“My idea of a good time used to be sitting in front of a TV screen, eating a pizza and not doing anything,” says Jake Newman, a 32-year-old customer service representative from Chicago, IL. “I was always someone who was kind of lethargic.”
He remembers weighing about 180 pounds as a high school sophomore, then watching his weight climb as the years passed. When he turned 30, he topped 285 pounds. He felt depressed and insecure. “I legitimately felt so disgusted with myself,” he says, “and how I had let myself get this far gone.”
He tried a weight loss challenge, paying $199 for organized workout regimens and customized eating plans. “I truly thought that it would help me,” he says, but he lasted only a little over a week.
The weight loss wager was a bit of a whim
Months later, a friend encouraged him to try dietbet, a site that lets you create weight-loss wagers. Newman set a small goal: losing four percent of his body weight in a month. He ponied up $30 to join the bet, figuring he had nothing to lose.
To drop the pounds he started eating a keto diet. Soon enough he lost ten pounds, winning a share of the pot. He decided to keep going, especially since keto let him still enjoy some of his favorite foods. He also tracked his calories to make sure he ran a deficit every day to keep losing weight.
He added some intensity
For workouts, he started going to Barry’s Bootcamp, a boutique fitness studio focused on high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Classes combine treadmill workouts with timed lifting routines, and Newman mixed in some outdoor distance running as well. “I jumped head-first into the physical fitness aspect of everything,” he says; he even completed one challenge of doing 21 classes in 30 days.
In about 15 months, he lost more than 110 pounds, dropping down to 175. “I feel alive, more energetic, and just all-around so much better than I was back then,” he says.
His sense of self-worth improved, giving him the confidence to move from suburban Orange County, California, to Chicago, Illinois, where he started a new job, went back to school, and even began his own image consulting business. “Making one change in day to day activity can have a massive domino effect into other aspects of life,” he says. He’s now training to run a marathon.
“Just get out there and start doing it,” he says. He started small, but he built a routine that enabled him to become his best self. “Make small changes to your physical life every single day,” he says, whether that’s taking a 20-minute walk or stepping onto the treadmill for the first time. “The hardest part about starting anything,” he says, “is just getting there.”
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