It’s one thing to lose weight and reach your goal, but it’s another thing entirely to stay consistent and keep the weight off long term. That’s exactly what Mark Violette has done. On the eve of his 40th birthday — November 1, 2015 — the 45-year-old IT manager based in Connecticut, had a “light-bulb” moment.
“I had hit rock bottom with my weight and I was drinking a little too much,” he says, recalling his heaviest weight of 310 pounds. “I thought enough is enough. I literally woke up the next day and said ‘let’s go.’ I just started.”
For Violette’s first step, he stopped drinking and channeled his self-described “addictive” personality into fitness. He started walking — short walks at first, then building up to an hour every day — and when he grew bored of that routine, began lifting at the gym. This led to a desire to research more about fitness, including body composition.
“I knew I had to go from a fat person to a guy who looked like he was in shape, and if I didn’t lift weights and put muscle back where I had fat, I was going to look awful,” he says. “I was in decent shape for a big guy, and I wanted to keep that muscle mass.”
Besides hitting the gym, Violette trained for a local 5K road race and, to his surprise, placed second in his age group. He chased this feeling and eventually progressed to completing the Spartan Trifecta series of obstacle course races in 2017 (Sprint, Super and Beast).
In addition to his success with running and weightlifting, Violette transformed his nutrition with a new outlook in the kitchen. He switched from a diet consisting mostly of pizza, pasta, ice cream and beer, to one that focused heavily on his daily calorie count.
“It’s one of those things where I knew what I had to do, I just chose not to do it for so long,” he says. “My mind wasn’t ready for it, and I kept choosing the wrong things. When I flipped that switch, I started using MyFitnessPal, and I was hooked.”
His daily allowance was around 2,500 calories, and he started looking for creative ways to meet his goal while still enjoying his food. It turned into a game full of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables.
When he got into bodybuilding in 2017, his focus became less about the total calorie allowance, and more about his macronutrients — fats, carbs and proteins. He used MyFitnessPal’s macronutrient tool to track these numbers daily and tailored his diet to help him reach his goals in the gym.
CLICK TO TWEET THIS ARTICLE > After losing 115 pounds with @myfitnesspal, Mark ran his first 5K and did his first pullup. #myfitnesspal
Today, Violette hovers between 195 and 220 pounds, a whopping 115 pounds lighter than his starting weight. What’s even more impressive is the fact he dropped 100 pounds six months after starting his journey — and has kept it off for five years.
“Luckily for me, I’ve been so persistent with my diet. This lifestyle is the new me,” he says. “And unlike the statistic, I haven’t put any weight back on after my initial transformation.”
Little wins along the way helped keep him on track, including doing his first unassisted pullup at the age of 41 or buying clothes that didn’t come from a big-and-tall store.
Ultimately though, Violette credits consistency for his success. He even recently became a certified personal trainer to help others facing a similar situation and in need of a little guidance and motivation.
“I thought I was so into fitness that I might as well get certified, so I’ve been training folks now for over a year,” he says. “It’s my way of paying it forward — I’m working with older folks, teenage athletes, the whole gamut — I’d love to do it full time, just give me a few years.”
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