Chris McIntosh had resolved to be the “happy fat guy” for the rest of his life.
But at 29 years old, he found himself tired, unmotivated, and unable to live out his day-to-day life as he wanted.
To Chris’ food fortune, he leveled up in life when he walked down the aisle to wed his bride, April, who helped them both drop a combined 235 pounds in just one year.
The pair were happy, in love, and eating whatever they wanted after first becoming husband and wife.
“I was the fat guy that never missed a meal,” Chris shared with MensHealth.com. The food they ate, according to April, was essentially “toddler food.”
“Our weekly grocery staples were mac-n-cheese, apple juice, orange juice, Skippy peanut butter, Cheez-Its, frozen chicken nuggets, popcorn, milk chocolate chips, instant mashed potatoes,” she told MensHealth.com. “It was pretty awful, honestly.”
According to April, it was a “mental fight” to get off the couch and walk the dogs each day. “It felt like a chore,” she said. They both lived with aches and pains that they chalked up to aging. But at just 29 and 30 years old, they knew deep down that it wasn’t the truth.
“Things like flying, roller coasters, theater seating, and group exercise were things I dreaded and avoided because I felt too much, too fat, too slow, too annoying,” April said. “Nothing is more mortifying than going to an amusement park with your retired marine father, your super-fit, works-at-running-store stepmom, and your teeny 8-year-old brother who is dying to ride a roller coaster with you…and struggling to fit into the coaster seat. And then having everyone watch as you exit the ride because you don’t fit.”
Though she wishes the roller coaster incident was the moment she decided to get healthy, it would be a few more months before she had an epiphany about losing weight. In October of 2017, the couple attended an awards banquet for a friend. There, a photographer snapped a photo of the couple. After taking one look at it, April snapped, too, deciding she no longer liked the way she looked or felt.
April dove head first into researching diets that may work for the two of them. She settled on the low-carb, high-fat Keto diet, which she felt they could stick with. The goal of the keto diet is to get your body into ketosis, where it’s burning fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
“I was really drawn to this idea that I could simply change my diet, and nothing else, and lose weight,” April said. “I have also struggled with emotional eating, binge eating, and bulimia for half my life, so I was curious to see if keto could break those cycles for me. Spoiler alert: They have improved tremendously.”
The day after Thanksgiving, she went into the couple’s fridge and threw out everything she could no longer eat. It was about 75 percent of their food. But Chris wasn’t exactly onboard yet; he told April he wasn’t ready for a change. So the two split space in the pantry and Chris made all of his own meals for the next two months-until he saw his wife drop 30 pounds by the end of the year.
“I just didn’t think I could do it,” Chris said. “April sent me the Two Keto Dudes podcasts and I started listening to it. I mean, no bread, no … potatoes, none of this stuff that I’m fairly accustomed to eating all the time. I just didn’t think I had the discipline to do it.”
On January 1, he gave in and let his wife cook him dinner.
“She’s a real trooper. She’s kept me in check,” he said. “She’s, well, I mean, I knew it the day I married her-I married way out of my league.”
The keto diet plan came easier than Chris and April thought. They swapped out the mac-n-cheese for things like bacon, cheese, steak, broccoli, brussels sprouts-“basically anything fatty and delicious,” April said. “Within the first week, he was raving about the energy and the lack of hunger and how much better he felt overall.”
The two still split their time when it comes to workouts. April performs a circuit routine five or six times a week, while Chris maintains his fitness by working on his feet all day and performing house chores like splitting wood. (Want to know how many calories your choirs are burning? Read up on that here.)
In the last eleven months or so, the duo stuck to their routine. Chris has lost 100 pounds, currently weighing in at 218. April has lost 135 pounds, to hit 197. But it’s not just about the weight for these two.
“My confidence has increased,” April said. “I don’t worry so much about taking up too much space or acting a certain way to be liked.”
For Chris, it’s all about the little things. “I’ve been a diesel mechanic working on tractor trailers for almost 10 years now. I had never been able to slide in between the two rear axles. I was always too big for it. Now it’s easy,” he said.”I didn’t realize just how hard doing things was.”
Beyond work, dropping the weight also helped Chris get out from under a trailer and get inside a race car instead.
“Ever since I was a kid, I’d always wanted to drive race cars, but I couldn’t fit through the window or get out fast enough if there were a fire,” Chris said. Thanks to his wife’s motivation and keto cooking skills, he could finally fit through that window last summer.
“My first race was in June,” he said. “I’m going to be getting my own car so that I’m ready to go for next race, too.”
As for what advise the couple would give to others, they said it’s all about finding the motivation within.
“If you have a dream, you will do whatever it takes to accomplish it,” Chris said. “I’m only required to work 40 hours a week. I work 50 hours a week and eat the way I eat so I can keep the weight off [and] live my dream.”
“Don’t wait,” April added succinctly. “Just do it.”
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