Francis Marcell, 38, used to eat 7,000 calories a day.
The mental health professional from South Carolina was about 550lbs at his heaviest and admits to consuming a whole chicken in the car on the way to work.
In 2016, Francis felt too embarrassed to go to his brother’s wedding because of his size, which – along with a diagnosis of diabetes – inspired him to make a change.
Soon he hit the gyms, working out as much as he could, and lost 300lbs.
His routine involved working out twice a day but now under lockdown he is unable to go to the gym.
Francis is adjusting to strange circumstances by swapping gym workouts for circuit training in his garage.
Francis’s eating habits have also changed dramatically as he now consumes under 1,600 calories a day.
This is a dramatic change from his prior diet.
‘I’d eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at fast food restaurants,’ said Francis.
‘I’d eat fourth and fifth meals there too.
‘If I ever missed a meal, I’d have a huge one later. Sometimes I’d pick up a whole cooked chicken and eat it on the way to work.’
Francis became morbidly obese and could barely walk.
He added: ‘I would be eating in my car. I’d open the day with two chicken biscuits and two hash browns with a frappe from McDonald’s.
‘Maybe three hours later I’d have a double cheeseburger.
‘I’d eat every three hours. I’d go to the vending machine at work and get candy and sodas throughout the day as well.
‘Other days, I’d go eat a whole pizza pie. It took a lot to gain that weight.’
It was missing his brother’s wedding due to insecurities around his body that served as a wakeup call.
‘It hit me hard that I couldn’t be at the wedding,’ says Francis. ‘I hadn’t seen some of the relatives there in ten to fifteen years, and I didn’t want to go because I was embarrassed.
‘I had family members call me up and say that they were concerned with me. I had diabetes and knew I had to make a change.’
From there, Francis quickly lost close to 100lbs.
‘I got down to 430lbs in 2018 and then I was stagnant for a while,’ he said.
About a year later, his commitment took a more concrete shape.
‘Now I get my meals from this health food restaurant and it’s all portion controlled. I consume under 1,600 calories a day.
‘I eat a lot of rice and a lot of meat. I also eat a lot of gluten-free stuff.
‘About a year ago, I started real hard with the portion control meals and working out.
‘All I drink now is water and black coffee.’
His workout routine is similarly disciplined.
‘I work out twice a day, but because of coronavirus, we’ve shut down gyms,’ Francis explains. Right now I do a lot of pushups and I do step running. I do stomach twists. I have a speed bag and a body bag. I jump rope.
‘I’ve lost 230lbs since 2019. I weigh just under 200 pounds now and I’m under a 38-inch waist.
‘Everyone in my family seems very happy about it. They’re all really positive about it.
‘I don’t date yet. I’m still trying to achieve my goals and put on more muscle and stuff like that.’
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