Workout For The Mind – Amazing Loser Kyle Curtis

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What do we mean when we talk about “off the scale” victories? Well, changing your life, changing your body isn’t just about a number and it isn’t just about your weight. If you reach a certain weight and the number on your scale stops going down, try not to lose heart.

When you’re on a weight loss journey, hitting a plateau can be really demoralising, but if you’re still doing everything right, look for other signs that your body is changing; check your measurements, see if your clothes fit better; check your fitness, see if you can make it up the stairs without getting out of puff; check yourself – how’s your confidence? How would you feel about trying something new? That’s just what this week’s Amazing Loser Kyle did, when he gave Jiu-Jitsu a go and found his strength increasing, his self-esteem increasing, his waist size decreasing, even though the scales stalled…

  • Name: Kyle Curtis (ask him anything on Talk)
  • Location: Parker, Colorado
  • Job: Registered financial rep
  • Height: 6′ (182cm)
  • Age: 34
  • Highest weight: 310lbs (140kg)
  • Lowest weight:  192lbs (87kg)
  • Plan: Ketogenic diet


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

I had depression that was untreated. I found that when I was feeling bad food often gave me a sense of joy, but eventually the food led to me gaining weight. This in turn made the depression worse; leading to more food to feel better. This then made me feel worse than before. It was a terrible cycle.

What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?

I was the “Fat Friend”. It was not a fun experience. Not that anyone was mean to me about it, but I knew it deep down and it made me miserable. I had no confidence at all. I was very depressed. I couldn’t play sports with my friends any longer and I pretty much just lost myself in video games and food. My wife would try and get me to stop but I didn’t as the depression was too deep.

What made you decide to change?

I had a child and I started to think about what would happen if I died. I struggled with this thought and putting in the effort to lose weight for a long time. I would always say I would and I never did, instead always finding an excuse. I would say I was dieting but really I was sneaking junk food. One night I woke up in the middle of the night and looked at my wife and said, “This is going to kill me. I feel like I am dying.” I decided I had had enough and started looking into how I was going to do it.

What made it different from the times before?

Fear. I honestly thought I was on the path to death. I was miserable from being fat, but never had feared dying. This fear drove me to start this process.

How did you do it?

I found /r/keto on reddit and saw the results people were getting. I could tell it was a very strict diet and very difficult, but the results were shown every day. I decided to dive-in headfirst. I was miserable for about a month. I had an emotional connection with sugar, and I would often have mood swings from the lack of it. Eventually the anxiety and mood swings went away and the results started showing.

I also knew I wasn’t getting any exercise and decided to change that as well. I knew if I just went to a gym and lifted weights and ran I would quit. I decided I was going to do something that scared me. So I started doing Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Kickboxing. I was terrified of getting punched, kicked, and choked. I knew if I could conquer that fear, then the diet would not be an issue. A year later and I am down 118 pounds and am competing in my first Jiu-Jitsu competition this weekend.

What did you eat before you lost weight?
It was easily 3000-4000 calories a day. I had no filter to stop me from eating. I would eat constantly. If it had sugar, I would eat it. I couldn’t have 1 or 2 cookies. I would eat the whole bag. I would eat until I felt sick and then start over the next day. I would eat a family size box of cereal in two days by myself. It was horrible.
What do you eat now?
I still try and eat Ketogenic most days. I allow myself small cheats occasionally now as I am just trying to maintain weight, but I am very strict on the amount of cheats I get. I am at the gym so much for training that even after a cheat meal I tend to still lose weight. I try and keep it around 1800 to 2000 calories a day. Previously I had been doing around 1600-1700 calories a day. I eat a lot of meat, cheese and nuts. the high protein and high fat has kept me from feeling hungry while eating at a calorie deficit. I try and keep my net carbs (carbs – fiber = net carbs) between 20-35g each day. This is the hardest part.
How was the journey? Was it straightforward or were there a few plateaus along the way?
It was very difficult for the first month. I had a struggle with giving up a lot of my favourite foods. Eventually the cravings started to go away and I formed a habit of eating in line with the ketogenic diet. I saw results quickly which helped drive me forward. I did hit some plateaus in weight loss, but I noticed during these times my pants were still getting looser and shirts felt bigger. So while my weight stayed the same, I could tell I was putting on muscle and losing fat. I went from 3XL shirts and a 46 waist to Large shirts and a 36 waist.
How has life changed now you’ve lost weight?
I have way more energy now and my confidence is at an all time high. I no longer feel like I stick out like a sore thumb as the fat dad.  The confidence is awesome. My depression has nearly disappeared with the diet, exercise, and depression management. I feel like a whole new person. I am 34 but I feel like I am 25 again.
Who helped you the most and who got in the way?
Everyone was nothing but supportive to me. My wife helped me out a ton. She has made sure I always had the foods I needed to keep this diet plan working and allowed me time to go to the gym to work on myself.  I got supportive comments from everyone along the way. My son is very proud of me and tells me I am not fat all the time.
What surprised you about losing weight?
My biggest surprise is how easy it got after the first month or two. People often give up in that time because it is so difficult for the first few months. Once you get in the habit of doing it the right way, it becomes a lot easier. It’s so cliché to say “If I could do it, so can you,” but I was the laziest person I have ever met, and I did it. Also I find that losing weight is far more mental than physical. Your body will naturally adjust to it and respond well, you just have to get your head straight.
If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest – what would you say to him?
This will change your life so much. You can stop wallowing in self pity and hatred and learn to love life. It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s 100% worth it. I really wish I would have done this years ago.
You’re President for the day, what one law do you bring in to help others who are obese?
I don’t really think there should be any laws regarding it, but I do wish that it was more commonly known how bad sugar can be. Sugar is a basically a drug. It is in a majority of foods. You don’t realize how much of it you are getting and how negatively it affects your body until you give it up.
What do other fat men need to know about losing weight?

1. It is so much easier than most people say it is.

2. It’s far more mental than physical. Get your head straight and the diet will not be as bad.

3. Do it now. Don’t wait. You will thank yourself later.

Is there anything else we should know about your weight loss story?

Find a workout program or sport to get involved in. It makes the diet so much easier to keep. It’s even better if you do it with others or make friends at the gym. They will keep you accountable. Without my Jiu-Jitsu training, I would have never made it this far. The diet is for the body, the workout is for the mind. You will feel like a million bucks.

Don’t treat a diet like a diet. Call it a life change. You shouldn’t ever go back. People often think they can go back to eating terrible and are shocked when they gain it back. Find a diet that lets you manage your calories without losing your mind from being hungry and stick with it.

When you are starting out, track everything you eat. You will be shocked by what is going into your body. It also helps you cut down and keeps you accountable. Myfitnesspal was a great app for this.

Our thanks to Kyle 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…


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