For Tony Sander, a packed and intense working schedule meant that he relied on an unhealthy diet to keep himself going. Over time, food, along with drinking, became a source of relief from that stress. “The food was as much of an addiction as alcohol ever was,” he says in a recent episode of Brand New Me.
Then in 2016, Tony’s car came off the road while he was driving home drunk. He shattered his knee in the accident, and doctors told him that at his current weight of 429 pounds, it wasn’t safe to operate on him. This, he recalls, was the wake-up call he needed, and he started to make some lifestyle changes, starting with cutting out alcohol and changing his diet.
“My goal from the beginning was to save my life,” he says. “My health was beyond a mess, so that was just at the beginning, and then turned into ‘my health is getting better, let’s get physically fit.'”
Working with his trainer Keith, Tony has now lost a staggering 210 pounds through working out and a strict diet plan, and has also found that exercise provides a healthier, more sustainable way to handle his stress and anxiety than food or alcohol.
“It’s now my stress relief, going to the gym is my 90 minutes of my solace, it’s my office, it’s my time,” he says. “The mental transformation that I’ve had, to be able to make the physical changes, I’ve had to come to terms with who I was, what my addictions were, and how I was going to fix them. The mental changes have been bigger than the physical.”
The best advice he can offer to anybody who wants to start making changes to their lifestyle and lose weight: “Just start today. You don’t have to wait for tomorrow, you don’t have to have a great plan, there is out there that wants to help, there’s people who have done it, and all they want to do is help other people do it.”