Real Life Weight Loss: How James lost half his 440lbs weight through exercise and healthy diet

James from West Virginia lost a huge 220lbs after his scales showed an "error" message

Real life weight loss: James' journey
(Image credit: Getty Images)

James Robertson weighed roughly 440lbs at his heaviest. Growing up in West Virginia, which has the highest prevalence of obesity in the USA, he enjoyed a lifestyle of fast food and minimal exercise. In 2019, James had gained so much weight that his scales showed an error message. 

This, along with warnings of severe health complications from his doctor, motivated James to lose the weight. Through a combination of exercise and healthy eating, James has lost half his body weight over the past two years.

"When the gyms closed because of COVID, I walked around the track outside," James told our sibling YouTube channel Truly. "That became a slow jog, and eventually running." Along with a healthy diet, this was a slow, sustainable transition into a healthy lifestyle, beginning with the exercise James was comfortable doing and gradually building up to a more intense routine of cardio and strength training.

If you're interested in following in his footsteps, a set of the best running shoes for men or best running shoes for women is a great place to start. 

Watch James' inspiring weight loss journey below

James has learnt that weight loss can be a long but worthwhile journey. He told Truly: “You have to love yourself where you’re at right now. Think about where you want to be with your new life and celebrate the little steps.” 

In the video above see James meet his cousins, Clayton and Donnie, to try on a new suit. The last time he wore one, for his cousin’s wedding, James measured a 5XL top and it had to be specially ordered from the factory. “I hated wearing a suit before,” he told Truly, “but now I like it. It fits right and I’m happy.”

In order to lose weight, doing more cardiovascular and strength training is a great place to start, but the biggest changes happen in the kitchen. Swapping processed, pre-packaged foods for healthy whole grains, lean meats and fish (if you're a meat eater), vegetables, nuts and seeds. 

Simple food swaps are great to start off with; for example, exchanging a burger in a bread bun for a lean chicken breast, or swapping a sugary soda for a glass of water. From there, it's a combination of following a sustainable, flexible healthy diet and exercising portion control. Our portion size guide can help with the latter.   

Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.