Christopher Carman used to love gaming. When he was in his twenties, he’d come home from work, crack open a two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew, and play World of Warcraft for hours at a time. Rather than cook his own meals, he’d just order in or pick up some fast food. “If I could’ve burned calories from typing and waving my mouse around,” he jokes, “I would’ve been the skinniest person in the world.”
Instead, Carman’s diet took a toll—gradually, he continued to gain weight until one day the scale read 330 pounds, the heaviest he’d ever been. During a trip to Cedar Point amusement park, the reality of his weight gain caught up to him. “I got on a roller coaster—Millenium Force—after waiting in line on a hot day for 90 minutes,” he says. “The belt wouldn’t connect. No matter how hard I sucked in.” Carman was forced to take the exit. “Talk about a walk of shame,” he says. “That was the longest 10 minutes I’ve ever waited for my friends—a memory that still makes me cringe.”
That’s when he knew it was time to make some changes. After a couple of false starts, Carman, 31, who works for an Ohio railroad, found some consistency by embracing his competitive side at the office. “The guys at work—about 13 of us—started a weight loss competition with a $100 buy-in,” he says. The winner stood to earn $1280. The loser? $20 to buy a pizza. “Not my idea,” he says, “but they thought it was hilarious.”
Carman started by cutting calories. It was rough going, at first, until a family member advised him to try the keto diet. “My future sister-in-law told me just to eat veggies, meat, and cheese.” Something about the diet clicked with Carman, and as the pounds began to fall off, he stayed committed—dreaming of winning that prize money. “Even on Super Bowl Sunday, I wouldn’t touch an Oreo,” he says. In the end, Carman easily won the competition, dropping 72 pounds in 3 months and earning himself the full $1,280. But he wasn’t done yet.
Now, Carman says, he gets just as many compliments in-person from his friends and family members. “I feel so much healthier, and I’ve started running outside, which is not something I would’ve ever thought about doing,” he says. He’s also lifting, keeping his 2020 wedding in mind as his latest motivation to stay on track.
“I’m never going to be finished,” he admits. “Your body is always going to keep changing, and you have to be in charge of the way it changes. It’s a slow process, but quitting won’t speed it up.”
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