April 18, 2024


Great Health is a Choice

Dad Shares Incredible 300-Pound Weight Loss After Beating Food ‘Addiction’

A dad of two has shared how conquering what he believes was an addiction to food has helped him shed 300 pounds naturally, and physically halved his body size.

Jonathan Hodgson, 36, from the United Kingdom, admits that he used to eat junk food without fail every day—on his way to work, on the way home, wherever. Any time he could get his hands on it, he would.

“I would eat a McDonald’s on the way home and then hide the rubbish in my van, and have what my wife cooked for me after,” Hodgson told Newsweek.

At his heaviest, Hodgson weighed 560 pounds and didn’t believe that he could lose the weight. Whenever he considered doing something about his weight problem, he would back out as he didn’t believe he genuinely had the ability to change.

Jonathan Hodgson, 36, from South Yorkshire, England, before and after losing 300 pounds. The father has amazed social media by showing his 300-pound natural weight loss.

“I knew I needed to lose weight for a long time, and I would constantly promise myself to start my diet on Monday. But by 8 a.m. I would have been through the drive-thru on my way to work,” Hodgson said. “I built a bad relationship and didn’t trust myself because deep down I knew I had a food addiction, but I couldn’t admit it at the time.”

What Is Food Addiction?

Food addiction is defined by Eating Disorder Hope as when individuals get a sense of pleasure and satisfaction from food that’s comparable to that of an addict with their substance of choice.

When someone is addicted to food, eating will activate the reward center of their brain and they become dependent on eating to feel that sense of happiness. This can lead to obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and digestive problems, among a plethora of psychological effects, such as depression and low self-esteem.

In 2022, the University of Michigan conducted a poll of adults aged between 50 and 80 to uncover any symptoms of possible food addiction. Based on the responses they received, 13 percent of adults showed addiction to highly processed food as they had at least two symptoms of addiction.

Forty-four percent of respondents reported one or more symptoms of addiction, with 24 percent claiming they experienced intense cravings regularly.

Jonathan Hodgson before losing weight
Jonathan Hodgson, 36, before turning his life around and losing 300 pounds. Hodgson has managed to half his body size naturally, without any surgery.

‘I Really Was at Rock Bottom’

As Hodgson grappled with his weight and hid the remnants of any takeout he’d eaten, he would get out of breath quickly, struggled walking up the stairs, had back pain and felt uncomfortable even leaving his home.

“Not being able to chase your kids around the kitchen, or to tie your own shoes is not a good place to be, and I really was at rock bottom,” he told Newsweek.

Hodgson finally overcame his fear in January 2021 and reached out to a fitness instructor who works at a local gym. Sending that message seemed like such a simple step, but for so long he couldn’t face the reality of changing his lifestyle.

Hodgson hasn’t looked back since sending that message, and he’s managed to completely turn his life around. He now does 30 minutes of cardio followed by 90 minutes of weight training, five times a week. The thought of working out was once unimaginable, but it has become part of his routine.

Of course, it wasn’t just the exercise regime that needed improving, as Hodgson also had to acknowledge what he felt was an addiction to food. Now, he maintains a balance of 80 percent nutrition and 20 percent indulgence.

“In two years I have totally transformed my physical and mental state. I have gained back my confidence, energy, mood and become a good family man again,” he said.

“My biggest advice for getting started would be not to rely on motivation, and instead focus on discipline. Motivation comes and goes, but discipline is constant. I am proof that it’s never too late to start your journey, and with the right tools, it can be done. If I can do it, anyone can.”

Jonathan Hodgson with his family
Jonathan Hodgson pictured with his wife and two children after his dramatic weight loss. Hodgson didn’t believe in himself before getting control of his health and never thought he was capable of losing the weight.

Hodgson isn’t finished, though. He currently weighs 260 pounds—just 20 pounds away from his target weight. He also has a skin removal surgery set for March 2024, which will see another few pounds shed, too.

Board-certified psychiatrist Faisal Tai told Newsweek that the increased support for food addiction provides more understanding of the compulsive behavior.

“People can develop a compulsion or addiction to overeating for a number of reasons. Some people have a genetic disposition to addictive behaviors, sometimes people struggle with stress and anxiety, so overeating allows them to avoid the pain,” Tai, CEO of PsychPlus, said.

“There are also the chemical reasons, when certain ingredients in food—especially fat, sugar and salt—stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain and release happy hormones, such as dopamine.”

Tai explained that there are “very few permanent solutions” for behavioral conditions, so those with an addiction should “be diligent in controlling their daily consumption.” He recommends regular exercise and moderation to help restrict the effects of the problem.

Jonathan Hodgson after losing weight
Jonathan Hodgson pictured after shedding 300 pounds. The father used to indulge in junk food every day and hide the evidence.

‘I Had Done Mission Impossible’

Hodgson has documented his incredible transformation on social media (@half_theman), which has seen him become, quite literally, half the size he once was.

“For a long time, I held off setting up the page because I was still mad at myself rather than being proud. More recently, I started to embrace the achievement and realized that inspiring others also keeps me disciplined,” he said.

“I’ve gained numerous followers on social media in the past three months, and I’ve had messages from all around the world asking for advice and tips on how I managed to lose the weight naturally. When I went to see one of the surgeons, he said I had done ‘mission impossible’ by losing it without a gastric sleeve.”

A video posted on TikTok on June 6 showing the transformation has amazed social media and left many people praising Hodgson’s dedication.

One comment reads: “Is that actually the same person?!”

Another person wrote: “Wow, amazing well done.”

Is there a health issue that’s worrying you? Let us know via [email protected]. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.