Liam Scarrott finally broke through his weight loss plateau in a stupidly simple way.
He loved spending his days outdoors playing cricket and soccer as a kid growing up in Australia. His parents always cooked healthy meals at home and if he craved something sweet, fruit was always his first option. He went to the gym five days a week.
But then he broke his leg at work, where he cut and bended steel mesh as a metal fabricator.
“When I was recovering, I got sacked and told I was useless, since I was on crutches,” he recalls. “That put a huge mental strain on me and I really went down hill. The start of the end you could say.”
Scarrott's mood, self-esteem, and healthy habits all took a dive after the accident.
During his recovery, he gained 30 pounds from his lack of movement, which only made his mental health worse. Feeling alone, he turned to food for comfort. His started depending on drive-through burgers, chips, soda, and alcohol, eating well over 4,000 calories a day. Desserts like cake, chocolate, and ice cream were never questioned and he often binged on several portions in one go.
In just a year, it caught up to him: Scarrott weighed nearly 300 pounds at age 18.
It wasn’t until about five years later, after Scarrott found himself in a 2-year relationship, that something inside him snapped. He was happy to finally have someone in his life to care for, but being with another person made him realize just how big he was. He wanted to be a boyfriend that someone could be proud of, so he decided to start with small changes.
He wrote down everything he ate and started focusing on portion sizes. That, and taking a walk every so often, helped him drop more than 50 pounds—but it fluctuated consistently for 3 years. He’d lose a little, gain it back plus some, and then lose it again. It was a constant battle.
Frustrated that he could never dip below 242 pounds, Scarrot decided to start a Facebook group called Fitness Buddies For Everyone to connect with other people who wanted to lose weight and take walks with him. While that helped, he hated relying on others to motivate him—so he started taking 40-minute walks daily, even when no one could join him.
“People were coming up to me, and noticing me, and saying how good I’m looking and it honestly made me feel so good, I couldn’t help but keep going,” he says.
That one simple exercise—taking a walk every day—helped Scarrott bust through his weight loss plateau: His daily 40-minute walks slowly turned into 40-minute runs. Eventually, he got so tired of seeing the same trees every day that he decided to join a gym and hire a personal trainer.
“I knew I had to be pushed harder than what I could do all by myself,” he says. “Any challenge he gives me I will put in 110 percent. Kettlebell swings, deadlifts, weighted squats—you name it, we would do it and do it hard.”
Currently, Scarrott hits the gym every other day, 4 days a week. Every Monday and Saturday, he does steep stair sprints outside with people from his Facebook group, followed by a boxing class. He works with his trainer on Wednesdays, where he does a cardio circuit and 45 minutes of strength training. Fridays, he keeps it light with a run and abs exercises. (Want to fry fat and build muscle without the gym? Check out MetaShred Extreme from Men’s Health—a body-shredding program you can do right in your own living room.)
His absolute favorite exercise to do: burpees.
“It doesn't matter how often you do them, it’s always a challenge,” he says.
His diet got another overhaul, too. Scarrott slowly weaned himself off of his biggest weakness, sugar—meaning alcohol and dessert were no longer a daily occurrence. Home-cooked meals packed with protein, whole grains, and vegetables became the new norm.
Now, every part of Scarrott’s body has changed. He’s 130 pounds lighter and his waist is 24 inches slimmer. And while the physical changes have helped him tremendously, Scarrott firmly believes that seeing a therapist—and finally working through all of the negative self-talk he experienced after his injury—helped him push through to reach his goals. (Here’s why every man should see a therapist.)
“I had to keep telling myself and pushing myself to just keep going,” he says. “It’s all a mental thing. If you can win the battle in your head, you will get what you want to achieve.“