Success Story: “How I lost almost half my body weight—and transformed my life”

I am SO incredibly inspired by Bryan Ganey; instead of opting for quick fixes, which never work, he opted the hard work route toward weight loss (diet and exercise). And in the process, he’s lost 292!!! pounds. (For anyone struggling to lose 10 or 15, it kind of puts things into perspective, right?)
Just look at these before and after pics!!

Before: 577 lbs

Now: 285 lbs

When I asked Bryan for his 5 tips for success, here’s what he had to say:
1.) Accept and understand the truth: there is no quick fix.  Everyone wants it to be easy, we’re so desperate to find the secret that we fool ourselves into believing there is one. There is not. Sustained weight management is very, very hard and that’s why almost everyone fails at it. However, difficult does not mean impossible, so you can do it. But you need to respect how difficult it is and avoid becoming arrogant when success comes easy, because failure is lurking around every corner. Avoid the trap of wanting it all right now, because that is temporary and temporary is not what you want.
2.) Buy and eat real food from the grocery store. You must walk away from the garbage…forever. Face the facts: you’ve had enough fast food, soda, and junk food to last three lifetimes. You don’t need any more. If you’re a food addict like me (see my “before picture for evidence of this) it is absolutely crucial that you never touch the trash food ever again. People tend to eat junk food not because they are undisciplined, but because they are hungry. You have to do the work and always have healthy food on hand. Pack your lunch and eat it. I stick with what I call “The 6 Food Groups:” fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and water.

3.) You must measure, weigh and write down everything you eat. Many people lie to themselves and others about how much they’re eating, but they really have no idea. Remember: everything you eat counts. Being overweight is being on the wrong end of a math problem, so you must add it up at the end of the day. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds. As you eat many of the same things over and over, you will memorize their calorie content. There are websites and smart phone apps you can use to track your calorie consumption, or you can use a notepad and a pen like I do. Either way, you have to write it down. This will keep you accountable to yourself.

4.) Water must immediately become your beverage of choice. Water has many benefits, including being essential to life but it also will make you feel full and regulate your appetite. Some people don’t like the taste of water, but I believe you can’t have sustained weight loss without it. Try low-calorie drink mixes like Crystal Light or their generic equivalents to make it taste better if you have to. But drink a lot of water. I easily drink a gallon a day. Sodas (diet included) contain caffeine that will make you want to eat. I also associate soda with junk food and fast food, so I can’t have one without wanting the other. Don’t drink your calories.  Water is one of the few things (besides air) that doesn’t have any calories, so drink it early and often.

5.) Stay off the scale. It is tempting to weigh every day, because we all want the fast results. You must stop obsessing and worshiping the scale. Instead, weigh once every two weeks, maybe even once a month. Again, think long-term. You are losing weight for the rest of your life, not next week. Also, the purpose of the scale is to give you an idea of where you are. It’s not an end-all, be-all guide to your success. The scale has the power to make your day and it has the ability to ruin your day. Don’t let it. Weigh once to start, then not for awhile.


But cheer him on: tomorrow (March 31) he’s taking part in the Cooper River Bridge Run, a 10-K race in Charleston, South Carolina. Last year, Bryan walked this. This year, he’s hoping to run the entire thing! You can follow his blogs at, but watch this inspiring news coverage of him before the race.

Valerie LatonaAbout Valerie Latona
As the former editor in chief of Shape (the active lifestyle magazine) for 5 years, I personally spoke with a lot of women (thousands over the years, from around the nation) and what I found is this: it's not easy to stay healthy, to get (and stay) fit, and to stem the weight gain tide (and even the tide of disease) that inevitably happens to us as we get older.