After struggling with his weight for a lifetime, Jonathan Fletcher cut a much slimmer figure last year.

The Gastonia resident jumped from 295 pounds to 212 pounds in just over a year after deciding to make some changes in his life.

“I’ve hated exercise since I was a kid, and I didn’t want to be physically fit,” Fletcher said of his weight loss. “Now I can do a lot more physically without it being a struggle like yesterday to build a new stage in my church.”

The keto diet

Jonathan Fletcher, as he appeared before starting his fitness journey on January 1, 2020.

His weight loss journey began on January 1, 2020, despite Fletcher saying he really doesn’t consider his efforts a New Year’s resolution back then.

He started by cutting out carbohydrates and exercising. He now walks three miles around Gastonia’s Rankin Lake Park every weekday.

He was inspired to take this first step after seeing a relative lose a significant amount of weight on the popular “keto” diet.

“What it really did for me was see my uncle try the keto diet and it had such great results,” said Fletcher, chairman of the Gaston County Republican Party. “I could see someone I knew who was getting real results and I could see what they were doing.”

Seeing someone else’s success and then finding your own path to healthier life has helped them stay on top of things.

“Someone who tells you about it doesn’t change it,” said Fletcher. “People told me for years to be healthier and lose weight, but I really didn’t care.”

Within a month or two of beginning his lifestyle change, others began to compliment his progress.

“It feels great to see people notice, even if that’s not why I’m doing it. It’s still a great side effect,” said Fletcher.

Fletcher said he would like to drop to 195 pounds so that he can attribute a 100 pound weight loss to himself.

Weight loss has opened doors for Fletcher to new activities. He invested in a new hen house with 13 chickens and started gardening, two things he “would never have done” without better weight management.

“I just get a feeling that your feeling determines how you act and what you do more than how people see you,” Fletcher said. “How you look physically only gets you so far, but how you feel gets you further.”

Janiya Winchester can be reached at 704-869-1842 or email [email protected].