By Josh Saunders
A dad who shed to ten stone [140lb] is now confused for being in his 20s after going from a ‘beer belly’ and ‘man boobs’ to muscular.
Shimmy Godwin Mekbeb, 40, from Tampa, Florida, weighed more than 21st 6 [300lb] at his heaviest after quitting his hobbies and eating the same food as his children.
After feeling frustration that he had to pay £46 [$59] for US XXL trousers in a large men’s store and lacking energy due to his size, he decided to become more active.
Starting off barely able to run a lap, he would go onto lose over two stone [40lb] in his first month after working out on the track for up to four hours a day.
His weight loss continued but since switching to intermittent fasting – where he only eats within an eight or at times four-hour window – he has watched his fat recede to reveal chiselled abs and pecs.
Now living off up to four shakes a day, occasional cereal, vitamins and a full meal every other day, he feels ‘superhuman’ due to the amount of energy and fitness he’s regained.
Since hitting 11st 10 [164lb], strangers believe he is much younger than his years, with him getting asked for his ID and believed to be 25 years old.
Shimmy, a webmaster, said: “Some days I don’t recognised my old self, other than my hair and eyes you can’t tell I’m the same guy.
“I had a chubby face with chubby cheeks, a beer belly despite not drinking beer and man boobs but now when I look in the mirror I can see my jawline and get told I look a lot younger.
“If I go to the corner store I get asked for my ID, I’ll take looking younger as a compliment but to me I’m still the same dude.
“I asked them how old they thought I was and they believed I was 25, I think it was because I was wearing workout clothing and don’t wear old guy clothes.
“Intermittent fasting caused the biggest difference for my transformation, within two weeks I started getting ripped, I didn’t think it would happen.
“When climbing stairs I take them two by two, severely overweight people can’t do that. I can do so much more now, am much more flexible, lighter, fitter and it feels like I have superhuman traits.
“When I do 5ks and 10ks, for the first minute or two I look around and everyone is hyperventilating before they are even a quarter of a mile down the road.
“You only realise your fitness when you compare yourself to others, most overweight people don’t realise how short of breath they are.
“For every 10lbs you shave off, it feels like you gain 10% extra energy, speed, strength and power, you can do things so much easier.”
Shimmy battled with his weight during childhood, which he believes was due to eating fast food and other unhealthy snacks.
By fifth grade – between 9-10 years old – he was 10st 10 [150lb] and as an adult he continued to gain after quitting his hobbies.
Shimmy said: “I was a really fat kid growing up, I grew up on Happy Meals and whatever else, I was known as being a fat nerdy kid.
“During my married days I inflated and got pretty big back then, so the weight loss was more of a side effect of getting active again.
“I didn’t want to be the guy with old man clothes, who looked bad with a double chin and a belly.
“Now people don’t recognise me, I’m pretty much a new person to everyone I meet.”
Shimmy believes one of the biggest challenges was retraining his mind but since achieving this his lifestyle has been a lot easier.
Initially he struggled with basic exercise but now regularly partakes in 10k races.
Shimmy said: “I started off walking around the track, my weight made it feel like I had a very heavy backpack.
“At first, I couldn’t complete one lap, but then I became stronger and within my first month lost 40lb.
“I was the first guy there and the last one to leave, it was a good escape and way to deal with adults again.
“I surprise myself when I look in the mirror now, your body changes automatically and there’s nothing you can do to force it.”
Alongside starting exercising in 2008 while living in Canada, Shimmy believes one of the main secrets behind his shredded physique is intermittent fasting.
He not only cut out fat and processed food, but also only eats during an eight and at times four-hour period of the day.
Shimmy satisfies hunger cravings outside of those times with tea and BCCA powder.
Now he’s reduced his exercise plan to 16 minute High Intensity Interval Training [HIIT] and an hour’s run, combined with daily walks, skateboarding and hoverboarding instead of driving.
Shimmy said: “I put on weight mostly from bad food, when you have kids in the house you buy juice boxes, fruit snacks, McDonalds Happy Meals and more.
“You eat what they eat and if you have bad, junk food in the house you consume it, now I don’t buy that.
“I buy smoothie stuff and have cut down my sugar intake to nothing really, which helped to make the most of my progress.
“I cut my protein content, I eat nothing frozen, rarely canned and no fast food, sodas, minimal juices and not a lot of bread.”