Breaking Up With Sugar Helped Jon Lose 260 Pounds

By , SparkPeople Blogger
For some, the struggle to maintain a healthy weight is tied to specific life events, such as the birth of a child or death of a loved one. For others like Jon (WEWRTFO), weight loss is a lifelong battle. Jon recalls weighing 320 pounds in the ninth grade, with his weight steadily climbing from there. The tipping point came in his early 40s when Jon's weight ballooned to over 500 pounds and even daily tasks became a struggle.

Instead of taking the attitude that he was destined to be heavy forever, Jon decided to take control of his life and his health. After successfully losing 260 pounds, he wants to inspire others to believe that it's never too late to make a change.    

Life Before Weight Loss

"I've always been a big (6'4") strong farmer," Jon explains. "Exercise was never a problem, since I've been working hard all my life as a hay farmer. I carried my weight well through the mid-400s, but things went downhill fast after a leg injury in my early 40s. I gained an additional 100 pounds, which meant that by the end of the day, I was completely exhausted doing less than what I used to do."

From there, Jon says his health declined rapidly with sciatic nerve pain, chronic lower back pain and numbness and tingling in his limbs. Sometimes he would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air or with incredible joint pain that made sleeping impossible. "I felt helpless and blamed myself for a lack of willpower, not understanding I was trapped in a sugar food addiction," Jon recalls.

Jon realized he had reached the point of urgency with his weight and his health. "I knew I was on the path to an early death, no longer being able to farm and confined to a wheelchair," he says. He also wanted to lose the weight so he could be there for his three daughters, who have been the source of his motivation along this journey.
Jon knew he had to take a different approach after more than 40 years of failed weight loss attempts, so he decided to focus on eliminating sugar and artificial sweeteners from his diet. "I quickly noticed how much better I felt in general," he recalls. "I was no longer waking up in the middle of the night unable to breathe, I felt less hungry and lost 30 pounds without much effort." 

His next step was a 30-day challenge to eliminate added sugar from his diet, similar to SparkPeople's Tame Your Sweet Tooth Challenge. Jon had few expectations, recalling that he had tried this several times in the past with little success. But this time was different.

Unexpected Results

At 500 pounds, Jon started his "no sugar" challenge. "That's when everything changed," he explains. "My lifetime of constant hunger was gone. For the first time in my life, I could go long periods of time in between meals without being hungry. Within days, the most surreal feeling of overwhelming joy, excitement and a sense of relief came over me."

After years of struggling to find the solution, Jon sensed a clear understanding that this had been his lifelong obstacle, and now he was going to lose the weight and keep it off forever. In the process, he's had to re-learn eating habits to understand how food affects him. By focusing on eating real foods, he's noticed a change in his taste buds and finally feels free from a lifelong sugar and food addition—plus, he managed to lose 260 pounds in the process. "I am enjoying food more than I ever imagined possible," says Jon.  

Jon has now been losing weight steadily for almost four years without a relapse. He says that when he started his "no sugar" challenge, he made it non-negotiable for life. He believes that making this pact with himself is the difference between losing the weight forever and gaining it all back.

"One of the best parts of freeing myself from past sugar addiction is mental clarity and endless energy," he explains. "I have transformed from socially awkward to socially confident. I am twice as productive at work and in life as I've ever been. At the start of my transformation I could barely walk and planned on cutting back my cash crop hay production to 10,000 bales per year. Instead, I have more than doubled it to 35,000 bales per year." 

While he's lost weight, Jon says he's gained an entirely different perspective on and appreciation for life. With his old eating habits stuck firmly in the past, his greatest happiness now  comes from knowing he has extended his life and will be there for his daughters as long as possible. 

Jon's Advice for Others

"I believe there is a good possibility that anyone with significant weight to lose is unknowingly trapped in a sugar and/or food addiction like I used to be. I urge anyone, regardless of how much weight they have to lose, to try a 'no sugar' challenge without artificial sweeteners and see how they respond. Focus on eating real food and  avoid processed foods and anything in a bag or can. Set goals so 100 percent of your food intake is quality food—no empty calories," Jon recommends.

While his transformation is still in the early stages, Jon is looking forward to learning more about his body and accomplishing the goals he has set for himself,  including losing the last 50 pounds and helping to inspire others. He believes that weight loss is not a race, since the time spent losing weight is very short compared to all the years required for weight maintenance that follow. Losing slowly has allowed the time he needed for mental adjustments and has given his skin time to adapt (he has very few loose skin issues, a common problem which can affect those with significant weight to lose). Looking back, it's almost difficult to remember how it felt to be 500-pound Jon. Now with a strong support and accountability system in place thanks to real-world and SparkPeople friends, Jon's future is all about health, happiness and family.

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1SUZIQ11 10/5/2018
Great job! Report
RO2BENT 8/29/2018
It’s a health hazard and people are clueless Report
KHALIA2 7/1/2018
I am starting very slowly. I hope to get to that point one day. I drink my decaf coffee now without sugar. Report
JSMIMI8 6/24/2018
I really understand you. I have only begun a similar walk. I know the joy and peace that comes when you have had a revelation. It's yours and no one can take it away. Congratulations!!! Report
TEAROSE22 6/23/2018
Jon, I stumbled upon your blig, and I have a similar yet different tale, addiction to salt. I began in 2012 at 535 pounds. I too was able to work, and enjoyed a great career in the construction industry. Several health setbacks, retirement threw me a curve for awhile; however now in June 2013, today I weighed in at 337, 2 more pounds to -200!!
My goal is 250 and I am hell bent to get there. Your story today inspired me, and I wish you only the best. Looking ahead to great things. Tina Report
You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing Report
KOYA1050 5/5/2018
This is so inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing! Report
CSROBERTSON621 4/15/2018
Thanks for sharing your story - while my food addiction was a little different in form than yours (it’s probably different for everyone), the underlying problem sounds completely familiar to me, and I’ll bet to many others as well. Glad you figured out the problem and the way to beat it - and got your life back! Report
MICKEYF57 4/15/2018
Jon, Congratulations. Your story is touching and inspiring, thank you for sharing it with all of us. God Bless. Report
YICHE12 4/15/2018
Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. So inspiring! Report
MUSICNUT 3/18/2018
Way to go! Report
KHALIA2 3/15/2018
Congrats, Jon on your success! Report
What an inspiration. Great transformation and making the decision to choose life. Report
INSIGHT62 3/2/2018
What an amazing transformation and such an inspiration. It is even more amazing because you took the healthy route to losing weight. You didn't rely on surgery or special diet pills or fads. Keep on pushing!!! Report
JIBBIE49 2/20/2018
I was so miserable at 214#, so I can only imagine what being over 500# would be like. Glad things are different now. Metformin made the difference for me, a weekly shot of Bydureon, and Armour Thyroid. Report
Way to go! Congratulations. You look marine tough! Report
MOONDRAGON29 2/7/2018
Awesome work! Report
CAROLHALL13 2/3/2018
I don't even know you and still I am both proud and inspired by your journey and the accomplishments that you've maintained, and how you encourage others with this message of hope for our futures to come as well!!! I applaud you, may you always continue on in the new way of life! Report
SPARKLED146 1/5/2018
Awesome way to go! Report
BERNI-313 1/1/2018
I'm so thrilled to read your story. I too have felt the tremendous change in my body of no sugar. I found out from research that not only does it affect the brain, but lodges in the synovial fluid around the joints - it is like sandpaper in your joints! I understand well how suddenly you realize that you can move without pain and it's not age or weight related. What a miracle. I do hope you are celebrating yourself because you drawing to a hard boundary and sticking to it has made all the difference. On September 30 I began a no sugar (not real, not artificial, no honey - none of it) and no flour protocol and all my food is weighed. It sounds hard, but the freedom from pain and crazy-making around food is beyond belief. I'm starting my year 40 pounds lighter and so much happier. Here's to reaching your ultimate goal and thank you for the inspiration. Report
MIYAMO 12/26/2017
Thank you for sharing. You are a great inspiration. Report
outstanding story! Report
PAULAJEAN659 11/30/2017
Awesome! Report
BILLTHOMSON 11/19/2017
Very encouraging Report
PATSYGO 11/10/2017
Thanks for the helpful insight & example. Live long & prosper! Report
MUSICNUT 11/8/2017
Thanks for sharing! :) Report
TWINZ_LOCZ 10/29/2017
motivating Report
BILLTHOMSON 10/26/2017
Great testimony and a greater inspiration. Report
BONDMANUS2002 10/23/2017
Absolutely great Report
Thank you for sharing your wonderful inspiring story! Way to go! Report
AMCAFEE_01 10/21/2017
Awesome!! And to think sugar was the #1 issue! Very inspiring story. Thanks for sharing. Report
LEANJEAN6 10/21/2017
so impressive! Report
Wonderful! Wow! Congratulations! I’m doing the sugar challenge because I am inspired! Report
SHOAPIE 10/20/2017
Congratulations Jon! Report
1FARMER 10/20/2017
Amazing accomplishments! Congratulations.Thank you for sharing your journey! Report
JANANN65 10/20/2017
Great job and congratulations on your success!
Wonderful Report
A great story and congrats on your weight loss. I struggle with sugar and carbs. Report
Such an amazing story! My diabetic educator is telling me the same thing. I keep asking myself "Do I really want this sweet, unhealthy food?" this article really makes you think about it! Thanks, Jon, for telling your story and inspiring the whole SparkPeople community. You look really healthy!!! Report
Amazing progress. Congratulations on your breakthrough! Report
Amazing inspiration! Congrats on the weight loss-I too have a sugar addiction and I never thought as sweetner as being a problem Report
Amazing!! Congratulations Report
Your story is inspiring - thank you for sharing it with all of us. You have given yourself and your family a wonderful gift! Report
THIS " weight loss is not a race, since the time spent losing weight is very short compared to all the years required for weight maintenance that follow.' was very much needed by me. Thanks for sharing your story. Report
Beautiful and inspiring story. Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to write this! Report
thank you for sharing Report
Thanks for sharing! Report
And sugar seems to be in everything! Report
You've inspired me. I'm a diabetic and I know sugar is bad for me, yet once I get a taste for something sweet I can't think of anything else. In addition, I have no energy and all I can think about is eating even though I am not hungry. Thank you for sharing your story. Good luck on your lifelong quest to be healthy. Report
Congratulations!!! I too have a terrible sweet/carb tooth, did you follow a certain cut the sugar habit? If so, could you share what it was.? Report