Stephen Vysocky, 34, gained a lot of attention recently when he tweeted two photos of himself, taken three years apart, depicting his dramatic weight loss journey. The tweet quickly blew up, with thousands of likes, retweets and comments from people expressing how impressed and inspired they were by his transformation. Here, he describes the physical and mental challenges that he overcame in order to change his life, and create a new future for himself.
“I started gaining my weight when I was in middle school,” he tells Men’s Health. “I would get picked on a lot for various reasons and I didn’t really have any friends. So, I turned to food for comfort. Little did I know that I was ballooning. Middle school was rough, but high school was even rougher. Kids got meaner and my bad habits of eating fast food and over eating for comfort had consumed my life. I’m not sure what my weight was in high school , but in clothing sizes I was pushing an 3XL. I went through most of my adult life trying to break my bad habits but was consistently failing. I became very depressed and continuously turned to poor food choices for comfort.”
Despite attempting continually to lose weight through diet and exercise, Stephen describes the cycle of starting to work out, seeing some changes, and then falling back into his old, established habits. In 2018, after a breakup, Stephen started gaining weight again. His heaviest recorded weight was 505 pounds, although he admits that he could have been even heavier, as he couldn’t find scales which could accurately measure his weight.
Eventually, his best friend Daniel dragged him kicking and screaming—”literally!”—to a Planet Fitness, and told him that the only person who could change his life was him. “It was hard,” he says. “There were definitely days I didn’t want to do it, but I always pushed myself to go to the gym. I would stumble and fall, but then I’d get back up, and tell myself it’s just one bad day, and not to let it consume the goal I had set for myself. One bad day is not a bad week or month.”
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