Conal Roney was “the fat kid” virtually his entire life. To others, he appeared happy. “The life of the party,” they called him. But in reality, Conal was miserable.
“I avoided mirrors,” Conal said. “I was sick and tired of being obese. I didn’t like to be in pictures, and if I was forced to be in one, I stood in the back so I couldn’t see how big I was. I NEVER looked at the pictures I was in; who wants to be reminded that you don’t feel good about yourself? Not me.”
Conal weighed close to 270 pounds at age 35. If things didn’t change soon, he was headed toward a heart attack. On December 8th of 2014, Conal decided it was time to change the course of his life.
The Turning Point
Conal, before weight loss
“There was nothing special about that day,” he said. “It wasn’t my birthday or the day after a huge, calorie-laden party. It wasn’t the anniversary of a special event. It was a random day, but I’ll never forget it because that’s the day I started.”
The first thing he did was join Nutrisystem®. The pre-packaged meal plan limited Conal to 1,500 calories a day.
“I lost about 30 pounds in two months,” Conal said. “I maintained my discipline by tracking my weight and looking back to see my progress. I knew I needed to incorporate exercise, but I was worried about being the fat guy at the gym who didn’t know what he was doing.”
In the spring of 2015, Conal joined Anytime Fitness in Lansdale, PA.
“At first, I only used the gym late at night because I was self-conscious” Conal said. “I slipped on headphones, got on an elliptical machine, and told myself, ‘One hour. You’re going do this for one hour.’ The very next day, I did it again. The following day I was so sore I couldn’t move. I rested, but came back the next day and banged out another hour.”
Hello Weight Training
A personal trainer introduced Conal to weight training. He enjoyed it, but believed that he needed to change his diet a bit if he wanted to add muscle.
“I was using my body differently and had to fuel it properly,” Conal said. “Exit prepackaged meals. Enter food scale and serious measuring. Meal prep became more intensive when I began to weigh my own portions. Some people spend all day on Sunday meal prepping, but that’s not what I did. I was in a constant state of prepping. I didn’t spend four hours at a time prepping. Probably 40 minutes here and there throughout the week.”
To make it easier to stick to a low-calorie diet, Conal relied on healthy meals that he found satisfying and simple to prepare.
“My kitchen was exactly the same week to week,” Conal said. “Chicken, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, bananas, apples, blueberries, oatmeal, yogurt, and fish. Red meat maybe once a week.”
The results: Conal’s lost a total 70 pounds and added a great deal of muscle.
Mind Over Matter
“When I joined the gym, I couldn’t do a single pull-up,” Conal said. “Now, I do pull-ups. I couldn’t squat—I [now] squat. I couldn’t deadlift—I [now] deadlift.”
Conal’s discipline in the gym has impressed his personal trainer, Patrick Humenick.
“He’s come so far from where he was and he STILL works extremely hard to keep improving his fitness,” said Patrick. “He doesn’t have that mentality of, ‘I already accomplished what I wanted to, so I can stop here.’ Simply put, he’s relentless. Plus, he’s a phenomenal guy to be around.”
No longer avoiding mirrors, Conal’s self-confidence has increased and he’s enjoying life to the fullest.
“Simple things mean a lot,” he said. “Sitting is much easier. On a plane, in a restaurant, I don’t feel squished into a seat anymore. I joined an over-30 baseball league. If I hadn’t lost the weight, there’s no way my body could play baseball at age 37. I learned that if I set a goal, I can accomplish it. I learned that some of the best goals aren’t achieved overnight. You must take little steps each day to attain a long-term, and very satisfying, result. I don’t shy away from pictures anymore. I don’t feel self-conscious. I fit comfortably in an airplane seat, but most importantly, I fit comfortably in me.”
Conal’s Best Advice
— I believe in calorie tracking more than anything else. You can’t out-work a bad diet. The Anytime Fitness mobile app is a great way to count calories. It’s not time-consuming at all.
— One day at a time. One week at a time. A consistent plan over time will achieve crazy results. If you dwell on having to lose 70 pounds, that might seem impossible. But if you focus on simply eating a healthy meal right now, and tomorrow, and the next day, losing 70 pounds—or whatever your goal may be—eventually will become a reality