How Ron the Lay Pastor Lost 100 lbs

before and after ron

Meet Ron, an office manager for a retirement and investment firm, a lay pastor at a local church, and a badass nerd.

Ron and his family (wife of eight years and two girls) live in western Indiana, where they raise some of their own food, and work their butts off in the yard.

Not long ago, Ron was stuck feeling as though he was just drifting through life –  sapped of energy, unmotivated, and overweight.

But after coming across Nerd Fitness, going Paleo, and implementing exercise strategy from the Nerd Fitness Academy, he’s turned his life around both physically and emotionally. Ron is down over 100 lbs (and 10 inches off his waist), and is hungering for the next thing to keep him challenged. 

Let’s find out how he did it.

Ron’s Story

Before after2

Steve: Thanks for taking the time to let me interview you dude! Let’s start with what life was like for the “old” you. 


Ron: I was a sad sack of unmotivated carrion. My days usually started late because I had usually stayed up too late the night before watching TV or reading. Only having enough time for a quick shower and something carby or sugary for breakfast on the way out, I would collapse into my office chair typically 5 minutes or more late.

To no surprise, my stomach was usually pretty quick to rumble, so I was typically in the break room searching for munchies by 9:30 or 10.

Lunch was usually hurried because, shockingly, I was usually behind schedule having arrived late and taking up time for the previously mentioned munchies. Portions for most meals are surprising to look back at now. Like oliphant-sized portions. I don’t remember chewing a whole lot. Things were swallowed or torn into like an orc. I don’t remember tasting much either, for that matter.

I was completely exhausted by 5. You can imagine how fun I was when I arrived home. I was too tired to play with the kids, work in the yard, or help with the house. Dinner was an exaggerated display of the lunch mob scene. Then I usually followed that a couple hours later with a “bedtime snack,” which meant anything in the pantry that I could munch on while I sat in front of the TV or studied on the computer. I couldn’t tell you how much I would typically consume because there was no sense of regulation or measure. I just ate until I felt better. I ate until I didn’t feel bad about all the things I thought were so bad about my life. It was a deadly cycle.

Steve: Holy crap – you were seriously stuck in a cycle of doom. So what was it that sparked the change?

I remember being on vacation with my family and my closest friend’s family. We usually go to Lake Michigan in August. I love the beach there, but I remember being so aware of my weight that I couldn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t enjoy the kids. I wasn’t happy about spending time with my wife or my best friend and his family. I wasn’t thankful for what I had been given. I felt sick at what I had wasted. I felt disgusted that I had selfishly spent so much time being a horrible steward of what God had blessed me with.

When we were back home, I started searching. I wanted to find something sensible. I knew none of the gimmicky stuff would work for me. I needed something I enjoyed and could connect with, and I found this article by this nerd on fitness. His “deep” thoughts were “eat a little better, get a little stronger, run a little faster.” I felt the connection, I had dealt with God on the deep roots of the problems that had caused all of this, and I was ready to live differently.

Steve: And what’s a typical day like now?

I get up with more time on my hands, and usually have time to read something encouraging from the Bible or a spiritual article. My wife spoils me and without fail is up making me eggs and bacon. This is my absolute favorite food now, especially if it contains some kind of greens like kale.

Work actually goes by much quicker nowadays. I convinced my boss to let me replace my desk with a standing desk on the wall, so I am usually on my feet or at least leaning on a stool. I usually do not feel the mid morning call for snacks.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I enjoy running after work as well as on Saturday mornings. I have been training all winter and spring for my first half marathon which I recently finished. I know it’s not your favorite mode of exercise, Steve, but the camaraderie of my running club has helped immensely and the experience and advice of other runners has helped me to pursue it carefully and wisely. I also cross train on other days using the workouts in the Nerd Fitness Academy.

Steve: If you love it and it’s working for you, that’s awesome! Seems like you’ve changed completely – how did you get started?

When I first started I was just focusing on completing different routines you had on the site and others I found online. This worked great and is what I was doing when I lost a lot of my weight.

I  soon found some exciting goals to conquer – the challenge of completing a half marathon just pulled me in. So, I put my focus on this, and maintaining my core and building strength.

Steve: That’s awesome man – sounds like you got the workout part figured out! What about your diet? 

I have had a gluten sensitivity since high school that required a diet change not long after I was married. Of course, gluten-free does not mean healthy, so when I started studying on Nerd Fitness, I was definitely excited to get on the Paleo bandwagon. My wife was not as excited as I was, which was my fault looking back, as I did not take the time to share with her what I was learning and the reasons for my excitement.

Eventually she did see the merits, and we use a Paleo-ish strategy. (I would not say we are 100% as we do use rice and some other exceptions, but definitely emphasize whole foods over processed.) We have also started raising some of our own meat in the form of chickens and have a good size garden. It’s been awesome to see the kids learning from a young age where our food comes from and to help in growing their own.

Steve: I love that you’re raising and growing your own food! Well done sir! Let’s talk about the journey itself – how did you track your progress?

Focused entirely on weight early on, weighing myself almost daily. Then feeling the weight of your reprimands in the Academy, I stopped obsessing over that and took encouragement from losing inches around my waist and chest as well.

Steve: Haha awesome, glad to see someone’s listening! What would you say was the most important change you made that helped you succeed?

As a family man, the most important change would have to be when the whole house changed. It made it so much easier to have my wife and kids eating healthy with me so that I didn’t come home to temptation.

Steve: Was it your family that was your main support system?


Yep – I got lots of of encouragement from my wife – my chief supporter. Other family and my family at church really helped to encourage me when they noticed changes. My best friend helped big time with the accountability by being willing to ask how I was doing in working out and such. Of course, the information and community on Nerd Fitness was an instant shot in the arm whenever I was struggling.

Steve: Have you tried and failed to get healthy before in the past? What made this time different? Any advice for someone in your old shoes?

I would have to say the big difference in this effort was the small bite approach.

My advice would be to look honestly at your life, and do some self-examination – are your bad habits merely symptoms of deeper root problems? Then resolve to tackle this a step at a time: “Eat a little better, get a little stronger, run a little faster.”

Steve: You’ve lost a hundred pounds and transformed dramatically. What’s next for you?

Now that I finished my first half marathon, I have a goal to do another one in the fall with a focus on finishing it in under 2 hours. This last one was 2 hours and 9 minutes.

Steve: That’s awesome. Your physical appearance has clearly changed…what else has changed about you?

I would say my eyes are more open to all I have to be thankful for.

Steve: Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?

Definitely Lord of the Rings, but I enjoy Star Wars and know enough about it to frustrate the ones that love it with incorrect references and such.

Steve: Do you have any nerdy passions or pursuits?

I could read all day every day. If I go missing, look for me in a dirty hotel room, covered in the dust jackets of a thousand books.

Steve: If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be, and why?

Matter manipulation so I could manipulate what matters.

Steve: I see what you did there. Quote to live by?

“God finds our desires not too strong, but too weak…like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” -CS Lewis

Steve: Tell us something interesting about you!

I can beat most people playing chubby bunny. Google it.

Steve: Thanks for putting my words into action my man! The Rebellion is proud of you 🙂

Why Ron Was Successful


Ron cracked the code: when you’re stuck in a cycle of demotivation and apathy, 100 lbs of weight loss and changing nearly all of your daily habits can seem like an impossibility. But Ron’s life now looks completely different – he’s full of energy, has built a solid base of healthy habits, and is hungry to take on the next challenge.

Let’s take a look at the why Ron broke through:

Ron had a great “why”: Ron had an awesome source of motivation – his family. One of the exercises in the Nerd Fitness Academy asks Rebels to write down their “big why” – the reason you decided to start on a path to a healthier and leveled up life, which helps keep you going when the initial excitement wears off and you have to stay on target. Ron had one of the best reasons out there – he wanted to be able to play with his daughters, and serve as a role model for healthy behavior. We can accomplish tremendous feats when we are fueled with a powerful “why.”

Exercise strategy: Ron implemented a cross-training exercise strategy. He didn’t JUST go for runs or didn’t spend all day at the gym. Instead, he implemented some core strength training ideas, but set his big goals around his runs because that’s what made him happy! Ron didn’t spend his time stressing about “getting through” workouts he hated. Instead he found something that got him excited.

Not only did this help him to start to build an antifragile body, but it also gave him many different ways in which he could see progress (and thus create some awesome positive feedback to keep him motivated and on track). When you see your running mileage going up AND you’re getting stronger from week to week, it’s hard not to get excited about leveling up your real life character even further.

Ron took small bites: Ron says he never really gave “getting healthy” an honest try before. It was the mantra of “small bites” (aka tiny permanent changes) that made approaching this huge journey seem doable rather than impossible. When we stand at the base of the mountain and look up, it’s easy to turn around and think: “no way am I getting up there.”

But when we look forward at the road ahead, instead of the peak of the mountain, we begin to realize that all really need to do is put one foot in front of the other. Just ask Frodo: that’s how he walked to Mordor!

If you’ve failed in the past, or struggled to even get started on your journey, give it another shot. Try setting incredibly small goals, and stop looking at the peak of the mountain. Just focus on that next step.

Ron went Paleo-ish: As we say (ad nauseam) – diet is 80-90% of the battle. Nearly every success story we’ve had has made diet a key focus at some point in their journey. Ron didn’t stress about going 100% paleo, following a strict “clean eating” diet, or counting calories every day, but he did put a focus on eating less processed food and more real food.

We often overcomplicate the diet thing. In reality, that’s all it takes: eat more real food, and eat a little less junk each day. In the Academy we have 10 different levels of “healthy eating,” and we encourage people to find the level that works best for their lifestyle and goals – for Ron it was a paleo-ish focus on eating whole foods and more vegetables. He’s even now growing his own food in his back yard!

Become the Next Success Story


Ron made some major changes over a period of 18 months. He didn’t use quick fixes. He worked smarter, implemented a few small changes that made a big difference and built on those over time.

Remember, we want to create permanent changes that last a lifetime, not just get you ready for the beach or your wedding. With over 100 lbs lost and a new outlook on life, Ron joins the hall of Rebel heroes to help inspire us all to keep moving forward and leveling up.

Remember – we’re a community, here to support and lean on one another. Let’s learn from each other’s successes.

What questions do you have for Ron?


PS: I was really proud to learn that Ron was a member of the Nerd Fitness Academy – and to see that the programs were an important part of his journey. If you’re looking for more complete and directed instruction, check out the Academy and see if it can help you too. Otherwise, the 600+ articles and free workouts on Nerd Fitness are a great place to start too 🙂


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