At first, Fredrik Winge’s weight gain didn’t bother him too much—he’d seen the number going up for some time, but he’d also been lifting pretty regularly. “I thought I was just getting stronger, not fat,” he says. “So I just ate what I wanted and didn’t really care. It was mostly good food—I was just eating too much of it.” Winge, 25, who lives in Sweden and works in construction, says he also didn’t have much trouble staying active, given the nature of his work.
Right around the moment that Winge hit his heaviest point, with his weight topping out at nearly 330 pounds, things began to take a turn. “I started to get a lot of headaches,” he says, “so I went to the hospital get checked out.” Among other problems, Winge’s doctors flagged his high blood pressure, and told him he’d need to start taking prescription drugs to keep it under control if he didn’t make a change soon. “That was the big turning point for me,” Winge says. “I finally understood that I was destroying my life and my body.”
Winge started with some of the more obvious contributors to his weight gain—phasing out calorie bombs like snacks and sugary foods like candy. He also started to focus more on portion control, consciously trying not to overserve himself, eventually working his way up to weighing individual ingredients. Training-wise, he also started to make changes: In the past, he’d mostly been hitting the weights, but ignoring the cardio side of the equation. To help keep himself more active, he added long walks to his daily regimen, trying to find more of a balance between heavy lifting and moving. “I still trained, and managed to keep 100 percent of my strength through the whole diet,” he says.
At first, Winge says, his motivation was simply to get “healthy and normal.” But as he started making serious progress with his weight loss, he started to gain more muscle definition, making it clear how much strength he’d been hiding. So far, he says, he’s lost more than 180 pounds in two years. “I feel great. Small things like being able to walk up some stairs without getting sweaty and out of breath is amazing.”
His latest goal is to deal with some of the excess loose skin leftover from his weight loss transformation. Winge says has surgery scheduled for later this year to have that excess skin removed, and then he’ll focus more on his physique—losing weight and improving definition with the goal of competing in an amateur bodybuilding competition one day.
That said, he admits still struggles with some confidence issues from time to time. He’s getting plenty of support from his family and friends, however, and is even seeing an improvement in his dating life—not that he’s letting it go to his head. “I still take it slow,” he says, “and put a lot of time and energy into myself.”