Local Man loses 100 pounds

UMD’s Wellness Program welcomed local man Justin Eckstrom to the Griggs Center on Jan. 27 to share his incredible weight-loss story. Eckstrom, at his heaviest, weighed about 275 pounds and said he consumed about two gallons of pop every day. Now, after ditching the soda, he is at 174 pounds.

“It was a lifestyle and mindset change,” Eckstrom said. “There was no magical powder or extreme dieting, just proper eating.”

Early on in the process, Eckstrom said he worked out four hours a day but didn’t see any progress.

“It’s 80 percent diet, and I was still eating junk,” Eckstrom said. “So that’s when I sought out a trainer.”

Today, Eckstrom works out five to six days a week for about an hour a day.

Eckstrom credits much of his journey to his trainer and friend, Luke Popham, a UMD alumnus.

“Luke held me accountable,” Eckstrom said. “He taught me how to eat better and helped me through the hard times.”

Hard times were when Eckstrom couldn’t help but want sugar.

“There were times where it was hard to eat properly, but after a while my body just stopped craving junk food,” Eckstrom said.

Eckstrom limits his intake on alcohol, pop, grains and white foods and focuses on lean proteins, fruits and veggies.

When asked about tips to give those working to lose weight, Eckstrom said to fight through the cravings and have someone on your side.

“I couldn’t have done this without Luke,” Eckstrom said.

Eckstrom continues to exercise and eat better and now spends much of his free time learning capoeira, a martial arts technique, here in Duluth.


  1. Have someone to hold you accountable and on track — meaning a friend or trainer. 2. Have a goal in mind of what you want to achieve. For me, it was to be in the same shape as my favorite actor Jason Statham and be at 6% body fat. I achieved that. 3. Realize it's a process and a lifestyle change. It won't happen overnight. To get the results you want, you have to keep doing the same routine. You can't go back to your old ways. 4. A huge part of the issues is mental — give your mind and body time to adjust to eating in a new and healthy way. The urges to eat unhealthy foods will lessen as you get towards your goal. 5. Use your cheat meal wisely. Don't turn it into a cheat day or cheat week.

Eat healthy until the cheat meal and go all out on that cheat meal. Don't feel bad about doing a cheat meal, either. Make it the event of the week you get to look forward to. Go crazy, then the next day go back to eating healthy. You'll be surprised how well it works.


Staff Reporter


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