How long he's kept it off: He started in February 2016 and by April 28, 2016, lost 54 pounds. "I have maintained my healthy lifestyle for over a year," says McFarland who gained 15 pounds of lean muscle mass in the past year.
Personal life: "I live in Hoschton, Ga., with my fiancé, Donna. We have been dating four years and between the two of us we have five children … We have four in college and one in high school … I am self-employed and own my company with my brother, McFarland Contracting, a hardwood flooring company."
Turning point: "The turning point in my life was during a time when I felt like I was falling apart with headaches and my back hurt daily. I figured I was getting older and these health concerns were something I would have to deal with for the rest of my life. At 209 pounds, I would breathe heavily even just leaning over to tie my shoes. Then, I walked into Gold's Gym and learned more about how the Gold's Gym Challenge changed people's lives and decided to join."
Diet plan: Breakfast is eggs, mushrooms and broccoli, steel cut oats and coffee. Mid-morning meal is cottage cheese. Lunch and dinner are salads and lean protein. He also has protein shakes or snacks after workouts.
Exercise routine: "I worked out with weights six days a week for about one and a half hours a day and did 20 minutes on the Matrix Sprint 8 for cardio seven days a week."
Biggest challenge: "For me, the biggest challenge has been the change in diet. It's not just making better choices, but also about the added time it takes to prepare healthier foods. It was also hard waiting for the results. You don't gain an extra 100 pounds overnight and you won't lose it that way either … Like my personal trainer always said to me, 'How bad do you want it?' By training with my fiance and two daughters it kept us all accountable and we motivated each other."
How life has changed: McFarland was named the 2016 Gold's Gym Challenge national male overall winner. "Before I won the challenge, I was just hoping to get in shape again and live a normal healthy life. But because of the success I had in the challenge and the transformation of my body, I set new goals." He will soon compete in body building competitions. "I would have never of dreamed of doing any of this in February of 2016 … Since my transformation, I feel like a new person … I didn't realize how much my weight affected me. I'm a lot more active and can honestly say I enjoy life more in my newly transformed body."
Be an inspiration: If you’ve made positive changes in your diet and/or fitness routine and are happy with the results, please share your success with us. Include your email address, a daytime phone number and before and after photos (by mail or JPEG). Write: Success Stories, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 223 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA, 30346-1301; or e-mail Michelle C. Brooks, firstname.lastname@example.org.