We love hearing from people who have a True Weight Loss Story because we not only feel privileged to tell such amazing stories of health and transformation, but we also get excited at the chance to inspire others.
So when 42-year-old truck driver John Drury reached out to us about this 100-plus pound weight loss through dance fitness, we simply couldn’t wait to chat.
Growing up, John was an avid athlete which contributed to his tall, skinny build. “I was always into sports. But as you get older in life you settle down and get married,” he said. “And that’s when I started driving a truck.”
John’s career change affected his eating habits and activity level immensely. He started accepting free food from the restaurants he was delivering to on the job, which was mostly fast food or high-calorie meals. And spending 60-70 hours a week behind the wheel didn’t leave much time to get to the gym.
Through this process, it didn’t take long for John’s weight to skyrocket to nearly 400 pounds. But in February 2011, after a much-needed change, John jumped at the chance to participate in a local radio station’s Biggest Loser contest, which provided him with all of the tools he needed to lose the weight. This included a personal trainer and nutritionist.
Over the course of the 3-month contest, John learned an incredible amount about diet and nutrition, and how portion size was key to controlling his calorie intake. He also started making a concerted effort to get up and walk around during his truck delivery stops instead of sitting down. And these small changes started making a big difference.
By the end of the contest John had lost an amazing 54 pounds. And even afterwards he continued on his own and managed to lose another 50, bringing his total weight loss to more than 100 pounds in less than one year. But perhaps the most exciting change came when John rediscovered his love for Zumba.
“I did a lot dancing growing up in my early teens. I had rhythm and loved to dance. But you can’t dance when you’re that big, even though I tried,” he said. John kept hearing about Zumba, and that it had a fun, Latin feel. And after trying it a few times, he knew he’d found something he really loved to do.
“I’m 6’7” and 290 pounds with tattoos all over the place,” he said. “But I felt that strongly about it that I broke all stereotypes and stepped out of the box.”
It wasn’t long before John was itching for more variety in dance and music styles, so he decided to branch out and get certified as a fitness dance instructor so he could teach his own classes. Not long after, he founded Big John’s Dance Fitness – a studio where he now teaches dance fitness to people his community.
This means that during the week, John’s a truck driver. But on the weekends, you’ll find him leading students through hip hop and high-energy dance routines with songs from Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, and a whole slough of other popular artists. It may sound like an unlikely scenario, but it’s what he truly loves to do.
As for what his family thinks of his recent lifestyle changes, John says they’re totally on board. He’s been married to his wife Lori for 18 years, and the pair has two sons ages 18 and 9. “My wife loves it, she’s a big supporter,” he said. “She and my kids join me from time to time at the studio. We’re kind of like a team.” John said Lori helps with paperwork at his new business, and he credits her support as one of the main reasons he branched out and pursued his dream.
“No matter what I work out, I eat right and I drink my water,” he said. “Find something that you love to do and push yourself – get out of your comfort zone. Exercise isn’t supposed to be comfortable. When someone feels uncomfortable they stop, but that’s the problem.”
Through his weight loss experience, John said he’s never felt so empowered in his life. And he ultimately just wants to continue being the best fit person he can be. In addition to taking up biking in the future or finally getting on a roller coaster with his kids, John’s other goal is to dance with Ellen DeGeneres on the Ellen Show. While that may sound like a lofty ambition to some, obstacles haven’t seemed to stand in the way of John in the past, so we see this as a perfectly attainable goal and wish him luck in achieving it.