Eddie McCoy, 37, Controller of an Industrial Contractor, Villa Rica, GA

How much weight have you lost? 120 lbs

After: Eddie McCoy

After: Eddie McCoy

Tell us what the “old you” used to be like: I was a guy who grew up being competitive, but never good in any sports. I was always on the chubby side and played offensive line in high school football. I went to college at Auburn University where I worked with the football team and could remain fairly active. My senior year, I got a full ride to do video and that involved a lot of late nights and eating terrible. That was the point which I started really packing on the weight.

Once I got out into the real world and started sitting behind a desk, it just got worse. I had ballooned up to over 300 lbs. I was not very active and remained that way for several years. I liked to play golf and hunt ducks, but other than that, I hated going outside or sitting outside. Living in the South during the summer, I would sweat my butt off because I was so big. I had trouble catching my breath if I did anything labor intensive. I just wasn’t in good shape at all.

What prompted your weight loss? I went to the doctor’s office for a yearly physical, and my blood pressure was really high. High to the point where they really were considering putting me on medication to control it. At the time, I had two daughters, Emma the oldest at almost three years old, and my youngest daughter Abby who had just been born a couple of months earlier. I had a real fear that I was going to die of a heart attack and that my daughters were going to grow up without a father. It totally scared the daylight out of me. I knew that I had to change and change permanently.

How did you lose the weight? As a person that had struggled with weight for most of my life, I had done a couple of “diets” that would lead me to lose 50 lbs and 70 lbs.  But each time I did that, I deprived myself of things that I enjoyed and when I was satisfied with my results, I would just cave in and eventually gain all the weight back plus some. After being scared by my blood pressure, I drove straight to the 24-hour gym that was just opening and immediately signed up. I started the next day by hitting the elliptical machine. I honestly started without a real plan, but adopted portion control of the foods I liked. I would not give up anything, but I would monitor and log what I would eat. I also became one and the same with the Elliptical machine. I would go seven days a week and spend an hour on that machine each day. By monitoring my intake and working out, I would work my way down. In the end, it was really hard work and busted my butt. The funny thing is that the more I lost, the more my food tastes changed. I would not like the “crap” that I used to eat and I would willingly choose healthier options and preferred them.

Before: Eddie McCoy

Before: Eddie McCoy

I eventually added weight lifting to the mix to start toning up. When I started lifting, I made a friend that would really change the course of my life at the gym. I was a Disney fanatic, and he was too. He also liked to run. He challenged me to run a half marathon at Disney, a challenge that I eventually accepted. I was convinced that I could not run outside because I had a bad knee from playing football in high school. I trained exclusively on the elliptical machine and showed up for the 2011 Wine & Dine Half marathon not knowing exactly what to expect. I ran that race without stopping. I was completely dead at the end, but that feeling of crossing that finish line changed me. I knew from that point, even though  I was so sore I could barely walk, that running was going to be a big part of me.

It turns out that not only did I enjoy it, but I was actually pretty good at running. I pushed myself hard and made a commitment in early January 2012 to run a marathon and qualify for Boston. Later that October in 2012, I did it. I qualified for the Boston Marathon. For someone that could barely run one hundred yards without being completely gassed, it was an amazing turn of events for me. I continue to run six days a week and I never have an issue getting out of bed at 3:30 a.m to get the day started. I love it.

How long did it take? It took me about 16 months to lose all the weight.

What was the hardest part? The hardest challenge for me was getting up early in the morning and making that a routine. If I got up at 4:00 a.m, that would be a time that no one would interfere with. It would be my time. Getting adapted to that schedule was the hardest part.

Most fun part of your weight loss? The most enjoyable thing, by far, was doing things that I once thought were impossible. There is nothing quite like sticking up the middle finger at your old self and saying “look what I just did!”

Most rewarding experience? The obvious most rewarding experience for me is the fact that my girls have never really known the “fat” Eddie version. They still cannot believe it is me when they see pictures. Another highly rewarding experience was crossing the finish line of the 2014 Boston Marathon. I didn’t have nearly the race I had hoped, but the feeling of knowing I earned my way to that great race and I will be forever known as a Boston Marathon Finisher is something no one can ever take away from me.

Who/what inspires you when you feel like quitting? I never feel like quitting. I’m always running away from the old person I used to be, so I never think for one second about quitting. “Fat Eddie “still scares me and drives me.

How has this weight loss changed you life? It has changed how I feel about things. It has made me determined to be a good role model for my daughters and hope to help them live an active lifestyle. From a professional point of view, I believe people look at me differently and sadly … with more respect because I am not over weight. I could not imagine a day in which I don’t want to be outside doing something. The only thing that keeps me from going outside is ice and lightning. I love running in extremes and I think others see that and it helps them to get out as well.

Have any advice for others who’d like to lose weight? Don’t diet. It doesn’t work. It will never work. The only thing that works is making a lifestyle change. Embrace it. Bust your butt and reap the rewards. I’m living proof that you can do the impossible.

Your must-have fitness equipment: My running shoes.

Favorite training song: Depends on when, but right now probably Fall Out Boy “Uma Thurman”. I go with the times.

Favorite healthy food: Hmm…I still stink at this as I struggle to eat vegetables. Don’t follow my lead on eating healthy. I would have to say grilled chicken!

Favorite not-so-healthy food: Pizza without a doubt.

Funniest /weirdest/most awkward experience during your weight loss journey: When I show up to the start line of 5k & 10k races, I always get someone coming up to me after a race and tell me that they just knew they were going to beat me … but then I would run away from them. For a faster runner, I’m big compared to others that run this same speed.  It’s always fun to have someone judge me at a start line and come up shocked at the end.

Future goals: I’ve done Boston and I would honestly like to go back, but the next big challenge for me is taking on the Ironman. I have a goal to do the 2016 Chattanooga Ironman. I have recently bought a bike and I’m about to start hitting the pool. It will be a huge test but one I will embrace.

Eddie, Not only have you accomplished so much yourself, we know how much you positively influence others. Your leadership in running groups via social media is doing so much to help so many people follow in your slim and speedy footsteps. Kudos! Fitz and the entire team at Fitzness.com