Valley man loses half his body weight, hopes to inspire others

A valley man lost more than half of his body weight and now he is sharing his story to help motivate other to believe in themselves.

This is what Jeff Russell used to look like when he was 16-years-old and weighed 600 pounds.

Today, after a lot of blood, sweat and tears, this is the 23-year-old weighing in at 250 pounds.

"You do it to change your own life and once you start that, then is when it really begins," he said.

After his younger cousin died of cancer in 2010, Jeff decided to take charge of his life. He started by working out with a trainer.

"How to use all of the machines, he worked out with me and gave me the confidence to work out in the gym," he said.

No matter what, he kept his persistence going.

"One summer two-month period, like one hundred pounds from just doing cardio and lifting Monday through Friday," he said.

After losing hundreds of pounds, his journey was aired on TLC and one year ago, he underwent skin removal surgery to get rid of the excess skin.

"Once you get rid of the skin and you can see the progress and like really look at yourself in the mirror and accept yourself, it's a whole different life," he said.

Jeff hopes his story helps motivate and encourage others who are also trying to lose weight.

"Just don't give up," he said. "That's the biggest thing I can say because it will be hard, but you can do it."

After Jeff had the skin removal surgery he went and traveled the world for two months, something he said he could have never done before.