In the photo on the left, taken in February 2018, Zachary Blanchard weighed 380 pounds. In the photo on the right, taken this month, he weighed 206 pounds. (All photos contributed by Zachary Blanchard)

Zachary Blanchard, 36, of Hickory Flat lost 174 pounds

SUCCESS STORY / Zachary Blanchard, 36: From 380 pounds to 206 pounds

Former weight: 380 pounds

Current weight: 206 pounds

Pounds lost: 174 pounds

Height: 6 feet 1 ½ inches

Age: 36 years

How long he’s kept it off: He started in April 2018 and reached his current weight in April.

Personal life: “I’m a high school football coach. I live in Hickory Flat, Ga.,” said Blanchard, who is on Instagram at coachz78.

Turning point: “I had let myself go. I was too afraid to admit it. … I started very slowly about a year ago,” Blanchard said. “I did a keto diet, I took small steps and knew it was going to take a while. My personality is that I am all in, and that can lead to a train wreck when I overdo it. In December, I started lifting weights a lot. … At that time, I was a heavy smoker and I decided to quit. I haven’t smoked since December, and I went down from 275 to 206 pounds. I think the smoking did make a big difference. … I am a man of faith, I believe in God — it all really has a lot to do with that as well. Onelife Fitness has really been a blessing to me. Your body is constantly trying to find that homeostasis.” When he could feel his body getting used to it, he’d switch it up. “(When) I knew my body was going to plateau, I would stop doing intermittent fasting and eat breakfast. Make sure your cortisol is low. … For example, if I wake up in the night, I know my cortisol is too high.”

Diet plan: On a ketogenic diet, he eats eggs, bacon and an avocado. Lunch and dinner are chicken with vegetables, and he has two protein shakes daily.

Exercise routine: On the football field, he trains with his players and lifts weights six days per week. “I like to isolate my muscle groups a lot. I was doing a lot of cardio, spin classes — which were absolutely awful to me. I ran a 5K in March, I hate that crap, I am not running anymore. … I don’t have all the answers, and I do what pertains to me. Find out what works for you.”

Biggest challenge: “Really, for me it was being patient, realizing that you have to give your body time. Rome wasn’t built in a day — you can’t try to climb that mountain in a day. Start small and make small changes. … Celebrate small victories. Don’t set unrealistic goals — give your body time to change because it didn’t take you six months to gain all that weight.”

How life has changed: “There were times I wanted to quit and give up, but I just set my feet on solid ground with God. It’s hard, I had to make a lot of sacrifices — I stopped drinking alcohol. I didn’t have a beer at the Super Bowl. For so long when I was unhappy, I confided in food. When you don’t have that comfort, you realize you don’t need that comfort, you just need to grow up.”

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