We all make the same promises each year to be healthier, to go to the gym, to lose the weight – and each year most of us put it off. Our commitment eventually wanes and we go back to our usual routine. Our gym memberships expire and our work-out wear gets pushed to the back of our closet. We tell ourselves that someday we’ll find the motivation to change, but today just isn’t that day.
Yet, one boy from Rockford, Illinois, actually decided to commit to a fitness routine – and he’s sharing his results with the world.
Meet Ethan Taylor, a 20-year-old boy from Rockford, Illinois, who has taken the internet by storm through his amazing weight-loss journey.
As a kid, Taylor grew up playing football in his hometown, Rockford. Throughout his childhood, other kids bullied Taylor for always being a little overweight. “All I [was] was bigger, but people made me feel like it was a horrendous thing. I felt like I mattered less,” Taylor said in an interview with Anytime Fitness.
During middle school and high school, Taylor remembers keeping his weight up so he could be a successful linebacker. “I was encouraged to bulk up and stay big during that time,” Taylor wrote in an article from Runners World. However, Taylor was kept active with all the football he played, and as a linebacker, he had to be on the bigger side.
However, everything changed for Ethan Taylor when he began his first year of college.
During his first year of college, Ethan began drinking and making poor diet choices. He also fell into a spiral of anxiety and depression, using food and alcohol as his coping mechanism.
“I spent a lot of time not caring and letting my body go because I didn’t think that I mattered,” Taylor recalls his feelings about gaining weight during his college years. “I ended up just never going to class anymore and I would just drink and drink and drink.”
Ethan’s depression only got worse during this time, leading to a point when he began to carry around a suicide note on his phone. Shortly after, in the fall of 2017, Ethan decided to drop out of college and go back home. At this time at his all-time heaviest, Ethan weighed in at 368 pounds.
“I tried to lose the weight by following different diets, but they always failed—I’d only lose 20 or 30 pounds, and the healthy habits never stuck,” Ethan wrote about his struggle to lose the weight. “I knew that if I wanted to lose the weight for good, I had to really commit to both diet and exercise.”
In January 2018, Ethan made a commitment to himself and his family that he would lose 184 pounds, exactly half of his body weight at the time.
Ethan joined his local Anytime Fitness and began running, first in short bursts and steadily being able to run for longer and longer periods of time. Also, Ethan radically changed his diet plan, swearing off of unhealthy fast foods like McDonalds and getting more healthy nutrients back into his meals. Slowly, Ethan began to see the weight melting away, but his motivation didn’t stop there.
“As I was losing weight, I made a list of things I wanted to do to motivate myself to stick with it,” Ethan wrote about his commitment to not only lose the weight, but also keep it off. “One of those items was ‘run a half marathon’.”
In February 2019, Ethan began training with his brother Zach for the Chicagoland Spring Half Marathon.
The brothers stuck to a “doable” training plan and slowly increased their endurance. By May 2019, the pair was ready for their half marathon. “I loved [it],” Ethan said about the marathon. “There were so many people cheering me on, giving out water, and holding up signs—I had never had an experience quite like that, and it was so cool to be part of such a welcoming community.”
Ethan has continued to lose weight, sticking to a healthy diet plan and exercising regularly. Now, Ethan says he works hard to fuel his body, rather than using food a tool to cover up his feelings. Though Ethan is far from done with his journey.
Ethan’s next goal is the Chicago Full Marathon, where he will be running to raise money for Action for Healthy Kids, a charity that aims to defeat childhood obesity.
So far, Ethan has already raised an astounding $3,000 for Action for Healthy Kids, and hopefully plans to raise more before the marathon. During his journey, people have reached out to Ethan to express their gratitude for inspiring their own weight-loss journey – and for Ethan, that has been one of the best parts. “Those words mean so much to me; they motivate me to keep going, to keep staying healthy,” Ethan wrote about his fans.
Thank you to Ethan Taylor for sharing such an astounding and inspiring story. Be sure to follow Ethan on his instagram, @Ethan_Gets_Fit, and show support by sharing this with anyone who needs some extra fitness inspiration.
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