Gordon Gauss is dedicated to one thing, and one thing only: living a longer life for his two-year-old son. But for a guy whose weight crept up to more than 400 pounds, the goal didn’t always feel achievable.
“I was already starting to put on some weight at the end of high school,” Gauss told MensHealth.com. “I was already about 220.” By the end of his freshman year of college, he had put on another 50 pounds.
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Throughout his college years, Gauss found himself going outside less and less, performing fewer physical activities, and simply eating more. By the end of college, he was about 350 pounds and experiencing depression.
From there, work, stress, and daily life crept in, which made Gauss gain even more weight, maxing out at 385 in 2010, at the age of 26. He knew something had to be done, so he went “gung-ho” into losing weight. At first, he succeeded, getting himself down to 290 by following a calories in and calories out diet.
But without the motivation to keep going, he stopped tracking his meals, stopped going to the gym, and the next thing he knew, “My depression kicked into high gear. I really just stopped caring, so I just put back on all the weight, and then some.”
Gauss’ weight got up to 437 pounds, and he stayed that way until January of 2018.
“That was actually amazing to me,” Gauss said of his weight gain. “It’s almost like it would have had to be a chore to eat that much.” He couldn’t get up and down the stairs. He couldn’t walk easily between rooms. “I couldn’t do anything.”
But, between the time he lost and gained the weight, two bright spots entered Gauss’ life: his wife and his now-two-year-old son.
A weight loss turning point
January 2018 marked the 10th anniversary of his father-in-law’s death by heart attack — an event that made a lightbulb go off in Gauss’ brain.
“I thought about it. I thought about my two-and-a-half-year-old son, and I was like, ‘I need to lose weight so I can be here for him,’” he said. “Screw my depression issues. They can’t be something that stops me from doing something. I gotta do it for him.”
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This time around, Gauss didn’t go into his weight loss journey alone. He had the help of a mental health professional to help manage his depression, a trainer to help push his body, and his son and wife as the reason to keep going.
He tracked his calories in and calories out via the LoseIt app, often sharing healthy recipes with his wife there for the two of them to share. He cut out almost all sugar and processed foods. He upped his physical activity by rejoining the gym and tracking his activity on his Apple Watch. In just 10 months, all of these habits helped Gauss drop down to 272 pounds, accounting for a 165-pound weight loss.
“I went from not being able to walk for 10 minutes without my knees hurting, my shins hurting, my back hurting, and being completely winded for 20 minutes,” he said. “Three weeks ago, I went out and jogged a 10k. So it’s changed dramatically.”
Beyond the weight, Gauss said his life has improved drastically in different ways — including in the bedroom.
“My energy levels are great. I find that I need less sleep,” he explained. “I would say that my libido has increased dramatically, so that’s good. Probably more of an annoyance for my wife now, but it’s probably back to the same level as when I was in college.”
Gauss knows he’s still got a few more pounds to go. He still maintains a calorie deficit, eating around 1600 calories a day, and works out nearly every day of the week between cardio, strength, and sessions with a trainer. His journey won’t end when the scale hits a goal weight. This time, he’s in it forever.
As for others in his position, Gauss said to get out of the mode of “’I’ll start in a week, I’ll start in a month, I’ll start tomorrow.’ Don’t start tomorrow, just start now, because I can’t tell you how many times I said ‘Oh, I’m going to start on Monday.’ And so the weekend is a giant binge. Don’t do it as one last hurrah. Just start now.”