When Tony Williams’ doctor told him he wouldn’t live to see his 50th birthday, he knew it was time to transform his life.
“I’d never thought about my own mortality and the fact that I was digging my own grave with a knife and fork,” Williams told Men’s Health. “That stark prediction led me to make drastic changes to improve and extend my life.”
At his heaviest, Williams weighed 294 pounds. He struggled with being overweight since childhood and by the time he reached his 20s, his weight was out of control.
“My habits were a huge contributor to my weight gain,” said the 46-year-old from Chicago. “The reason was that none of them were healthy. I had tons of disposable income and that allowed to buy any fast food my heart desired.”
Around the same time, Williams landed a job with the railroad. For the next thirteen years, he worked long and odd hours, with little to no sleep, and began to notice his weight creep up.
“I began the habit of what I called ‘preemptive eating,’ which basically was eating while I had the opportunity because I never knew when the next chance would be,” Williams says.
At 294 pounds, he was always in pain and drained from performing simple everyday chores. After his doctor warned him that he was jeapordizing his life-expectancy, Williams was determined to get his health back on track and embarked on a weight loss journey that changed his life.
Knowing he had better chances at reaching his goals, Williams reached out for extra support and joined WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers.
“My journey began by joining WW where I learned practical skills that not only lead to weight loss but improved my health,” he said. ”The changes started with the commitments to never lie to myself and to always do my best. I established structure in my topsy-turvy life by scheduling meals for my awake hours. I learned what the serving size of foods are and what healthy plate should look like. I stepped out of the box I lived and tried fruits and veggies that I previously ignored.”
At the same time, he began incorporating more and more physical activity into his new routine. He started off by working out in front of the TV with the blinds shut. Then, he started going out for walks at his local park, which grew into power walking, which turned into miles-long excursions, and he eventually graduated to cycling.
“I grew physically stronger, and more importantly, I established lifelong healthy habits,” said Williams. “This growth gave me the confidence to sign up for my first gym membership.”
In the span of 13 months, he was able to lose 121 pounds and has kept the weight off for nine years.
“I’ve definitely become more confident, because now I want to be seen. That openness has taken me to incredible places and experiences I would have never dreamt possible,” said Williams. “I’m now described by many as a social butterfly and I will make a friend every place I go. I face the world with an open heart and smile on my face.”
Today, Williams is a WW coach and hopes to become a certified wellness coach down the road.
“I want to help people become the healthiest version of themselves,” he says.
According to Williams, the key to sustainable success is patience and consistency.
“Don’t put a time frame or limits on what you’re seeking to achieve. We’re in this all fired rush to achieve our goals. But if this is a lifestyle we should take our time and be deliberate in pursuit of our dreams,” he says. “With that time comes knowledge, self-reflection and confidence. I suggest you set mini goals and celebrate accomplishing each and every one. The sky’s the limit on what you’re capable of achieving.”
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