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Weight-Loss Success Story: Coming Back To Life

Losing his dad moved Scott Shrem to transform his mind and body. Read how he did it.
James Michelfelder

Scott Shrem

Age: 36
Residence: Red Bank, NJ
Height: 5’10”
Starting Weight: 228lbs
Current Weight: 178lbs
Total Pounds Lost: 50 lbs
Starting Body Fat: 35% (est.)
Current Body Fat: 11%

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Suffering a loss can leave you scrambling to fill the void. For some, the filler is food. That was the case for New Jersey podiatrist Scott Shrem.

“I’d just opened my own practice and was trying to make ends meet while also going through a tough breakup,” he says. Then his father passed away from cancer. Through it all, Shrem self-medicated with food, ballooning up to 228 pounds.

Finally, with his dad’s death as a wake-up call, he found new purpose. In less than 12 months he got down to 178—his lowest weight ever.

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How did you train to lose the weight?

I started lifting weights with a “bro split” [body-part training] five to six days a week. I also used the elliptical, because it hurt my knees and feet if I tried to run.

Did you make nutrition changes?

I started by eating most of the same foods, but limiting carbs. I eventually ate about 200g of protein per day, 50g of fat, and having four servings of vegetables, and one or two pieces of fruit. Maybe 2,200 to 3,000 calories total daily.

What made you stick with it?
I saw how my dad ate and how he lived with diabetes and blood pressure issues. Then, his cancer diagnosis really shocked my world. I knew it was a death sentence—I had to change my lifestyle. Yes, at times I thought, “This is just too hard; it’s not worth it. I’ll just be heavy.” But watching my father die, I said to myself, “I’m in my mid-30s; if I don’t do this now, it’ll just be harder later on.”

How fast did the weight come off?
About six weeks in, I was down 10 pounds. My 38-waist baggy-style jeans were starting to look big on me, and I felt empowered. In the next three months, I dropped to a 36 slim-fit jean, and after 41⁄2 months I’d lost 25 pounds. Then I was able to start running. By January ’15 I was 195 pounds and running like a madman. Eventually, I got to a size 34-waist slim-fit jean—something I’d never imagined.

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What training changes have you made as you’ve gone along?

I started doing compound lifts at the beginning of each body part. I also cut back on cardio and revamped my diet to include more lean meats, Greek yogurt, avocados, and carbs from sweet potatoes and whole grains. I was doing cardio six days a week after lifting, which is too much. Now I keep it to three, max. My bench press went up from 185 to 275 for 4–6 reps. I can squat 275 for four.

What has this journey taught you?
That I can accomplish anything I put my mind to, and the only one limiting me is myself.

Any advice for others who might be in your situation?
Start small, then every couple of months reassess your goals.

What are your goals now?
I hope to get down to 8% body fat for next summer. I want to help motivate my patients in their own weight-loss journeys.

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