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John Fetterman adopts new way of eating, drops 148 pounds

June 19, 2018 GMT

A year ago, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman was well on his way to weighing as much as a baby grand piano.

He weighed 418 pounds, and his waist size ballooned to 56 inches.

To put it bluntly, “I was fat,” he said. “It’s embarrassing to talk about.”

Not so much anymore.

People started noticing a slimmer Fetterman at his political appearances across Pennsylvania during his lieutenant governor campaign.

He changed the way he ate, cutting out grains and sugar. He started walking more and dropped about 10-12 pounds a month.

Today, he is down to 270 pounds.

How did he do it? Dedication. And a new mindset.

“I wasn’t living my best life with my weight gain, and I made a decision to change,” he said.

Fetterman created a simple philosophy: he never referred to his revamped eating routine as a diet. He spoke to the Trib about the changes in hopes of helping people “who lost their way as I had nutritionally.”

“If you create a way of eating for yourself that fosters weight loss, it won’t feel like a chore or a diet,” he said. “It recedes into your life and you don’t think about it constantly.”

His size 6XL shirts are down to XLs. He’s still a towering figure at 6 feet 9 inches tall.

The transition to svelteness began with several online searches about weight loss.

“I used to eat whatever,” he said. “If something looked good, I didn’t think about it. I ate it.”

Fetterman arrived at the simple principle of no sugar and no grain. As he crisscrossed the state, he bought hard boiled eggs and bottled water at rest areas instead of fast food, chips and sugary drinks.

“If I have a burger, I won’t eat the bun,” he said. “I’ll have some salmon with greens. I focused on quality proteins and veggies and greens, and built around that.”

He also started walking longer distances, some days as far as 4 to 6 miles. But he credits the dietary changes to making the greatest impact.

“Everyone is different. Come up with a plan and tweak it to what works for you. Make it your own. There is so much added sugar and carbs in the typical American diet that contributes to us packing on the pounds. That is what happened to me,” Fetterman said.

“If you create a new way of eating for yourself, you’re never going to worry about going on a diet and losing 40 pounds or whatever. Don’t be afraid of a burger. Just have it without the bun and unlimited fries.”

In his younger, athletic days, Fetterman weighed 260 pounds and could bench press 400 pounds.

“It can get away from you and come back, too,” he said. “Benching 400 pounds isn’t important to me as I approach 49, but my family is.”

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review news editor. Reach him at 412-320-7991, bschmitt@tribweb.com or via Twitter at @Bencschmitt.