How Korey H. Lost 89 Pounds

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From obese to a lean 160 pounds, Korey H. shares how the process of losing weight changed his diet beyond just slimming down to a total lifestyle change.

Name: Korey H.

LIVESTRONG.COM Username: strayfe
LIVESTRONG.COM Member since: December 5, 2013

Age: 25
Height: 5 foot 9.5 inches

Before Measurements
Weight: 249 pounds
Dress/Pant Size: 42

After Measurements
Weight: 160 pounds
Dress/Pant Size: 32

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LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your life like before joining LIVESTRONG.COM?

My overall health was poor. I was obese for four years after letting myself go. A lot of my life comprised sitting at home playing online video games with friends, and my diet was pretty much whatever was in the nearest fridge. I never ate a lot, I just made a lot of poor choices when it came to my level of activity (very sedentary) and the types of food I ate. I also smoked for three-and-a-half years, which coincided with the weight gain. I had a very noticeable smoker's cough at the time. My only other joy besides sitting in my room was sitting out on the deck and smoking while enjoying the scenery and stars. I didn't really feel bad about how I looked, but my declining health was certainly a concern, and I hated that walking stairs made me winded so easily.

LIVESTRONG.COM: What inspired you to make a change?

I've always liked sports, but was never really a fan of any. However, that all changed about 10 months into living at my previous apartment. Since I lived very close to my old high school, I could see the local tennis club practicing on the rooftop courts right from my apartment parking lot. I remembered that I had wanted to play tennis in high school, so I grabbed my old tennis racquet and dragged my roommate out of the apartment to go play. It was a sport I wanted to be able to play, and my lifestyle was keeping me from that.

LIVESTRONG.COM: How did LIVESTRONG.COM help you lose weight?

LIVESTRONG.COM really enabled me to push myself just by being a resource that I could go to from time to time. At first I only visited the site once a week or so, but as the weeks went by and I started to lose weight, I was really excited and started frequenting the site more. I would track my calories, which helped me understand that it was OK that I just ate two slices of pizza, because it wasn't nearly enough to interrupt the weight-loss trend that I had established, which I also tracked conveniently on LIVESTRONG.COM. As of recent, I've really started to take part in the online community as well.

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LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your favorite way to work out?

My favorite way of working out is to go to a tennis court and either practice alone or practice with others. It's a great way to make friends and find activity partners. I would never have been able to join the tennis club I'm in now and meet so many like-minded people if I hadn't gotten out and done that. On nice days I also enjoy going to the waterfront to walk with my dad. He loves to walk malls, but he enjoys walking outside on really nice days, so it's great for both of us.

LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your weekly exercise schedule?

KH: Mondays are usually when I try to take it easy, but my lifestyle just pleads with me to get out and do something, so I still tend go to the gym on Mondays. It's becoming a devotion that's second nature to me -- I look forward to it. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays are my primary gym days when I dedicate training to specific muscle groups and also add in either endurance HIIT, swimming or racquetball.

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LIVESTRONG.COM: What's a typical day of meals and snacks?

KH: I eat a lot of small meals -- six or more meals per day. My snacks are usually having a Pop-Tart, Fiber One Oats & Chocolate bar or, if I feel that I haven't had enough healthy fats for the time of day, I'll revert back to my childhood and have a serving of nut butter (peanut butter or walnut nutter) without adding it to anything. Admit it, peanut butter is awesome by itself!

LIVESTRONG.COM: What's the range of calories you eat per day?

KH: During the time when all I wanted to do was lose weight, I'd try to eat between 1,500 to 1,700 calories per day. I wasn't nearly as active then. It worked, but now I'm at a point where I'm eating between 2,400 and 2,700 calories per day. It's not the easiest because I'm still becoming adjusted to it, but the last few days I've managed to pull it off within my recommended macronutrient range.

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LIVESTRONG.COM: What are the healthy staples that are always in your kitchen?

KH: Walnut butter, peanut butter (containing high monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats), flax oil, oatmeal, chicken breast, turkey breast, brown rice, couscous, pasta, low-sodium marinara sauce, lettuce, raisins, whey protein powder, chia, unripe bananas, honey, whole-wheat breads, peppers, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, sweet potatoes, almonds, pinto beans, low-salt green beans, peas, fat-free milk, garlic paste, low-calorie Italian dressing and amazingly delicious tandoori naan bread.

LIVESTRONG.COM: How do you strategize for meals?

KH: At first it was simply learning to make healthier choices and portion control, but now I've also started to cook enough to have at least one home-cooked, well-balanced meal per day without worrying about prep, and it can last about a week out. I'm very interested in streamlining my cooking efforts, so that I don't consume quite as much time roaming the kitchen trying to figure out what I should eat based on my current macronutrient levels.

I don't currently work, but I was just recently hired at a place where I'll be on my feet all day and jogging and going up and down stairs quite a bit. I figure after I start training for it, I'll begin to prep portable nutritious snacks (filling and calorie dense) that I can have while at work.

I usually shop whenever I'm low in more food groups than I find acceptable for my diet plan. So I pretty much shop on a gut feeling. This works for me because I crave healthy yet delicious foods. I want my food to be the best of both worlds, so I don't have any inhibitions that tempt me to buy unhealthy snacks or highly processed foods anymore. Splurges are a given for me, but I always account for their values within my daily goals.

LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your biggest secret(s) to success that you want to share with others?

KH: Build muscle. Also, finding something healthy that you really enjoy will go a long way toward making your weight-loss journey very sustainable. As another member in the LIVESTRONG community has told me, sustainability is key.

Change takes time. Start slow, learn as you go (learning is very important) and find a healthy activity that you enjoy and can stick with. And if it happens to become one of your life's passions, then that's great too!

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LIVESTRONG.COM: Can you describe what your life is like now?

KH: I'm on LIVESTRONG.COM almost every day, usually tracking or reading a new article.

My diet was slow to change, but it's at a point where I don't consider it a (diet) in the trendy sense as much as it's really just a total lifestyle change. I only drink water or sparkling water, with the rare regular-soda splurge. I refuse to drink diet soda anymore because I think it's actually worse than regular for me. As far as foods go, I've almost completely eliminated my intake of bread. I eat dairy with caution (10 to 15 percent of my total consumption), and the major food group I eat is meat, including turkey and ham, because it's rich in protein.

My life is a little hectic currently, so I need to slow it down a bit sometimes. I wake up, do all of that boring grooming stuff, down some whey protein, then it's onto HIIT training (usually wind sprints) and afterward I prepare breakfast. I practice tennis four to five times per week, and I meet up with my tennis club every Saturday. Soon I'll be competing in my second tennis tournament ever! After my morning workouts, I feed my pet and give him a lot of attention, and then I put in applications for work. After all that jazz, I go over to my folks' place to hang out with my parents and ride my motorcycle to gain experience with it. Just recently I joined a fitness club, and I've started to do heavier weightlifting in the early evening, along with more HIIT! In the later evening I like to turn on some music and get my heart rate up with some floor strength training/HIIT workouts. From time to time I also love to go on outdoor walks over at my local waterfront. When I feel that walking isn't getting my heart rate up enough, I'll do some running as well.

Everything about my health has improved, but the most noticeable aspects are probably my happier demeanor and endurance. Sure, I can't run a marathon, but that's because I've never trained for one. There's a huge difference between slow- and fast-twitch muscle fibers in endurance training, and I've chosen to go the latter route so that I can develop explosive strength in my legs. It helps greatly with tennis and makes keeping my motorcycle leveled when stopped much easier. Have I mentioned that I enjoy my life and am really happy now?

These days my inspiration is almost entirely about competing in tournaments and my dream of becoming a pro tennis instructor -- or to work in some sort of health, nutrition or fitness field.

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Written by: Kelly Plowe