Meet the newly-certified personal trainer who was eating nearly 8,000 calories a day before losing 240 pounds in a single year and getting his excess skin removed."On March 20th 2017 I was 450 pounds," said Nick Riccio, 24, of Scranton, Pennsylvania who now weighs a healthy 190 pounds.
"I had to be eating at least 6,000-8,000 calories a day.
"It was insane.
I would drink two-liters of Mountain Dew or Brisk Ice Tea every day.
"I would eat anything and everything.
I was an emotional eater.
I'd get a box of Tasty Kakes and finish them in 30 minutes.""Breakfast would be something like eight chocolate chip pancakes or waffles covered in syrup.
I'd also drink chocolate milk religiously."For lunch I used to eat like 50 chicken nuggets at a time.
I'd also go to McDonald's a lot.
My average order would be two Big Macs, ten pieces of chicken nugget and a milkshake."I'd also get Chinese buffet three times a week.
I would just fill up for the lunch and eat four to five plates full." In 2017 Nick was ordering a loaded cheesesteak at a restaurant when one of his close friends sat him down for a talk.
"He said, 'you're 21 you have your whole life ahead of you.
I want you to be healthy and happy and live a long time.'
"He motivated me to go to the gym that first month.
"I watched countless videos on YouTube and I downloaded all the fitness apps.
I started off light and it was a lot of self-educating."I lost 240 pounds in the first year.
I weight around 210 in March 2018.
I meal prepped every Sunday and I counted calories."I wouldn't eat my first meal until noon.
I would eat egg whites with sautéed onions and peppers with turkey sausage and a protein shake.
"At around four or five I'd have my next meal which was another protein shake, a piece of fruit and lean, ground turkey with salsa and cheese.
"For dinner I'd do about 12-16 oz of grilled chicken with half an avocado with onions and peppers."Nick's exercise routine was similarly ascetic."I would go to the gym six days a week, twice a day.
In the morning I would do cardio for an hour and a half," he said.
"In the evening I'd go back and lift.
I love lifting.
I became addicted to the results."Still, Nick did manage occasional breaks from this strict regimen."My weekly cheat meal was on Sunday night," he said.
"I would go heavy on it.
I'd eat six pieces of pepperoni and sausage pizza, an order of onion rings, an order of steak fries, and a chicken parm hoagie."I would never finish it but I would do some serious damage to it.
It didn't stunt my weight loss at all because I was so strict otherwise."After about 6 months that wasn't the cheat meal anymore.
My body couldn't handle it."Following his initial weight loss, Nick began a psychological battle."I was an emotional eater.
I have severe anxiety and I've been diagnosed with OCD," he said.
"After the first year of weight loss, I started to go to therapy.
I picked up an eating disorder and bulimia."I was binge eating for about a year and I abused laxatives for about three months.
When this happened I decided I needed help.""Anxiety is something you battle every day and I've been through therapy the past two years and I'm not on medication."Following therapeutic intervention, Nick knocked his weight down an additional 20 pounds, and landed at his current weight.
He was left with a considerable amount of excess skin, which he got surgically removed in early 2020.
"Before the surgery, I always wanted it," he said."I depressed about the excess skin.
It was like carrying a constant reminder of who I was.
I hated it."But this January my grandmother said 'I want to see this done for you,' and helped pay for the "incredibly painful" surgery."I spent four days after the surgery crying in pain.
"I was in hell for a few days, but I'd do it all over again.Now he's stable at a healthy weight Nick says he will never go back to his old ways.
"It's been a total lifestyle change.
"I recently got a certificate to be a personal trainer and I start work after I recover from this surgery."I also have a girlfriend now.
We've been together eight months and she's a huge supporter."I think I'm going to be the one teaching her fitness."