351 Pound Transformation: The Fight of My Life
NAME : Sal
BEFORE WEIGHT : 688
AFTER WEIGHT : 336.4
POUNDS LOST : 351.6
WHEN DID YOU START DEVELOPING A WEIGHT PROBLEM?
I was always the chunky kid in middle school into high school. My weight started to spiral out of control after the death of my father in the late 90s. Family and friends tried to intervene but I just wasn’t having it. The weight continued to pile on till late 2013 until I decided I could no longer continue down this road if I wanted to see 40 years old. I made a decision that after the holidays I would start the fight of my life and work to defeat something that had plagued me for far too long, obesity.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE?
At first it didn’t, but it ultimately cost me my girlfriend of 7 years. Obesity kept me isolated because I couldn’t do much. I couldn’t travel due to costs and health concerns because the few times I did travel I ended up ill. Making friends in a new location was next to impossible as an obese person. I basically felt as if I was under house arrest.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY?
I basically got to the end of 2013 and after some reflection realized that if I didn’t make a drastic u-turn, I was a dead man. I would never see 40 years old at that current track. My father died from a heart attack at 42. I didn’t want to be a repeat of that, although he was not obese.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I stripped my diet down. No more fast food. Reduce my carb intake. Basically went on a low carb, high protein diet. Started spending more time in my pool moving around, rather than floating about. Because of my large size to start, I had to work small and do things my doctors and body could handle and increased as my body allowed.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS?
Sadly, I didn’t have a scale to monitor my weight for the first several months. At 688 pounds it’s not easy to find a spot to weigh you. So I didn’t know my progress. In theory my weight was over that 688, I just have no proof of it. I had gotten that 688 number in March/April of 2014 when I was supposed to have an outpatient knee procedure and they weighed my in the hospital. Since then I’ve used that as my starting number. Not too long after I found an affordable scale where I could weigh myself at home. That’s really where I started to see the progress, week after week. 3 pounds here, 5 pounds there, heck some weeks even 7-9 pounds. The weight was melting off. Clothes started feeling too big and falling off of me as I walked through the house.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART?
I had to overcoming the challenges of my mind that was so used to eating trashy. I had to retrain myself and learn how to eat healthy and resist the bad food temptations that are all around us. Now after losing 351+ pounds the 65-80 pounds of excess skin my doctors say I have has become challenging. It’s a lot to lug around daily. It interferes with my exercise, life, clothing doesn’t fit properly, it gets irritated and infected. Sadly my insurance doesn’t cover it and I can’t afford its removal, so I’ve set up a Go Fund Me to help raise the funds needed for the skin removal.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING?
There were definitely times I was frustrated because I knew I was putting the hard work in, and the scale wasn’t giving me anything or it would go up. It was at those times, I always referred back to a promise I made to the people who’ve supported me and myself, and that was regardless of where this odyssey takes me, I refuse to give up this time. Family, friends and strangers from around the globe sent me messages of well wishes and that I was their inspiration. Its been amazing the amount of love and support that I’ve received from all. It’s been humbling, rewarding, and motivational.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
I did, but knew if I stuck to the plan my medical team and I outlined that eventually they’d break and the losing would continue and it did. The goal was always to keep making progress and sometimes we tweaked the plan accordingly to make sure it allowed me to continue making gains.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT?
Well as of January 11th, I’ve been at my odyssey, 35 months and counting.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES?
Yeah several, new smaller clothing, being able to fit and drive in a smaller vehicle instead of a large pick up truck, and just recently invested in a bicycle. It was the first time on a bike in some 15 years.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
I’d skip meals, then have a larger meal to make up for it. Eat fast food. An example of a lunchtime meal was a Big Mac meal from McDonalds with 2 plain cheeseburgers, and 2 large fries and a large soda.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
Heavier there was little to no activity unless you consider the strenuous stress put on my body when I had to walk about my house or shower. I didn’t enjoy working out much early on as there was a lot of pain, so I relied on my pool to relieve some of the pain, but still get a workout in. I incorporated free weights into my routine before swimming daily. Living in Florida I love the extended pool season I have here. I’m not picky on the activities, I just want be able to live and enjoy life.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Cut out all sugary drinks, soda, juices, etc. Went with just water and the occasional Crystal Lite and Powerade Zero to get a different taste.
- Got rid of the bad carbs, breads, chips etc. Found healthier alternatives for bread such as low carb wraps or pitas.
- Don’t give up just because the scale doesn’t move. Adjust your plan and keep marching forward. You didn’t come this far to only come this far!