This is a story about a 64-year-old retired teamster from Louisville, Kentucky who has the body of an Olympic weight lifter.
His name is Robert Durbin, but you can call him “Rock Hard Papaw.”
Why Robert is not a viral video star is beyond me, but the old man—who was once overweight after a series of ankle injuries and a heart aneurism—regularly publishes videos of himself pulling off feats of strength on his YouTube Channel.
Robert works out three hours every day, his regimen a combination of strength training, CrossFit, and yoga. “I do 150 pull ups a day and 400 push ups a day,” he said. “It’s a mad operation.”
Mad indeed, but the Rock Hard Papaw isn’t fading away in the twilight of his life. “I feel 45. I’ve never felt this way. I know I look old, but I don’t feel like it.”
Just five years ago, Robert needed canes and walkers to get around, and was fitted with metallic braces on his ankles to help mobility. “Then I had an extended aortic aneurism. My health was going downhill fast and I just wanted to be able to do stuff with my grandkids,” explained Robert.
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The Biggest Loser is a popular show about average people who have not been successful losing weight by themselves. They see the show as both a last resort, and a second chance. Thousands try out each year but only 16 make the cut. Josh Steele knows all about this process. He’s been writing to the Biggest Loser for years, but was never chosen for the show. What happens to BL contestant hopefuls when they don’t make the cut? If you’re Josh, you embrace the old-school motto, “eat less, move more,” and by doing so, Josh lost a phenomenal 250 pounds! This is his story.
At nearly 7 foot tall, Josh Steele is a man who can afford to carry a few extra pounds and still be healthy, but the day he weighed in at just shy of 600 pounds, he knew his height couldn’t compensate any longer. Always a big strapping lad, he said he didn’t even really notice the weight coming on because it happened so gradually. ”I think back and realized I just became lazy,” he confessed. “Partying and late night eating caught up to me.”
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Today’s true weight loss story comes to us from Las Vegas, Nevada where Amanda Shepherd is enjoying the freedom of being 60 pounds thinner and has her eye on a future Tough Mudder competition. The look on her face in the before and after pictures says it all, she’s a pretty happy girl. We asked Amanda to tell us about her journey.
Tell me when your weight struggles began. I’ve always been the bigger kid in school. I was made fun of, but I always chose to surround myself with friends who didn’t care that I couldn’t fit in to double zero jeans. I never noticed that I was the bigger kid. I was a cheerleader, even though I was the biggest one.
It was in college that I stopped being as active, and started eating (and drinking) a lot more than I should have. That’s when the weight started coming on strong.
What habits specifically led you to gain weight? I ate whatever tasted good, and I ate a lot of it. I drank on the weekends because it was the cool thing to do. I wasn’t active at all. Exercise was not in my daily routine. I took the “freshman 15″ seriously.
What caused you to realize you needed to change? The day I stepped on the scale, realized I hit 240lbs, looked in the mirror and cried. I just had knee surgery and it was hard to hold my weight. I could hardly walk up the stairs without breathing heavily. I knew that if I wanted my life to go somewhat back to normal after surgery, I had to start losing weight, immediately.
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Eli Sapharti is no stranger to the taunts that come from cruel children and ignorant adults. Over the years he’s been saddled with nicknames like, “Fat Boy” “Bubble Butt” “Bench Warmer” and more. Now, 105 pounds thinner, Eli boasts a body fat percentage of only 10% and he’s currently training to compete in the Physique Division of a Men’s Bodybuilding Competition in February 2014. We’re guessing he’s earned a few new nicknames that put a smile on his face.
Growing up, Eli remembers always being the kid who got picked last for sports teams, the one who endured teasing, bullying and being stuck in the dreaded friend zone when it came to girls. After a growth spurt in the 9th grade, his body lengthened and lost weight, but the pounds didn’t stay away for long. “I simply enjoyed food,” he explained. “As most over -eaters, I used food as my drug of choice. Horrible eating habits and zero physical activity led me to gain an incredible amount of weight.”
Eli knew he was unhealthy, he was aware his weight had crept up to a dangerous level but that awareness wasn’t enough to spur him into action. “It wasn’t like I didn’t know that I was very overweight and needed to lose weight,” he said. “I mean, I was suffering from high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, severe anxiety and panic disorder. That should have been enough to get me to do something about it, but it didn’t.”
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Not long ago, Kevin Griffin worked in Wichita, Kansas. In fact, his office wasn’t far from Diets In Review. We knew Kevin was a great guy, but we didn’t realize what an internal struggle he was having with his weight. When he decided to take a job in Tokyo, Japan, we said goodbye and wished him well. When we learned what a positive impact the Japanese culture was having on him, including a 110 pound weight loss in just one year, and a total loss of 160 pounds, we knew he needed to be our next True Weight Loss Story. Recently we spoke to Kevin about his 6,000 mile journey.
Looking back, Kevin said he realizes his weight gain in college was directly related to a sedentary lifestyle, late night eating and soda addiction. “It seems impossible now, but when I think back, I must have been drinking 30–40 ounces of soda a day,” he explained. “Cheap summer drinks and open soda fountains made it something I didn’t even think twice about.” He knew he needed to lose weight but the initial thought was too intimidating, that is until a friend started to shed pounds. “ My friend was very much like me, and seeing his results really made me believe it was possible. . . I knew I had to do it, and my friend showed me it really could happen,” Kevin said. By counting calories, he noticed an encouraging 40 pound reduction, then, he received a job offer that would take him out of the United States and out of his comfort zone.
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