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How this 21-year-old lost 211 pounds and saved his own life

Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.

Tyler Hutchingson is 21 years old, is 6 feet tall, and weighs 185 pounds. In 2015, after struggling with his weight for a long time, he had a foreboding dream that inspired him to finally get healthier. This is the story of his weight-loss journey.

The turning point

The first instance of my weight being an issue that I can remember was when I was about 13. I was having health problems, which included intense stomachaches and fatigue, so my father brought me into a clinic for tests. They told me I was pre-diabetic due to my weight. At 13, I didn’t realize, or really even comprehend, the adverse effects that my diet was having on my health, and I never cared to heed warnings from friends and family.

I continued to gain weight despite suffering negative consequences. A particularly difficult moment was when I was kicked off a fair ride when I was 16 for being too big to safely ride it. In high school, I couldn’t fit into the regular desks, so I had to sit in special chairs. But it wasn’t until later that I was able to actually make changes.

In August 2015, I was up watching videos online and came across some weightlifting and weight-loss videos that piqued my interest. I watched them all night. That night when I went to sleep, for whatever reason, I had a dream that I was attending my own funeral at 24 years old. When it came time to bring out my casket, I remember not seeing any pallbearers, and instead a forklift brought my casket to my grave and lowered me in. After that, I woke up and something clicked, a shift in my mentality. I knew in that moment that I had just started my weight-loss journey.

Photos: Courtesy of Tyler Hutchingson

The changes

At the beginning of my weight-loss journey, I wasn’t educated in calories or proper diet, so I just ate foods I thought were healthy. I had chicken, rice, and salad every day for the first month. After losing 25 pounds, I was feeling extremely weak, so I educated myself and switched to a diet with a goal of 2,750 to 3,000 calories per day. This would allow me to lose weight while getting enough nutrition. I cut out all liquid calories because doing that allowed me to eat more food, and I still love a large volume of food. For exercise, I strictly did cardio (either the elliptical or regular) walking. Due to my weight, I wanted to avoid the possibility of hurting myself from high-impact activities.

The number on the scale motivated me at first to keep pushing. Then I started to have more energy, which kept me in the gym and gave me the boost to eventually start lifting weights. My brother ultimately became my workout partner, and he kept me from cheating myself and giving up.

Photo: Courtesy of Tyler Hutchingson

The after

Physically, I feel a lot more energetic and healthier. When you get into extreme obesity, it begins to take over your life. One of the biggest changes was my overall energy. At my heaviest, I would sleep 10 hours a day, and now I am able to function happily on seven hours.

Emotionally, I love life. I found an appreciation for physical activity, and I now value it very much. I was also able to overcome the extreme anxiety I had developed as a kid from being bullied about my weight, and now I’m a much more confident and outgoing person. Discovering a love for fitness and having the ability to follow a dream of serving in the Army has given me purpose, and spreading my insight and knowledge to those that are where I was has given me a sense of pride. This weight-loss transformation saved my life.

The amount of loose skin I have surprised me. However, I have learned to like this skin. I view it as a battle scar, and it shows what I’ve been through. I don’t plan to have it removed because one day I hope to build a platform to train and encourage others to transform themselves, and this scar of mine shows I’ve been where they are standing. Another thing that surprised me is that exercise has become fun.

The maintenance

These days, I eat around 2,600 calories a day and try to get 40 percent from carbs, 40 percent from protein, and 20 percent from fat. I’m an Army soldier in training, so I get plenty of exercise. We have running Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and strength training on Tuesday and Thursday. And for my own routine I lift five times a week using a push/pull/legs split.

Water has been really important in maintaining my weight. It is the best nutrient for your body and the secret to a healthy metabolism and knocking off cravings. I aim for about 1 ounce per pound of body weight a day of water. Another habit I have is loading up on low-calorie vegetables like spinach leaves, cucumbers, and broccoli to help keep me full and away from desserts I don’t need.

Progress keeps me motivated. Every day I ask myself what I want to accomplish, and I actively do one thing that day to progress toward my goal. I am inspired by who I am, compared with who I used to be.

The struggles

I feel that overeating will always be a struggle of mine. I love the feeling of being full, and sometimes it causes me to push my caloric limit. A way I work through this is to fill up on low-calorie options and allow myself to have cheat meals every Sunday.

Photos: Courtesy of Tyler Hutchingson

Advice

Don’t make giant leaps at the start — something as small as cutting out soda, or not eating out, or switching your normal lunch for a salad can make a huge difference over time. Start by tracking your calories on an app like MyFitnessPal and taking baby steps to improve your diet and stay consistent. Consistency and dedication will push weight loss a lot further than trying some extreme fad diet for a week.

Also, be active: Even if you get up and walk for an hour or two at a superslow pace, you’ve burned probably a few hundred calories you wouldn’t have burned otherwise. Get up and get moving, because it makes a huge difference.

Follow Tyler’s journey on Instagram at Instagram.com/pvthutchfitness.

Need more inspiration? Read about our other weight-loss winners!

Weight-Loss Win is authored by Andie Mitchell, who underwent a transformative, 135-pound weight loss of her own.

Have a weight-loss win to share? We want to hear it! Tell us at YStyleBeauty@yahoo.com.

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