The first thing Nathan Benis did on his 165-pound weight-loss journey

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Weight-Loss Win

is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.

Nathan Benis is 36, 5’ 9”, and currently weighs 195 pounds. In 2017, after his health was deteriorating due to diabetes, he was inspired to change his lifestyle for the sake of his future. This is the story of his weight-loss journey.

The Turning Point

I remember weight becoming an issue when I was around 8 years old. Even at that age, I was already addicted to soda and sugary foods. I loved having a sandwich, fruit snacks, and snack cakes at lunch — with a soda to wash it all down. I loved watching TV and avoided going out on hot days. I actually read nutrition labels, but I was reading the labels to find the foods with the most sugar, because I thought those were the ones that tasted the best.

The turning point for me to lose weight came in October of 2017, when I was placed on an injection medicine to lower my A1C (which correlates with blood-sugar control) and to control my type 2 diabetes. My A1C was 9.7 (for reference, above a


is generally bad). My doctor was concerned. I was also already waking up multiple times a night gasping for air, and I knew I would soon need a CPAP machine to control my sleep apnea. After I let that all sink in, I took action. Dec. 21, 2017, was when the changes began.

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Nathan started by looking up “weight loss.” (Photo courtesy of Nathan Benis)

The Changes

The first thing I did to tackle my weight loss was to YouTube “weight loss.” Most of the results I found had to do with being in the state of ketosis and/or intermittent fasting/OMAD (One Meal a Day). My next step was to eliminate all sugar from my diet. In the beginning, I ate prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella, which I found prepackaged in the deli section of my local supermarket. Then I searched for other foods with zero sugar. After that I relied on chicken, turkey, beef, pork, eggs, and cheeses. I used these foods to give myself variety, and was always extremely satisfied with both their taste and with being full. I aimed to consume under 1,200 calories a day. I also began to walk, a lot. Before I lost the weight, I struggled to walk at 3 mph. Now I run at 6 mph for 10 minutes on the treadmill with ease. I also began to ride my bicycle quite a bit and would even follow behind my son while he drove his battery-powered dune racer car.

I felt so amazing as I made these changes. I felt like a superhero, with about half the weight and twice the strength. The people closest to me kept me from giving up. I posted Facebook updates, and the comments were very motivating. My priest always greets me by saying, “There is my inspiration.” It makes me smile.

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“I felt reborn.” (Photo courtesy of Nathan Benis)

The After

Once I lost the weight, I felt reborn. My A1C has lowered to 4.7, and my diabetes is no longer an issue. I feel like a different person, with so much more strength and stamina. I can go up ladders, and sit in regular chairs, I can chase my 6-year-old around the playground.

Emotionally, I have always struggled with anxiety. I am still anxious, but the cause of my anxiety is no longer due to health concerns. I also no longer have to go to specialty stores to find clothes. My pant size went from a 52 x 30 to a 32 x 30, my neck is down to 16 inches from 20, and my shoes went from a size 12 to a 10.

The thing that surprised me about my weight loss is how much better my quality of life is now. My only regret is not taking action sooner. On the bright side, having made changes now is better than never. No matter how much you want something you have to actually do something to achieve it. Change requires action, and it really surprised me that I was able to conquer this life-changing process. I am still climbing a mountain here. I am not to the top yet, but it is very much in sight. Looking down below shows me how far I have come.

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“I am still climbing a mountain here.” (Photo courtesy of Nathan Benis)

The Maintenance

These days, I am pushing myself hard and seeing real results. I have been eating zero sugar since Sept. 2, 2018. Foodwise, I am enjoying scrambled eggs and bacon. Also sausage and burgers without a bun, pepperoni and string cheese, grilled chicken with a mustard and mayonnaise mixture which tastes like honey mustard, steak, and turkey. My primary exercise is walking, but keeping up with an active 6-year-old requires a lot of energy. I also do yardwork, housework, and am helping my parents move to their new house, which requires lifting and stair climbing.

What inspires me today is the support I have from my friends and family. Also, other people changing their lives. The people on

My 600 Pound Life

are such an inspiration, and the people I see in the previous

Weight-Loss Win

stories let me know I am not alone. People from any situation are capable of transforming their bodies. I am motivated by every positive thing anybody says to me. It fuels my fire and just makes me want to try even harder. Seeing results motivates me, and I just want to continue getting into better shape.

The Struggles

One thing I struggle with today is my loose skin. I work through it by telling myself that it is a trophy for all of my hard work. It is a reminder of where I came from. I don’t like having to deal with it, but I prefer having loose skin to being where I used to be.

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Loose skin is still a trouble for Nathan. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Benis)


My advice to others wanting to lose weight is to do research. See how your diet is affecting you and learn about what will happen if you don’t change — that alone will likely inspire you to make a transformation. Take control now before it gets any worse. The sooner the better. Don’t do what I did and wait until you start giving yourself shots to control your diabetes or can’t go upstairs without being out of breath. Take things one day at a time. For me, diet was a much bigger problem than exercise. So try reducing sugar intake and gradually eliminate it. I know that can be hard. But just look at what you can do! The proof is in the (sugar-free) pudding!

Need more inspiration? Read about our other

weight-loss winners


Weight-Loss Win

is authored by

Andie Mitchell

, who underwent a

transformative, 135-pound weight loss

of her own.

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