updated 09/12/2013 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 09/12/2013 AT 7:45 PM ET
“It’s going to be a huge party when I hit 299 lbs.,” says the Chicago-based chef, who is just six pounds shy of his goal.
“That will be the first time in well over a decade that I’ve been under 300 [lbs.] I see people on the street who are the size I was only a few months ago, and it’s like, ‘Man, I wish you could feel what I am feeling right now, it’s absolutely life-changing.’ ”
The father of three, 36, started exercising about a month ago, after getting permission from his doctor.
“I recently ran my first mile and a half non-stop,” he says. “I can even sprint and run pretty darn fast to catch a football. I haven’t done that since I was a teenager.”
“At first, I ran a quarter mile, and every two blocks, I’d be winded and need to catch my breath,” he says. “But I kept going. It’s meditative and I’m proud at the end of a run.”
Elliot now runs every other day and also swims and jumps rope. “My legs still get sore!” he says. “I’m really excited to push myself more and more. I’m planning to run my first 5K around Thanksgiving.”