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This Guy Lost More Than 100 Pounds Without Ever Setting Foot in the Gym

Men's Health logo Men's Health 4/18/2019 Mike Darling

a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: After depression, anxiety, drinking, and a poor diet led to major weight gain, here's how one man learned to meal prep and lost more than 100 pounds-without going to the gym. © Shane Cole After depression, anxiety, drinking, and a poor diet led to major weight gain, here's how one man learned to meal prep and lost more than 100 pounds-without going to the gym. Like many people, Shane Cole reached a point in his early twenties when he felt a little lost. "I was 23 years old, and I weighed 325 pounds," he says. "I was depressed and anxious and I didn't really have a vision for who or what I wanted to be-socially, professionally, and physically."

Cole, now 33, who works as a director of business development for a security company in St. Louis, points to his diet as the biggest contributor to his weight gain at the time. "I'd fallen into a life of convenient eating, so fast food played a regular role, as well as alcohol," he says. "Around that same time, I'd started to admit to myself that my physical health wasn't only a major issue, but that I also needed to get my mental health in check-my depression and anxiety had gotten worse."

He'd spend the better part of a decade trying different diets and workout programs, but they didn't last. In January of 2017, he decided to challenge himself: He'd commit to eating only the food that he cooked for himself for three weeks. He'd always enjoyed cooking, and plenty of websites offered healthy, low-carb versions of various comfort foods. Meal prep became a regular Sunday night routine.

At the same time that he started eating better, he also picked up a second night of playing hockey-something he'd already been doing once a week for about five years.

As a result, he began to lose weight quickly, and his energy soared, all without ever setting foot in a gym. Rather than fight for space on a squat rack indoors, he started hiking at least once a week and running two days a week, in addition to his pickup hockey games. At home, he added some basic lifting routines using adjustable dumbbells. Cole's weight fell steadily, and over the course of roughly a year and a half, he lost nearly 140 pounds. As a side benefit, he started playing the best hockey of his life. His mental health struggles improved, too, which translated to a boost in confidence.

When all was said and done, his family and friends barely recognized him: He still recalls going out with his grandmother when he was at his leanest-around 185 pounds. "Throughout lunch," he says, "she kept slipping brisket onto my plate."

As for people who are just getting started, Cole has plenty of advice: First, he says, learn the basics of tracking your consumption, and make sure you're eating at a deficit. "Don't paralyze yourself with the overflow of nutritional information out there," he says, "a lot of which is nonsense. Keep it simple."

Second, he says, know that weight loss isn't linear-there are constant peaks and valleys. "Sometimes you can do everything right but you might not lose weight over a short window. This is normal, and if you stick to it, you will hit your goals."

Finally, he says, don't take any 'zero' days. If you're not feeling motivated to run, just put on your running shoes and see how you feel. Don't want to work out? Go to the gym for five minutes and see what happens. "You can quit after that," he says, "but I bet you won't."

Video: 10 ways to drop those lost 10 pounds

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