300 Pounds and Counting: Greg's Two-Year Transformation

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Imagine carrying around three large Labrador dogs, nine cinderblocks or 36 gallons of water—constantly, for many, many years. Think about how difficult (or downright impossible) it would be to walk, run, play with your kids or grandkids, or even just climb a few stairs. Now, imagine finally being able to set down that weight, and how light and free you would feel.

Greg Palmer (GPALMER) knows a thing or two about shedding that type of heavy burden. In just a little over two years, he has lost more than 300 pounds. Since his amazing transformation, Greg has become a motivating presence here at SparkPeople, as he shares his inspiring messages and photos on our Community Feed.

Weight Loss the "Old-Fashioned Way"

A single man living in a small Georgia town, Greg was a technician at General Motors and owned a home on three acres. On paper, life was good—but as of January 2015, his weight had hit a dangerous high of 524 pounds, and he felt helpless and powerless to make a change.

At 46 years old, Greg struggled with sleep apnea, edema and back trouble. Too big for the shower, he was forced to wash off in the sink. When his stomach got stuck underneath the steering wheel of his truck, he knew his health, and his life, were in jeopardy. It was then that he quit his job to focus on losing weight.
"I used to see all the commercials, lose 20 pounds, lose 50 pounds…and I would think it would take me forever to lose that much," he says. With such a large amount to lose, it would have been easy for Greg to turn to weight loss surgery or fad diets. Instead, he opted for the "old fashioned" way: eating right and exercising.
At the beginning of his journey, Greg couldn't walk 50 feet without stopping. “I started by driving to the local Walmart, walking halfway in and then turning around and walking back out to my truck,” he says. “Every day, I would go up there and walk. Eventually, I would walk around the entire store three or four times, and became known as walking man of Walmart.” Today, Greg walks eight or nine miles every day. In one community post, he confessed to having somewhat of an obsession with his newfound activity: "I walk before breakfast, I walk while I eat my breakfast sandwich, I walk before lunch, I walk after lunch, before and after dinner! And as I'm typing this, guess what I'm doing: WALKING!"
For an extra fat-burning boost, Greg supplements his daily walks with strength training three times a week. One sample weight workout might include seven sets of 15 reps with dumbbells, five sets of 15 reps of lat pulldowns, five sets of 15 reps of triceps extensions and five sets of 15 reps of front chest pulldowns.

Meanwhile, Greg's diet underwent a complete overhaul. He cut out all simple sugars, eating primarily protein and healthy fats, limiting his carbs to 50 grams per day and drinking only water. To kick-start the weight loss process, he stuck to 1,500-1,800 calories per day and burned around 3,000.
For breakfast, Greg often eats a chicken sandwich on wheat bread or Cheerios with two-percent milk and a cup of peaches. Lunch is often a salad with baked chicken and low-fat ranch dressing. Dinner might be baked fish, chicken or pork chops with steamed veggies and cashews. Some of Greg's healthy snack choices include celery and hummus, fruit, almonds, low-sugar peanut butter or a protein bar. Some of his “taboo foods” include pizza, tacos and all fast foods. “If you have to drive through to get it, I don't eat it,” he says.

A Whole New Life

After 2-1/2 years of hard work, Greg had gone from 524 pounds to 220 pounds. His 64-inch waist was down to 36 inches—over two feet of circumference.
The first thing Greg noticed was his soaring energy levels. Suddenly, he was able to do all the things that had seemed impossible before, like doing yard work and cutting the grass with a push mower. His sleep problems and back pain disappeared. And when he climbed into his truck, there were a whole two feet between his stomach and the steering wheel. Instead of shopping at specialty shops and paying outrageous prices, Greg can buy his clothes at “normal” stores and fits in practically everything.
That said, Greg does have an underlying worry about whether he’s exercising enough to counteract his calorie intake. In a way, his old obsession with food has been transferred to exercise and weights.


Greg's Top 9 Tips for Losing 100+ Pounds

  1. Pay close attention to portions. In Greg's motivating posts, he often sings the praises of portion control as perhaps the most important element of successful weight loss. "If you eat too much of anything, you won't lose," he says. "Have a piece of candy or an individual snack cake every now and then, just don't eat the whole box or bag." Not sure what constitutes a portion? Check our Portion Distortion Guide.
  2. Eat what fuels you. After losing 300 pounds, one of Greg's most surprising discoveries was that food simply wasn't that important anymore. He now lives by the motto eat to live, don't live to eat. "I know junk tastes good, but after you eat and you're full, does it really matter what it was?"
  3. Find a support system. Greg has leveraged SparkPeople as a way to keep him accountable for his food intake and activity. "Everyone has been very supportive, with very inspiring comments. It makes it feel like you're not alone on this journey,” he says. "I love showing my progress, in hopes that it helps other people." Greg also received boundless support from his mother, who believed in him even when he felt hopeless. "Without her, none of this would have been possible. Family is is a big part of weight loss."
  4. Get creative about beating cravings. Greg struggled with cravings for the first few months of his journey. To keep hunger at bay, he ramped up his protein intake. When he felt like he really had to have junk food, he would pick it up at the grocery store, walk around with it for a while and then put it back on the shelf. By the time he got home, the craving would be gone, and he enjoyed the small victory of not buying the junk food. "In two years, I've had a piece of cake and a doughnut," he says. "I see other people eating that stuff and it doesn't bother me at all now…give it some time and things like that won't bother you either!"
  5. Don't fall for get-thin-quick schemes. Greg cautions against ads and commercials hawking expensive meals plans and fad diets for quick weight loss. "Just cut out junk and simple sugars, and eat meat and veggies," he recommends.
  6. Don't deprive yourself completely. "Enjoy some guilty pleasures every now and then, because if you don't, you'll find yourself giving in and giving up," Greg says. "And remember portion control! Eat a piece of cake or cup of ice cream, but only a piece or cup, small at that, and be done with it!" Try these 10 smart splurges.
  7. Stay consistent…To succeed at three-digit weight loss, consistency is key. "You've got to keep going to see results," says Greg. "You can't do a little here and there and go back to the old ways and start all over again."
  8. …but don't overdo it. Greg is no stranger to overtraining. In one post, he talked about feeling lightheaded and fatigued after walking nine miles for seven days in a row, along with three days of weight training, while only eating around 1,500 calories per day. "I've become obsessed with walking off everything I eat…I guess I don't know when to quit!" While it's great to stay consistent and committed, rest days allow your muscles to repair and rebuild, leaving you refreshed and energized for your next workout.
Although his official weight loss journey took two and a half years, Greg says that in a way, it has taken his whole life to lose the 300 pounds. For other Sparkers who have a lot to lose, he encourages them to stick with it. "If it looks like you can't make it, look back and say, 'I'm a lot further then I used to be,'" he says. "Don’t give up—keep pushing! There will be good days and bad days, and once you start losing the weight, there will be a lot more good days." 

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OSOS12341 3/20/2018
OSOS12341 3/20/2018
OSOS12341 3/19/2018
JANET552 3/2/2018
Thank you for sharing Greg's remarkable success! Report
BEATRIZ269 2/8/2018
You have accomplished a great feat and I wish you much luck in your journey. Thank you for the motivation. Report
TRIMNUP 1/9/2018
Wow! The photos speak volumes and your description of your journey is beautiful. Thank you for sharing this. Report
MEAGOP 12/22/2017
Wow! You are amazing. It makes my heart sing to know that you have transformed your health and you will be here on planet earth for a good, long time, inspiring your friends, loving your family and enjoying your life. Report
GEMGIRL9TO5 12/10/2017
Wow, this is beyond inspiring!! Thank you for sharing your story and re-posting the link. I'm 6 days into my new journey and determined to make my goals. I love the WDD!! Report
ALABAMASUSAN17 10/6/2017
Walking Man, you Sparkle! Report
SYLBA61 9/25/2017
You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us. I review your posts often. It helps me stay motivated. Report
NASFKAB 9/15/2017
Amazing & inspirational Report
LOVELY*LADY 9/10/2017
wish you could train me Report
PWILLOW1 9/6/2017
Thank you for sharing your amazing journey. Report
What an inspiration! Report
SHOAPIE 8/22/2017
Well done Greg. Report
Truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing! Report
NELLJONES 8/22/2017
What an amazing story!! Report
SPARKPEOPLE1951 8/22/2017
Wow what an accomplishment. You must be really proud of yourself. I can't get rid of these 15#. I need to instill some of your habits. Way to go. Report
CECELW 8/21/2017
i'm pretty sure I read this blog before. Definitely worth reading again. It's really an amazing story. Report
ST3PH 8/21/2017
Way to go!! Report
EO4WELLNESS 8/21/2017
Way to go, Greg! Report
PAMBROWN62 8/21/2017
Excellent. I do follow your posts in the community feed. It offers me inspiration as well. Since I am a slow loser and various ailments limit my exercise, knowing this can be accomplished 'naturally, is a great boost. Congratulations and keep moving forward. Report
Great commitment. It's always interesting to see what motivates people to lose. Report
MARINEMAMA 8/21/2017
Inspiring Report
MAGGIEB1971 8/21/2017
I know it tastes good, but after you're full, does it really matter what it was? I'm adopting that motto. I've lost 75# & took a break, & vowed just to maintain until I'm healed from back surgery. I'm ready to commit again, but just wasn't finding the personal "spark" to reignite. This fellow sparkler may just be my key! Report
CJSTANBACK 8/21/2017
You are such a fantastic inspiration! Congratulations on your weight loss journey! Thanks for such a powerful and motivating story! Report
This morning I have spent so much time on this site trying to get my motivation up and running again when I read Greg's story. Talk about motivating! I am going to start following Greg - not only his posts, but his example. Set my "Fast Break" goals and now I'm going to start tracking them. Thanks for being such a good role model! Report
BABSFLA 8/21/2017
Slow and steady wins the race. Great job dude Report
MYBEST50 8/21/2017
Greg's story is so inspiring. I really appreciate that he shares his journey with us. Everyday I get on I look for a post and picture from Greg. He should be very proud of his accomplishments. Thank you for sharing. Report
VICKYLYLES 8/21/2017
Very inspiring story!! Report
LEEFULLY 8/21/2017
Way to GO, Greg!!! You are such an inspiration to me. TY for your posts! Report
PICKIE98 8/21/2017
yagottawanna! Report
KAREN1035 8/21/2017
Amazing. Report
He's so inspiring! And I have noticed he is very active! Still won't stop! He's a beast!!! Great job! Report
FLAVI67 8/21/2017
This is amazing! congratulations. Thanks for the inspiration. Report
DJ4HEALTH 8/21/2017
Amazing transformation! Report
ELLENJ17 8/20/2017
Absolutely fabulous! Thank-you for sharing! Report
QUEEN3510VA 8/7/2017
Congratulations on your success. Awesomeness, thanks for sharing Report
NASFKAB 8/6/2017
you look fabulous & you are an inspiration too Report
COMEBACKKID12 8/5/2017
Yes! I've seen him on Spark! ;) Mighty good lookin' man, too! :D Such an inspiration and a FINE example. God Bless you for finding your way ;) Thanks for letting us in on your secrets! Report
KWOOD1955 8/3/2017
You are certainly an inspiration -- and lookin' fabulous!! Report
KATHYJO56 8/2/2017
Kudos to you. Are a real inspiration to anybody who ever wanted to achieve anything. Report
LOUIE-LILY 8/1/2017
I keep coming back here for inspiration! Report
SMCO59 7/30/2017
Thank you for your story, just started SparksPeople today and have 150 lbs to lose. Again thanks for the inspiration. Report
SMUSSER1 7/30/2017
You are such an amazing man. Very inspiring. I look forward to your posts everyday. It helps to get me thru the day without overeating. Report
BARBRUCKER1 7/30/2017
Wow! JUST WOW!!!! You are an inspiration. Report
Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your journey to great health.....so motivating. I'm off for a long walk. Report
MISSBEZ 7/28/2017
Once again, you have proven this weight loss thing is not rocket science. Keep moving, modify your diet and be a member of Sparkpeople (lol), for all the other information you need to get results! Your have inspired me, to go forward. Report
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