Husband, father, First In Family: John Congemi


Well, technically, I was the FIRST to put First In permanently into my body. I celebrated my first 100lbs of weight loss with a tattoo of the FIN logo on my shoulder!”

Tell us a little bit about yourself... ​

​My name is John Congemi. I’m 47 and am a Director of Talent and Leadership Development living in the Twin Cities.

I’m a husband, father to two girls (11 and 13), and dog dad to a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Winston.

I’m a huge fan of the Minnesota Vikings and Bon Jovi. That’s normal, right?

What brought you to the First In Family initially?

I witnessed Ian Osborne’s physical transformation via Facebook.

I wasn’t sure what he was doing, but noticed two things: First, that it was working. The dude was getting leaner every week.

Second, he LOVED whatever it was he was doing.

He was clearly a huge fan of FIN right from the start. I reached out to Ian to learn more….you can read more on that story below.

Tell us a little bit about your background and history with food.

My first job out of school had me traveling 100%. I was living in hotels and eating all my meals in restaurants. This led to lots of bad habits and started a long, downhill trajectory with my health.

The issue from there was pretty standard…a couple decades of too much food and not enough exercise. Things slipped out of control so gradually that I didn’t really notice. It was kind of like the frog in boiling water story.

I did have a few successful runs with weight loss, but something always derailed it: A vacation, a celebration dinner, a work trip, etc. Although the excuse may have been different each time, the constant was “stopping.”

Nothing I did was truly sustainable, so inevitably, the weight always came back.

What was the turning point in your life when you realized you needed to make a change?

​I was sitting on a plane returning home from a work trip. I was crammed into my seat, and spilling into the personal space of the person next to me. I was pretty much holding my breath, sweating, leaning as hard into the side of the plane as I could to spare him room.

I felt like absolute garbage. I decided in that moment that enough was enough….something had to change.

Moments later, I was scrolling through Facebook and noticed Ian Osborne hyping his coach, his plan and his results with FIN. I reached out to him via Messenger from the plane, and the rest is history!

(I’m sure the guy I was sitting next to was thinking, “Yes…Please, Ian….help him!”)

What was the journey like and what changes did you make?

I tried my best to follow my plan to a T. The easiest way for me to do that was to simplify things. I didn’t mind eating the same things, so I’d find myself repeating the same menu a few times per week. I figured, if these foods helped me hit my goals today, why not use them again tomorrow?

Then, when I started to crave some variety, I started using a meal-by-mail delivery service. I was enjoying restaurant-quality dinners, and had precise macro distributions at my fingertips.

I also started learning from others in the FIN family….trying their recipes and customizing them to meet my plan’s needs.

Eventually, I had enough good habits built up to a point where tracking no longer felt like work. It was just what I did.

How do you feel after making those changes?

So far, I’ve dropped about 120lbs. So, the physical changes are obvious.

But my outlook on nearly everything has changed. I’m much more adventurous and outgoing. Shopping for clothes is much easier now, too.

So many things are easier…from exercising to tying my shoes. I have more energy and confidence…So many positive changes!

What did your friends/family think of your transformation?

The timing for my transformation made things interesting. Because of the pandemic, I was working from home. Not too many people saw me for about a year.

I learned that people were noticing via Facebook. I didn’t really say anything about it, but I guess people started to notice a difference from pictures.

For the most part, my friends and family have been very supportive.

Were you active or did you workout during your journey?

At first, it was all about the nutrition changes. I bought a Peloton, but I was afraid to use it because I was 30lbs over the weight limit.

Once I got below 300lbs, I started walking and riding the bike. It’s amazing how much easier it became to exercise once I started losing weight.

Today, I’ve added weightlifting into the mix.

For decades, I was intimidated by free weights and stuck to treadmills and ellipticals. Oh, how I wish I’d discovered weights sooner!

What does being First In mean to you?

Well, technically, I was the FIRST to put First In permanently into my body.

I celebrated my first 100lbs of weight loss with a tattoo of the FIN logo on my shoulder!

Where do you think you'd be right now had you not joined the First In Family?

I’d be right where I was a couple years ago…unhappy and frustrated.

I’d be looking for the next quick fix, feeling sorry for myself and wishing I’d have done something more sustainable sooner.

What was the biggest challenge or change when you started with First In and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge was traveling for work and eating in restaurants. I had success, even while estimating, but I really started to see results when I started working from home.

All of a sudden, I had 100% control over all of my meals. I could weigh and manage everything without any hurdles or restrictions.

This was the one silver lining of the pandemic for me….the opportunity to zero in on my nutrition and develop productive habits.

What do you feel kept you from making the progress you desired before First In?

This one is easy. I kept stopping. Every solution I chose worked for a set amount of time. Until I stopped. Because the answer wasn’t sustainable, I always eventually quit.

I recently saw a post Jonathan made that said “More often than not, the long way is the shortcut.” It took me a looooong time to learn just how true this is. I always looked at weight loss as a sprint instead of a marathon. As soon as I’d stumble, I’d quit.

I’ve now learned to zoom out and think about progress in a much more realistic and productive way.

What’s next for you and where do you see this journey taking you in the future? ​

I’m so far from finished. In fact, I think this first round of weight loss has really teed me up for the next phase of my journey.

So much of my effort so far has been around losing fat. Now…I’m looking to put on some muscle. I’m smaller now, but my “shape” hasn’t changed.

I’m excited to start putting on a bit of muscle and take my transformation to the next level!

What are your top 5 "secrets" for success?

1. Get involved. The secret sauce of FIN is the knowledge, support and accountability that comes with getting involved in the family!

2. Be patient. Make a commitment to yourself to stick with it…even after a setback.

3. Have faith in your coach. Just do what they tell you to do.

4. Make adjustments and corrections to the info in My Fitness pal and save them.

5. Just stop stopping! (Thanks, Nastasha!)


Any advice for someone thinking about getting started?

I would suggest that they spend five minutes with a few active members of the family.

The energy and testimonials will be enough to convince them that this IS the way!


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    Testimonials were given freely and service members did not receive any preferential treatment, discount, or other benefit due to the nature of their service, rank, or position and in no way are the views or beliefs of any branch of the armed forces or uniformed services.