An 80 pound weight loss success story

It’s the New Year. That also means it’s resolution season. Gyms are busy, and people dedicate themselves to eating better and exercising more.

According to the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology, the number one resolution for 2014 is to lose weight and the fifth is to stay fit and healthy. I hope people are successful with their resolutions for better health!

I have a success story for you. My husband, Kelly, is one of the most inspirational people I know. He has drive, willpower, and is successful at anything he puts his mind to.

He is also the healthiest person I’ve ever met. Now. IMG_1232

When I first saw him at the gym back in 2002, he was at his peak weight of 242 lbs. Now he fluctuates between 160 and 165 lbs.

Here’s his story and how he’s kept 80 pounds off for 11+ years.

Kelly was an active child and teenager, playing hockey and football growing up. After graduating high school and quitting organized sports, he moved to Banff, a small mountain town. He stopped exercising (other than snowboarding), ate fast food, and partied a lot.


Overindulging in food…and liquor

Lifestyle change
When he moved back to Edmonton, he realized he needed an absolute overhaul. So in August of 2002, he completely cleaned up his diet and joined a gym.

Kelly started using the elliptical, then incorporated spin class.

“It got me out of the house and meeting people,” explains Kelly. “It was a social thing.”

Once he lost about 15 pounds he started jogging on the treadmill. At the beginning he could only go for 10 minutes at a time and slowly added more.

“When I first started running 30 minutes and up, I felt like I could run forever,” says Kelly. “I couldn’t believe that I was doing it.”

That was just a part of it. He ate home-cooked meals, took lunches to work, made better choices (like black coffee instead of coffee laced with high calorie creamers) and cut out junk food. Once a week he allowed himself to enjoy some less healthy choices without overdoing it.


Four months in on a vacation where he ran to keep fit

About 10 months from the beginning of his journey Kelly ran his first race, a local 10km, and placed. From there he ran two half marathons in summer. He never looked back.


Kelly’s first half marathon in June 2003

“It has to be a whole lifestyle change,” says Kelly. “You have to make a decision in your mind to change your entire life, and to enjoy it.”


For a lot of people, maintenance is the difficult part. They’ve put in the work and lost the weight, but they’re unsure of how to keep it off without depriving themselves.

For Kelly, it was about why he made the choice to lead a healthy lifestyle.

“I wanted to be healthy to do things, to run and bike and take part in activities I knew I liked,” says Kelly. “A lot of people want to look good in a mirror, or be happy with the number they see on a scale. That isn’t enough. You have to get to the source of why you want to lose weight. If you can figure that out, it should keep you motivated. That’s the determining factor in keeping it off. You have to approach it wholeheartedly.”

Looking at Kelly you wouldn’t guess he was 80 pounds heavier. You wouldn’t guess he started from scratch at the gym unable to run.


Ironman Coeur d’Alene – 2013

I think the best part of it is that he lost the weight completely naturally, no supplements, just healthy living.

In the 11 years since he’s ran multiple road races including marathons, completed three Ironman triathlons, and raced bikes. He loves the mountains and nearly any outdoor activity you can name.

Back country skiing

Back country skiing

“You have to change you, and you have to enjoy it.”

Kelly’s top tips

  • Narrow down your goals and find your motivation.
  • Look at it as a lifestyle change, not a diet or a resolution.
  • Review your diet and make small changes at the start.
  • Take lunches to work.
  • Make exercise a social activity.

*This post simply states Kelly’s lifestyle change and what worked for him. It may not be right for you and shouldn’t be viewed as a guideline. 

Have you drastically changed your lifestyle, or do you know anyone who has? 

Do you have any tips to encourage those who are trying to lose weight and get healthier?


39 responses to “An 80 pound weight loss success story

  1. Seems to me that you loved him both big and small and that’s a beautiful thing! His story is inspirational! 🙂

  2. What a great success story! I love Kelly’s whole approach to his weight loss, and why he wanted to lose weight. I wish more people would approach it that way instead of just wanting to get to a number on the scale. It’s all about feeling good and being able to do the things you want to do. He’s an inspiration!

  3. What a great story-I never would have known that about Kelly, but it really does happen to so many people once they stop playing organized sports and start drinking and eating out all the time. Good for him for getting the motivation to get to they gym and to keep it up!
    BTW-I am so jealous he lived in Banff! I must go there sometime soon 🙂

  4. What an amazing story! Kelly is such an inspiration. Agree wtih Deb. Love his approach. I think people get frustrated when they simply focus on the numbers. Making it a true lifestyle change makes all the difference. Thanks for sharing his story with us!

  5. AWESOME post Abby!! There are so many people who want a “quick fix” to weight loss and fitness. It is inspirational to hear someone else’s life changing story 😉

  6. Way to go Kelly! Knowing him for these past 10 ‘fit’ years it is hard to believe he ever had any weight issues. We’re so proud of you guys and your commitment to good eating and exercise! xo mom

  7. I love stories like this–amazing to see the before and afters! He took a great approach to it, which is probably why he has been so successful at maintenance. Way to go, Kelly!

  8. wow what a great success story! I love hearing stories like this one, where they made that decision to change their life and made it a lifestyle instead of a quick fix!!

  9. This is incredible!! Just as you mentioned I would have NEVER have guessed that Kelly used to be so much heavier! What an inspirational story, just amazing. It definitely has to be a wholehearted lifestyle change and not a quick fix and I think that’s why a lot of people don’t stick with it – they don’t see results fast enough and give up. If I could high five Kelly right now I absolutely would and you because I am sure you were incredibly supportive! ps… I am loving that old photo of you guys back in 2003!

  10. Amazing! I would have never known. Go Kelly!

  11. Awesome!!!! I remember some ladies at work a couple years ago joined Weight Watchers, and at one point I heard them talking about, “I can’t wait till I reach my goal weight so I can go back to eating what I want again!” They really didn’t understand that it’s a lifestyle! It’s like when I go out to eat and order something healthy and people with me say, “Why are you ordering that, you’re already thin.” I wish more people understood.

  12. Runner Girl Eats

    This is so great! Very inspiring. It’s incredible what the body is capable of 🙂

  13. Congratulations to Kelly! That is a wonderful story. And thanks to him for letting you share it 🙂 Very inspirational

  14. What a great story! That is really inspiring, I would have never guessed that about Kelly. I guess my biggest life change was going from not being able to run 2 miles to Ironman in three years, it’s been a really fun journey.

  15. Awesome story! Never would have guessed that Kelly was overweight.

  16. Wow – Kelly looks so fit and healthy I just presumed he had been like that forever! It is amazing to see the result of two different lifestyles, and the healthier one looks a whole lot more exciting and fulfilling too! Well done Kelly!

  17. I love this story!!! Kelly is definitely an inspiration for many!!! I especially love that he did this naturally and through hard work!!! The fact that now he is such an incredible athlete just makes it that much better.
    And – great picture of him with the long curls!!!

  18. What a story! I loved it! Who knew?! So crazy!! It is definitely all about changing your lifestyle not just getting on a diet! Thanks for sharing his story!

  19. Abby what a cool story!!! I love eating things like this. And now he’s even an Ironman!!

  20. kelly is such an inspiration and what a treat to share his story with your blog readers! xoxoxoxo

  21. What an incredible story!! Thank you so much for sharing it. I agree with Kim–I LOVE that he worked so hard to lose weight and did it, even though it probably wasn’t easy in the beginning. I never would have guessed in a trillion years that he used to have a weight problem!

  22. that’s incredible!!!! awesome kelly awesome!

  23. ari @ whatarisaid

    That is awesome – way to go Kelly! I love that he did it all natural – no junk. Great job!

  24. Oh my gosh, I never knew this about your husband— how awesome! I love his tips too, especially the bringing your lunch to work tip. I always tell people at work to do this because if you don’t you’ll just end up eating some crappy cafeteria food or snack from the vending machine all day long! Be thing to do is be prepared!

  25. What a transformation and inspiring story! He did it the right way and is a great example for anyone wanting to make a positive lifestyle change. Thanks for sharing!

  26. What a great post! And a massive high five to your husband for all he’s done! I know a few people that could benefit from reading this post. I totally agree that people need to change the way they look at getting fit and eating healthy, and that it should be a total shift of the way you look at things. My husband has also drastically changed his lifestyle; although he was never overweight, his was more of a mental health thing. He is very driven by the weather, and with Scotland’s poor light levels and winter weather, his mood dips. He changed his diet and incorporated yoga into his everyday routine, and thi s has helped him deal with stress and life in a more constructive way.

  27. Wow! This is amazing and a big congratulations to Kelly…and to you for being an amazing support system 🙂

  28. Amazing and inspiring story – wow! I completely agree that it has to be a lifestyle change. I’ve tried (and failed) many times because I wasn’t in it wholeheartedly. Another tip (for weight loss or any goal really): using the SMART goals method. It seems a bit cliche, but I’ve had great success using this goal setting method for many things!

  29. I just love this, Kelly looks so amazingly fit I would have NEVER guessed he was once 80lbs heavier. You both live an amazingly active life and I find that when you have a partner in life that shares your passions like this it’s so much easier to stay healthy!! You two rock!

  30. How inspiring! I think looking at weight loss and exercise as a lifestyle change is key – there are no quick fixes.

  31. Sophie @ life's philosophie

    What an incredible story. I would have never guessed! My favorite part is how normal and all encompassing his weight loss was. I really hate the short term “fixes” to something like weight, because they never work in the long term. What a major success story!

  32. OH MY GOODNESS! What an inspirational story! I never would’ve guessed this! Go KELLY! Seriously if I wasn’t inspired to do a Ironman, I am now. Wow. I love that you shared this. So cool! And I love Kelly’s tips. So spot on. Exactly what I have found in my journey to a healthier me.

  33. Pingback: Thirty & an anniversary | Change of Pace

  34. runnerbydefault

    Wow!! What an inspiration! I can’t believe how much different (and younger) he looks now! I wouldn’t have guessed that he had ever been overweight! Love this post. Thanks for sharing. My husband has been struggling with his weight around the 225 mark and I can’t wait to share this post with him. Hopefully it will jump start his weight loss!!

  35. That’s amazing! I know that my husband, before we met, was overweight AND smoked. He, obviously, made some major changes to his lifestyle. He was living in NYC and he started to walk everywhere and take the stairs rather than elevator. For smoking, he actually tried hypnotism – and it worked for him!
    I think one of the biggest factors for weight, which you mentioned, is cooking/prepping the vast majority of your meals. We also try to not have too much food that we can just mindlessly snack on – because then we WILL just snack on it.

  36. These stories are my absolute favorite. Congrats. He should be proud!

  37. Wow, I had no idea that he was a late bloomer in the exercise category. You can totally tell that you both live the active lifestyle and it’s one of the reasons your blog is so good! Thanks for sharing Kelly’s story!


    Way to go, Kelly! What an awesome story 🙂 It’s so incredible and inspiring to know you can start out running for 10 minutes and end up being able to exercise long enough to complete an Ironman.
    I started my journey in March of 2012. My weight loss was 40+ pounds… I’m with Kelly… it has to be a whole lifestyle change. You have to be willing to make healthier choices in multiple aspects of your life over and over and over again until it truly does become your way of life.
    Thanks for sharing his story! Thanks, Kelly, for the inspiration and healthy living tips!

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