How Learning to Cook Healthy Helped This Guy Lose More Than 150 Pounds

Tom Almond had been making steady progress on his weight loss goals. A bigger guy in high school, he’d lost nearly 40 pounds since graduation and was on his way to being fit. “I felt really good and like I’d cracked it,” he says, “but then I got into a car crash and injured my back and hips. I was in pain and unhappy, and let myself slip back into bad habits.”

As a result, Almond gained back the weight he’d lost—and then some. Almond, 27, who works in Liverpool, England as a marketing manager, says that his initial weight gain was due to reasons familiar to most people who ever went through a heavy phase: poor diet and inactivity. “Like a lot of kids from that generation, as I got older I started spending more time indoors on computer games and became less active,” he says. “This led to me being bullied because of my weight, which turned into emotional eating.”

At his heaviest, not long after graduating from college, Almond weighed more than 300 pounds. He felt the effects not just physically, but mentally. “I pretended to be fine, I had quite an outgoing personality and a strong sense of humor. I was good at faking that,” he says. “Nobody really had any idea anything was wrong. Inside, I felt like someone had turned the lights off. I didn’t want to be around people, I didn’t want to be alive. It was a difficult time.”

Tom Almond

One night, while on a weekend trip away with some friends, Almond was sitting at the bar, talking about the crash, and how dealing with the aftermath had derailed his goals. “Someone said I could do it—and that it was no good simply wanting something, I had to want it enough,” he says. “That thought stuck with me, and that night before I went to bed, I decided that I did.”

The first week, he focused on his diet—he went from cooking about 15 percent of his meals at home, he estimates, to cooking nearly all of them on his own. He’s not embarrassed to admit that he cut corners when necessary. “People seem to snub jarred sauces, but they were a huge help for me,” he says. He also eased into a regular gym routine—five days a week, he’d do a quick warmup, 20 minutes of HIIT, and a five-minute cool-down.

Over time, the combined effect of the workouts and the calorie deficit he’d created from eating healthier started to pay off. “I started seeing fantastic results without any strict diet plan, which was incredibly motivating.” Over the course of 18 months, Almond lost nearly 140 pounds—and has lost another 20 pounds since. “As of today, I’ve lost about 50 percent of my bodyweight,” he says. “Everything is easier—getting out of bed, going down the stairs, bathing, it’s crazy.”

That said, he’s quick to point out that the changes didn’t happen overnight—nobody should expect as much. “The biggest mistake people make is to put themselves in an unsustainable position, because they want to see quick progress,” he says. “I see so many people disappointed when they ‘only’ lose one pound in a week, but if you did that every week, that’s 52 pounds in a year, which will still make a huge difference in your life.”

Just ask Almond’s aunt, whom he visited not long after achieving his dramatic weight loss transformation. “She opened the door and I said hi,” he recalls. “And she replied, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know who you are?'” he says. “I had to tell my aunt who I was!”

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