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Every weight loss journey begins with a first step and some will take you further, faster, than others. After a health scare, this week’s Amazing Loser Zach made the first brave step towards his weight loss goal by electing to have gastric bypass surgery. As many of us have either experienced or worried about, rapid weight loss often leaves us with loose skin that can be costly to have removed. No weight loss story is ever “over”, but in Zach’s case, he still has a very particular goal ahead of him and yet the strides he’s already made are attracting a lot of attention, not always positive…

  • Name: Zach Moore (ask him anything on Talk)
  • Location: Pierson, Florida
  • Job: MMA Promoter & Matchmaker
  • Height: 5’11” (180cm)
  • Age: 35
  • Highest weight: 460lbs (208.7kg)
  • Lowest weight: 137 (62kg) 
  • Plan: “I do my own diet”

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How did you get to the position where you needed to lose that weight?

I was lazy and I was fat. At the time I thought I was happy with my life quality. Looking back, I wasn’t. I wasn’t eating properly, my wife Amber and I were eating a lot of fast food at the time due to her being pregnant with our son, something many people will experience. But it wasn’t just that: I wasn’t exercising, I smoked two, sometimes three packs of cigarettes every day and I drank a lot of energy drinks. Over time my body gave up and I put weight on within a few years.

“Over time, my body gave up”

What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?

I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, was diabetic and had an extreme risk of stroke. I was diagnosed as being extremely obese by many of my doctors. Being overweight led to depression, sleep apnoea and limited mobility. I was angry, ashamed and had no self esteem. I was at the lowest point of my life.

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What made you decide to change?

I got sick in November of 2013 after eating orange chicken at a fast food restaurant known for it. It was hell. After 8 days I finally gave up (I was very stubborn when I was fat) and up and went to the hospital. They took my weight there, something I hadn’t done in a while and it read 209. I figured that it was off but it was in kilograms. I converted it. 460lbs.  

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What made it different from the times before? 

Being sick like that and watching my family look at me, sensing their fear and questions that they were likely asking, which I was too. “Is this it?”, “Is he going to die?”, “Am I going to die?” When I found out that it was food poisoning I decided that was it. I was going to stick around for my wife and son who need me.

How did you do it?

After being recommended gastric bypass surgery by my cardiologist, I went to the Shebani Institution in February of 2014 and told Dr Shebani that I wanted gastric bypass surgery. At first he said that the gastric sleeve was the better of my two options but I decided that I wanted to go for RNY (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, which involves creating a stomach pouch from a small part of the stomach and attaching it directly to the small intestine – medical editor).

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What do you eat over the course of an average day?

My normal morning is 1-2 eggs, steamed, cottage cheese or a yogurt.

Afternoons is fresh fruit and normally chicken followed by another lean white meat for dinner, either chicken, turkey or fish.

How was the journey? Straightforward or were there a few plateaus along the way?

My weight loss journey was fast, I didn’t have a lot of time to “stall out”, but when I did I never got down because I was measuring my waist. More or less it was straightforward, just follow the directions and take your time, allowing your body to heal.

“There isn’t a damn thing anyone could have said to me about my weight”

How has life changed now you’ve lost the weight?

I have done a 5k, I’ve backpacked around Washington DC hitting 14 miles in one day, flown inside and outside the US, been on national TV multiple times. It’s been an adventure, a unique one for sure. There are very few limitations that I now have, whereas before I couldn’t do more than 1/2 of anything during a day.

Who helped you the most and who got in the way?

My family has been there every time I have needed them to be, during both my gastric bypass and FDL (Fleur de Lis abdominoplasty – med ed) tummy tuck. My wife Amber is by far my biggest supporter and she helped the most. She doesn’t get enough praise for the care she has given me.

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What surprised you about losing weight?

How quickly the weight came off.

At my peak I was losing 25-30 lbs a month and I lost 240lbs from May 14th 2014 to July 2015. I attended WSOF 11 in Daytona Beach on July 6th and got a photo with (MMA legend) Bas Rutten. I made Bas look small in July – I was 350lbs.

Months later in Tampa the WSOF returned and on Nov 14th I got a second photo with him.

I had lost 90lbs within this time frame, I was 265lbs and you could see the difference. I would love to one day get a third.

I was able to lose 110lbs over 100 days during my peak weight loss in 2014 by walking only due to my hernia.

If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest – what would you say to him?

Nothing. These isn’t a damn thing weight wise that you, me or anyone on the planet could have said to me that I haven’t or hadn’t heard at that point. Needless to say I didn’t care about it. 

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You’re President for the day, what one law do you bring in to help others who are obese?

Allow insurance to cover skin surgery. After going through what I did, allowing people like me who are not financially able to get the remainder of the skin off helps you want to keep trying to better yourself – I still have to figure out how to get the rest of my sagging skin off my arms and legs.

What three things do other fat men need to know about losing weight?

  1. You will fail, but don’t get down. Challenge yourself to try again but healthier.
  2. You will not know what to do, ask for help from strangers.
  3. Set small obtainable goals. I did this and it allowed me to feel more able to hit a small goal than if and when I ever would reach my goal weight.

What else should we know about your weight loss story?

Having a gastric bypass and FDL tummy tuck saved my life. Yes I have been on national TV as a result of my weight loss, which many see as cool, but the truth is I get fat shamed more now for who I was two years ago. I’m not ashamed of who I was.

I love to talk, it helps me stay on track. I would like to pursue this to help people, I am becoming passionate about it. I want to finish my skin removal process and one day write my own book. Follow my journey on Instagram, I post uncensored photos of real life on there. 

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Even though I have been able to lose 315lbs since 2014, the loose skin affects my life in many ways more now than ever before. It’s getting worse and I have compression clothing on from my stomach down, 24/7 just to do daily tasks.
 
I can’t run or jog still because of the loose skin. The other day I went to try on clothes since I went from a 68″ waist to a 30″ and I tried on some pants where my legs couldn’t fit in because of the extra skin around my thighs. 
 
I know a great doctor willing to help me, yet I can’t afford it. If anyone out there wants to I would love to talk. I know that this skin holds me back. It’s hard looking into a mirror and seeing half your body with hanging skin and the other half now perfect. I hope that one day I can finish the surgery, but for the time being I have to live the remainder of my life requiring compression clothing. 
 
I’m humbled by the fact that thousands of people out there watched me on The Doctors and follow me daily on Instagram for motivation, advice and hope. I have touched their lives and that’s an amazing feeling to have. I want to help those who are in need of it. 
 
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Our thanks to Zach and don’t forget – as with all our Amazing Losers and their weight loss before and after stories, you can find him on Talk and ask him anything you like! 

If you want to make a change to your life right now – then simply sign up for one of our free 30 day online weight programmes, the only thing you’ve got to lose is fat…