My One Year Body Transformation

For the majority of my life I was very skinny. There was a chubby phase that I went through, but that ended when I hit a growth spurt in middle school. Since then, I’ve been cursed with being “skinny-fat.”

I started working out and made some progress and floated around 160 lbs give or take a few pounds. During my last year of college, I unfortunately stopped taking care of my body. I wanted to enjoy senior year and my healthy habits vanished. I would drink throughout the week, sometimes everyday, eat fast food multiple times a day, and feel too lazy to go to the gym. Day after day, week after week, this kept going on and the results were not pretty. I thought that I would change once I graduated, but unfortunately I kept to my new unhealthy lifestyle in the summer as well.

July 2017

July 2017

July 2017

July 2017

It wasn’t until going on vacation that summer with my family in July that I realized something had to change. I hit a weight of 196 at around 24-26% body fat... I don’t even think I’ve ever hit past 175 my whole life. I started to avoid looking at myself in the mirror. I even started to avoid pictures in general whenever possible which is why I don’t have a proper picture of myself in front of the mirror. The picture here is one that my little cousin took of me while I wasn’t really paying attention. I was embarrassed and really hated where I was in my health. 

The summer came to an end and I started my volunteering program in Kansas City, Missouri at the end of July. It was time for a change. 

November 2017

November 2017

As a volunteer, I wanted to live simply and truly walk with those I served. My program in particular had a lot more luxuries than most (groceries, transportation, etc.) but I still wanted to challenge myself. I made about $92 bi-weekly for my stipend for the six months that I served and I tried to calculate my expenses, especially food. I worked between 50 and 60 hours a week at a school I loved, ate clean and on a budget, and exercised at least 5 times a week. This brings me to this picture of my body on the right in November 2017.

Here, I was at about 150 lbs with 9-12% body fat. I was proud of myself for the progress I had made, but I wasn’t sure if this was in fact, “healthy.” I lost a total of 46 lbs in 16 weeks, which averages to about 2.875 lbs per week. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I realized that my lifestyle didn’t feel right to me. I was exhausted most days and I would binge eat at least once a week. My physical appearance was great, but my mental state was still in a weird place. Definitely not ideal. 

My volunteering came to an end in December and I moved to Florida to start my new job as an engineer in January. Since moving to Florida, I made it an absolute priority, a mission, to get back to a healthy weight and improve my overall lifestyle with small changes in my habits that were sustainable. I know very little about fitness except for the articles I read here and there, so I finally decided to get professional help. Best decision ever. 

I can without a doubt say that I wouldn’t have been able to be where I am today without my amazing nutritionist, Jennifer Ainsworth. Through her expertise and advice, we mapped out key goals, not a plan of strict dieting or exercise routines. Our main focus was to adjust my lifestyle little by little to be healthier and more sustainable. For example, cooking three more meals at home that week, or exercising at least 4 days a week, or something as simple as drinking more water throughout the day and cutting back on alcohol.

I really resonated with this approach because it worked for me and my schedule. I work 9 hours a day. I get tired. Sometimes I forget to prep my meals. This plan wasn’t a super strict rule book that I had to stay 100% in line with. As you know, life happens and it doesn’t wait for anyone. This approach allowed for flexibility which in the long run, helped me succeed and reach my personal goals. So I encourage you to find what works for you! 


This picture to the left shows what I look like now. July 2018. One entire year later from the first picture in this post. I am at 165 lbs with 13.6% body fat. I feel great and am really happy with my overall lifestyle. I finally feel confident in my body and am proud of all of my hard work! All of the food tracking, consistent exercise, and meditation paid off in more ways than one. Looking in the mirror now has a whole new meaning because both my lifestyle and my mindset have dramatically shifted for the better.

The journey has been wild, but it’s not over yet. I have new goals that I hope to attain. I don’t think the journey will ever will be over, nor do I want it to be. That’s the beauty of it all; the journey. 

To bring this all together, the one true lesson that I’ve learned that I know will keep me striving and thriving in all aspects of my life is this:


I’ve struggled with the concept of body image my whole entire life, and still catch myself falling victim to it today. What this past year has taught me is that our bodies will change and we can’t stop that. What we can do is change our minds, our mental states. 

I want to challenge each and every one of you to choose to live in a beautiful state by loving yourself and who you are. Sure, maybe you aren’t physically at the place you want to be, but if you aren’t in a healthy place mentally first, you will never be satisfied with your life. 

Spread love. Live healthy. Share your story. 

If you are in any need of advice, support, or just want to hear the details of how this body transformation happened, please do not hesitate to comment below or email me at I would love nothing more than to talk to you and help you in any way! 


Stay Safe, Stay You =]

John Lee

John LeeComment