Whether you’re staring down the barrel of your very first diet or hopping back on the wagon after a series of failed attempts at weight training, it’s easy to convince yourself that losing a dramatic amount of weight is next to impossible. This self-defeating attitude forces many dieters to give up before they’ve even started.
When weight loss looks so improbable, many people don’t want to change their lifestyles in the hopes of dropping a few pounds. The beginning of this process requires dedicating yourself to following a strict diet, and finding workout plans that fit your needs. Once you're ready, you can also use our supplement finder to get the cheapest prices on any healthy supplements you need!
Reluctant dieters and exercisers do not need to feel as if their efforts are worthless. Millions of people have dropped weight and kept it off in the long term. Astonishingly, there are people out there who have dropped hundreds of pounds through diet and exercise; the most amazing weight loss stories involve the loss of over 500 pounds of flab.
Below are 10 astounding stories of men and women who changed their bodies and their lives:
#1 Manuel Uribe - Loses His Title and Finds Love
Manuel Uribe was awarded the title of World’s Fattest Man by the Guinness Book of World Records. A sedentary lifestyle as a typewriter repairman kept Manuel from moving around during the day. His weight ballooned when he moved from Mexico to the United States and started commuting by car instead of walking.
Weighing in at a colossal 1,320 pounds, Manuel was completely housebound; he took to his bed in 2001 and was not able to get up for almost seven years. Manuel’s weight gave him 15 minutes in the limelight when he appeared as the subject of "The World's Heaviest Man", a television documentary about his struggles with weight gain.
By 2006, Manuel decided that he’d had enough of corpulence. An Italian television network offered to pay for a gastric bypass surgery, but he refused to take the easy way out. Instead, he worked with doctors to create a 2,000 calorie daily diet with plenty of fresh greens, fish, chicken and egg whites.
Manuel attributes his remarkable success to the Zone Diet, a formula devised by biochemist Barry Sears. By eating carbohydrates, protein, and fat in a “40:30:30” ration, Manuel lost over 400 pounds by dieting alone.
Although Manuel still weighed 700 pounds in 2008, he’d shed an astonishing 592 pounds and met the love of his life. Mr. Uribe was carried to his wedding on a four-poster bed with special reinforcements. He plans to shed another 500 with careful dieting. He intends to start the Manuel Uribe Foundation in order to combat obesity.
#2 David Smith - Transforms His Body
In 2003, David Smith tipped the scales at 630 pounds. Ostracized because of his weight, David contemplated suicide; he thought that taking his life was the only way to end his misery. Fortunately, David chose a different path.
When his doctors told him that his morbid obesity meant that he might only have four years left to live, David decided to turn his life around. He enlisted the help of a personal fitness trainer named Chris Powell. Together, they collaborated on a diet and fitness routine that they later released as an online program called "Reshape the Nation". David lost 401 pounds and went on to become a personal trainer.
David Smith became a minor internet celebrity for chronicling his dramatic weight loss in a series of photographs. The most striking pictures show him with dangling skin that has been stretched by years of obesity. After his weight loss, David had to undergo surgery to snip away his excess skin. This former self-described “man mountain” is now helping others to lose weight as well.
#3 Patrick Deuel - Crusades for Health
In 2005, Patrick Deuel reached a personal milestone. For the first time in years, he could feel his own ribs. For most people, that’s an everyday occurrence; for Patrick, it’s a major accomplishment. Just one year prior, Mr. Deuel weighed 1,072 pounds. When he needed to get to the hospital, emergency technicians were forced to cut a hole in his bedroom wall.
Doctors didn’t believe that Patrick would make it. He had serious heart problems and diabetes. He needed a medical dosage of oxygen to breathe.
Patrick chose gastric bypass surgery. In just one year, he was down to 499 pounds. Bed-bound only a year prior, Patrick now enjoys lifting weights and going on walks around his neighborhood.
Mr. Deuel worries that insurance companies and the health care system aren’t doing enough to help the morbidly obese.
He hopes to turn his inspiring story into a career as a motivational speaker.
#4 Rosalie Bradford - Claps for Success
Rosalie Bradford once described herself as a “foodaholic.” A difficult childhood had her turning to food as a coping method when times got tough. By the age of 15, she already weighted more than 300 pounds. A sedentary lifestyle and health complications that left her bedridden contributed to further weight gain. After eight years of immobility, Rosalie weighed 1,199 pounds.
Fortunately for Rosalie, Richard Simmons took an interest in her health after a friend contacted the fitness star. Simmons designed a diet plan for his bedbound friend and sent her exercise tapes. At first, Rosalie could only muster the energy to clap her hands along to the tapes.
After years of dieting and exercise, Rosalie’s weight finally dropped under 300 pounds; she had lost an astounding 917 pounds total. Rosalie still holds the Guinness world record for "Most Weight Lost by a Woman".
#5 Jonah Hill - Celebrity Slim Down
Jonah Hill made it big as a supporting character to skinny men like Michael Cera and Russell Brand. Tired of being pigeonholed as the “fat friend,” Mr. Hill started working out with a personal trainer and saw a nutritionist to develop a better diet plan.
Jonah has lost more than 40 pounds already with exercise and diet alone.
In recent paparazzi photos, Mr. Hill is virtually unrecognizable as the man who played a host of fat, comical characters, another job well-done by celebrity personal trainers! He’s traded his trademark double chin and wild hair for a sleeker, more polished style.
#6 John Stone - Loses Fat and Gains Muscle
Unlike many of the other members of this list, John Stone was never morbidly obese. His beer belly was less than flattering, so this determined man decided to lose excess fat and bulk up. His five-year transformation turned a pale, flabby man into a professional bodybuilder.
John chronicled his exploits on a personal blog by posting daily pictures of his progress. His remarkable success has turned into a profitable career; over time, he built an online fitness empire in order to inspire others to follow his lead.
#6 Shauna Reid - Blogs Her Way to Fitness
Shauna Reid weighed 351 pounds when she started writing “The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl”, a humorous blog about her quest to lose weight. When she started her blog, Shauna was so self-conscious about her body image that she blurred out her face in photographs.
By the end of her weight loss journey, Shauna had shed 175 pounds. Her Before and After pictures are so remarkable that they were stolen by weight loss supplement companies. Shauna actually used diet and exercise, not dubious supplements, to achieve her weight loss goals.
#8 - Mike Mahler: Diets for a Cause
When Mike Mahler’s friend gave him a DVD by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, he immediately gave up animal products. Mike was an amateur body builder. Every diet plan that he could find advocated heavy meat consumption to build muscle; for a while, Mike worried that he would have to give up his hobby in order to stick with his principles.
Fortunately, Mike was able to build muscle and lose fat while sticking with an entirely vegan diet. Previously weighing in at 210 pounds, Mike is now a trim 160 pounds.
A carefully controlled regimen of protein-rich nuts, beans and seeds has taken the place of animal flesh in Mike’s new diet.
#9 Judy Lederman - Uses Mind over Matter
Judith Lederman struggled with excess weight all her life. Although she was never morbidly obese, no diet seemed to help her drop the pounds. At 224 pounds, she was uncomfortable in her own body and ready for a change.
She sought help from Rosemarie Schulman, a hypnotist with an unusual approach to weight loss.
Schulman knew that dieting and exercise were more than physical inconveniences. The willpower required to stick with a healthy lifestyle is difficult to maintain over time; Judith’s diet plans kept failing because she would eventually slide back into her old habits. Rosemarie Schulman used a two-part process to help Judith relax and become open to suggestion.
Schulman helped Judith turn her cravings for sugar and carbohydrates into healthy urges for fruits and vegetables.
Judith Lederman dropped down to 129 pounds and wrote a book about her experiences called Joining the Thin Club.
#10 Steve Vaught - Goes on a Weight Loss Journey
Weighing in at 400 pounds, Steve Vaught was depressed. A spell of unemployment gave him the perfect motivation for an unusual weight loss scheme. Steve decided to walk across America and chronicle his progress in an online journal called “Fat Man Walking”.
Tens of thousands of fans waited eagerly for Steve’s updates about his long, lonely journey from California to New York.
Steve walked for thousands of miles while carrying a heavy backpack. By the time he crossed the George Washington Bridge to complete his journey, he had become such a sensation that reporters and television helicopters were waiting to capture his final moments on the road.
Vaught claims to have lost over 100 pounds during his 13 month journey. Vaught did not lose as much weight as he planned to over the course of his trip; the allure of fast food after long days on the road proved too much for him to resist.
Is dramatic weight loss possible? With determination, a quality diet, and a weight loss workout plan, certainly! Most of the people in this article did more than lose weight: They kept the pounds off by making permanent changes to their lifestyles. Most importantly, they avoided the bad habits that had made it easy to gain stunning amounts of weight.
Anyone who wants to lose weight should treat their journey as more than a temporary way to shed pounds.
Staying fit means making permanent changes to your diet and lifestyle. Whether you decide to avoid your cravings like Judith Lederman, up your activity like Steve Vaught or cut your calories like Manuel Uribe, you can turn your weight loss into an opportunity to develop healthy habits that last for a lifetime. Get started with a workout plan of your own, and start losing weight today!