Man who lost 130 pounds offers advice to others: ‘Imagine how different your life could be in a year if you start today’

Wellness Wins is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.

Giovanni Enea is 5’10” tall and currently weighs 210 pounds. In 2018, after a lifetime of obesity, he finally found weight-loss success through the simple CICO (calories in, calories out) method. This is the story of his weight-loss journey.

The Turning Point

I’ve been obese since childhood. It has been a negative force throughout my life. I was always tired, having little energy to do normal stuff and gradually began doing less every day. I had little mental stamina. My friends would avoid discussions about health because they didn’t want to offend me.

I tried to lose weight countless times. I think I saw at least 10 doctors and dietitians since I was 10 years old. They were always helpful, but my mindset wasn't right. I would follow the diet they gave me for a few months and then regain all the weight I lost, and more. But something clicked this time. I woke up focused. I did my research. I understood how my body worked, and for the first time I had the certainty that if I stuck with my plan it would work.

Giovanni Enea says he struggled with his weight since childhood. (Photo: Giovanni Enea)

The Changes

When I learned about CICO (calories in, calories out), where the focus is to simply burn more calories than you consume, I knew it could work for me. At first, I didn’t really change the type of food I was eating. My diet wasn’t very healthy, but I would not go over 2,000 calories per day.

After three months, I recalculated my TDEE (total daily energy expenditure, or how many calories a person burns each day) and readjusted my daily calorie goal. I recalculated after every 10-pound loss and tried to maintain a 1,000-calorie deficit per day, which would allow me to lose about two pounds per week.

After five months of dieting, I started going to the gym three days a week and eventually upped it to six. I did mainly circuit strength training with some cardio. I didn't have a personal trainer, but the instructors working in the gym have been nothing but amazing to me, especially at the start. They were friendly and reassuring.

Once I started going to the gym, I began eating healthier, too. I tracked my macros (macronutrients) and focused on getting a lot of protein. I ate a lot of chicken breast, white fish and baked potatoes. At that point I could see changes, and I was thriving. I wanted to continue this journey, and I especially wanted to learn and obtain discipline, something I lacked in my entire life before now.

Enea before and after his weight loss journey. (Photo: Giovanni Enea)

The After

Physically, I feel amazing. I go to the gym, practice boxing, and now my health is pretty good. I feel like I can do everything I want. I like fashion, and being able to rock some outfits with this new, improved body is an amazing feeling.

Otherwise, my life hasn’t changed that much. I don’t feel that much different emotionally. Beating obesity doesn’t solve all your problems, but it does give you some discipline and focus.

I live in a little southern Italian city where everyone knows each other, and every now and then some old friends, acquaintances or distant relatives stop me in the street and ask if it’s really me. I tell them I’m his long-lost twin brother.

Enea after losing 130 pounds. (Photo: Giovanni Enea)

The Maintenance

I still track my calories and macros. I’d like to continue to get into better shape. Throughout the summer I will ease up a little bit, because I like to go out to eat (I try to stick to 1,500 calories per day when I don’t go out). And then in September, I will be a little stricter.

I am working on HIIT training at the gym and practice boxing three times a week. I plan to try to gain some more muscle after the summer.

The Struggles

Sometimes I still can’t stop myself from binge eating. The day after a binge, it can be really hard to get back on track. But I always remember all the sacrifices I made in this last year, and I remind myself that I have to keep moving forward.

Advice

Start. Just start. Imagine how different your life could be in a year if you start today.

Need more inspiration? Read about our other wellness winners!

Wellness Wins is authored by Andie Mitchell, who underwent a transformative, 135-pound weight loss of her own.

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