26-year-old Chase Copley changed his lifestyle and lost 103 pounds: ‘It is possible for anyone’

Yahoo Lifestyle

Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.

Chase Copley is 26, 5-foot-7, and now weighs 181 pounds. In 2016, after seeing pictures of himself taken at a friend’s wedding, he realized how overweight he had become. He was determined to do something about it. This is the story of his weight-loss journey.

The Turning Point

I’ve been big since I was in middle school. There has never really been a time in my life where I was considered in shape. I always accepted it and pushed past it, but it bothered me in the back of my mind, and I wanted to do something about it.

The “Holy crap, I’m obese!” moment came in July 2016, when I got back some pictures from a friend’s wedding. I just looked at myself and said, “Wow, that’s me?” And I started to realize I was struggling with everyday tasks like giving my kid a bath or washing dishes. Everything was difficult.

I was basically stuck in a loop of working from home and making terrible food choices. I’d sit at my computer for 18 hours or more, drink Mountain Dew all day, and eat quick, frozen microwave meals. I decided to just start making a change. I was tired of being that person. I wanted to be better.

Photo: Courtesy of Chase Copley
Photo: Courtesy of Chase Copley

The Changes

I started small. I cut out as much soda as possible, which for me at the time was extremely hard. I substituted soda with flavored waters initially, and eventually transitioned to just plain water. After that first step, I lost almost 20 pounds in a month. That tells you how much soda I drank — probably close to 2 liters a day. I started to feel better and decided to cut back my food as well.

I didn’t really count calories at first, I just reduced my portions and still ate garbage food. I stalled out with my weight loss around June of 2017. At this point, I had not worked out or even thought about joining a gym, but then my buddy and his wife suggested I come with them, and that’s when I really got into it.

We were going around four days a week, and I left it up to them to decide what we would do. Some days we would lift, some days we would do cardio/high-intensity interval training (HIIT), but we changed it up a lot. Around this same time, I also decided to do a 30-day vegan challenge, basically to try and push myself to eat healthier. I felt wonderful after switching to a plant-based diet, and I still stick with it today!

In December of 2017, my weight loss stalled again, so I started counting calories and really tracking what I ate, using apps like MyFitnessPal. This gave me a good foundation to know what I was eating and how much I was putting into my body. Nowadays I have a good idea of calories and I eat a mainly plant-based, whole-food diet.

While I was losing weight, I felt great. I had more energy, I could walk up stairs without being out of breath — it was fantastic! It also helped that I stopped smoking at the same time. As for what kept me motivated, the comments I would get from family and friends when they would see a visible difference really helped. Taking progress pictures and comparing the befores and afters kept me going as well. Having friends working out with me and challenging me every day really kept me going and kept me from giving up. I was also just driven to better myself as a person.

Photo: Courtesy of Chase Copley
Photo: Courtesy of Chase Copley

The After

Physically, I feel great. I don’t struggle with basic everyday things anymore. I can give my daughter a bath and my back won’t hurt, I can help friends move and not feel like I’m going to have a heart attack. I am in the best shape of my life and I plan on keeping it this way. Emotionally, I feel fantastic most days, and I have a real love for myself that I never had before. When you spend most of your life accepting who you are and not really loving yourself, it can still be a struggle even after achieving this level of weight loss.

My life is completely different. I really focus on myself more and try and make sure that I do everything I can to better myself. I spend more time outdoors. I even took a two-week solo road trip all the way to Zion National Park and Yosemite National Park to do as many hikes as possible. I love hiking and being in nature now, and try to not sit in front of my computer for too long.

It surprised me how much easier everything is now. You don’t really realize how hard you make things on yourself by being overweight until you do them without the extra weight. Just imagine carrying around a 103-pound backpack everywhere you go.

Photo: Courtesy of Chase Copley
Photo: Courtesy of Chase Copley

The Maintenance

I eat a completely whole-food, plant-based diet and I practice intermittent fasting, so I eat from around noon to 8 p.m. — usually two very large meals with a healthy snack in between. I also make sure I prep lunches for work, to prevent going out and making poor food choices. This also helps me save money.

For exercise, I go to the gym six days a week and follow a couple of different programs. Mainly it’s a push-pull leg-weightlifting split, focusing on really heavy lifting with deadlifts, squats, and bench.

Inspiring other people to make life changes really motivates me. I have helped loads of people now progress on their weight-loss journeys too. Sometimes I work out with co-workers in our office gym and show them how to get started and how to practice healthy eating. One of my co-workers has lost almost 60 pounds, and others are getting into really good shape.

I want to spread my knowledge and share my struggles with as many people as possible, to show them that if I could go from someone who made terrible food choices and wasn’t physically active at all, to what I am today, then it is possible for anyone.

The Struggles

My biggest struggle is basically in my head. Some days I still see myself as who I used to be and put myself down. Sometimes it completely ruins my motivation and drive, but I wake up every morning and put everything I have into bettering myself and push past it.

It’s hard to accept yourself and really believe that you made this much progress. It is probably going to be something I struggle with for a while, but I plan on working on it and pushing myself to be even better.

(Photo: Courtesy of Chase Copley)
(Photo: Courtesy of Chase Copley)

Advice

My advice would be to not overthink it. You do not need to go on a crazy fad diet and cut your calories as low as possible. You will only hurt yourself in the long run if you do that. Just make good choices and change things little by little. It’s not a race. You have all the time in the world to make progress. The hardest part is just getting started.

Also, make sure you take progress pictures and do not obsess over the scale. I know in my journey that I actually put on weight recently, but lost inches around my waist.

Need more inspiration? Read about our other weight-loss winners!

Weight-Loss Win is authored by Andie Mitchell, who underwent a transformative, 135-pound weight loss of her own.

Have a weight-loss win to share? We want to hear it! Tell us at YStyleBeauty@yahoo.com.

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