Adam Park always felt left out because of his weight. "I couldn't go on roller coasters, swim, ski, or snowboard," he remembers. "By my teen years, I didn't really have any friends. I was never bullied, but I still felt left out because my weight kept me from participating in most of the things kids my age were doing. I was shy, and having to hang back because of my weight added to that. It was very lonely."
Even though Adam and his mother were both overweight, his father and brother weren't, and they kept the house stocked with unhealthy snacks. "I overconsumed calories pretty consistently when I was young, especially when it came to snacks and soda," he says. To make matters worse, Adam admits he sat on the sidelines—and on the couch. Throughout his childhood and into his early teen years, he picked up bad habits.
"We had big family dinners every night with meat, potatoes, and vegetables," he says. "They weren't especially unhealthy meals, but we'd fry things and cook with a lot of oils and fats. That, combined with the snacking and lack of exercise, just made it easy to be overweight."
As he was preparing to enter high school, Adam weighed 315 pounds. Desperate to fit in with his classmates, he realized that getting in shape had to happen now or never.
This is Adam's story.
What Was Your Turning Point Or Aha Moment?
I was starting high school, and I still had no friends. I wanted to start fitting in, which meant that I had to change my lifestyle.
What Was The First Thing You Changed?
The first thing I changed was my eating habits. I cut out all snacking and stopped drinking anything other than water. If I had to have a snack, I went for something healthy, like a protein bar instead of chips.
Was Your Family Supportive Of Your Decision To Get Healthy?
My family was behind me 100 percent. They thought my decision to make this change was the greatest thing ever. The most important part was that I came to it on my own terms. My mom has been overweight her entire life and was always told to lose weight, so she was adamant about never telling me that I had to lose weight.
Everyone wanted it to be my decision, and as soon as I made that decision, they stood right behind me. I think they thought that if they pushed me to do it, I might rebel and fight back. I'm glad they waited and let me make that choice for myself.
What Did Your First Steps On Your Healthy Journey Look Like?
As soon as I made the decision to start getting healthy, my parents gave me a gym membership and hired me a personal trainer. I couldn't do it all on my own, and they knew that. That was one of the biggest ways they supported me.
They also made an effort to cut back on keeping unhealthy snacks in the house and bought more fruits and vegetables for me to eat. They cleaned out the basement so I could set up a home gym. They really did everything they could to help me get healthy.
Has Your Transformation Led To Healthier Habits For The Rest Of Your Family?
The rest of the family has tried to adopt some of my eating habits, and my mom has lost 30-40 pounds. They go for walks and eat healthier snacks now. It's been a positive change for the whole family.
How Did You Start To Incorporate Fitness Into Your Lifestyle?
The only piece of exercise equipment we had was a treadmill, so that's where I started. Within the first couple months, I started to see weight come off, just from walking and running on the treadmill daily. I also noticed I had more energy. I was happier and more outgoing. When I walked by the mirror, I would look at myself, whereas before I avoided my reflection.
What Was The Most Challenging Thing For You At The Gym?
At first, my confidence was shot. I was so self-conscious that I didn't want my trainer taking me out on the floor. We used a private room at the gym instead.
Once I learned proper form and developed better balance so I wouldn't fall, I was able to work out on the floor with everyone else.
When Did You Discover Bodybuilding.Com?
I came across Bodybuilding.com at about the same time I started going to the gym. Once I started lifting weights, I looked up workouts. One that I used early on was the Beginner's Fat Loss Program. I saw good results from sticking to that, and then I was hooked.
How Did The Site Affect Your Transformation?
It was really an all-in-one place for the information I was looking for at that point. If I want to work on a specific part of my body, but I'm not sure how, I can ask on BodySpace and learn what other people's favorite moves are.
I was able to find meal plans and workout ideas, too. I actually based my own meal plan on several others I saw on the site. The common factor was lean protein and healthy carbs, so I used that as a base to start forming my own diet.
How Did You Create The Meal Plan You Use Now?
Bodybuilding.com helped me figure out my meal plan. After reading through diet plans on the site, I started increasing my protein intake and moderated my carbs. Eventually, through a lot of trial and error, I took those basics and turned them into the diet that works for me.
How Do You Curb Cravings?
I've always craved soda, but all I need to do to overcome cravings is look in the mirror. I have a lot of excess skin, and seeing that in the mirror serves as a daily reminder of what I used to look like. I don't want to go back to that. I see how far I've come, and it gives me the willpower to say no to my old, unhealthy habits.
How Did You Transition From Working With A Trainer To Setting Your Own Workouts?
I worked with my trainer for about four or five months. We weren't able to keep paying for sessions at that point, but he still said I could call him if I ever had questions or needed help. I felt a lot more confident. I was able to keep using the same workout plans my trainer had shown me, or change them up by learning about new workouts online.
How Did You Stay Motivated When You Wanted To Quit?
When I started seeing results, I realized that fitness is my future. I can't go back. I have to keep moving forward.