying myself to sleep, sometimes wishing I were dead." Finally, Todoran got so tired of looking in the mirror and seeing somebody he neither liked nor wanted to be that he decided to take action. His one requirement? He wanted to do it the natural way. He'd seen friends try every diet to no avail, and he didn't want to get sucked into that trap. Instead, he began to run—largely because it was convenient and didn't cost anything. At first, he alternated between walking and running and admits it was horrible. "It was the toughest thing I've done," he says. Slowly though, the weight began slipping off. His running increased to four to five miles a day, and soon he added boot-camp-style workouts at home, before ultimately joining a gym for more hardcore lifting and total-body conditioning.
At the same time, he massively overhauled his diet, cutting carbs and making chicken and green salads the mainstay of his lunches and dinners. In just six months, he lost 54 pounds. Today, Todoran couldn't be happier with his decision to get fit—and with the progress he's made. His svelte 33-inch waist helps him no longer fear clothing stores, and he says he gets treated better than ever now that he's thin. "Being fat and being thin are two completely different lifestyles," he says. "People used to ignore me. Now I feel like I command attention. The work was hard," he says. "But now that I've done it, I feel like a million bucks."