Hollywood’s sappiest love stories begin with two beautiful, hot-bodied actors running toward each other on the beach. Romance sparks when they accidentally bump into each other while not paying attention to where they’re going and then, as they say, the rest is history: marriage, pets, 2.5 kids and a white picket fence ensue.
But the type of love stories we prefer to tell are the ones that play out in real life, like the one between Zach and Kathryn Bohannon from Nashville, Tennessee, who, earlier this year, started a dedicated journey to health and have since collectively lost more than 160 pounds. And the best part about it? Once they reach their respective goal weights they’re going to get remarried and take new wedding photos to celebrate their new, happier, healthier selves. Now that’s the kind of romance I think the world should know about.
This true weight loss story focuses first on Zach, 28, who had been overweight his whole life, mostly due to the fact that he was an extremely picky eater as a child which made it extremely hard for his parents to get much healthy food on his plate.
Although he was very active playing hockey and sports in high school, Zach was still overweight because of his poor eating habits despite trying a number of low-carb, high-protein diets that never quite worked.
When Zach met Kathryn after high school, the two quickly fell in love and got engaged. And while engagement is typically a time in a person’s life to slim down for the wedding, Zach admits it was actually a tumultuous time for taking care of his body.
“A lot of my motivation to want to try to lose weight kind of went away after engagement, because I had found this girl I wanted to be with so who did I really have to impress at this point?”
At the time Zach was playing in heavy metal band and touring often, which didn’t allow much time for working out. Plus, he was stuck eating fast food and high-calorie takeout and from there, he says, his weight got really out of control. Although touring ended once he and Kathryn got married, Zach said his health continued to take a turn for the worse.
But then, about 1.5 years ago, one of Zach’s co-workers who was a personal trainer started talking to him about his health and poor eating habits. While nothing stuck at first, over time Zach started to trust his friend’s opinion and that’s when his weight loss journey began.
“The first thing he suggested was giving up soda. It was really subtle but it stuck with me,” he said. “At that point, I was drinking 6-7 sodas a day. And the next day I quit drinking soda and I haven’t had one since.”
A short time later, Kathryn suggested joining the local YMCA but Zach was opposed to the idea because he was afraid it’d be a waste of money and they’d never go. But after touring the gym and feeling good about it, the two agreed to give it a try. On their first trip to the gym, Zach weighed himself and knew things had to change when he saw he was at 300 pounds. He started working out six days a week and saw results pretty quickly.
“Within three months of doing that I lost 30 pounds,” he said. “I got down to 270 but had no idea what I was doing. I was a slave to the machines.”
Despite some minor success, a big bump in the road came when he and Kathryn returned from a family vacation in South Carolina and never quite got back into their workout routines. Before he realized it, Zach had gained back 15 pounds and at that point, practically gave up on ever losing the weight.
But when he least expected it, a real turning point came when one evening, after Zach watched “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead,” – a documentary about one man’s drastic weight loss through a 60-day juice fast – he came to some serious realizations about his diet.
“I started thinking to myself, ‘Where did I fail?’ When I looked back, I was doing all this stuff in the gym, but I was still eating so bad. So when I sat down and looked at it, I realized I was putting 100% into 50% of the solution,” he said. “When I’m in the kitchen or the drive-thru I’m not putting the effort in there. I was only putting effort in at the gym.”
Inspired by the film, Zach and Kathryn decide to do their own juice fast to re-boot their diet. After receiving a juicer for Christmas, they dedicated themselves to a 30-day fast that included only fresh fruits and vegetables and homemade juice.
In just one month, Zach lost 38 pounds and more importantly, reset his appetite to no longer crave salty, processed foods. After the 30 days ended, he and Kathryn constructed an eating plan that was both calorie-wise and sustainable, as they didn’t want it to be a temporary change, but rather, a longterm lasting change.
This led the couple to practicing portion control, completely cutting out alcohol and processed foods, and counting calories with the mobile app My Fitness Pal. Among other healthy changes, Zach now only drinks water and limits his red meat consumption to once a week. And those small changes have paid off.
As of this week, Zach weighs 204, just 4 pounds shy of a 100 pound weight loss – the majority of which he’s done this year. And Kathryn is down 60 pounds as well. Now, the pair maintains their healthy lifestyle by continuing to educate themselves on balanced eating, exercise and healthy habits they can sustain over a lifetime as a couple.
Current goals for Zach include becoming a certified personal trainer, and of course, reaching his goal weight of 180 for the second biggest day of his life: The day he’ll re-marry his wife. Now that’s the kind of love story we find big-screen worthy. Follow the lead up to the big day on Zach’s blog I Once Was Fat But Now I See, where he posts regular updates about he and Kathryn’s progress.