Weight Before: 250
Weight After: 180
Vitals: Chris Williams, 34, Wading River, NY
Time Required to Reach Goal: 2 years
Lesson Learned: Expect roadblocks—beating them gave me encouragement.
Secret Weapon: Keeping pictures around of me at my heaviest kept up my motivation.
How to build a better dad
The Gain As a child, Williams ate cookies and other foods loaded with junk carbohydrates. "I was forced to start my first diet at the age of 11, to no avail," he says. Football and rugby were no match for his junk-food intake. After marriage, he hit 250 pounds.
The Change His wife became pregnant. "I knew something would have to change once my daughter was born," he says, "so I could run around with her and not wipe myself out." He combined running and biking with circuit training. Next, diet: "It wasn't too difficult to start working out, but once I started to eat right, it became even easier."
The Lifestyle Williams follows a protein-rich diet, filling his plate with chicken, turkey, and lean beef and supplementing with whole grains and vegetables. He boosted his cardio to 45 to 60 minutes, 5 days a week, and lifts weights 4 days a week. As part of his new lifestyle, he now runs 10-Ks and recently completed a triathlon. He even became a part-time personal trainer. "It's something I always wanted to do, but I didn't have the energy before," he says.
20 Worst breakfasts
The Reward Beyond the satisfaction of 7 percent body fat, Williams is able to keep up with his kids without losing his breath, and his wife and children are encouraged to follow his example and eat healthier. "Maintaining my weight has given me a huge sense of accomplishment," he says.
Shun fads. Losing weight is truly a simple balance of a low-calorie diet coupled with exercise. I've tried everything, and balance is the only thing that worked.
Don't feel guilty. On the days when you eat too much or skip the gym, chalk it up to being human and steer yourself back on track the next day.
Stay focused. Whether it was a scary cholesterol reading or simply an unflattering beach photo that got you moving, keep that incentive front and center in your mind to boost motivation.