Real life weight loss: How this man lost over 200lbs and got jacked

Kansas' Tony Sander lost an enormous amount of weight at 43 years old, after a car accident changed his life

Tony Sander
(Image credit: Future)

At 429lbs at 43 years old, Tony Sander’s obesity and drinking problem had become a major health issue. The Lawrence, Kansas resident received a big wake-up call after a car accident, caused by his drinking problem, left one of his knees shattered. 

The doctors said they could not operate on him: due to his weight, he was at too high a risk to undergo reconstructive surgery. Tony was told "If you don't lose weight, you could die". 

During his career in the automotive industry, Tony realised he had been comfort consuming donuts, pizza and other unhealthy food in an attempt to eat his stress away. 

In 2017, Tony decided to tackle his food and alcohol addiction and, through diet and a strict exercise program, lost an amazing 210lbs.

 Now, Tony views food as fuel to get him through his mega workouts. Tony told Truly: “Food for me was a source of relief, it was a way to release whatever stresses and everything else that was going on in my life.”


(Image credit: Danielle Cerullo (Unsplash))

Our takeaway? "My weight loss is what I do, I love it" said Tony. "Going to the gym is my 90 minutes of solace. It's my time. It's my office." 

(If you've got someone in your life who really, really loves the gym like Tony does, you should check out our Fitness Gifts Christmas guide).

In order to lose the weight, Tony found an activity he really enjoyed and stuck with it through thick and thin. Many people believe they need a gym membership to really lose weight, but if you hate going to the gym, it will be much more difficult to stay consistent.

Instead, find an activity you love – running, cycling, martial arts, rock climbing, yoga – and use that as your anchor. A study from the scientific journal PLOS One showed that increasing enjoyment of exercise correlates with exercise adherence: in other words, people who enjoy their chosen activity are likely to do it more often. 

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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.