• Poor diet and inactivity made Antonio Gutierrez’s weight climb to more than 300 pounds.
• He combined the keto with intermittent fasting to take control of his diet.
• He also added weight training and cardio to fuel a more than 100-pound weight loss transformation.
Antonio Gutierrez still remembers the day he came home from the amusement park in tears. He’d been about to board a rollercoaster, but when he went to sit down, the safety harness wouldn’t close. “I had to get up and exit the ride because I was too big, he says. The episode was the first in a series of turning points that convinced Gutierrez it was time to get healthy. “Another bad incident was at the airport,” he continues. “I went to board my flight and the belt didn’t want to close all the way. I had to suck in my stomach as much as possible for the plane to take off. I delayed the flight because I couldn’t buckle up.”
Gutierrez, now 28, who works as a store director for a supermarket in Gardena, California, says he weighed nearly 355 pounds at his heaviest point. He was 27, dealing with a combination of depression and suicidal thoughts. “I didn’t want to leave my house or talk to anyone. Not even my wife or son. I wanted to stay away from everyone and I hated taking pictures,” he says. For Gutierrez, the gravity of his situation truly sunk in one afternoon when he was playing with his four-year-old son. They’d been chasing each other around the house when Gutierrez, out of breath, had to stop. “I realized then that I needed to make a change,” he says.
Until that point, Gutierrez says his diet had been the biggest culprit in his weight gain: He was eating upwards of 8,500 calories per day, he estimates, with the bulk of it coming from sugary foods and soft drinks. “I would drink a whole two-liter container of soda for dinner alone. I would get home and watch TV with a big bag of potato chips and a plate,” he says. “I can’t explain how horrible I felt. Just thinking about it now scares me.”
Gutierrez had read about the keto diet—which involves training your body to burn fat as its primary fuel source—and decided to give it a try in December of 2018. He also decided to combine it with intermittent fasting, a regimen that typically involves eating for eight hours and fasting for 16 on a given day. To stay consistent, he used an app—the LIFE fasting app—to track the timing of his meals and figure out when his body was in a state of ketosis, the fat burning state.
At first, he experienced common struggles—such as not having a huge meal immediately after fasting. Instead, he’d have a light meal, easing back into his eating window. (His advice for those looking to try an intermittent fasting plan: “Start slowly and with small intervals. Don’t try and begin with a two-day long fast, either. Start with a shorter fasting cycle and see how your body responds. I always try to drink plenty of water and end my fasts when my body tells me to.”)
He also started working out more frequently—30 minutes of cardio here and there, or running around with his son, teaching him how to do push-ups, situps, and basic weight training movements. As a result, the weight fell off dramatically: In five months, Gutierrez lost more than 100 pounds, and he’s still going. Currently at 215 pounds, he says his new goal is to reach 200, and then work on stabilizing—perhaps switching from a keto to a vegetarian diet.
In the meantime, he says, he’s simply enjoying the myriad benefits of being healthy again. “My confidence level went up tremendously, I have a lot more energy, and my wife is happier, too—we can do a lot more activities now that we couldn’t do before. I can actually go hiking, bike riding, and grocery shopping with her without having to sit down and catch my breath every few minutes,” he says. “The best part? Now I can keep up with her and my son at the theme parks.”
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