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How Kenney the Tabletop Gamer Lost 120 Pounds and Found His Voice.

How Kenney the Tabletop Gamer Lost 120 Pounds and Found His Voice.
From Nerd Fitness - January 4, 2018

Theres no way thats the same person, right?

Admittedly, thats what I first thought when I saw Kenneys before and after photos. There was just NO way that this Tony Stark looking dude on the right was the same person as the man in the other photo, right?

And then I saw his other photos. And then I heard his story.

And then I teared up.

Shut up Im not crying, youre crying.

Today, were going to be talking about Ironma-Kenney Frazier, an IT systems administrator from Alabama, a gamer, and an opera singer who has had one of the most dramatic transformations Ive ever seen. Its no exaggeration to say that Kenney clearly saved his own life. Not just in terms of life expectancy, but also quality of his life.

Kenney is a proud member of theNerd Fitness Academy who made some key changes in his life that helped him succeed. Were going to dig deep into those major and minor changes Kenney made and how you can be like him!

After years of struggle, starting and stopping, a switch flipped and he has lost over 120 pounds in the past 15 months.

Heres his origin story.

Meet Kenney

STEVE: Kenney! My man. When I first saw your post in the Academy Facebook group, and it had hundreds and hundreds of likes and comments, my jaw dropped. Lets hear your background:

KENNEY: Ive pretty much always been overweight. Even in Kindergarten I was pudgy! I attribute this to my love of Reese Cups (Im a recovering addict; there should really be a Reese Cup Lovers Anonymous Group). I steadily put on the pounds, and by high school I easily tipped the scales at 250lbs+.

By the age of 25 I was over 300lbs and miserable.

I would go on a diet, have some success, then expand to new heights in short order. My addiction to Everquest and World of Warcraft definitely did not help. I lived an extremely sedentary life and I was depressed. I would use these virtual worlds as an escape from my self-imposed dungeon. I was finally able to break out of this addiction and decided to start living in the real world. I joined the workforce and did my best to become an adult.

STEVE: I hear ya brotherI too played Everquest (and Everquest 2) for over a decade and did it for the same reasons you didto escape a crappy reality. What was a typical day like for you then?

KENNEY: I would wake up around 8:30am during the week and drag myself into work. On the way to work Id stop by Chick-fil-a and grab 2 chicken biscuits and a large lemonade because breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right?

Ha. Of course being a southerner you cant have breakfast without biscuits!

Lunch, would roll around and Id run to Burger King and order 2 double cheeseburgers and a large fry and Coke to wash it down with.

Id probably grab a candy bar or chips from the snack machine mid afternoon.

On the way home Id stop by and grab more food for dinner: a large chicken finger plate from Zaxbys because who dont love fried chicken? I had to have another large Coke to wash it down.

After I finished my food Id plop down in front of the TV or my computer or go take a nap for a few hours. Id normally heading to bed around midnight or 1am after playing a few games of Dota2 with some friends.

STEVE: So lets talk about what happened that brought about actual changes:

KENNEY: I was 35, tired all the time and unhappy with my life. Obesity, diabetes, thyroid issues, and high blood pressure are also all prevalent in my family history.

I finally had enough and made an appointment to get a physical. When I saw my lab results I knew I was in trouble. My blood pressure was high, my blood sugar was high and my A1C was in the diabetic range! My cholesterol was sky high and I weighed 334 lbs! Despite these sobering results it still wasnt enough to wake me up.

As a card carrying super nerdIve always enjoyed table top RPGI was a member of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign with some friends from High School. One of the players started talking about Nerd Fitness and it piqued my interest.

I decided to check it out and joined the NF Academy in January of 2016. I read the starter quests, but keep putting off actually starting.

STEVE: Thats interestingso you joined the program, but couldnt get yourself to commit or take action beyond just reading the missions. Sounds like a classic case of not having a big enough reason WHY yet! Your doctor said you had bad health signals, but deep down you werent ready to change yet.

So what happened next?

KENNEY: Music has always been my main passion. I was a vocal major in college before switching to something more practical. I decided to restart my vocal studies at a local music school in my early 30s.

As if being a typical DnD/MMORPG nerd wasnt enough, my musical endeavors are in the Classical/Opera genre. The school where I study has spring and winter productions each year. I was cast in my first show and I was hooked. I was continually cast in smaller roles but I had larger ambitions. In September of 2016, I had just finished a production and felt I had performed well but I wanted more. I reached out to the teacher in charge of casting.

I told her that I was committed to landing a leading role, and her response? My weight was a showstopper.

STEVE: And there it isyour ACTUAL Big Whythe reason that deep down made you want to change. It must have been brutal to hear that you were too big to be considered for more important musical roles. But it appears to also have been a big turning point for you.

KENNEY: October 2016 I started my fitness journey first by cutting out sodas and cutting my portion sizes. I started logging everything in a Fitness App.

I knew from reading the articles on Nerd Fitness that making small changes at first worked best. I tried doing some of the free home workouts but I knew my motivation would suffer and I would stop unless I had some skin in the game. So I called up my local gym and set up a free training session on Columbus Day.

The first workout was so horrible and I was so out of shape that I almost tossed my cookiesit just reinforced how far I had to gobut I was inspired. I signed up and started working with a trainer 3 times a week.

Strength training with some occasional cardio has the name of the game since then.

At that first session, I weighed in at 320 lbs and by Nov 16th I was down to 297lbs. I couldnt remember the last time I was under 300lbs and my motivation never faltered. I started incorporating cardio 3 or 4 times a week into strength-training routines.

STEVE: Hmmm, so what youre saying isthis whole diet and exercise thing might actually work! Hahahaso talk to me what other changes you made along the way.

KENNEY: I started doing intermittent fasting along with a low carb, high protein diet. As my weight went down I started feeling better and was continually amazed at what I could do. By January 4th, 2017 I was down to 281lbs.

STEVE: And thats when you discovered the power of a supportive community, right?

KENNEY: Later that month I saw that there was a Facebook group for Academy members, which I had somehow missed when I signed up the year before. When I joined the group I was amazed at the community. The posts were uplifting and informative.

The progress posts served as motivation for me! By February, I had lost 50lbs and decided to make my first post on the Facebook group (which you can see below):

This was a huge step for me due to self-esteem issues but the support and uplifting comments were great. I used the Academy community to help keep me motivated.

Whenever Id feel like quitting Id log in and read the new posts and fortify my resolve. By May I was down 75 lbs and I was doing things I never thought Id be able to do. I went from being winded by walking up stairs to doing Burpees, Squats, and bear crawls. I even started taking tennis lessons!

By the end of summer I was down 100lbs.

And just a few weeks ago, I weighed in at 198 lbs, meaning Ive lost 120lbs! I cant even remember the last time I was under 200! I recently went to the doctor again and had a fresh set of labs. My results were night and day! My A1C was normal, my blood sugar was normal, and my cholesterol was greatly reduced.

STEVE: AMAZING. So lets hear about the New Kenney. Whats a typical day like now?

KENNEY: I wake up around 6:30 and 6:45am and try to get to work before 8:00am. I do intermittent fasting so I actually skip breakfast. My feasting window runs from 11am til 8pm.

My typical lunch is a salad minus croutons with chicken (I have a slight addiction to Caesar salads) If I need a snack Ill eat some tuna or even some beef jerky (cant have enough protein). Normally, Ill head home and get ready to go to the gym! I work out 3 times a week with the trainer so Ill do 40 minutes of cardio after those sessions or on a non-lifting day Ill do an hour of cardio.

Lately, Ive been on an elliptical kick as I can zone out and watch Netflix while Im doing it. I also play Racquetball once a week with friends and I joined a basketball league (Im really bad!).

After I work out, Ill grab dinner with chicken or beef, with some brown rice, and broccoli (I love broccoli!) or a mixture of other veggies.

I also have a bit of a sweet tooth so Ill treat myself with some halo ice cream (within reason) or some fruit or Siggis Icelandic style skyr. Im a simple guy so I can eat the same things a few times a week and it doesnt bother me. I guess I look at food differently now. Its fuel for me to reach my goals before I used it to make me feel better.

STEVE: That mentality change is amazing, and I love hearing it. You changed physically. What else changed about you along the way?

KENNEY: Looking back over the journey so far Ive learned so much more about myself. Ive discovered that I can reach goals and that I am capable of doing anything if I put my mind to it. While I havent reached my goal weight, I am well on my way. I have the tools to complete my journey.

I was a soloist in a community Sing-a-long Messiah tonight and I got to rock a tux, so I thought it would make a good after!

When I went to try on my rent-a-tux I was fitted in a 46S jacket and when I got home I looked at my old suit jacket and it was a 56R! Its just amazing to me! I really appreciate the community that you have built. I wouldnt have come this far without it!

STEVE: Everybody assumes that theyll be happy once they lose weight. And you clearly seem like a completely different, more content, and proud person. Is there anything you still struggle with?

KENNEY: Losing this weight has really forced me to face my self-esteem issues and the mental aspects are a struggle. I feel so much better physically but I still struggle mentally with being the fat guy.

STEVE: Thanks for sharing that honestly with us, man. Were all works in progress, both inside and out! And these battles take time.

Its a good reminder to know that even if you build the body you want, you still have to level up on the inside too and that can take time! Luckily you have an amazing community of weirdos cheering you on, and others who have struggled with those same self-esteem issues and can help you get through it!

How Kenney finally succeeded and lost 120 pounds

I wanted to highlight the key points to his transformation that allowed him to finally find success, and hopefully you can implement these types of changes into your life too.

KEY POINT #1: Kenney kept trying.

Kenney spent over a year reading Nerd Fitness articles before working up the courage to even get started. After that, he joined the NF Academy and read the content but couldnt get himself to do much more past that.

And yet, something kept him around. He kept getting Nerd Fitness emails in his inbox, even if he wasnt ready to take action yet. And EVENTUALLY, the right combinations of words on a page, life experiences, and things clicked for him to finally take action.

If youre somebody that has started and stopped or lost 20 pounds only to put on 30, youre not alone.

If you woke up this January and said I said the same thing last year about getting healthy, but here I am still overweight, youre not alone.

If you beat yourself up when you fail and think youre doomed to stay fat,youre not alone.

Give yourself credityoure still here reading this, and that counts for something! Keep trying. Keep reading. Keep attempting different methods until you find one that works for youthough Idconsider these 10 changesbefore making another attempt).

The important thing is that you take actionmore information is usually not the answer.

be Less like Old Kenney. Be more like new Kenney.

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