I had always been a bigger guy. I LOVED food! And I was teased a lot in school because of my weight. The problem was that the teasing just made me eat more to console myself. And for a long time, I ate and drank 6,000 – 7,000 calories a day.
My wife Christy wanted to help me get healthy. But I would always get upset when she would bring the subject up. She did convince me to join a local gym (Anytime Fitness, right around the corner), even though I never went.
My weight eventually crept up to about 330 pounds and since I’m only 5’ 6” I knew I was morbidly obese. I had problems (lots of them)…asthma, acid reflux, chest pains, and open sores all over my body due to the skin being stretched. I was only 23 years old and the threat of a heart attack and death seemed very real to me.
The Day Everything Changed
Christy was working as a hospice nurse at the time and had just come from a patient’s house that was dying of diabetes. The patient had had limbs amputated and was close to dead. It scared Christy enough to come home, grit her teeth, and sit me down for a talk.
She mapped out how the rest of my life would go. I listened and then got up, fuming mad, and left the house. I was so angry and fearful because I knew she was right.
For some reason, I drove to Anytime Fitness and decided to get on a treadmill. This was my first workout in years. I still remember the numbers on it: 2.5 miles per hour for 20 minutes. I was feeling the burn!
How I Did It
After apologizing to my wife, we developed a weight loss plan and threw out all the junk food. The trick to the plan was to find lower calorie versions of the food that I already ate. I knew that transitioning from cheesy fries to salad overnight wouldn’t work, so I had to find something that would work for me.
I would eat four 40-calorie hot dogs for lunch. Add some Ritz Baked Chips (140 calories a serving) and a Rice Krispy treat (90 calories) for desert and I was good! Dinner was typically some grilled chicken or beef with a single serving of a side such as Rice-a-Roni or mashed potatoes. This was a diet that I could live with!
Diet alone wouldn’t do it – I knew I had to learn to exercise. I began very low and slow, taking it easy on a treadmill or recumbent bike for 20-30 minutes. I still remember the day that I did 40 minutes on the recumbent bike and thinking I was bad to the bone. The owner of the Anytime Fitness was fantastic. If not for his encouragement and expertise, I don’t think I would have had the results that I did.
From Pain to Passion
Through diet and a steady increase of exercise, I lost 175 pounds over the next 11 months. What I realized during this journey was that this was a lifestyle change, not just something that I would do for a short time.
Fitness is now a passion. The first time I ran a 5K at 330 lbs pounds it took me right at one full hour. One year later, I ran that same race in 24 minutes.
Ultimately, I chose to get healthy for my family and myself. My wife deserves a healthy and happy husband. My daughters deserve to have a daddy around for as long as God keeps me here for them. Most of all I deserve to live without fear of dying due to poor health.