LIVESTRONG Success Story: Ryan Coker

I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t obese. I was always the biggest person in the room. When I was in elementary school everyone thought I was in middle school, and when I reached middle school everyone thought I was in high school. Eventually, I got sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I changed my life and lost more than 100 pounds in a single year. Today I’m down 160 pounds from my heaviest and I’m still going strong.

The weight started coming off, so I pushed myself a little more. That 60 pounds turned into 70 and then 80. And then even more.

Ryan Coker

My Turning Point

Two years ago, my doctor told me that I could drastically cut my chances of getting all kinds of diseases if I lost 60 pounds. At first, I only set out to lose a little bit of the weight -- not all of it. I started counting calories and doing light workouts. The weight started coming off so I pushed myself a little more. That 60 pounds turned into 70 and then 80. And then even more. Now I can’t wait to see how far I can push myself.

My Support System

My wife: she encourages me and helps me stay motivated. I also spend a lot of time on websites like LIVESTRONG.COM, where I read other people’s success stories. Just knowing that there are others out there who were in similar situations is a huge motivator for me. If they can do it, I can do it too.

My Biggest Challenge on the Road to Success

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that the dreaded plateau is by far one of the most discouraging parts of losing weight. Scratch that: I should say plateaus, plural. I would exercise my butt off for days straight, only to step on the scale and see that I hadn’t lost a single pound. Sometimes this went on for weeks. But plateaus are an unavoidable part of weight loss. I know that now and I’ll continue to push through them.

My Secret to Success That I Hope to Share With Others

Know your weaknesses and work with them -- not against them. When I decided to lose weight, I revamped my habits slowly. I didn’t change my entire diet overnight. Instead, when I first started dieting, I still ate my favorite junk foods -- I just ate less of them. Gradually I was able to scale down on the number of candy bars and cookies I had until they were a minimal part of my diet. Now I only have desserts once in a while.