A man who lost 203 pounds in just a year proudly shows off his excess skin and talks about how he learned to love his body after his life-changing physical transformation.
Alex Rubalcada, 28, of Siloam Springs, Arkansas, was an emotional eater growing up and he turned to food for comfort after his grandmother Eulalia passed away from diabetes in June 2003. At his heaviest, he weighed over 400 pounds.
“Many factors lead to my previous weight,” he said. “One of them was the death of my grandmother. I wanted to be like them, so I ate. Another was that I didn’t care about myself at all, so I ate. I had no self-confidence, so I ate. It was hugely emotional.
Proud: Alex Rubalcada, 28, of Siloam Springs, Arkansas, shows off the excess skin on his chest and abdomen after losing half his body weight
Before and after: Alex went from £412 (left) to £209 (right) in just one year
“I was jealous of others who looked better, so I ate. I would compare myself, so I ate to feel good again. I hated myself so much. I really did. I distinguished myself in every way I saw – kept telling myself I wasn’t good enough. I’m not pretty enough. I am not enough. I had so much hatred in myself.’
For his weight loss, Alex weighed in at 412 pounds and wore a six 4XL shirt. He is said to consume up to 5,000 calories a day, with cookies, chips and Chinese takeout being some of his favorite dishes.
“People wouldn’t say much before I lost the weight. I think people just wouldn’t say anything because I was a big funny nice guy,” he recalls. “Yet something changed when I lost weight. People always asked how I did it. I told them it was important for me to make do with diet and exercise.”
Alex said his “turning point” came when he learned in September 2018 that he was prediabetic and had high blood pressure. His grandmother had died of diabetes and the diagnosis shocked him to the core.
“I felt more anger and hatred towards myself, but also depressed,” he explained, saying he didn’t want to be “another person who got fat and died from being too fat.”
Looking back: Alex was an emotional eater growing up, and he turned to food for comfort after his grandmother Eulalia died of diabetes in June 2003
Life-changing moment: Alex said his ‘turning point’ came when he learned in September 2018 that he was prediabetic with high blood pressure
Getting out and about: Alex started his weight loss journey by quitting junk food and soda cold turkey and taking daily walks in his local park
Alex started his weight loss journey by quitting junk food and soda, cold turkey, and started taking daily walks in his local park.
In just six months, he lost a whopping 100 pounds, which gave him the confidence to join a gym and cut his calorie intake down to 2,200 calories a day.
Having lost half his body weight, Alex now wears a size medium shirt and has a slim 32-inch waist.
‘It has changed my life. It has largely changed my outlook on life. I could see what it really took to change something about yourself,” he said. “By losing the weight, I’ve been able to show what I was capable of and how great I can be.”
People approach him to say that he inspired them to start their own fitness journeys. He said the secret to his success is confidence.
Too much: Alex consumed up to 5,000 calories a day, with biscuits, chips and Chinese takeaway as one of his favorite dishes
Success: In just six months, he lost a whopping 100 pounds, which gave him the confidence to join a gym and reduce his calorie intake to 2,200 calories per day
Transformation: Alex has lost 203 pounds in just one year and now has a slim waist of 32 inches
“People say, ‘Damn, man. That’s crazy. How did you do that?’ when they see how much I’ve lost,” he said. However, he admitted that weight loss comes with sacrifice.
“You lose friends, people you thought were your friends, something not many people talk about,” he said. “This can change your life, because if you change yourself, you don’t know that your environment is going to change, so you have two obstacles to deal with: your inner change and your environment.
“You start to lose your identity as you are and I think this is where most people fail and relapse and gain weight again. When you lose weight, your body and mind grieve.
“I am extremely proud of myself,” he added. “Overcoming all those efforts has increased my confidence in myself and I have so much love in myself. I just want to test myself how far I can go in believing in myself to see what else I am capable of.”
Attitude: Losing weight has given Alex a new lease of life and he is incredibly proud of his weight loss journey
Changes: He has some excess skin since his weight loss, but he is now at peace with his body
Words of Wisdom: ‘You can lose all the weight and get the skin surgery, but if you’re still not happy with yourself, you haven’t treated yourself. It’s still with you,’ he said
Losing weight has given Alex a new lease of life and he is incredibly proud of his journey. He has had some excess skin since his weight loss, but he is now at peace with his body.
“I’m in a state right now where I’ve caught myself saying, ‘Oh, it’s just loose skin. I’m cool with it,'” he said. “When I noticed this, without forcing positive words, it just came out on its own. Then I knew I had reached a higher level of personal growth with my body image.
“Despite the sacrifices, believing in myself was the hardest thing. I can be consistent in my training and diet, but if I didn’t believe in myself, none of that would matter.’
For people looking to make similar transformations, Alex offered some words of wisdom — and a reminder that happiness is about more than just losing weight.
My advice to others, start walking but don’t forget yourself. Take yourself. Wherever you go,’ he said.
“You can lose all the weight and have the skin surgery, but if you’re still not happy with yourself, you haven’t treated yourself. It’s still with you.’