Nate Rich: The Wake Up Call that Led to Weight Loss Success
Current Weight: 225
Heaviest Weight: 525
Hi, I’m Nathan Rich, and I weighed 525 pounds about seven years ago. Even though I wasn’t exactly happy in my own life, the pictures on the home page were taken over a wonderful family holiday, Thanksgiving in 2008. It was a beautiful time, and it’s amazing to think about how my life was about to spin completely out of control.
Today, I’m 300 pounds lighter, a bodybuilder, a world traveler, and extremely successful in business and in my personal relationships. What happened between then and now is a story of total body and life transformation, which began in the face of extreme adversity. I hope that my story inspires you and motivates you to make your transformation from the life you’re settling for, to the life of your dreams, no matter what your circumstances are.
My Story: I may have grown up in Florida, but I was raised in the rich Italian culture that makes up my family heritage, especially when it came to food and eating. Being physically hungry in my house wasn’t something that played a factor in determining whether or not it was time to eat. In my family, we eat to socialize, we eat when we are bored, we eat when we are mad, we cook and eat to show people we love them… we just eat… it’s the perfect solution to every problem.
A typical day might look like this:
Breakfast: Fried potatoes, toast, butter, and fried eggs (lots of them), or an omelet stuffed with fried potatoes and cheese.
Lunch: As a kid, my mom packed my lunch, and was usually some kind of sandwich on white bread, and chips… nothing crazy, but I’d often buy lunch at school to have with my lunch from home.
Snacks: Mom would pick me up from school and take me for a full fast food meal as my afternoon snack! Even though this was a full meal, it was only considered a filler until dinner.
Dinner: Sometimes we’d eat meats and potatoes with a salad, other times we’d eat with my Italian grandparents. It was great food: a roast, some breaded meats, salads, green beans in Grandma’s homemade tomato sauce, bread.
The interesting thing was that I was the only one who was way overweight, so what we ate together wasn’t the real problem. My problem was that I took that feasting principle and combined it with fast food, delivery pizzas, Chinese food, junk food in general, chips, and a lot more. If there was food, and there was always plenty, I ate, end of story.
I was always a chubby kid, I was never able to really manage my weight, and I progressively got larger over the years. Even when I played football in high school and had to do intense practice sessions and workouts, I gained. During the summer, football practice was two workouts per day, and I still gained weight! Since I attended a private school, my coaches looked the other way on my 300 to 350 pounds. I probably burned a billion calories a second because I was so heavy, but it didn’t matter… you can’t ever work out hard enough to compensate for a poor diet. A few times, I’d diet hard, and get myself down to a healthy-ish, sort-of-normal-looking body weight, around 250 to 275, but it would never last. Football season was only half the year, so while I’d be active doing that, and active while I helped my dad with his business in construction, I still had plenty of time to be a couch potato.
My dad struggled with his weight, had a weak heart, and would frequently try diets. He invited me to join him on these diets several times throughout my childhood, teen, and adult years. First we ate salads with tuna and chicken, and had halves of grapefruit, then we tried the cabbage soup diet, and then we did Atkins for years. We also tried diet shakes, and some pretty extreme medically based liquid diets. We always lost weight, but it inevitably came back on with a vengeance. In just a few years I was to see my weight explode to an unbelievable 525 pounds.
My dad owned and ran a large commercial construction business that I worked for during and after high school, but the hardcore work ethic he lived by, something I would later come to treasure, didn’t appeal to the youthful me. I was headstrong, and wanted to make my own way, and so I left the business to start my own online company, selling upscale teak and mahogany items with an associate in Indonesia.
From late-2005 to late-2007, my business thrived, but my health plummeted. With the ability to work full-time inside my home, I began to be isolated, and my eating, which had always been plentiful, spun out of control. Fast food was a daily part of my story, and the bigger I got, the more I favored delivery pizzas, Chinese, and drive-thru eating… anything to avoid being seen in public.
While I always had a somewhat anti-social nature, my tendency to be isolated intensified the more my weight increased, and it was a self-perpetuating negative cycle. I hated going out in public because I knew heads would turn, and people would make comments. Plus, I felt uncomfortable in my big body. My clothes bunched, twisted, and rolled around my fat, and I was always miserably hot, and the Florida heat and humidity didn’t help.
Then, in 2008, the economy started to tank, and the demand for mahogany and teak items drastically diminished. My business floundered, and my dad, who had always hoped I’d be in the family business, invited me back to work. I’m not sure what my weight was at this time, probably around 475, and I know I started to gain more once I was working at the office. While my dad had me doing more physical work when I was younger, now that I was older, and smarter, I did more office-related work, bidding, and talking with sub-contractors. And, my diet didn’t improve any. I ate fast food on the way to work, fast food for lunch, fast food after work, and then would have dinner at home. It’s crazy to think back on how much food I used to eat. In a short amount of time, I reached my top weight… 525 pounds!
In October of 2008 my dad and I decided to try yet another diet. This time we went on an extremely-low-calorie-doctor-supervised liquid diet. I think I probably got around 600 calories a day. It was miserable, but I lost about 65 pounds over the course of two months. My dad lost a lot of weight also, and I believe the diet may have been more than his heart could handle.
Wake-Up Call: Shortly after Thanksgiving, 2008, my dad was back in the hospital, but this time it seemed that there was no remedy. I remember standing outside my dad’s hospital room pleading with the doctor, “Is there something I can donate? Something I can do to save him? Can’t you operate?” it was no use. No matter how much I questioned and begged, the doctor just kept shaking his head. My head was reeling. I remember driving back to my parent’s home, pulling out a spiral notebook and jotting down all the items that needed taking care of… five pages later and I was still writing!
Our family’s large commercial construction business would need a new leader, my mother was fully dependent on my dad, and my sister was up to her neck in medical school. There were finances to be handled, lawyers to be called, and extended family disputes to be handled. My dad had always taken care of everything for our family, but now I could see that I was going to have to step up. Our extremely demanding commercial construction business in a drastically declining economy would be the biggest challenge, and I would be the successor. I was only 23 years old. My dad died that same day on December 2, 2008. He was just 57 years old.
Even though my dad’s health had been poor and his heart weak for as long I could remember, his death still came as a shock. Sure, he’d had an intense heart surgery to clear five clogged heart arteries by the time I was 10 years old, and occasional admissions to the hospital were par for the course with Dad, but doctor after doctor had always been able to patch him up and get him back on his feet… until now.
To say that I wasn’t ready is an understatement.
Physically I was a wreck. Even though I’d started losing some weight, I had a long way to go, and I knew that living on a few juice-boxes of awful tasting vitamin drinks wasn’t sustainable. Plus it made me miserable.
Still, I knew that my dad’s death was my wake up call. I realized for the first time in my life that my security blanket (my dad) was gone, and it was show time. Losing my dad quickly taught me several lessons: life is limited, doctors can’t always fix you, excess weight will eventually kill you, and if you want to see change, you have to get serious. Plus, having to step up as president of our family business put me in an extremely public light, something I’d been avoiding for years. I knew I had to make a change, and fast.
Getting a Rich Body
I ditched the liquid diet and started weightlifting with a trainer, let’s call him Paul, who promoted a much more balanced view toward eating. I decided I was done with diets. My new plan for eating would be a way of life: eating real food, in a healthy, realistic way that would lead to long term sustainable fat loss and a healthy weight. I made a commitment to ditch fast food and gorge-like eating, and Paul taught me how to limit my calories while also paying attention to the balance of nutrients I should be getting. I began following a high-fiber, healthy-fat, complex carb, high protein style diet. I also began strength training and doing cardio workouts five times a week. The weight started coming off three to five pounds a week on average. Still, I wasn’t completely satisfied. Paul’s suggestions for eating were a good starting point, but I was now doing my own nutritional research, and was making discoveries for different ways to alter my nutrients to increase my fat loss and build muscle. I began to design my own method of eating that was custom designed for my body and my goals.
During this time I was also in the spotlight at work, I was meeting with clients and customers almost daily, heading up new contracts, and leading employees. As the weight came off, my confidence increased. No longer did I feel awkward or isolated.
In the end, I was able to design different variations for eating that honored whatever stage I was at. Your body is always changing, and having tweaks that you can do to your eating plan to address these changes is essential. As my base diet, I always eat healthy nutrients and calories in the right proportions that my body needs to lose fat and build muscle, while also allowing myself to eat foods I love and crave. I’ve helped many friends and family members to lose fat, reach a healthy weight, and improve their energy and other health issues with my way of eating. When my fat loss would stall out, I designed a carb cycling method (Rich Cycling) I designed to quickly ramp up the fat loss and get me back on track.
As I transitioned from my first trainer, I also realized that I needed to customize my workouts, so I switched to another trainer who helped me form a fitness schedule that still involved a lot of resistance training, but streamlined it to maximize the time spent during the session to build more muscle in less time, and got it all done in four 1-hour sessions a week. I would say that the biggest difference in my training was learning to pair opposite groups of muscles to create a routine that worked (and still works) wonders for me. I saw impressive strength gains, muscle growth, and (as a result) fat loss. Having more muscle is like having passive income (owning a rental property that brings in extra money without your 100% direct attention or involvement). By having increased muscle mass on your body (even just a couple pounds worth), your body will be burning more calories even while driving, watching TV, or sleeping. I reached my lowest body fat (single digit) and weighed 209 pounds about two years ago. Today, I maintain a healthy, sustainable body weight of 225. I could get strict and trim up more, but 225 feels like a healthy manageable weight for me, and a body that I’m happy with, and that, honestly, is what it’s all about.
I was morbidly obese, and there are side effects from being at such a weight. I have had surgeries to remove extra skin. Not an attractive discussion, but a realistic one. The surgeries have helped me feel even more confident about my appearance.
Total Transformation Today I’m 300 pounds lighter, I no longer live inside my room (I’m actually a world traveler), I own and operate several successful businesses, and I know my dad would be proud. I look like the self-respecting professional I am. I no longer have long hair, or a scraggly mustache and beard, and I’ve ditched the signature bandana I used to tie over my head. I’ve been able to help family members and friends to get healthier, improve their physique, fitness levels, and increase fat loss. In addition, I also help people with career/work issues, business ideas, and financial investment advice. It’s amazing how getting healthier in one area of your life creates a ripple effect to all other areas. Being free of the physical and mental weight that used to keep me frozen and isolated thrills me the most, and my goal to share it with as many other people as possible.
In Closing: My hope is to inspire you as you start your own adventure. This is the greatest personal gift you can give to yourself. I know. Take the leap, and you will change your life for the better… forever. You don’t have to be perfect, you can see that I’m not, but I still have been able to maintain a 300 pound weight loss, and now live the life I’ve always wanted, but never knew how to get. It hasn’t been easy, and there’s no quick fix, but you can do it. I’ll help you see how. Come with me on this journey. You don’t need money, or special resources. You need determination, the willingness to get brutally real, and an unshakeable commitment to yourself that no matter what obstacles you hit, you’re going to do this.
And, remember the ripple effect. You’ll be amazed at how small changes will lead to big changes for you, physically for sure, but also emotionally and mentally. Yes, you will be healthier, more confident, stronger, and happier than you’ve ever been before, but not just in relation to your health, weight, and fitness. Following my Built to Be Rich principles will undoubtedly lead you to other triumphs in your career, personal life, finances, friendships, relationships, etc. There are endless synergistic life-events that will forever be improved and changed for the better as an indirect result of improving your body/lifestyle. I’ll show you how.
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