When you’ve had a tough relationship with food and your body for most of your life, enacting change is an overwhelmingly difficult thing to do. As anyone who was overweight as a child will know, undoing these years of learning all the wrong things about food requires a hell of a lot of focus and persistence. This week’s A-list Amazing Loser knows this only too well. Steven Walker, better known as YouTuber Boogie2988, has recently lost a lot of weight, so how did he do it? Let’s find out!
Name: Steven Williams / Boogie2988/ Francis
Occupation: YouTube sensation
Known for: Computer game videos, film reviews, weekly ramblings and funny man comedy sketches on his very popular YouTube channel
Highest weight: 597lbs
Lowest weight: 360lbs
Weight lost: 237lbs
Sitting on your backside all day playing computer games is probably not the best career choice when you are trying to fight an obesity problem, but Steven Williams – or Boogie2988 as he is known in the YouTube community – has managed to overcome his anxiety, suicidal thoughts, depression and dietary dilemmas to shed over 200lbs of weight, although he admits there is still “a long way to go”.
The man behind the weight
Boogie has been an ever-present on the video sharing platform since its creation in the mid-2000s and he rose to fame thanks to his eccentric gaming videos, movie reviews and comedic comedy sketches, all being performed by his ‘nasty guy’ alter-ego Francis – a satirical stereotype of the typical ‘fat American video-gaming man’.
Despite living a life of internet fame and fortune, Boogie has encountered some major setbacks and problems which led to him weighing over 42 stone at his heaviest.
Alongside morbid obesity and the eating disorders he picked up at an early age, Steven has also had to battle with social anxiety, chronic depression, lymphedema, diabetes, a shattered back and post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which culminated in an eventual divorce from his wife of seven years. Boogie has not had an easy life, but he is quick to add that “these are not excuses”.
Boogie has always been frank about his troubled childhood; growing up in a fractured family, with two abusive parents, caused him to turn to food as an escape mechanism.
In a September 2018 vlog, Steven confessed that he has “wanted to die ever since being fifteen years old” and he felt like being able to eat masses of unhealthy foods whilst killing himself at the same time was a “win-win situation”.
Like so many of us, Boogie felt like he was always “chasing the high of fatty unhealthy foods” and believed that food was the “only thing that could bring happiness”.
This mentality stuck with the 44-year-old throughout adulthood and through his successful career on YouTube. A happy marriage and having children have all failed to change his outlook on life, and it also failed to change his outlook on his weight.
Recognising the big problem
Having neglected himself for pretty much his entire life, realising that there was something worth losing the weight for proved to be the biggest problem for Boogie. In the end, he did it for himself – not to look better or more attractive, but to regain a sense of self-control which had evaded him in his life up until now.
He said: “I don’t hate myself for being fat or ugly, I hate myself for constantly being miserable, angry and upset.”
So how does a man who weighs just under 600lbs, struggles to stand up (let alone walk) and for whom exercise is virtually impossible, even begin to start making those important first steps towards weight loss? After consulting various medical professionals, it appeared gastric bypass surgery was Boogie’s best chance of success.
The road to recovery
He went under the operating knife in August 2017. Through a combination of the surgery, diet changes and a newfound exercise regime, Boogie has lost a whopping 13 stone since. Now sitting at a much-improved weight of 360lbs, Boogie spoke about the improvements made to his life through losing the weight in his appropriately named vlog ‘One Year Later…I’m still fat’ in August 2018.
The YouTuber believes that losing weight is the “best decision I have ever made” and is able to thank the surgery for improving his ability to “sleep, work and just enjoy life”.
“Prior to the surgery, I was dying. My blood pressure was out of control, I had numerous heart problems and I was diabetic. And now, all of that is gone.”
But although he’s at a much healthier weight now, he is under no illusions about the work still to be done. Being able to resist the temptations of his favourite foods, the ones which previously were his only form of self-medication proved most difficult for Boogie. “Withdrawal symptoms were tough, but I knew I could not go on poising my body in the same way anymore”.
Surgery acted as an enforced rehab for the YouTube star and it has completely changed the way he looked at food – whereas the old, 597lbs Boogie may have eaten two or three portions of a meal, now he has admitted he struggles finishing even half a portion.
“Small minor changes, which allow me to stay happy, unlike quick-fix trash diets, have kept me mentally and physically fulfilled”.
What next for the man on the small screen?
Boogie was scared before he headed for surgery. He didn’t know how he would manage to balance losing weight, staying mentally stable and balancing a very popular YouTube channel, with all the other problems that come along with family life and parenthood.
Speaking in September 2018, he still doesn’t know how it’s happened. But despite a major setback of his ex-wife wanting a divorce just after he’d began the recovery from surgery, Boogie is still staying as strong as he can.
Boogie still has his sights set on a target weight of 270lbs lost in the first eighteen months post-surgery, and if reached that will allow for some loose skin surgery to take place, which for a man who has never felt comfortable in his own body is a massive incentive.
There have been setbacks for Steven along the way, most notably “letting food addiction win”, however, he says there is good news. “I am halfway through a two-year process and for a man as self-destructive as I am, I haven’t yet self-destructed” and that, truly, is something to be applauded.