A Maricopa man stepped on a scale Thursday evening and learned he dropped nearly 110 pounds in less than five months.
Kelly Antone began his journey in January when he and his wife Stephanie Burnette-Antone walked into Copa Craze. The couple was looking for a solution to health problems they said were caused in part by being overweight.
A history of high blood pressure and painful back and knee pain were motivators for Kelly Antone, who works seven days a week irrigating crops at Ak-Chin Farms.
The strenuous, 10-hour days spent working in the heat were made worse by his extra weight, he said.
Irrigating fields requires workers to spend approximately half their day bent over small canals, siphoning water through tubes from the ditches to the crops.
“I started out at 475 pounds,” Antone said. “Four hundred seventy five pounds doesn’t really go too well with walking on little boards (across the canals). I’d be breaking boards and the little edges on the ditches just trying to start the pipes.”
After work, friends and family described him as a “walking corpse,” depleted of energy. As the New Year rolled around, he knew it was time for a change, and so did his wife.
Stephanie Burnette-Antone said she is diabetic and had high blood sugar levels, sustained, she said, because of certain lifestyle choices.
“It was mainly because we were always eating out,” she said.
One day in mid-January the couple met wellness coach Nathan Smith.
“He came through that door and you could see it in his eyes that he was ready,” Smith said.
Kelly and Stephanie began replacing two meals a day with shakes and incorporated a daily fitness routine.
Since then, Stephanie’s blood sugar levels have become normal and Smith said Kelly has lost an average of around 22 pounds per month.
“It’s not typical to lose that much that quick,” Smith said, adding the fact that Kelly had more weight to lose than most as another factor to the rapid loss.
However, Smith also attributes Kelly Antone’s success to his dedication, as well as to his support system.
“When you have somebody in the picture that you don’t want to let down, then you work harder to do that,” Smith said.
The couple wed in March, crossing off another goal that Kelly said motivated them to get healthy.
Their dynamic is a marriage of love and enthusiasm, with both partners encouraging the other to keep at it.
“There was one point where I wanted to quit because it was getting too rough for me, but she’s my backbone on this and she kept pushing me forward,” Kelly said.
A photo of Kelly Antone now hangs on the florescent-green “wall of fame” inside Copa Craze, a tribute to his success.
But Kelly said he is not done. By the end of October, he plans to lose another 100 pounds.
“This is only one step for me,” he said. “I’ve got a few more steps to go and I’m going to get there.”