How an All-You-Can-Eat Junkie Reversed His Bad Habit

After weighing in at more than 350 pounds, Willard Korson banished the buffet and gained control

November 21, 2012
How an All-You-Can-Eat Junkie Reversed His Bad Habit
Brian Kelly

Vitals: Willard Korson, 33, Alma, MI

Weight before: 354


Weight after: 227

Occupation: Education administrator

Height: 6'3"

Reached his goal in: 2 years, 1 month

The Setback
My first professional job after college included an all-you-can-eat meal plan, and I took full advantage. I'd eat carb-packed lunches and dinners. Dessert wasn't a treat; it was a given. I'd snack on entire large bags of Doritos. Soon enough, I had piled on weight and also developed asthma. My lower back and knees were always in pain, I had heartburn, and I tired easily.

The Wake-Up Call
During a checkup, my doctor discovered that I had obstructive sleep apnea (search: What is sleep apnea?). All the weight was putting pressure on my chest, causing me to stop breathing 10 times an hour as I slept. I took one look at the sleep apnea mask and decided that losing weight was a lot more appealing.

The Food
I used to skip breakfast and wolf down a huge lunch: pasta with cream sauce and two or three slices of pizza, and then the same thing for dinner. I put ranch dressing on everything. So I made some changes. I loaded up on salads with chicken and swapped the heavy dining-hall food for homemade vegetable stir-fries. By the third week of my healthy eating plan, I was sleeping better and feeling an energy surge. (For a complete eating plan that's even better than running 5 miles a day, check out Dr. Travis Stork's Lean Belly Prescription.)

The Fitness
I started taking 3-mile walks with coworkers; I also pedaled a stationary bike for 20 miles followed by 20 minutes of walking on a treadmill. I went from never exercising to losing 40 pounds in 3 months—which made me want to lose another 40. So I had a fit friend introduce me to weights, which I now lift four or five times a week. (Want more workout variety? Subscribe to our Exercise of the Week newsletter.)

The Reward
I don't have heartburn anymore. I also have better control of my asthma, and I've kissed that sleep apnea machine goodbye. But the biggest benefit of my transformation has been my boost in confidence. I'm more outgoing socially, I speak up in group settings, and I take risks. Before the year ends, I plan to go skydiving, something I never would have done before.

You can transform your body, too—no matter if you have 20, 30, or 50 pounds to lose! For tips, motivation, and expert advice, sign up for the Men's Health Belly Off! Newsletter.