Bullied boy is unrecognizable after losing 189 pounds in phenomenal transformation

A 21-year-old who was bullied for his weight growing up lost 189 pounds in under two years and is now inspiring others to lead more active, healthy lifestyles.

Ethan Taylor, of Rockford, Ill., says that for him, body shaming began at a particularly early age.

"People started bullying me over my weight when I was really young," he told In The Know. "It started in elementary school, went all the way through middle school, high school, into college."

While Ethan says he always tried to act as though the taunting "didn't bother" him, since it seemed like the easiest way to deal with bullies, he acknowledged it deeply affected him.

Ethan says he realized he hit rock bottom at the age of 19, when he reached his peak weight of 378 pounds.

Knowing he had to make a change, he began dieting and exercising and was able to lose 30 pounds on his own before joining Anytime Fitness, a 24-hour gym.

Photos of Ethan's transformation: 

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Ethan Taylor's phenomenal weight loss transformation
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Ethan Taylor's phenomenal weight loss transformation
Real talk time: as you all know I’ve come a really long way and I’ll be forever grateful about all I’ve been able to accomplish. I’ve made it clear that my goal is to get to 184 so I can say that I’ve cut myself in half and I want that really damn bad. At this point I don’t know how realistic that is. Pretty much every morning for approximately the last three weeks I’ve woken up and weighed the same. Either 192 or 191. I can’t seem to get past that point. Some people might say I’m in a plateau but I know that’s not what this is. I know what I’ve been putting myself through in the gym to get through this and I’ve been tracking what I eat so I’m 100% positive this isn’t that. There comes a point in time when your body is “done” and I think my body might be at that point. For example, when I would run during half-marathon training I would lose anywhere from 2-5 pounds after every run. Now when I run and weigh myself I lose nothing, even if I weigh myself right after a run. I am legitimately stuck in the 190-192 range. I’m not stopping just yet. I’ll keep pushing until leave for Texas in three weeks. Whatever I am on that date is what my end weight will be. Whether that’s 184 or 192. It doesn’t matter that’s the end date. I’m going to keep trying to lose these last 7-8 pounds but I’m not sure that’s entirely possible without pushing my body to its limits and I don’t want to do something stupid and injure myself trying to get these last few pounds. If I can’t make it to 184 I’ll still be plenty happy with whatever I am because I’ll be able to look back at these old pictures and truly see how far I’ve come. The farther I get into this the more I realize it isn’t about the number on the scale. I flipped my life completely around and brought myself back from the brink. I changed myself forever and the scale won’t tell me that. The way I feel, look, and perceive life will. It’s been an awesome journey and one of the greatest times of my life. In 21 days I’ll know what I weigh for good and I’ll be okay with that. I’m just happy I made these changes. From 368-191. That’s 177 pounds I’ll never gain back.
Update: I made a shirt to remind myself not to give up bc I am, in fact, a loser 😂 but anyways I stole Al Davis’ saying (just win baby) and changed to fit my goals so s/o Al Davis. Excuse my “I just got back from the gym” face #JustLoseBaby #OneGoal
I’m pretty sure my trainers goal is to make sure I’m unable to use my arms at all for the foreseeable future
Great workout put on today by @strive815
Had another successful check-in at @strive815 I’ve lost another 21.4 pounds of fat in the last 6 weeks. Always encouraging to see great results like these! #justlosebaby #onegoal #goalsmarter #Fitness
Got to get a good workout in with my pals hanz and franz this morning at peak! Getting closer and closer to that ever elusive pull-up 😂 good gains with the bros 💪🏼 #food4fuel #25by2025 #beinspired #beinspiring #21DaySTC #justlosebaby #onegoal #weightlossszn #fitness #weightloss #100poundclub
I wasn’t going to flex but the mirror told me to 🤷🏼‍♂️ Merry Liftmas ft my nipples #food4fuel #25by2025 #beinspired #beinspiring #21DaySTC #justlosebaby #onegoal #weightlossszn #fitness #weightloss #100poundclub #815 #gym
Always good to get a lift in when on vacation. S/O my boy
At this point I just go to the gym to take pictures of myself 😂 #food4fuel #25by2025 #beinspired #beinspiring #21DaySTC #justlosebaby #onegoal #weightlossszn #fitness #weightloss #100poundclub #815 #gym
Running, a lot like life, is unpredictable. One week you can fail and feel like you can’t keep going. (My long run last week) the next week you can feel great and have one of your best runs ever (today) I think the biggest difference between last week and this week, besides the heat 😂, was my mentality. Last week I was nervous and scared because I had never run that far before and because I didn’t know how my body was going to react to the heat. This week I brought it back to basics. I stopped worrying and just ran. It helped tremendously. I saw a video this week that I kept replaying in my head during my run today. It was a video about Roger Bannister, the first person to ever run a sub 4 minute mile. This benchmark was seen as impossible until he did it. As soon as he sat the record it started being broken left and right. So why couldn’t anyone do that before Bannister did? Because everyone said and thought it was impossible. People often put limitation on themselves but you’re really only limited to what you say you’re limited to. Why can’t I run a marathon? Why can’t I crush my goals? Why can’t I help erase childhood obesity? I can do all these thing and I will do all these things! My current goal is to reach my fundraising goal. I’m only $57 away from reaching that goal!! Please consider helping me get there! You can be the change in a kids life! #food4fuel #25by2025 #beinspired #beinspiring #21DaySTC #justlosebaby #onegoal #weightlossszn #fitness #weightloss #100poundclub #extremeweightloss #journey #815 #gym #wlcommunity #150poundclub #actionforhealthykids #run #chicagomarathon2019 #fundraiser #embracethesuck #runnerscommunity #runnersofinstagram
As you all know I hit my goal weight this past Sunday. It was a Very exciting and fulfilling moment for me! I’ve spent the last couple of days celebrating and hanging out with my family and friends talking about where to go from here. I’m still going to keep June 27th as the date of my final weigh-in. That’s means I have two more weigh-ins. June 23 and June 27th. After that I’m not sure how often I’ll update this on my weight because the plan is to stay around the 180-185 range. The next goal is to keep the weight off forever but especially for the next six months. For those of you who don’t know. In order to get skin removal surgery you have to keep the weight off for six months. I told myself that I would only get the surgery if the time was right and I had a lot of excess skin. I unfortunately do have quite a bit of excess skin now in my stomach, chest, arms, and legs which is kind like battle scars for me. The skin doesn’t really bother me but if I can get rid it I would like to. I’m going to schedule an appointment to get an assessment here in a couple weeks. I’ll update you all on how that goes! I’m also planning on continuing to help others reach their goals like I did with mine! I want everyone to be able to achieve what I did if they need and want to.
Big news folks! I am running in the 2019 Chicago marathon! I have a fundraising goal of $2,000. The charity I’m running for is called Action For Healthy Kids. Their mission is to defeat childhood obesity which is a cause that I am passionate about. I’ve been overweight my entire life and being the “fat kid” always sucked and I know that with organizations like AFHK we can make sure that no kid has to struggle through this! The link to my fundraising page is in my bio and the second picture is a list of prizes for the top ten donors to my cause! Also thrown in are a few pictures of little chubby Ethan 😂 #food4fuel #25by2025 #beinspired #beinspiring #21DaySTC #justlosebaby #onegoal #weightlossszn #fitness #weightloss #100poundclub #extremeweightloss #journey #815 #gym #wlcommunity #150poundclub #run #actionforhealthykids #halfmarathontraining #nikerunclub #marathon #chicagomarathon2019
My hamstrings hurt #food4fuel #25by2025 #beinspired #beinspiring #21DaySTC #justlosebaby #onegoal #weightlossszn #fitness #weightloss #100poundclub #extremeweightloss #journey #815 #gym #wlcommunity #150poundclub #run #halfmarathon #chicagolandspringhalfmarathon
Today marks the beginning of two things! 1) I officially start my marathon training program as a part of team @act4healthykids I’m both nervous and excited for this new challenge! Tbh the hardest part of this marathon isn’t going to be the running, it’s going to be the fundraising. It’s hard to get momentum going for raising such a significant amount of money but I’ll be damned if I’m not gonna beat my fundraising goal! With that being said I’ll do literally anything (within reason, of course) for a donation. If the money is right, I’ll do it! So please be my guest in making me look like a fool! 2) today also marks the beginning of what I’m calling “the final push” I’m only 7(!!!!!) pounds shy of reaching my goal weight of 184 pounds! Why 184, you may be asking. Well I’ll tell you why! I started my journey at 368 pounds. 368 divided by 2 is 184. So that means if I reach 184 pounds I will have officially cut myself in half which is absolutely insane! I really can’t believe it! Low key probably gonna cry when I see that number on my scale! So the final push begins. No cheating on my diet, no off days, no stopping until I reach that goal. All gas, no brakes from here on out 😤 #food4fuel #25by2025 #beinspired #beinspiring #21DaySTC #justlosebaby #onegoal #weightlossszn #fitness #weightloss #100poundclub #extremeweightloss #journey #815 #gym #wlcommunity #150poundclub #run #actionforhealthykids #chicagomarathon2019 #fundraiser #embracethesuck
It’s been a little over a month since I officially ended my weight loss journey. I’ve been in what people call the “maintenance” phase or as I like to call it “living everyday life as a health conscious individual” 😂 since June 27 I’ve gained about 5-7 pounds and am sitting at about 189-191 but I’m not freaking out about it. I was out of town for 16/31 days in July and to think I still only gained a few pounds is terrific. Of course I’m gonna put myself through a mini diet starting tomorrow so I can try and lose these 7ish pounds before I go on vacation with my family. Lowkey looking forward to being back on the diet grind for the next 11 days. I’m also starting to think that my bodies “natural weight” is supposed to be about 190-192. You’d think with all the running mixed with the eating healthy I’d still be losing weight but that’s just not the case. I’m pretty much staying out there. If I can’t lose any weight during this cut then I’ll know for sure and I’ll be perfectly fine with that! #food4fuel #25by2025 #beinspired #beinspiring #21DaySTC #justlosebaby #onegoal #weightlossszn #fitness #weightloss #100poundclub #extremeweightloss #journey #815 #gym #wlcommunity #150poundclub #180poundclub #weightlosscommunity #embracethesuck
These are my two moods when I crush a training run 🤪 set a new Half Marathon PR and felt like I could run another 6-10 miles easy. I think it’s safe to say that after a couple down weeks I’ve finally got my swagger back 😂. My mentality towards running has done a complete 180. I don’t dread it anymore, I actually embrace it. It’s easy to do these types of things when you remember why you’re doing them. When I think about all the money I raise and how it could be the change some kid needs so that they don’t end up weighing almost 400 pounds like I did. It could help a whole generation of kids become healthy and hopefully help eliminate childhood obesity all together. If you’re in a place to do so, I’m only $57 short of my minimum fundraising goal and I’d love to be able to hit that today! I’m not stopping when I hit that either. I’m raising as much as I can until I drop 😂 the link is in my bio! #food4fuel #25by2025 #beinspired #beinspiring #21DaySTC #justlosebaby #onegoal #weightlossszn #fitness #weightloss #100poundclub #extremeweightloss #journey #815 #gym #wlcommunity #150poundclub #actionforhealthykids #run #chicagomarathon2019 #fundraiser #embracethesuck #runnerscommunity
Guys I actually did it 😂 I honestly don’t know how I made it this far but I just completed my 20 mile training run which is the longest run pre-marathon. It really never ceases to blow my mind that less than two years ago I could barely walk from my dorm to my car because of my back injury and now I’m here. I really did this. I really lost 184 pounds. I really just ran 20 freaking miles! I’m really going to run a marathon! This is just one of those days where it really all hits me because most of the time I don’t really think about all those things because they become normal to me but when I really sit back and think the whole journey amazes me! LFG 💪🏼😤 #food4fuel #25by2025 #beinspired #beinspiring #21DaySTC #justlosebaby #onegoal #weightlossszn #fitness #weightloss #100poundclub #extremeweightloss #journey #815 #gym #wlcommunity #150poundclub #actionforhealthykids #run #chicagomarathon2019 #fundraiser #embracethesuck #runnerscommunity #nikerunclub #newbalance #training #Grinding
Life is crazy sometimes. Back almost two years when I stared this weight loss journey I had two goals. The first was to lose weight the right way, no surgeries, no fad diets, no fit-tea’s, just eating good Whole Foods and working out like a mad man 😂. The second goal was to inspire people. That was a goal from the minute I started. I wanted to show people that if I could do it, so could they. I never in my wildest dreams thought my story would make it this far. It’s wild to see my face plastered on a national story. I can’t quite quantify my excitement. I’m not excited that I’m “famous” as my mom would say 😂 (but don’t get me wrong it’s cool to see myself on big time stuff) I’m extremely excited because I know that someone out there, If not multiple people, will see this and go out and change there lives too. If they see that I did it, they’ll know that they can do it! That’s what I’m really excited for. I remember sitting in my bed in December 2017 thinking about how cool it would be to lose a ton of weight. I remember watching @obese_to_beast videos and becoming inspired to go out and do great things. I have been lucky enough to gain a platform to speak on how important health is and I will proudly stand on that platform and scream exactly that! This whole journey has been amazing and I can’t wait to see what else I can do to hopefully inspire more and more people to get healthy! #food4fuel #25by2025 #beinspired #beinspiring #21DaySTC #justlosebaby #onegoal #weightlossszn #fitness #weightloss #100poundclub #extremeweightloss #journey #815 #gym #wlcommunity #150poundclub #actionforhealthykids #run #chicagomarathon2019 #fundraiser #embracethesuck #runnerscommunity #anytimefitness #intheknow #gym #inspire #marathon #mystory #fitnessaddict
People often ask me if my loose skin bothers me and I always tell them this; “people come and go, but my nipples will never leave my side” - In major weight loss loose skin is inevitable. I’ve had dozens of people who want to lose weight come to me with concerns about loose skin. I try to keep it as real as possible with them. Yes the loose skin isn’t a fun thing to have, yes it can be an inconvenience or get in the way. BUT I’d rather deal with the loose skin than deal with the health problems I would’ve experienced had I not changed my ways. I was on track for millions of dollars in medical bills and an early grave with the way I was treating my body, that’s just the harsh truth. - I’m so glad I took the leap and changed to a healthy lifestyle by fixing my diet and using food as a form of fuel instead of a form of comfort. Fixing your relationship with food should always be the first step in starting a weight loss journey. “Fitness happens in the gym, weight loss happens in the kitchen” food is like Batman while exercise is like Robin. I really can’t emphasize enough how important the food aspect is and how happy I am I made the decision to switch my ways! - #food4fuel #25by2025 #beinspired #beinspiring #21DaySTC #justlosebaby #onegoal #weightlossszn #fitness #weightloss #100poundclub #extremeweightloss #journey #815 #gym #wlcommunity #150poundclub #actionforhealthykids #run #chicagomarathon2019 #fundraiser #embracethesuck #runnerscommunity #NikeRunClub #Grinding #Runner #AnytimeFitness #MyStory
Today was a bittersweet moment for me. I completed my last long run and pretty much wrapped up my marathon training as a whole (aside from two 3 mile runs next week). I’ve spent a good chunk Of the last four months waking up early, going to run mile after mile, all in the hopes that I could accomplish two things. The first being cross finishing a marathon off my bucket list. This has not been on my bucket list for long but ever since I started running in June of 2018, it has been something that has always been in the back of my mind. It is absolutely wild that next Sunday I will be running 26.2 miles through the streets of Chicago with roughly 40,000 of my closest friends. I honestly don’t even know what to expect all I know is I’m equal parts excited and nervous. The second thing I hoped to do was bring awareness to an issue that is near and dear to my heart. I found the charity Action 4 Healthy Kids when I was looking for one to run for and I knew this was my opportunity to use the platform I had to try and raise as much money as possible to help combat childhood obesity. Obviously everyone knows that’s something that I struggled with. It led to some dark times and I am so glad I found my way through them because it has led me to this point. As I said here typing this out I am currently $64 short of $3000 raised. $3000 may not seem like a ton of money but I promise you it will go along way and help so many kids. If it is within your means please consider donating and helping me get to $3000. I appreciate all the love and support of gotten through this and I can’t wait to continue to try and inspire and help others do the same thing I did. The link for my fundraiser is in my bio! #food4fuel #25by2025 #beinspired #beinspiring #21DaySTC #justlosebaby #onegoal #weightlossszn #fitness #weightloss #100poundclub #extremeweightloss #journey #815 #gym #wlcommunity #150poundclub #actionforhealthykids #run #chicagomarathon2019 #fundraiser #embracethesuck #runnerscommunity #NikeRunClub #Grinding #Runner #AnytimeFitness #MyStory
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"I walked in day one, they believed in me. They thought I could do it," he said, describing the gym community and himself as a "match made in heaven."

"They have been so instrumental in my success because everyone who worked there welcomed me in," he continued. "They treated me like family, they accepted me, they let me do what I needed to do to be successful." 

In just 18 months, Ethan shed about half of his body weight. He now leads a local walking group twice a week to help inspire and support others who may be struggling with their fitness goals.

"Something I want people to know is that you have to stay persistent in weight loss," he said. "It's not an overnight thing, it's going to take time."

Ethan is also set to run the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 13 and is currently raising money to donate to Action for Healthy Kids, a national nonprofit organization that "brings together dedicated volunteers and partners to make schools healthier places where kids thrive."

To donate toward Ethan's marathon fundraiser, click here.

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