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Giving Up Fast Food and Taking Up Running Helped Me Lose 118 Pounds

Men's Health logo Men's Health 4/23/2020 By Eric Fuentes Melissa Matthews

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a couple of people posing for the camera: Eric Fuentes, 37, decided to change his diet after weighing 315 pounds. He began running and lost 118 pounds. Here's his story. © Eric Fuentes Eric Fuentes, 37, decided to change his diet after weighing 315 pounds. He began running and lost 118 pounds. Here's his story.

Before I decided to make a change, my life was pretty stagnant. I didn’t do anything active. I just worked, ate, slept, watched movies, and hung out. I was perfectly happy not doing anything. And boy did I love to eat! I didn’t really care what it was—I would eat it.

It wasn’t uncommon for me to get double burgers and fries or a couple of burritos from places like Taco Bell. Since I didn’t necessarily grow up fat, I never struggled with self-confidence or self-image. Even at 315 pounds, I thought I looked good. However, I did notice that I would get out of breath doing little things, like tying my shoes. I didn’t sleep well and snored a lot.

The moment I decided I need to change was June 11th, 2014, when my wife and I found out we were going to have our first baby. I didn’t want to be a fat dad, and I wanted to be able to do things with my child. More than anything I wanted to be alive and healthy for my son. I needed something bigger than myself to keep me going, so I focused on my children.

When I first started trying to lose weight, I looked at several different diets and tried a few along the way. I quickly realized that didn't work for me. They were short-term fixes—not long-term solutions.

Instead, I changed my lifestyle. My wife and I started to cook more meals at home and stopped eating fast food—except for Chick-fil-A! I focused on portion control and making better decisions. I still ate pizza and burgers, but instead of eating a whole pizza, I would eat half a pizza.

Video: How to avoid gaining the COVID-19 pounds (Courtesy: Buzzs60) 

Luckily my wife was already a runner, so I started to run with her. I signed up for my first half-marathon and didn’t really train for it. Ultimately, I didn’t complete.

I didn’t like that, so I signed up for another one. I trained with my wife this time and that was great motivation. She would run so much faster and lose me pretty quickly. I am a very competitive person and didn’t like that—so I trained harder.

We got to marathon weekend at Disney World, and once we took off, my wife quickly outpaced me. I completed with a finish time of 3 hours and 14 minutes for my first half-marathon. My gorgeous wife beat me by about 20 mins. My current personal record for my half-marathon is 1 hour and 47 minutes.

A good friend of mine asked me if I wanted to do a sprint triathlon with him. I got on YouTube and searched how to swim and started swimming in my neighborhood pool. I trained for about six months and did my first sprint triathlon in October of 2015. At the time I weighed about 285 pounds. I completed it in 3 hours and 32 minutes and it was the hardest thing I had ever done.

From there, I went on to become an Ironman and completed my first race in October of 2017. At the time, I weighed 195 pounds. Since then, I have become passionate about helping others achieve their goals. LifeTime Fitness opened a door for me to become a run coach and a cycle instructor. I have helped many since I began there almost two years ago.

It took about two years to go from 315 to 197 pounds. Some months I would lose 10 pounds and other months I would not lose anything. At first it was really frustrating, but then I started to notice a pattern. From that point, it became easier to deal with the plateaus and struggles.

It's incredible to feel stronger, look better, have so much more energy. I might have had to buy new clothes due to my shrinking size, but it was totally worth the journey. Most importantly. I am creating a new lifestyle that is keeping me healthy and alive for my children.

Slideshow: These are the best exercises to burn belly fat as fast as possible (Courtesy: Prevention) 


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