Inspiration: How Reader Ryan Jackson Lost 84 Pounds in a Year

Locals share their inspiring weight-loss journeys

before and after ryan

» Have an inspiring weight-loss story? Email us at eleaman@phillymag.com with details.

Name: Ryan Jackson

Age: 32

Home: Fairmount

Starting weight: 280

Current weight: 196

Total time it took to lose the weight: 12 months 

My weight-loss wakeup call: I started out just wanting to lose some weight for our wedding photos, and I was nervous about exercising at all because I was so out of shape. Once I realized what a supportive group I had found at CoreFitness, I quickly realized that the sky was the limit, and I did not want to let my team members down.

How I did it: It was a combination effort. It really started, slowly, as exercise only. The body confusion activities that boot camp offered helped me not to get bored and start really building core strength that allowed me to expand into running, yoga, and other things that helped round off my exercise experience. I also was fortunate to get my hands on a Fitbit from work, and although I had tried and failed to use calorie counting apps in the past, I really bought into the entire Fitbit program. I love that it tracks your sleep, and awards you for exercise, or even just walking places you would normally drive. I never would have been as successful without the continuing support of my lovely wife, and my friends at CoreFitness who drive me everyday to never give into laziness or the comfort of bed.

The moment I realized I was succeeding: There were several “ah-ha” moments, big and small. It’s really been the small things that have driven me along the way, like being able to run again because my back was strong enough, completing my first 60-second plank, and being more flexible. The larger moments where I thought, “Wow!” were doing things I never thought I’d be able to, like completing my first half marathon.

The biggest obstacles I had to overcome: There are the daily things, like getting out of bed when it’s dark and cold and your demons are telling you that you are entirely too sore, but my teammates and wife have been a huge help there. Not disappointing them, and ensuring I’m there to support them as well drive me every day. Being afraid of embarrassing yourself also can be daunting, especially when trying something new. I’ve had to learn that it’s okay to fail the first time (or 10), but if you let others pick you up and support you, you’ll make strides quickly.

My three best tips for anyone trying to lose weight:

  1. Be willing to try anything once or twice, but if you hate it, move on, this should be fun!
  2. Support those around you, and that support will come back tenfold.
  3. It’s ok to start small, the small steps will turn into gigantic strides.

The one thing I would say to my old self: Get out of bed and get off the couch. You aren’t too fat or out-of-shape. You will get better!

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