This article was originally published on MensHealth.com
When Andy Albertson was a kid, you could catch him outside playing baseball, basketball, and soccer.
It wasn’t until the fifth grade that he started filling his body with soda and fast food. After he started packing a few extra pounds, he dropped a couple sports and continued to gain weight into middle school, where kids would call him “Andyopolis,” reports Today. At his heaviest in college, he tipped the scales at 144 kilograms.
The 22-year-old Texas native admits that he turned to food for comfort when things got hard. “That’s the cycle you are in,” Albertson told TODAY. “You get sad so you eat to feel better and then you have eaten, and you feel bad again, and you eat again.”
He grew so self-conscious of his appearance that he would go to all of his college classes early, just so he could get a seat in the back row where no one could look at him, he revealed in a video. “I used to tell myself, ‘Oh I don’t care what people think. It doesn’t matter.’ But deep down inside ... I hated the way I felt and looked,” he said.
He finally decided to do something about it in January 2015. The first step was simple: He started hitting the gym and did an hour’s worth of cardio on the elliptical every day. That alone helped Albertson drop 10 kilos in a month.
After losing 27 kilograms, he couldn’t lose any more weight, so he decided to enlist the help of a trainer. They got together 3 days a week, and in a month he saw more progress through his new cardio and diet plan.
His trainer kept him motivated, even when he wanted nothing more than to call it quits. Now, after about a year, he’s down 80 kilograms – and he owes his success to three things: having the guts to start the process, researching menus before eating at restaurants, and going through the journey with his mom, who has also lost 25 kilos and kept him accountable along the way. “Having that person there when you are struggling helps a lot,” he said.