Like any soon-to-be college graduate, Sean Coady couldn’t have been more excited to walk across the stage to collect his diploma. But in the days leading up to this monumental achievement, he went to try on his graduation outfit — only to find he could not longer fit into it.
“I realized I couldn’t fit into size 44 pants,” he told MensHealth.com. “My heart sank. It was terrible.”
In the midst of that disappointing moment, Coady realized it was time to make a massive life change through diet and exercise. Since then, he’s gone through a massive weight loss transformation, losing around 100 pounds.
Coady’s Weight Loss Journey
In high school, Coady was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune disorder affecting the digestive tract.
“I got really sick. I started missing a lot of school and pretty much the only effective treatment they could put me on was super high doses of steroids,” he explained. Those medically-prescribed steroids may have stopped his Crohn’s Disease from flaring up, but they also caused more than a few unwanted side effects like high blood pressure, acne outbreaks, and weight gain.
“Being 16 years old, it was really tough,” he said.
At the time, Coady was gaining about a pound a week, regardless of what he ate or how much he worked out. By the time he started college, doctors had figured out which medications worked for him, and he stopped gaining weight — but he was still over 300 pounds.
He’d become so accustomed to his weight, he didn’t realize how heavy he was until he tried on that graduation outfit. He’d stopped looking at the scale at that point, but he guesses he was somewhere around 320 pounds.
In that moment, Coady had enough.
“I just figured I have to do it now. I can take advantage of being actually healthy enough to start making a change because I can’t live like this forever. It was awful,” he said.
His first step was finding a community to support his mission to lose weight and get healthy. For Coady, that community was Reddit.
One of his coworkers directed him to the r/ProgressPics subreddit, a page where users share their inspiring before-and-after photos and explain how they changed their bodies. There, Coady found all the inspiration he needed to get into the best shape of his life.
“I was like, man, if all these people can do this, why wouldn’t I be able to also?” he said.
After reading up on what other people did to lose weight, Coady decided to give the ketogenic diet a try.
The ketogenic diet — also known as “keto” — is a diet plan where people eat 60 to 80 percent of their total daily calories from fat. Protein makes up another 10 to 15 percent, while carbs take up less than 10 percent.
After taking a deep dive into some nutritional science research, Coady went for it — and quickly started losing weight. In 18 months, Coady says he was able to drop about 100 pounds just through diet changes alone.
Now, he regularly works out by running, hiking, and spending time in the great outdoors; he’s even training for a full marathon later this year. By taking these steps, Coady was also able to stop taking all medications for his Crohn’s Disease, managing it instead through nutrition and exercise.
He takes a less stringent approach to his keto diet this days, but the entire process has helped him learn one profound lesson: “It’s really helped me learn how to eat with nutrition in mind.” Now, on Sundays, he does meal prep with lean protein, vegetables, and avocado-filled dishes. (Want to do the same? Read our beginner’s guide to meal prepping and get started this week.)
Coady’s impressive results took a lot of hard work — and it wasn’t always smooth sailing.
“It looks easy to an outsider, but, it’s very easy to have multiple bad days in a row, and it’s easy to fall off the wagon,” he said. “That’s why I always valued the community on Reddit. They are always positive, and you can always go there for motivation.”
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