Testimonial: “I’ve officially lost over half of my original body weight.”


I used to weigh over a quarter of a ton. The last weigh in I did before I started my weight loss campaign showed 538 pounds on the $250 scale my wife had to buy me with our tex return in March of 2010.  As of today, I weigh 268 pounds, and I’ve officially lost over half of my original body weight. I started a year and a half ago.

I barely left my house between the ages of 19 and 28. I was diagnosed with agoraphobia in my mid 20’s because I would have panic attacks when faced with even the idea of people seeing me. Depression had a firm grasp on me and every night when I went to bed, I hoped that I wouldn’t wake up. My twenties were very dark, with the exception of my wife, who was really more supportive than anyone should be.

I valued my life like you might value a sentient turd. Were a sentient turd to exist, it would probably make more money than I have in the past 10 years too. The only thing I was good at was video games and I was completely and utterly co-dependent. I broke at least 5 computer chairs including a 500 pound weight limit one due to the punishment of overuse. What I’m getting at here is that I was a shitty human being.

In March of 2010, I stumbled across a forum on SomethingAwful.com called Watch & Woot. It was my introduction to the Internet’s somewhat under-developed fitness community. I found a thread that showed people’s ultimate transformations, which was a wall of photos of before and after pictures. There were amazing transformations, including a couple people in the 400-500 pound range. It hadn’t occured to me before then that I could do something about my body. My parents had drilled it into my head that my issues were genetic. My Mom went as far as to have my thyroid checked multiple times.

I then found another thread that broke down low carb dieiting. I need things explained to me like I’m 5 years old and that thread was a godsend because it did just that. I was convinced. I had found some daily fitness logs in a sub-forum and decided that I would start one myself. They were very inspiring and allowed me to go through the entire journey of a couple of guys who started around where I was going to. I still keep that log now.

So in March of 2010, I started my weight loss journey. I began by limiting myself to under 100 grams of carbs a day. Before long, I found that I wasn’t missing the carbs, so I cut them even more when I read about the benefits of a ketogenic diet. I started eating under 50 grams of carbs a day at that point, which was something like 2 months in. Around that time, I also started lifting weights.

A lot of my plan was centered around fighting loose skin, which was a condition I expected to have trouble with due to the aforementioned transformations thread. Ketosis was attractive because it forces your body to use fat for fuel instead of glycogen. I figured if I lifted weights and remained in ketosis, I might retain more muscle mass because the weight loss would be more due to fat being burned. So that’s what I’ve been doing since.

I learned about the Paleo movement about 6 months ago, when I stumbled across Robb Wolf’s podcast on iTunes when I’d run out of Joe Rogan podcasts to listen to while I was lifting. By that time, I’d already been eating a Paleo regimen but I hadn’t labelled it. I love listening to Robb and Greg because they don’t speak through filters. I can’t concentrate on things people say if I can tell they’re censoring themselves. It makes the podcast incredibly unique and invaluable to me. That novelty is exactly what I need to absorb information. Otherwise, I drown it out. While a lot of my success is due to people on the Internet being generally awesome and overtly informative, I’m also going to give myself a little credit.

Throughout the process, I’ve remained introspective, which is why I think I’ve been able to be successful. I’d diagnosed myself with a food addiction and looked at the foods I used to binge on the most. The common factor among them all was that they were all created in a lab somewhere. I decided that the food that evolution provides me is probably better than the stuff someone with an agenda and a bottom line was coming up with. So I came to my paleo solution through the use of logic. I dropped artificial sweeteners from my diet as well as peanut butter. I also dropped all processed food. I found that if I ate those things, I would be more likely to binge – I called them trigger foods.

As time passed and I lost more weight, my depression started to fade. My self worth creeped out of the pit it was in and I was able to go out more, too. My first adventure back out into the world was to see the movie Inception last year when I was still in the 400s. I was still wholly uncomfortable but I did it. Since then, I’ve been doing many of the things I set out to. Amusement parks, bowling allies, resturaunt booths, and my very first NFL game (Packers at Panthers); I’ve conquered them all.

I’m convinced my brain was generating depression to mask and dull pain. I had knee pain that I thought was a permanent condition – that I thought would require surgery later in life. One day it was just gone. The same goes for back pain. All of my pain – both physical and emotional – is mostly gone. All I had to do was believe that I could change. Now I’m in the process of rebooting my life. I’m still unemployed but I’m no longer fine with that. I want to turn fitness into a career and I’d like to spread my story as much as possible so that more morbidly obese people can see what they can do if they try.

The last month has been crazy. I was the featured user on a fitness game called Fitocracy.com. It’s a game where you log your exercises to get points, levels, complete quests, and get achievements. Through that, I met a ton of amazing people. Last week, I told my story on Reddit.com’s loseit, fitness, and getmotivated sub-reddits and got a ton of support. I ended up selling my original $250 scale to a dude who’s just getting started now for $95. I got fleeced but it’s worth it if it works the same way for him that it did for me. All I had to do was see the number and have a way to see when I lost weight – that’s literally all it took to get me started. Hopefully it turns into the Brotherhood of the Traveling Scale. He gets the life he wants and passes it on to someone else.

Even though I can use a normal scale, I’m not done yet. I’ll never be done because I’m chasing perfection now. I’m not satisfied with being just a little out of shape. I want to be amazing.





  1. Lynn says

    First of all congratulations on not giving up on yourself. You are a precious human being who deserves to be happy and healty. You have just found the courage to take care of yourself in order for your family to have you and to enjoy life as it should be lived….to it’s fullest. I wish you continued success and know that you have more than likely helped someone find their own courage to take the steps that you have taken.

  2. Eko says

    Now, that´s what you can call a “transformation”. Incredible stuff, and very impressive.

    Vainglory – keep chasing perfection, why settle for less? 😀

  3. says

    Dude, You Rock! Way to go! You have found the courage to take back you life or find it but it is truly inspiring. Congratulation for the strength that you have found inside. I am pretty sure that your life will never be the same again and that is exciting. I will share your story. I can’t believe you did all of this in a year and a half. Awesome.

  4. Debbie B in MD says

    Fantastic!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your story. What an inspiration. I am sure you will not be unemployed for long with your new outlook on life. I hope you will keep Robb and therefore the rest of us up to date on your progress. You look great. I can’t wait to see “perfection”!

  5. Tamera says

    Absolutely amazing! Congratulations on realizing what you needed to do to make a change for yourself and for your wife. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor to turn this into a full-time job, you absolutely deserve it!

  6. sarah k. says

    You may not have met your ultimate fitness goal, but you’ve definitely met your goal to be amazing. I’m amazed. Congratulations on finding life.

  7. says

    Great Job! I dropped sugars and went low carb in July, i’m down about 15% of my weight. Stories like yours help to inspire both those who are changing their lives and those considering a change.

  8. Janis says

    Wow, what an amazing story! Congratulations to you! I hope that for others, who are where you once were, can find the strength and courage to turn their lives around like you have and, say, wow, I can do it, it can be done. Very inspiring!

  9. Sonya says

    What an amazing journey. Strength, courage, determination- these terms describe you fully. What an amazing transformation! Never forget how powerful you are!

  10. CathyN says

    What a wonderful journey you’ve been on. I really hope that you follow your vision of becoming a personal trainer. There is so much joy in helping others, and you will have the empathy and personal experience to encourage others. Awesome!

  11. says

    Thanks for the kind words :) One thing I want to make sure is understood is that I’m far from done and that I’m not writing things like this to grand stand, but rather to draw the attention of someone who might be in the situation I used to be in.

    There’s so much confusion and variance in the presentation of information in the health and fitness communities that it’s nearly impossible to find the program that works for you. So my hope is that someone will see my story, see that I’m still fighting, and see that I started where they are currently. I’m looking to inspire people to start looking for their own paths instead of remaining cynical and generalizing.

    If you guys have any specific questions, I’ll probably answer them. I say probably because someone asked me one time about loose skin on my penis. Not that I’m overtly shy online or anything, but come on man.

    • Lynn says

      What a wonderful story. You look totally amazing! I’m so inspired and motivated by you, thank you. Keep us posted, please.

    • says

      As a former goon [I guess technically I still have my account, just never use it] I can guess that was a goon who asked it? :]

      I stumbled across this post while I was piecing together impressive paleo testimonials for an email I was sending out to people who asked “what I was doing.” Delighted to see a fellow goon coming to health with a simple and sustainable diet. I never got into W&W but I’m a big GWS fan and I got plenty of help from them on how to make crazy delicious noms.

      Anyway, just wanted to post basically to say “omg do you have stairs” :]

      Sincerest congrats on the [continued!] success. You are an inspiration.

  12. Harvey says

    Well done sir! I’ve always thought it would be awesome to have Robb Wolf and Joe Rogan do a podcast together! Any chance Robb?

  13. Sara says

    WELL DONE!!! I love to hear such success stories as it keeps me on track. I was not in the state that you were, but I know I was heading that direction…a flight of stairs was as close to a near death experience as I care to get. Paleo-type nutrition and Crossfit like fitness WORK!!! Keep at it!!

  14. kristen says

    brought tears to my eyes! congratulations and thanks for sharing your story, I am sure you will be an inspiration to MANY!

  15. Sigi says

    Wow. Just wow. Congrats, man.

    Vainglory, you say that a lot of your plan was “centered around fighting loose skin”. Can you give a little more detail of the steps you took to fight that, and to what extent you succeeded? Anything beyond simply eating paleo and lifting weights?

  16. says

    @Sigi and Tanya because I can’t figure out how to reply directly 😀

    When I was first started losing weight, I was mostly learning on the fly and I’d adjust my diet and exercise dynamically based on new things I was learning. I was looking to attack loose skin, so these are the things I did as I learned about them.

    Weight Lifting – I wanted to retain as much muscle mass as I could while I was cutting because I knew I’d be losing it rapidly.

    Ketogenic Diet – Body burns fat instead of glycogen for energy. This was easy for me because I never have sugar cravings.

    Leangains(.com) – This is an intermittent fasting program by Martin Berhkhan that supports the retention of muscle mass while cutting weight.

    E/C Stack – I take ephedrine and caffeine because together, they’re a pretty crazy fat burner. The appetite suppression is also ridiculous.

    I don’t have loose skin issues at the moment. There’s definitely some there but I can mostly hide it with clothes. That said, I’m still kind of fat, so I want to see what I’ll look like in another 60-70 pounds before doing anything like skin removal surgery.

    There’s also some home remedy type things I haven’t tried like cocoa butter and compression clothing.

  17. GabyYYZ says

    Awesome story. Just started (re-started actually after false starts) and you’re an inspiring story, something to motivate me. :)

  18. Karen says

    Incredible story! So sorry for the way you saw yourself all those years – and thankful now you see yourself as the awesome person you are and always have been. Just started reading “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. You will fulfill your dream!

  19. says

    Congratulations!!! You are well on your way and an inspiration. :). I’m just starting my paleo lifestyle so am encouraged by stories like yours. Thank you for sharing. :)

    • Peso says

      Hi man! You did the most important. You took control of your life and destiny. This is the big step. Majority of people living on earth let their life controlled by other people, making their full existence for somebody else`s goal. I am on a same path, with lot less weight to go down (actually from 120 kg to 95 kg, and my age makes it more difficult as i am 57) but still strugling. Your case gives me 500% brain boost that i can do it also.
      You are a great guy.
      Some of my experience:
      – The sleeping>>stress>>cortison level issue is very critical
      (i found it recently blocking my progress fully, and I am 100% PALEO since 1st of Oct)
      – Exercising is key. I live i Dubai and found CrossFit as an amazing stuff. 3x a week one hour concentrated, exellent. And it is traditional, always group/team with a coach. (Here the motivation is key noth from the team and the coach)
      Keep going and trust in the process you set up. It works.

      Peter (from Dubai but a native Hungarian)

  20. Nancy in NC says

    Well done and well written, Vainglory– your future might be in the blogosphere writing about fitness. As the wife of a guy struggling with decades-long depression, I agree with your understanding of depression, whether the pain is physical or psychic. I’d love to find some testimonials from older guys (retirement age!) to show him that embracing Paleo can restore health at any age. I hope you and your steadfast wife have adjusted to the new you easily, too. It’s a huge change in lifestyle for both of you!

  21. Jennifer says

    Wow! What a fantastic story. I love the idea of the Brotherhood of the Traveling Scale. Maybe you could start your own website to inspire people.

  22. Ryan says

    “A lot of my plan was centered around fighting loose skin, which was a condition I expected to have trouble with due to the aforementioned transformations thread. Ketosis was attractive because it forces your body to use fat for fuel instead of glycogen.” Very cool idea. It makes a lot of sense to me. How is that working?

  23. says

    What a fantastic story. What you’ve managed to do is harder than what a lot of people will do in the course of their entire life. I’m impressed. Congrats and I hope we get to hear more in the future.

  24. Stephanie says

    Absolutely incredible!! What an awesome and uplifting story. With that attitude and motivation you are going to go far :) Keep it up and keep us in the loop with your future successes!

  25. Michelle says

    Truly…BLOODY AWESOME. Congrats to you – does your wife eat Paleo too now? I wish you all the best in your onwards journey towards your goal – and hope you blog again with how you’re going…

    • says

      Nah, she tried Paleo for 2 weeks but didn’t keep going. We keep our diets fairly separate and it’s better that way, imo. Support is useful but I think an extremely important skill I learned was to have no one to answer to but myself.

      Building your base of support on shoulders of other people is almost never a good idea, especially when the other person is also a food addict.

    • says

      That’s not to say accountability isn’t important because it’s tantamount to my success. However, the real hard times in weight loss are when you’re in the house alone. I think if you rely on others to keep you in check too much, you’re setting yourself up to fail as soon as those support beams are pulled.

  26. kristen says

    that is absolutely AMAZING! It really shows how YOU have to make the change and you just have to take one day at a time! What an inspiration to me and everyone!

  27. says

    Way to go!! I was a runner my entire life, it was so bad for my joints that I had to stop. That was a wake-up call that it was time to redesign my fitness routine.

    Now I take walks an hour each day. I don’t like using treadmills or taking the same route more than once a week, so I incorporate my walks into my daily routine.

    If I go to the grocery store, I park in the lot and walk around that neighborhood for an hour. Just a half hour from the car and another half hour back, and I’ve gotten in my exercise for the day.

    Walking = great way to get your heart-healthy cardio!

  28. says

    awesome I just had 2 people read your story, it is rather entertaining just from a literary standpoint, and the story itself is awesome (“traveling scale” is too funnY)

  29. Alvin says

    This is amazing man… Congrats and appreciate that wonderful wife… Don’t ever forget where you came from….. I think you’ll do an amazing job helping others….. Congrats again and I wish you the best!!!!!

  30. Wanda says

    It’s the first day of the new year and I was just surfing around, not looking for this particular information. What a great thing to find this! Congratulations and I will look forward to seeing how you come along in future.

  31. Karen says

    Wow what a fantastic transformation. You are amazing and you have done it naturally. Its fantastic to read this on New Year’s Day too don’t give up you are a special person….

  32. says


    I’m so impressed I’m damn near speechless, which doesn’t happen often! You’re an amazing young man, and I am SO happy for you! Really, deeply happy for you.

    Commenter “Paleo” said “awesome I just had 2 people read your story, it is rather entertaining just from a literary standpoint, and the story itself is awesome (“traveling scale” is too funny)” and I completely agree. Your story is amazing, AND it’s really well-written. Have you considered writing as a source of revenue? If not, I think you should – you’re really good at it. :)

    You actually remind me of my son in many ways: your gaming, your obvious intelligence and command of the language, your thought processes – and in your after photo, you even look like him! He’s one of my favorite people on the planet, so you reminding me of him is a compliment. :)

    Good luck, man! Keep it up, and MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOR!


    • Faith Blackwood says

      Susan, my thoughts exactly. This story really resonated with me. I do think Vainglory would be an excellent writer…maybe he can start with the National Novel Writing Month( November) coming up in a couple of weeks?

  33. Andrej says

    Good for you dude.Amazing transformation.I like the fact that you sound like a real man now not being afraid and full of self confidence. Congrats.

  34. Dave says

    Wow – great story, and congratulations! I guess I’m a little late to the party here. I think you can add one more thing to your program to help you out w/ the loose skin as well as burn fat even faster: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Although I don’t have a major problem with loose skin, I have noticed – and so have others – that my skin is much healthier now than prior to the lifestyle change. Of course healthier eating and better sleep has helped my skin out as well, but the HGH release of a good HIIT program I’m sure has been a big part of it.

    Hey for all I know you’re a lot more knowledgeable than I on this stuff, but for what it’s worth, here’s what I do..

    The workout I usually follow is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy7j9FRiJpg, but there are many others. I weight train (HIT style usually) 3 times a week and do HIIT once or twice a week on days off, depending on recovery and other life stress. I’m hardly ever in the gym for over 30 minutes for either, so it’s not as time-intensive or demanding as it may seem.

  35. Kelly says

    Vainglory – I really enjoyed your story and I thought your pics were a great motivator, however when reading through the comments I couldn’t help but notice you quoted “EC stacks” as a credit to your weight loss. I found that very disappointing, not to mention incredibly unhealthy and potentially very dangerous. I hope you transition out of that and choose a more natural, truly paleo lifestyle.

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  37. Adam says


    I truly believe we are made to be active, fit, energetic, and vibrant. You’re proving that there are no depths from which you cannot pull up from.

    Way to go, man!

  38. Kerry says

    Holy CRAP! I love how you write (particularly about the scale!) and I LOVE what you’ve done.What an amazing achievement. I am not grossly overweight, but I am OVER ‘old-lady’ fat and you have made me sit up, take notice and stop TALKING about it. Thanks!

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