What would it be like to face rejection from a social situation because of your weight?
This is exactly what Nathan Irmiter, ISU graduate in geology, experienced before his inspiring weight loss transformation.
Irmiter started his journey to lose weight after learning from his doctor that he had a high content of sugar going through his body that wasn’t being properly filtered out.
After completing further tests, the doctor told him if he didn’t start changing his eating and diet habits that he was going to have serious problems with it in the future.
“About a month before the end of my senior year, I had cleaned up my diet and started doing a vigorous amount of fork-downs and spoon-outs [portion control],” Irmiter said.
Irmiter made the conscious decision to fully commit to this life-changing decision after getting back from the Teton Mountain Range in Wyoming the summer before starting college.
“I remember having a moment of clarity sweating my ass off in a path called the Garnet Canyon,” Irmiter said. “Something along the lines of ... this is too beautiful to miss out on for cheesecake.”
He started running. Everyday, he ran. What first was just a mile at night became four miles and what became four miles became a life-changing journey he vowed never to return from.
“I didn’t have a routine whatsoever,” Irmiter said. “I should have, but I didn’t really understand enough about exercise at the time to know I needed one.”
But the only routine Irmiter needed was motivation. With portion control and exercise, he was shedding the pounds. At his heaviest, he weighed roughly 240 pounds and within four or five months, he had lost a grand total of 70 pounds.
Today, Irmiter is keeping up with his healthy habits. He has picked up a new yoga hobby, and even competed in half-marathons this past year.
This journey has been not only physically life changing but also mentally and socially as well.
Irmiter suffers from clinical depression and moderate to severe social anxiety. Although he’s had these conditions most of his life, he noticed how much more present the symptoms were before his weight loss.
“I spent a lot of time being irrationally pissed off or not know how to talk to people, not making an attempt just because I assumed they wouldn’t give me the time of day,” he said.
Irmiter admitted there are the occasional ‘I want pizza and beer in my mouth now’ kind of nights and pointed out that portion control is key.
He advised people who are trying to lose weight to set reasonable goals for themselves, ones they know they can accomplish.
“Find something that inspires you and keep it on your mind as you go,” Irmiter said. “It doesn’t matter what it is — your family, friends, significant other — as long as it’s important to you.”
For those of you who might be scared to start your own journey because of what others will think, Irmiter had a piece of advice for you, too.
“Nobody looks pretty working out. Not even the people who color coordinate their workout outfits,” Irmiter said. “So if others care that you might be bigger and trying to improve yourself, forget them.
“What’s beyond your front door is one of the scariest concepts when you’re deeply depressed. Working through [that] is the first step to really becoming the man or woman that you want to see in the mirror versus the one you are.”
Running is what helped strengthen Irmiter mentally. He found that having that alone time each day was invaluable for his mental health.
“It goes farther than knowing that you’re capable of improving yourself on a purely physical level,” Irmiter said. “There’s a solemn personal strength you gain from kicking your ass up and down the block a few hundred times purely for your own benefit.”
He explained how strange it feels to now know both sides of the two-sided coin. The journey is one he would like to share with others , but at the same time, let them know that this journey is so much deeper than the physical. Irmiter's story is not one that suggests losing weight provides value, it is losing fear.
“Being unhealthy doesn’t mean someone is a bad person, just like being healthy doesn’t make someone a good person,” Irmiter said. “Everyone has intrinsic value, period.”