By Melissa Matthews
Ely Roberts is part of an entirely new generation. At 22, he’s steadfastly a member of Generation Z. You know, those kids who’ve never known a world without Facebook, or Uber, GrubHub, and Seamless. This access to instant gratification fostered Roberts’ sedentary lifestyle. He topped 250 pounds by the time he was an adult. Roberts didn’t want to waste more time being inactive, so he got up and got moving–and lost 65 pounds in the process.
“I had been heavy for most of my life, and for the most part accepted it as my fate,” Roberts shared with Men’s Health. “The biggest contribution to my weight gain was a lifestyle filled with foods and drinks that stimulate the pleasure centers in my brain.”
According to Roberts, he ate what he considered the “standard American diet,” which included copious amounts of foods he knew weren’t good for him. But, they made him feel good so he ate them anyway. And, he paired it with drinking because, well, he liked drinking.
“I did it almost every weekend and it even seeped into my weekdays too,” he said.
Though they felt good in the moment Roberts knew he was paying the price. And in the long run, he hated himself in return for what he had done to his body.
“I felt awful when I was at the peak of my obesity at 250 pounds,” he said. “My weight peaked out around the age of 21. The new accessibility to alcohol only put me further behind.”
However, there was something inside Roberts that wanted to change course. And all it took to veer onto a better path was a little challenge between him and his cousin.
“I bet you couldn’t stop drinking for a month,” his cousin said. Roberts quickly accepted the challenge. Four short weeks later, Roberts wasn’t only the victor of the challenge but was also down a full 22 pounds.
“I was shocked,” Roberts explained. “I figured, Why not keep going?”
From there, Roberts made more lifestyle changes to benefit his health. He cut out sugar, began meal prepping, and educated himself about calorie deficits. Then, he joined a gym and began training with a buddy from work.
“I just kept adding one thing after another, and before I knew it I was living quite healthfully and all of these things I was doing daily became habits,” he shared. These tweaks helped Roberts lose 65 pounds in eight months to hit his new weight of 185.
“After my initial weight loss, I had a new outlook on life. I felt better in my own body, my energy improved, I wasn’t having issues with digestion or acid reflux anymore,” Roberts said of all his new body benefits. “The daily endorphin dump from training kept my brain clear and gave a feeling of euphoria; I was just more happy in all aspects of life. I slept better, my eating habits were better, my confidence was improved upon.”
But, just because his weight is where he wants it to be doesn’t mean Roberts is done improving. He continues to set new goals for himself on his fitness, so is now adding a bulking routine to his regime.
“That is my current goal. To never stop,” he said. “I am not finished, I can’t be finished. This is a lifestyle.”
As for how he got this to work and he thinks others can too Roberts revealed, “The way I got this to work is by throwing the word ‘diet’ out the window, and coming to terms with the fact that this isn’t short term. This isn’t something I’ll stop doing in two months. This is a lifestyle. My best piece of advice to the new trainee is to educate yourself. Learn how the body works, learn energy balance. Learn how to fuel your body and train correctly. Learn how to recover.” And lastly, he shared: “Instill discipline in your life and you’ll be surprised what you can change.”