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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Wow. Thanks for this. This story inspired me to join the tame your sweet tooth challenge. Wish me... I was going to type "luck", but instead, I'll ask for wishes to help me have the will to do what's required! Report
CECELW 3/30/2021
hello Report
I agree that stories like these have got to be updated. Spark People, you should be following up on people like Jon. Not tossing them to the side. Report
ETHELMERZ 3/13/2021
These stories need to be see how these people are doing now. Truly. Report
KATHYJO56 2/14/2021
Congratulations Jon. You realized what your problem was and you went after it. I think that you totally rock! Report
PLCHAPPELL 12/3/2020
Very important component Report
NASFKAB 10/25/2020
Great Report
RAJSHRIB 10/10/2020
Sugar is something that I have been struggling with for a very long time. But succes stories surely inspires me to work on my mindset. Thank you for sharing Jen. Report
K4KETO 9/22/2020
Great story! This has been my recent experience as well...ever since I gave up all sweeteners of ANY kind & minimized fruit consumption my relationship with food has completely transformed. We humans were not meant to consume sweet flavors on a daily basis and for some of us (maybe many) it triggers out of control eating behaviors. Wish more people knew about this and could find the freedom I feel now that I never thought possible just by abstaining from sweeteners. Thanks so much for sharing this! Report
GEORGE815 9/20/2020
Thanks Report
HOTMOR 8/23/2020
Wonderful transformation!

I had the same issue ten years ago. I was getting so big until I cut off soft drinks and sugary foods. Thank GOD I live a healthy life now. Report
RACHAEL2020 7/27/2020
Good story. Report
74KGSTU 5/18/2020
Great story. It just goes to show, it is never too late. Report
Thanks so much Report
Giving up sugar, sweeteners and processed foods. There it is in a nutshell. Simple but not easy.

Add "no snacking between meals" and some exercise and accelerate results.

That's it! Congratulations to Jon and hope he's Maintaining! Report
Thank You and Congratulations on a job well done. Report
Its so inspiring and "real people experience". Great job for loosing weight but also for more crops! I am sure your wife and family is so proud of you! Congrats! Report
Its so inspiring and "real people experience". Great job for loosing weight but also for more crops! I am sure your wife and family is so proud of you! Congrats! Report
GR8 job. I totally understand the "sugar addiction" crisis... Report
Good job! Report
thanks Report
Thanks Report
Fantastic commitment to your health! Report
The transformation is amazing. I’ve been off sugar and processed foods for 2 months. Feeling much better. Report
I've been off sugar for a little over one month. I definitely have more clarity and I've lost some weight. I can't wait to keep going and enjoy my success. Report
WoW! Great Job! Report
"avoid processed foods and anything in a bag or can" I assume I can keep my bags of frozen veg and fruit and canned "no added anything" beans. Report
Wonderful success story. Congratulations.Several years ago I gave up most things with sugar added and stopped adding myself. I still have Stevia in tea and cereal, very little and i do have an occasional treat. None of this affects my hunger , so I can deal with it. My everyday menu has no sugar at all. I find I feel so much better without it. Thanks for sharing. Report
Awesome job! I went 1 year w/out sugar & lost 98 lbs., but regained it all...many years ago. I just started Sparkpeople (for the 2nd time) a little over a month ago. I haven't had any sugar or artificial sweeteners. I stopped the sweeteners a few years ago. The sugar was always my downfall. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. At least I know I'm not the only one who has a sugar addiction. Congrats on all your hard work. Report
Jon, so happy for you! I too am a sugar addict. I know how hard that is. Always hungry between meals, craving something else. You have given me the inspiration to try and beat this again. I never tried while also giving up artificial sweeteners (can't seem to get rid of the diet Pepsi) but maybe that's the key. I am going to give your advise a go and hope to achieve your success ! Congratulations on all you've accomplished! Report
Wow...Jon - this is so inspirational. Congratulations on your fine work. I especially like that you have lost your excess weight slowly and that you have few, if any, sagging skin problems. This is something that worried me about weight loss surgery, where everyone who gets it seems to also get severely sagging skin from the weight loss. I've been excused from WLS. I'm too high-risk for it and now, after reading your story, I'm truly glad that I was a WLS-rejectee. Thanks so much for your story! Report
Thank you for sharing your story. I know that you have helped many. Report
I too have cut back drastically on added sugars and artificial sweeteners - and it feels awesome!
WTG!! Jon!! Report
I'm a sugar addict definitely. Great article. Congratulations Jon. Report
What an inspiration you are. And what an eye opener your story was. I am definitely addicted to sugar, I knew that but used a lot of artificial sweeteners, I am going to try giving up both. It will be a struggle but I know it is something I must do. Thank you for the motivation. Report
Since I’ve had children,cutting sugar like this is the best way for to get it off. Back at it again. Congrats to you! Report
You inspire me. Thank you. Report
Thank you! When you start reading labels, it is amazing the foods that have sugar hidden in them! Report
Great job! Report
It’s a health hazard and people are clueless Report
I am starting very slowly. I hope to get to that point one day. I drink my decaf coffee now without sugar. Report
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
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
This is so inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing! Report
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
Jon, Congratulations. Your story is touching and inspiring, thank you for sharing it with all of us. God Bless. Report
Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. So inspiring! Report
Way to go! Report
Congrats, Jon on your success! Report