How this California man achieved a 236lbs weight loss – even after losing his wife

Robert Saldivar weighed 425lbs before a family tragedy put his health issues into perspective

Brand New Me: How this man achieved a 236lbs weight loss
(Image credit: Future)

At 425Ibs, Robert Saldivar from Waterford, California, struggled with everyday life and would have trouble breathing walking from his car to his front door. By the time Robert would get back into the house he would be pouring in sweat and out of breath. 

His weight got out of control in 2005 as he would sit down at a desk for hours working in a call center. 

Robert told Truly: “I was hiding from society, I would just come home from work and stay home. I wouldn’t go to the stores, I didn’t want to be seen in public.” 

Robert's motivation to lose the weight came after a tragic incident. “What motivated me to lose 236lbs was after my wife passed away. It was after the funeral. I was in a depressed state before and after realising what had happened, it felt like a fog lifted above me and I was able to see myself for the very first time."

Robert didn’t realise just how big he was until that night and knew he had to turn things around so he could be there for his kids and prevent them from having such a burden on their lives. Robert continued: “After her passing, what really gave me the motivation and determination that I needed to start a diet and stick on a diet and continue working out was definitely being there for my two kids, they needed me in their life.”

Looking back, it has been a hard and emotional journey for Robert but he has successfully managed to lose 236lbs.

Brand New Me

(Image credit: Future)

"I started on the treadmill, and then I just fell in love with running," said Robert. Today, Robert is averaging around 7m 56s per mile on the treadmill, in increments of five miles.

Running is a wonderful way to improve not just your physical health, but your mental health too. One study has found that aerobic exercise such as running can be as effective as anti-depressants, but there's more to it than that: the forward momentum and changing environment can feel very significant. Unlike a stationary HIIT workout, you're literally on a journey, running towards your goals and putting something behind you. 

Also unlike HIIT, you're able to start off very slow when running, at a lower intensity than a demanding HIIT workout. For someone who's just starting out on their fitness journey, a fitness plan like Couch to 5K is perfect, setting an achievable goal (in this case, a 5K run) in just eight weeks. it's also very accessible: all you need is a pair of the best running shoes for women or best running shoes for men to get started.  

Launched in 2020, Fit&Well.com is all about helping you meet your health and fitness goals in ways that are fun and achievable. With news and features on fitness, weight loss, running, nutrition, yoga, wellness and more, we're committed to helping you wherever you are on your fitness journey. We break down the best fitness tech, with reviews, buying guides and the latest deals on fitness and wellness kit, from dumbbells to diffusers. 


We cater for all difficulty levels here. It doesn't matter if you're a beginner in the world of fitness or you're gearing up for your tenth marathon: we're all moving towards the same goal – creating a healthier, happier you. From guides on getting started doing walks around the block, to creating the perfect work-from-home space, to eating to fuel your first triathlon. It's all here.