This Guy Lost 35 Pounds and Got Ripped Thanks to a Simplified Diet
• After unhealthy eating habits led to weight gain, William Underwood set a goal of losing roughly 30 pounds.
• He started by counting calories and committing to a strict vegetarian diet of mostly plants and eggs, all while running and lifting up to five days a week.
• As a result, Underwood underwent a dramatic 35-pound weight loss transformation and hit his goal weight.
William Underwood had taken a radical move: The 27-year-old from London, England, had picked up with his girlfriend and moved to Paris, France, where he later began working for an English school. “I fell out of healthy habits and started to put on a few extra pounds,” he says. Even with a vegetarian diet, he was eating too much for someone spending so much time at a desk. Flipping through his phone, he saw some old pictures of himself; realizing just how much weight he’d gained, he promised himself a change.
That was in February 2019. Underwood weighed 196 pounds, and declared that by September he’d be down to 168. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d slimmed down; entering university as a teenager, he weighed 270 pounds—by the time he finished, he was at 154. “I thought if I had made so much progress 4 years earlier,” he says, “why not try to do it again? I saw it as a challenge for myself.”
Underwood started by calculating his maintenance calories to establish the caloric deficit he needed to his hit goal weight. He broke it down: 30 percent of his calories from carbs, 30 percent from fat, and 30 percent from protein. He tracked it all with MyFitnessPal; as a vegetarian, his diet was mostly plants and eggs.
He didn’t use a trainer—being new in Paris, he didn’t have any gym buddies, either, so it was up to him to stay motivated. (One trick: taking pictures of himself every Monday after the gym, so he could see his progress.) He upped his workout time to five weight sessions a week, with cardio two to three times. He’d hit the weights for about an hour in the morning before work, with 30 minutes of cardio after work. The schedule fit his daily routine, making it that much easier to implement—and to stick with.
It wasn’t always easy, Underwood says. His diet meant burning fat reserves; he also had to give up butter, a personal favorite. “I think another challenge you face when doing something like this is to not become over-obsessed,” he says. He wanted to enjoy himself despite the challenge, not torture himself with a strict regimen. “Luckily I also had my girlfriend there to keep things in perspective,” he says.
In about eight months, he lost 35 pounds, exceeding his goal. Most of his friends back home in England didn’t know what he’d been up to. But he did send his mother a before-and-after photo so she could see his accomplishment. “As any good mum would,” he says, “she said she was worried I was wasting away and prescribed some more food!”
Looking back, he’s proud of his results. “I improved my organizational skills, which helped with things out of the gym in my personal life and work,” he says. “I also feel I learned a lot more about self discipline and delayed gratification.” And ultimately, he enjoyed himself—something he emphasizes for anyone looking to follow in his footsteps: “Make sure you have fun doing it. If it makes you miserable to do it, what is the point?”