Thanks to Men’s Health for this Inspiring true story:
At 429 lbs, Tony Sander’s weight had spiraled out of control.
The 43-year-old of Lawrence, Kansas, received a massive wake-up call following a car accident, when doctors said they could not operate on him. They told him that due to his weight, he was at too high a risk to undergo reconstructive surgery. During his career in the automotive industry, Tony realized 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 210 lbs.
Now, Tony views food as fuel to get him through his mega workouts.
Tony says: “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.”
For Tony Sander, a packed and intense working schedule meant that he relied on an unhealthy diet to keep himself going. Over time, food, along with drinking, became a source of relief from that stress. “The food was as much of an addiction as alcohol ever was,” he says in a recent episode of Brand New Me.
Then in 2016, Tony’s car came off the road while he was driving home drunk. He shattered his knee in the accident, and doctors told him that at his current weight of 429 pounds, it wasn’t safe to operate on him. This, he recalls, was the wake-up call he needed, and he started to make some serious lifestyle changes, starting with cutting out alcohol and changing his diet.
“My goal from the beginning was to save my life,” he says. “My health was beyond a mess, so that was just self-preservation at the beginning, and then self-preservation turned into ‘my health is getting better, let’s get physically fit.'”
Working with his trainer Keith Williams, Tony has now lost a staggering 210 pounds through working out and a strict diet plan, and has also found that exercise provides a healthier, more sustainable way to handle his stress and anxiety than food or alcohol.
“It’s now my stress relief, going to the gym is my 90 minutes of solace, it’s my office, it’s my time,” he says. “The mental transformation that I’ve had, to be able to make the physical changes, I’ve had to come to terms with who I was, what my addictions were, and how I was going to fix them. The mental changes have been bigger than the physical.”
The best advice he can offer to anybody who wants to start making changes to their lifestyle and lose weight: “Just start today. You don’t have to wait for tomorrow, you don’t have to have a great plan, there is a community out there that wants to help, there’s people who have done it, and all they want to do is help other people do it.”
Tony Sander Transformation
Midwest Monsters (Olathe, Kansas)