Picture the scene: you’re in a doctor’s office, and the healthcare professional before you has just informed you that you only have six years to live. But this is not because you have a terminal illness; this is because you are simply overweight. What do you do? Do you continue on as you were and hope for the best, or do you choose to make a dramatic lifestyle change? In 2015 Ryan Clarke determined to do the latter.
Indeed, Clarke was given this exact, shocking diagnosis by his doctor early in that year. The 24-year-old from Nova Scotia, Canada weighed in at 383 pounds at the time, and he was suffering from a myriad of weight-related issues, including depression and heartburn.
He was in such bad shape, in fact, that his doctor believed he wouldn’t live to see his 30s. What’s more, Clarke had a wife, a son and another child on the way, and he would miss out on watching them grow up if things didn’t change.
Clarke’s wife Alyssa put it a bit more bluntly when she spoke to BuzzFeed Canada in 2016. “If he didn’t live to see 30, our kids wouldn’t even remember him,” she said.
This, it seems, was the huge wake-up call that Clarke needed. Indeed, almost as soon as he had been told the news, Clarke determined that he would not only still be alive when his kids started school, but he would also be fit and healthy.
Clarke’s new routine involved cleaning up his diet and attending the gym twice daily. But it wasn’t easy getting to the gym to begin with. Alyssa told BuzzFeed Canada that “people would just stare,” and “there were days where he was just like, ‘No, I’m not going,’ and I’d say, ‘Yes, you are.’”
Clarke was able to stay the course due in large part to his wife’s encouragement and his own admirable determination. His resolve even inspired a maxim that he has continued to swear by: “can’t stop, won’t stop.” And it paid off in the best way possible.
Clarke dropped 183 pounds in a little over three quarters of a year. He is now almost literally half the man he used to be, and it is absolutely jaw dropping.
Of course, wife Alyssa could not be more proud of his change. “He’s more here now than he was, mentally wise, than he was ten months ago,” she told BuzzFeed Canada. “I feel like I’m married to a different man.”
And, in some ways, she is. After all, at the beginning of 2015 Clarke was wearing 48-inch pants, and now both Clarke and his wife can fit into them with room to spare.
But clothes aren’t the only things that Clarke has outgrown. Indeed, he’s also shed negative friends from his life, and he now surrounds himself with more positive and encouraging people, some of whom he met while working out.
Ryan also set up social media pages to help keep him inspired and to inspire others. He currently has almost 4,000 fans on both Facebook and Instagram.
And his lifestyle change has clearly worked. Clarke now weights around 197 pounds, which is a weight loss of around 18 pounds every month for ten months. His body is also more toned than it has ever been.
In fact, the only thing left behind from Clarke’s old self is some loose skin, particularly around his midsection. This is a natural side effect for obese people who have lost a significant amount of weight.
Sadly, though, Clarke’s transformation has perhaps inevitably garnered a negative response from some sections of the internet. Indeed, there are those that have accused him of taking steroids and being “fake.”
Clarke responded to these allegations in a 2016 Facebook video in which he showed off his loose skin, despite feeling self-conscious. He said, “It sickens me that people would try and take away all the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears that I put into this by saying things like that.”
So what does his daily workout routine look like? Well, his first gym session of each day involves 60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, and the second visit will be made up of 90 minutes of weight training.
On top of this, Clarke is attending college full-time, learning paralegal studies. And that’s not even mentioning the two kids that he has with Alyssa.
But Alyssa told BuzzFeed Canada that Clarke puts himself through all of this because he “just wants to help others.” And one person who seemingly has been inspired is Clarke’s own father-in-law, who has also evidently undergone major weight loss.
The last word, though, must go to Clarke himself. His message for others is a simple one. In March 2016, he wrote on Facebook, “Anything is possible if you want it bad enough.” He is living proof of that fact.