Losing weight is one of life’s biggest challenges and we’re constantly bombarded with new fad diets trying to help us but that often end up complicating things.
30-year-old Clayton Gee is now unrecognisable from his former self after wading through the smoke and mirrors and bringing it back to basics with calorie counting.
The Texan has lost over 170 lbs (12 stone), bringing his clothing size down from a 48 to a 34, or a 3XLT shirt to a large.
Speaking to UNILAD, Clayton explained how the fad dieting programmes weren’t sustainable for him:
I’ve attempted many diets, fluctuating from one weight to the next; lose a few dozen here, gain another ten, lose twenty, gain thirty. Each new program whispering the promise of ‘this will be the one’.
They all succeeded in making the scale go down in ways that were ultimately destined to fail out of frustration.
In the beginning, I didn’t have a plan other than, ‘Cut out the bad stuff. Exercise where you can’.
I was once again on the path of crash dieting. It wasn’t long until I was struggling to keep up with all the restrictions again.
One day Clayton was browsing Reddit when he stumbled upon some information about calories. This is where his keen interest in calories was born, which helped him lose weight.
He soon began logging his food, bought a food scale, downloaded a tracking app, and began his journey to losing considerable weight.
Clayton explained how he got to know himself better:
It hasn’t been linear and there have been many setbacks. I’ve had people I care about die and lost close friends. I’ve learned when stress is high in life it’s exceedingly difficult for me to resist cravings.
When I don’t get enough sleep I’m more susceptible to suggestions the next day. It has been a journey of learning how I respond to things. That’s what defines us right? Not what we say but how we respond to the world around us.
In terms of food, he usually focuses on high protein, including lentils, split peas and broccoli, but confesses, “I am also a fan of whiskey, ice cream, among all the other stereotypical ‘junk’ I still have but now plan into my routine”.
While Clayton is still on his journey to reach his goal weight of 165lbs, he is aiming for 1500 calories per day.
Clayton posted his weight loss progress on Reddit, saying he was previously “killing myself with food”.
Explaining what he meant by this, Clayton said:
When I said I’m killing myself with food, I mean I was on my way to an early grave due to using food as a coping tool.
If I felt sad, angry, down on myself, or any other negative emotion I would compulsively reach for high calorie items or something I could binge on. I was literally killing myself with food.
I was depressed, no sugar-coating it. There was nothing in my life that I felt like I was in control of and I saw no point in trying.
I had many things weighing down on me other than adipose tissue, I still do. Today I deal with them differently. I’ve learned to manage.
It took reading a few self-help books. Learning to love myself and to not think I was broken or defective. To be able to look in the mirror and feel that there’s something more than a failure staring back at me.
Of course, he said the self-improvement was not an overnight change, and said he had to first believe it was possible in order to “set foot outside of the learned helplessness cage constructed around me.”
Talking about the hardest part of losing weight, Clayton said:
Losing the weight has been simple but not easy. Being consistent has been the hardest part. You’re changing habits you’ve built your entire life; a conscious shift in your ingrained patterns.
I’ve never had the best self-confidence. I’d beat myself up for any small mistake. You learn to forgive yourself for the instances you don’t live up to your personal expectations.
It’s harder if you dread it. If you find yourself avoiding an activity because it’s draining you won’t be able to keep it up for long. Learning to love the process was some of the best advice I was given.
Speaking about the reaction of his friends and family, Clayton said:
I’ve lost people I’ve considered friends for ‘changing too much’ and ‘giving into social pressure’. I’ve been accused of being a ‘shitty father’ and ‘setting your child up for an eating disorder’ among other things.
I’ve found that a few people tie their identity into their weight and take it as a personal affront that someone would willingly change theirs.
My partner has been invaluable. We cook meals together, I express my hopes/fears to them, they help me to be a better person. I’ve had more nights than I want to admit where I’ve broken down crying due to one thing or another and they’ve helped me through.
My other family members leave supportive comments I’m grateful for on social media.
Online weight loss communities have been a huge help for Clayton and he has largely received a lot of helpful support as well as learned to ignore the trolls.
Another inspiring story. Congratulations Clayton. You can follow his weight-loss journey on his Instagram account.