For Dean Mead, embarking on a journey to Nutrisystem weight loss success did not come easy. Being overweight was uncomfortable and often humiliating: In middle school, he was already 300 pounds, and he was sent to a camp to lose weight. On the high school football team, the scale topped out at 375 pounds—and he was over.
“Of course I played it off like it didn’t hurt because in football, you’re meant to be big,” he says, “but of course it hurt my self-esteem and confidence.”
In college, with food temptations everywhere, things got worse: His weight ballooned to more than 500 pounds, and the list of things he couldn’t do got longer. He couldn’t play with his nieces without getting winded. He couldn’t climb a hill on vacation with his family to take in a great view. Getting out of the shower and bed were a struggle. And the worst, Dean says: He couldn’t put on his own socks.
“My stomach wouldn’t allow me to bend over and reach my foot,” he says. Embarrassed, he had to ask his brother to help: “I had to come up with an excuse—I would say to him that I have a cramp in my leg, and I couldn’t bend to put the sock on.”
He’d tried all kinds of diets, and nothing had worked. But for a college kid who didn’t know how to cook, Dean says, the Nutrisystem weight loss plan was just right: “The foods that were provided for me were great,” he says. “Everything was planned out for me, and all I had to do was heat the food up.”
While he was hundreds of miles away at school, his family didn’t see him for months. Dean drank Chocolate FreshStart Shakes to crush his cravings, ate pizza for dinner and used Nutrisystem’s frozen and shelf-stable meals to help get his health and confidence back. When he finally visited his family on a beach vacation, he was already 140 pounds lighter*—and able to do all the things he couldn’t do before when on family trips.
“I could walk the boardwalk. I could go to the beach. I can take my younger siblings to the pool and play with them without losing my breath,” he says. His family “couldn’t be prouder. My grandfather hugged me and said, ‘I can get my arms around you now!’”
He kept losing weight—and gaining back confidence. Dean started lifting weights and has joined a nearby boxing club. Today, he’s lost 245 pounds,* but people don’t just see a lighter guy. They see the real Dean—active, funny and confident.
“I am more than just a number. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin,” he says “I’m half the man I used to be weight-wise, and I have 10 times the confidence I used to have.”