How Keto and Walking Helped This Guy Lose Nearly 90 Pounds

By | January 2, 2020

Alfredo Zuñiga Jr. remembers gaining weight—it happened slowly but consistently from around the time he was eight years old. Now 19 and a college student helping with his family’s business in Fort Worth, Texas, he acknowledges that the reason the pounds kept creeping up was a simple one: He found comfort in food.

But the unfortunate side effect of all that comfort-eating was that by 17 years old, Zuñiga weighed 275 pounds. His weight seemed out of his control. “At my heaviest, I was going through a lot of depression,” he says, “because I was so insecure about my body. I felt like I was disgusting.”

Nearing 300 pounds forced him to face an uncomfortable fact: If he was going to lose weight and get his body back under control, he would have to change his life. He’d have to get active, whatever that meant. So he started small, going on walks. At the beginning he would do two miles a day. As time went by, he walked longer distances—soon enough he was walking five miles a day. On top of that, he’d started running three miles daily.

And he struck at the root of the problem: his diet. When he decided to change, he dropped all the junk food and fast food that had previously defined his life. Sugary drinks, too, went out the window. A pair of bodybuilder friends encouraged him to join them at the gym, where he could hit the weights to build strength as he slimmed down.

He was losing weight, but at 230 pounds he hit a roadblock. He was stuck there for a whole month, not dropping any lower. He figured he’d plateaued; fixing his diet had gotten him this far, but he’d have to try something more radical to keep going. He thought about a ketogenic diet, devouring everything he could find on the keto subreddit. Then he cut out all carbs in his meals. “The weight started to fly off,” he says. Even though he’s no longer doing keto, he still keeps a close eye on his carb intake.


Alfredo Zuniga

“The way I stayed motivated was by telling myself I’m changing my life every day when I woke up,” he says. He’d felt like the “fat guy” in his friend group, and he wanted to make sure that wasn’t his future. In two years, he dropped from 275 down to 190—85 pounds. He’s eyeing 180, but people have told him he’d be too skinny, and he should stay where he is. He’s also focusing on getting stronger, and earning that elusive six pack. “Shoot, maybe I’ll be built like The Rock one day,” he says.

Whether he ever reaches the fitness heights of Dwayne Johnson, Zuñiga has already transformed himself. “Friends and family that I hadn’t seen in a long time didn’t even recognize me at all,” he says. A cousin he grew up with walked right past him, not realizing who he was until Zuñiga said something. Even he, looking back at old pictures of himself, is surprised by the person he sees. “I never knew how fat I was,” he says. He’s got a newfound confidence; friends even rib him about being too cocky.

For anyone needing a push to get started on their own transformation, he says now is the time. Persevere. “Don’t let negative thoughts control your mind,” he says. “If I was able to lose weight, I promise, you can too.”

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