In a recent episode of Brand New Me, Christopher Stanley shared the story of his staggering weight loss journey. “I’d been medically obese my entire life,” he says. “I weighed 200 pounds by middle school. I was always the fat kid… I never learned healthy eating habits at all. Food was a coping mechanism.”
In addition to overeating, Christopher also used drugs constantly. At his heaviest, he weighed 550 pounds. He began going to the gym and overhauling his diet–but good intentions only got him so far. “I’d have a few days of clean eating, then just stop,” he says. “I would binge, and then I would just ignore it.” He actually managed to lose more than 100 pounds, but then gained most of that weight back “immediately.”
It was only after a breakup and losing his job that Christopher decided that the changes he needed to make to his lifestyle had to be permanent. He found a support group to help him address his drug problem, which in turn led to him confronting his issues with food. This was a pivotal step, he says, as it helped to give him the outlook he needed to keep going with his weight loss.
“I just wanted the weight gone, I didn’t address any of my mental issues,” he says. “Now, with the 12-step group, there’s no question or no choice of not eating properly.”
He ended up losing a total of 340 pounds through healthy eating and exercise, and currently weighs 228. Prior to the pandemic, Christopher would go to the gym regularly, and has since adapted his workouts to be able to do them anywhere so he can maintain his weight loss: “On cardio days I do 100 flights of stairs for 45 minutes to an hour, I do a resistance band workout, a lot of bodyweight exercises, and I go on a lot of walks.”
One side-effect of such drastic weight loss that Christopher now has to deal with, however, is the large amount of excess skin, which he is currently in the process of planning to get removed — although he prefers it to the “man boobs” he had before his transformation.
“Those were my biggest insecurity growing up,” he says. “And now, through working out, I have chest muscles, and all that skin hanging down off of it, I’m more comfortable with that. Psychologically, I’ve had to learn how to embrace that.”
Christopher’s best advice for anyone at the start of their own weight loss journey? “Be honest with yourself,” he says. “Because if you downplay that, the results will not stick.”