Troy McLaughlin’s Journey to a New Life
Editor’s Note: Troy has a very inspirational story that I think everyone will benefit from reading. Thank you Troy for sharing!
Hey everyone my name is Troy McLaughlin. This is the first time I have published my story about my journey to save my life. A little background I am 24 years old and just finished my Bachelor’s degree. I live in Indiana and have a new found passion for bodybuilding. I have recently decided that I would really enjoy trying to make a career out of something in the fitness industry. I’d actually really like to specialize in helping obese people change their lifestyle’s to save their lives. For my journey I think I will start from the beginning to show you where I came from.
As far back as I can remember I was always the chubby kid that everybody loved to be around because I have a great sense of humor. When I was ten, until about fifteen I was pretty active in sports like baseball and football. Once I got to high school I stopped playing sports because the practices were too hard for someone my size. My weight had begun to spin out of control when I was in junior high. My freshman year of high school I weighed at least 350lbs!
When we did weight testing in freshman physical education the gym teacher could not weigh me because the scale only went to 350lbs. I was devastated, I knew I was very heavy, but not to the point where scales would not even weigh me. I stopped playing sports and started to put all my extra time into computer games and eating. Once I could drive and had a job my weight started to sky rocket even more. I would work twenty hours a week and spend the majority of my money on snacks and fast food. By the time high school was over I am sure I weighed in at over 425lbs, but I had not weighed myself since that day in freshman PE class.
I started my college career being obese and extremely worried that I would not fit into the desks on campus. I was right; I had to physically jam myself into the desks which I am sure the other students noticed. I felt terrible about myself and would barely ever go to class because I was so embarrassed about everything about me. I just played more video games and ate more junk food to try and keep my emotions down. I have realized that I eat to satisfy my emotions a lot; I would reward myself with food and also give myself food when I was depressed.
My first two years of college I had terrible grades because I did the bare minimum and barely went to class. At this point I was 525lbs and could not even walk without being out of breath. When I was at my heaviest I could not ride in my friend’s cars because I could not fit into them, which was super embarrassing. When I was 525lbs I was lying to myself that I was alright and did not need to change anything. I started to get to the point where going up the stairs was literally something I dreaded and avoided because I was so out of breath it was scary. I told myself many times that next Monday I am going to do something about my weight! Just eat whatever you want this weekend and get it out of your system, Monday morning you are changing your life. When Monday morning came I was right back to normal eating and I had binged all weekend too. I started to realize I was never going to be able to change my life this way. I was starting to enter into a deep depression.
On April 10, 2010, I decided I would go visit my friend who worked part-time at a local gym to see what the gym was like. I don’t really know why I decided to do this out of the blue; I personally think it was a blessing from above! My friend had not seen me for a few years and was shocked at how much I had gained. He was very nice and honest with me about starting to work out and all the hard work it would consist of. We decided that if I was going to do this, I would need his help with the training and some motivation to come in on the days I did not want to. So we started with just walking on the treadmill and some light weight lifting circuits. The first day the treadmills were shutting off because I weighed too much and was making too much of an impact on them, but my friend simply told me they were old and broken to try and save me from embarrassment. These workouts went well and I actually enjoyed working out with my friend. I went out and finally bought a scale after a few weeks of the gym to watch my progress. I had to order a special scale that went to 550lbs; I thought I was nowhere near that when I bought it though. The first time I stepped on the scale it said 525lbs! I could not believe it; I stared at it in shock. I knew from that point that I needed to get even more serious and start eating better along with my exercising.
The diet part was the hardest part for me, working out became fun and I looked forward to that. At first I used the help of my friend and mother who is a Registered Nurse for some general nutrition info to set me on the right path. The weight started melting off once I stopped eating junk food and fast food. I soon learned that there were a thousand ways to eat to lose weight. I stupidly decided that I would do super low carb and calorie to lose as much weight as possible. I was eating so little and doing so much cardio the first year I lost a little over 190lbs!
Of course there were struggles along the way, but it is important to focus on your long term progress, rather than the little bumps of mistakes along the way. I never skipped a workout, but I did cheat on my diet a few times. I think the most important thing I learned was to have balance in your diet to keep your sanity. I could not believe the weight I was losing, but the way I felt was amazing. I was addicted to becoming healthy and eating better. I started watching Youtube channels and reading fitness magazines to get a better understanding of lifting weights and eating right. I stopped eating so poorly and started to eat a balanced diet with good macros and started to lose at a much safer rate. By the end of my second year April, 10, 2012 I was down to 285lbs; right around 240lbs total lost. At this point I was feeling really good and had started to develop some noticeable muscle mass, which only fueled me more to work harder in the gym. I really narrowed down my diet and focused on lifting weights a lot more. Currently I weigh in at 225-230lbs and I could not be happier with my progress. I get compliments all the time on my weight loss which is awesome; but I get more motivation when people notice my muscle mass. I am addicted to this lifestyle I do not see myself ever not going to the gym and eating healthy. I hope this article helps a person who is in similar situations to mine, maybe not as far down in the hole, but someone who wants to kick start a new life!