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Success Story: Texas Teacher Drops 125 Lbs.

This schoolteacher shed his unwanted pounds by cutting vices out of his diet and hitting the weights.
Matt Hawthorne

Name: Todd Penrod
Age: 36
Hometown: Ennis, Texas
Occupation: Schoolteacher

Weight Before: 325lbs.
Weight After: 200 lbs.

You’ve heard the warnings: stay away from sugary sodas— they’ll pack on the pounds. But how often do you actually see the results? Todd Penrod, 36, saw them every time he looked in the mirror. During his high school days he’d wake up and chug a Dr. Pepper, and the soft drinks wouldn’t stop until he went to bed. Couple that with his diet of  “anything i wanted, and as much as i wanted,” and it’s no surprise that he graduated at the hefty weight of 275 pounds at 5’10”.

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But the gains didn’t stop there. Penrod’s weight slowly crept up over the course of his four years at the University of North Texas, landing him at around 300 pounds for his graduation. surprisingly, the weight didn’t take much of a toll on his mental health. “It didn’t bother me that much,” he says. “I knew I was overweight, but it didn’t get to me. I guess it hindered my daily life a bit, though.”

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It wasn’t until the birth of his second son that Penrod realized he had to change his lifestyle. By that time, he had expanded to an all-time high of 325 pounds. “I decided I didn’t want to be that Dad who couldn’t do anything with his kids,” he says. “So I did what everyone said you had to do—I started to diet and exercise.”

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Penrod replaced the junk food with easy alternatives: sugar-free, whole-grain cereal in the morning, lean pockets for lunch, and salads with protein in the evening. Most important, he kicked his soda habit to the curb. “I cut out soda and tea completely,” he says. “Hell, I might have had a six-pack every other weekend, but for the most part it was pretty much just straight water.”

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Things started slowly in the gym, but Penrod kept at it. “For about six weeks, all I could do on the elliptical was 10 minutes,” he says. “I’d do, like, three pushups and then I’d be done.” Three became 15, which evolved into full-fledged workouts five days a week.

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Over the course of three years, Penrod has dropped a whopping 125 pounds and 16 inches from his waist. “I sleep better,” he says. “My knees don’t hurt anymore; my feet don’t hurt. My confidence is over the top.” Even his family got involved. “[My wife] has lost probably a hundred pounds,” he says. “[My brother-in-law] is asking me what he should be doing.” But the greatest rewards come from his sons. “We went to SeaWorld [in Texas] this summer, and I could actually ride the rides with them,” he says. “That was cool.”

PENROD'S BEST ADVICE: WANT IT!

"It's a lifestyle change. The first week is when it hit me that this is a lifestyle. You can't do that cheat once a week or some BS like that, you know? You have to commit to it. For me, you have to commit."

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