I’ve never met Stephen Pagano.
I don’t know his whole life story or what his voice sounds like.
Like most of the fitness bloggers and personalities I “know”, I’ve taken bits and pieces from posts, Tweets and Instagram photos to craft what I know about them.
But when it comes to Stephen and his story, the numbers say plenty.
A few years ago, Stephen weighed 600 pounds and was only 5′ 6″. Like a lot of us, he had struggled with his weight for the majority of his life. In a 2013 Huffington Post article about him, he felt that his breaking point was when he started riding an electric cart around the grocery store. That’s when he knew he needed to make a change and then decided to change his approach to food.
Eventually, Stephen decided to join Weight Watchers and this weekend, he hit a pretty epic milestone…After running the Gasparilla 5k in the Tampa area on Saturday in under an hour (a goal of his), he weighed in on Sunday at Weight Watchers and recorded a 5.6 pound loss, which not only put him under 300 pounds, he hit the milestone of losing more than 300 pounds!!! He is officially half the man he used to be! HOW FREAKIN’ AWESOME AND EPIC IS THAT???????
After I saw his post yesterday, I was thrilled, inspired, proud and myriad of other emotions all at once. All I could think about was how much determination it took for him to make such a dramatic change in his life. I also thought about all those little changes he had to make to get to where he is today. All the tracking and all the smart decisions that he might have seemed menial at the time, but they added up to something spectacular.
When I was working out yesterday, I was thinking about doing some cardio even though I was pretty tired.
When I was walking towards my locker, it hit me…what would Stephen do? I thought to myself “Stephen would probably do a little more work.” So I did. And now I have this mantra, this personal reminder, to keep the main goal in focus at all times.
Today, I avoided the candy jar in my bosses’ office (sorry I’ve been eating all of your candy, Antron.)
During my group exercise class after work, I pushed it harder than I have in a long time and I did extra reps each set.
I yelled “GET BEHIND ME, SATAN!!!!!” to a Girl Scout trying to sell me cookies.
(Okay, that last one didn’t happen…)
Even my grocery basket looked different when I went shopping! I picked out healthy snacks that are zero points with Weight Watchers like oranges and carrots instead of chips.
In a day, I have had a more positive outlook on my weight loss journey than I’ve had in three months! All because I thought about Stephen Pagano, a person I’ve never met.
I have no clue if Stephen and I will ever meet. But even if me viewing his weigh-in post is the only interaction I have with him, it has made a massive impact on my own journey when I truly needed some inspiration. And that’s what makes this online weight loss community so amazing.
I know this isn’t the end of his journey, but I hope he knows he has another cheerleader rooting for him who he inspires to think about the little things in during his journey.
Thanks for being awesome, Stephen.