As a teenager, Jonny Valdez spent most of his time playing video games and watching TV, with little thought given to his health or personal fitness. “When my stomach told me it was time to eat, I would go to the kitchen or I’d go to the store, get something that would just fill me up quickly,” he says in a recent episode of Truly‘s transformation series Brand New Me.
At just 17 years old, Jonny weighed 270 pounds—this was when he reached a turning point in his life.
“I was on the verge of not graduating from high school,” he says. “Everything was all piling up. I was faced with a choice to either do something about it, or just watch everything fall apart. So one day I decided to just get up, go in the mirror, do what I’ve never done before, and take that first transformation photo. And there was no way I was going to leave a transformation photo just sitting in my phone and not do something about it.”
Over the course of the next three years, Johnny lost a total of 120 pounds, and found a passion for working out and lifting weights that has led to him participating in physique shows. “I guess I see the gym as an escape for me,” he says. “It’ll always make my day better… I’m satisfied knowing that I’m building towards my body of my dreams, and I’m happy with everything right now.”
Following his weight loss transformation, the last year has seen Jonny put on 30 pounds of mass in order to build strength and size for his next bodybuilding event—and at the time of filming, he has just achieved a deadlift PR of 400 pounds.
“The feeling of self-gratitude and being proud of myself is something I don’t think I’ve ever felt in my life,” he says. “I’m comfortable in my skin now… It doesn’t matter how long it takes, anything is possible, whether it’s weight loss or life journeys. Never give up on yourself, and I promise you’ll see the outcome in the end.”
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