When twenty-one-year-old college student Jon Calvo began his total body transformation at 330.4 pounds, he was very close to the highest weight that he had ever been. And, at just five feet and five inches tall, he was, in fact, considered to be morbidly obese, with a BMI of 55. At his highest point, just a month prior to beginning his weight loss journey, he weighed in at 340 pounds, representing a BMI of 56.6.
Although Jon’s first Youtube video chronicling his weight loss efforts started off on a humorous note, with him inviting people to join him on a journey from “morbidly obese, to morbidly sexy,” it soon became clear that he was, in fact, very serious about succeeding. In Jon’s own words, “I don’t just have willpower; I am willpower.”
Jon says that he had been “a big guy” all of his life; and, when he reached his heaviest weight, he knew he had to do something. He wasn’t sure of how or why, he says, but he knew when: now.
He says what really made it “click” for him was that he started to face constant ridicule over his weight. At the time, his family was living in Seoul, Korea due to the fact that his Army father was stationed there, and many people – both American and Korean – had some pretty hurtful things to say to him. He says at this time in his life, he felt “helpless, weak and dehumanized.” However, there was something in him, he says, that wanted to feel empowered again.
Along the way, Jon had to endure quite a bit of hardship; and, contrary to what one might expect, many were not supportive of his efforts. When he first began exercising, both on and off the military base, he was often greeted with jeers about his weight, with people calling him the fattest person that they had ever seen. He also recounts how one day he was standing near the base library when two women in a taxi rolled down their window just for the purpose of repeatedly calling him “fat kid.” Although he says he felt like giving up, he did not.
Oddly enough, Jon says that YouTube was one of his greatest sources of inspiration. Right from the beginning of the process, he kept a video diary which detailed all of his successes and failures. And, because of this, he was able to receive a tremendous amount of support from friends, family and even complete strangers.
Jon says another important aspect of his success was knowing what his motivation was. He says his motivation was “fulfillment,” which he defines as “satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s abilities or character.”
During his total body transformation, Jon says that he tried several different methods along the way, including a low-fat/high-carbohydrate approach with lots of cardio; Paleo and Crossfit; and intermittent fasting with strength training and macronutrient cycling. It was the latter technique which he used to lose his final 80 pounds. This is also the technique which he says he personally believes was the most effective.
Jon is quick to point out, however, that intermittent fasting is quite different from starvation. Basically, it involves splitting your day into a fasting period and a feeding window, he says. For a man, this would typically involve 16 hours of fasting – with nothing but zero calorie drinks being consumed during this time – and an eight hour feeding window, during which a person eats all of their calories for the day. Jon says he believes using this technique helps in weight loss because it raises both insulin sensitivity and levels of growth hormone.
He says that he follows the Leangains approach to intermittent fasting, which was developed by Martin Berkhan, a nutritional consultant and personal trainer. A big part of the Leangains approach is macronutrient cycling, in which the ratios of fat, carbohydrate and protein are varied, depending upon the day’s activities. For example, on training days, high amounts of carbohydrates might be consumed in order to fuel the day’s workouts, while rest days might involve eating a higher percentage of calories from fat. A generous amount of protein is consumed on all days, Jon notes, because this helps with fat burning, muscle recovery and satiety.
While he used different methods at various stages of his journey, switching things up to break through plateaus, he says that all of the weight loss plans he followed did have a few things in common: he drank at least two to four liters of water per day and supplemented with daily fish oil and multivitamins.
Altogether, Jon lost an amazing 175 pounds over the course of about two and half years. Unfortunately, like many who lose extreme amounts of weight, Jon’s transformation was not complete simply by losing weight. Another part of his amazing body makeover was to be achieved by taking up strength training, filling out his physique with pounds of solid muscle and getting himself in top physical shape.
While building up his body through weight training went a long way in helping Jon’s total body transformation, he ultimately knew that he would need to do more. And, on September 19, when he appeared on an episode of a show called The Doctors, he received the exciting news that he would be able to receive free plastic surgery from a doctor local to him in his current hometown of Wichita, Kansas.
On September 30th of this year, Jon finally took the plunge and had the surgery to remove his excess skin, completing the final phase of what has been an astounding weight loss and body transformation journey.
And, while Jon has yet to reveal the final results from his surgery, he did post on his Facebook page on October 3rd, thanking his followers for their “positive thoughts, prayers and concerns” saying that the past three days following surgery had been “very difficult” and that he needed to rest.
Although it’s been a long journey for Jon Calvo to achieve his weight loss and fitness goals, his total body transformation is truly awe-inspiring and inspirational. When he finally does unveil the results of his recent skin-removal surgery, it will, undoubtedly, be the icing on the cake, topping off what has already been an amazing display of pure willpower and determination.
The official Youtube video of his incredible transformation can be viewed below:
By Nancy Schimelpfening
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