‘Tiny’ loses half a man since 2013

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 2, 2015

John “Tiny” Likely is approximately half the man he used to be.



The once more-than-500-pound man was down to 265 pounds at his last weigh-in, and his greatest hope is that he will inspire others to also lose weight and improve their lives.

“I started this journey on Sept. 22, 2013,” he said. “I went from wearing an 8XL, to now I’m in an XL shirt. I can go to Walmart, and in my mind I still think, ‘There’s no way I can wear this.’ Then I try it on and I’m like, ‘Oh, my goodness.’ ”

From a size 50 pants, he’s down to a 38 or 40 waist.

“My original goal was to keep up with team at Zaxby’s,” he said. “My goal now is to motivate and inspire as many people as I can to motivate and lose weight. And I hope to become a spokesperson for the Zaxby’s corporation.”

Likely joined the Andalusia Zaxby’s when it opened. Co-owner Scott Brown said he hired Likely because he had a great attitude, even though he knew it would be tough for him to keep up. In those days, Likely worked split shifts because he had to go home and rest.

“In the beginning, standing, walking … any task was very difficult,” he said. “I was a prisoner of my own body at 500 pounds. Because because of making the right decisions, and exercise, I now live life with no limits.”

“Life in a 500-pound was so much different than life in the 200-pound club,” he said. “In the beginning, walking a mile was a struggle. Now I walk six miles every morning, and it is a blessing.”

His daily routine includes 60 minutes on the treadmill, when he generally logs four miles. Then he lifts weights, does a squat drill or insanity workout, and cools down with two more miles on the teradmill at Andalusia Health and Fitness.

“Some days I do zumba,” he said. “I also play around with fitness workouts at my house. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as the body moving. The most important thing is to stay active.”

He has drastically changed his diet, and eats Zaxby’s “zalads” almost every day. He plans low-carb, healthy meals, and eats lots of fruits and vegetables.

He has had several interviews with representatives of Zaxby’s corporate office, and has been filmed several times on his journey.

“They keep up with how much I exercise, and the food I eat,” he said.

For those considering weight loss goal in the new year, he has some advice.

First, he said, it is important to have your mind made up that this is something you want to do.

“You have to make that commitment,” he said. “The second step is you must have a healthy food plan. The scales do not lie. If you cheat, you are cheating yourself.”


He does, on occasion, splurge. At a Christmas meal, he enjoyed cornbread dressing, chicken and dumplings and some red velvet cake.

“Even though I was saying that I was splurging, it was nothing compared to what it used to be. Used to eat two or three plates of food. Now, I just had one normal meal.”

But he also tries to workout beforehand, or encourage his family to go for a walk in the park afterward.

As any part of a weight loss plan, he also advises planning a fixed workout schedule and sticking to it.

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you,” he said. “You can’t climb a mountain if you don’t take first step. If Team Tiny can do it, you can do it.”

His original goal was to get down to 220 pounds.

“I am 45 pounds away from the original goal,” he said. “I think I might get down to 200 before I say, ‘That is enough.’ I feel like that is where I will feel satisfied.”

Already, he feels like a brand new person.

“Life was so restricted,” he says of his former life. “With hard work, determination, and great community support, I no longer live life with limits.”

And many of his friends don’t recognize him.

“People just don’t believe it,” said.

He also expressed his appreciation of the support he’s received from the community and his co-workers. His progress can be followed on his Facebook page, TeamTiny Andalusia.