People have different ways of coping with negative emotions. Some like to reflect on this experience alone, while others look outside and rely on their loved ones for comfort.
But for Christopher Huerta, nothing else helped him deal with sadness as much as eating did. Whenever he felt stressed or depressed growing up, the Glendora, California, resident turned to food. The first time he put on weight was after his parents’ divorce, but as the years passed, even bouts of insecurity would lead him to binge-eat.
“Just the sadness of being alone and having the food available to me at all times with nobody really checking me, it just mounted up. I definitely had a wall up,” Christopher, 28, told TODAY. “A lot of stress eating.”
This poor habit continued through adulthood. When a beloved uncle and a friend passed away, eating became the only thing that brought him comfort amidst his grieving. Christopher became severely depressed after that, which caused him to eat a lot more.
At 6 feet tall, Christopher was 382 pounds heavy. But in May 2016, he decided that enough was enough – it was time to do something about his ballooning weight. Luckily, Christopher had a friend named Hector, who was passionate about healthy eating and working out.
Hector created an exercise and meal plan for Christopher and advised him to eat lots of lean protein, reduce his carbs, and cut out sugar from his diet.
Working towards losing weight scared Christopher because it felt almost impossible. But after watching Kobe Bryant’s last basketball game in April 2016, he was inspired by the late sports legend’s mindset that led to his success.
“He tore his Achilles and he thought about calling it quits,” he said. “I looked at losing 100 pounds the same way … All I can do is take it a day at a time. The ‘Mamba mentality’ is about bettering yourself.”
“Kobe always had the message of ‘Control what you can control today.’ So if I can only do 10 minutes of cardio, a 10-minute workout, and some stretching, that’s fine. I’ll build on that the next day. I’ll work at it and work at until I get to where I want to go,” he said in an interview with SBNation.com in 2017.
Believing that adopting the same mentality would help him reach his fitness goals, Christopher emulated Bryant’s lifestyle. He woke early in the morning to work out and set a modest goal for himself – getting through the first five weeks.
“I set up little achievements, little challenges and I knocked them down one by one to achieve something bigger,” he said. “I wouldn’t have made it through if I didn’t come to that realization.”
Christopher did 20 to 30 minutes of cardio and bodyweight strength training. The first few days were the most difficult. He felt sore and hungry all the time, but all the pain proved to be worth it. He lost 38 pounds during the first five weeks!
He knew he could push himself a little harder, and so he did. Christopher shed 35 pounds in the next six weeks, then 32 pounds in the next six weeks.
Fast forward to nine months, Christopher weighed in and was thrilled to see the number “210” flashed on the scale – he lost 170 pounds! He knew that adopting the “Mamba mentality” played a huge part in his success.
“The way he looked at it was, ‘I want to be the best,’” he said. “That’s the mentality I had to adopt with losing weight. I want to be the best at losing weight. I want to absolutely crush it.”
Christopher relaxed his diet a little after losing so much weight, but he continued exercising. He recently regained 50 pounds, but he is committing himself again to achieve his new target weight of 202 pounds.
Aside from bettering himself, Christopher found his purpose in the middle of his weight loss journey – to help people like him achieve their fitness goals.
Congratulations on this incredible feat, Christopher!
You may follow Christopher Huerta on Instagram, where he documents his progress and shares workout and nutrition advice.