I’ve been friends with Scott Cancel (above) for nearly a decade. He’s one of the warmest, funniest, most talented humans you’re ever going to meet. But, like many of us, it wasn’t always easy for Scott to make healthy choices and consequently he gained weight and became ill. I was very worried about him so it brings me such joy to see Scott on a healthier and happier path. Below is just a small part of the story of how Scott turned things around. Sure, losing 130 pounds is awesome. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Scott has his life and his health back and he’s looking pretty unstoppable. Roll tide.
You’ve lost more than 100 pounds in the past 2 years and made a number of significant lifestyle changes. What inspired you to make so many changes and what keeps you motivated?
At the beginning of 2017 I had been laid off from a job I had sunk 6 years of my life into and my girlfriend of two years had just broken up with me. I was depressed and had truly given up on life. In this time I ballooned to 430 pounds and health problems began to mount. In the summer of 2017 I went home to attend my brother’s college graduation. Three nights after his graduation he was leaving a party and fell asleep at the wheel. His car was totaled but thank God we was still alive. When he regained consciousness he called the first number in his phone for help and thankfully it was mine. My father and I rushed to him, but I was just a burden. I was so big I couldn’t even help my father get my brother out of the vehicle. I couldn’t do anything.
It was in that moment that everything became clear. If I can’t help myself how will I ever be able to help other people. I was disgusted with myself and my inability to help my own brother. After that I started seeing doctors to figure out how to fix what I had broken. First I had to fix my mind before I could fix my body. After that, everything else has been easy in comparison.
Long story short, what keeps me motivated is the memory of how bad I was and how much better I strive to become. I will never allow weakness to control me again.
These days you hear so much conflicting information about nutrition, weight loss, and exercise. Can you share a bit about your own approach and why it’s worked for you?
First and foremost you must clear your mind of all the ways you viewed health and fitness in the past. The way you did things before has led you down this path you are dissatisfied with. Let go and be open to trying new approaches.
Learn to count calories. When I first started seriously dieting I kept a journal for two weeks of everything I was eating and the calories that were in each item. I was astounded by how many calories I was taking in and not even realizing it.
Find exercises that you feel comfortable with and will actually do. At my size. cardio was a big struggle so I focused on the recumbent bike and strength training. Slowly but surely, the weight started to come off and I began to get stronger. Every month I challenge myself to incorporate an exercise I couldn’t do the month prior.
Your diet and exercise routine has no end date! I have battled with my weight my whole life and constantly yo-yoed from one weight to another. The reason for this is because I’d be heavily devoted to a diet and exercise routine and once I got the results I wanted I’d stop and inevitably the weight would come back plus some. Now I understand that I must make a lifelong commitment to my body. Mouth pleasure is not worth sacrificing my health and happiness.
I am a true believer in intermittent fasting. This has helped me maintain my weight-loss goals for 8-10 pounds a month and allowed me to avoid the plateau that most people say is inevitable. Start with fasting for 12 hours then slowly work your way up to 16 hours by adding one hour every 3 days. It takes a little while for your body to adjust, but once it does you’ll never want to go back to your old ways of eating.
You made your Punk Rope Games debut this year and your team, Flavor
Town, had a strong showing. How did it feel to compete in the Games?
Do you have your eye on other fitness events? Do you think you’ll keep
I’ve wanted to compete in the Games for a while, but this was the first year I’ve ever felt even close to in-shape enough to not look completely awful. I was strongly encouraged by Mary Paliouras and Kevin Sullivan and with the rumor that these might be the last Games I knew I had to join up.
My team and I did not get to practice nearly as much as I would have liked but I was proud of our participation if nothing else. The fact that I did not come in dead last for my singles event was a complete surprise! It was a real self-affirming moment for me to feel like I could actually be competitive in something physical for the first time in 10+ years.
I still want to get my weight down another 30 or so pounds before I’d consider doing any of the “Spartan Race” type fitness events. Though I’ve lost a lot of weight I’m still rather heavy and I feel like the risk of injury at this time is just too high.
As my weight comes further down I do want to incorporate more rope jumping into my overall fitness routine. The cardio you get from it is amazing and it can be done without having to get to the gym for 45 minutes to an hour. Plus, when you get good at it, it looks really cool!
When you’re working out which 3 or 4 songs really get you moving?
Airbourne • Back In The Game
Disturbed • The Curse
Alter Bridge • Ties That Bind
Metallica • The End of The Line
(Literally the first 4 songs on my workout mix)
In terms of health and fitness where would you like to be a year from now?
I’d like to be 220 pounds or lower and I’d like to be completely off the few remaining medications I take. I’d also love to buy a pair of pant that are below a 40.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I just want anyone who is feeling uneasy about where they are health and fitnesswise to know that no matter how bad off you think you are you can get better. If you work hard enough and want it bad enough it can and will happen!