How Fitness Apps Helped Michael Neidlinger Lose 100 Pounds

By: Lucy M. Casale  |  May/June 2016
Losing Weight in the Digital Age
More Inspiration: See How Mark Lost 100+ Pounds
Michael Neidlinger braced himself for the Diamond­back—Ohio's Kings Island 80 mph roller coaster—but, before the ride could start, park employees asked him to step off. The 31-year-old's lap bar wouldn't fully click. "I had to make the walk of shame," ­Michael says. "At that point I had never been more motivated to do anything in my entire life." That Saturday in June 2014 was the day the 5'11" Cincinnati resident resolved to trim down his 326-pound frame.

How He Did It

A " steak and taters kind of guy," Michael knew his diet had to change. So he downloaded the MyFitnessPal app and started logging everything he ate: "It became clear that I was making very poor choices." He added more fruits and vegetables, and cut out soda and sports drinks. He also transitioned from two large meals a day to three portioned meals, with low-calorie snacks in between.
Related: Get our expert meal plans and recipes to lose weight
He addressed his lack of physical activity with another app: Couch to 5K. At first, he could barely walk a quarter mile. After four months, he ran a 5K—and kept running. To cross-train, he bought a mountain bike and joined a gym to lift weights.

The End Result

Today, Michael is 100 pounds lighter since that life-changing roller-coaster rejection. He continues to log everything he eats in ­MyFitnessPal, and now tracks his exercise ­progress with a Garmin Vivosmart, Garmin Edge 520 (cycling computer) and Garmin Forerunner 220 (runner's watch), all synced to his Garmin Connect app. He also logs his runs and bike rides in Strava, an app where athletes vie for the top spot in online leaderboards. Sharing updates and photos on Instagram, Facebook and Google Plus motivates him and keeps him honest. "If I throw in the towel, then a bunch of people will notice."
To celebrate his weight loss, Michael bought his family season passes to Kings Island. And the Diamond­back? "I've definitely ridden it a couple times since."
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