Growing up, I was always the bigger guy in the room, but I was happy about the advantage it gave me playing sports. Right around the beginning of high school, I hit a growth spurt and sprouted up to about six feet tall. People called me “giant” around school, but it never occurred to me that I was overweight. Being a shy person, I had a few friends in high school, but soon became addicted to online video games. The strangers online quickly became an escape from my daily life at school because there was no judgment on looks or weight. I could be comfortable with my weight online, so I soon spent more time on my computer than outside or at school.
When I got my license my weight seemed to exponentially grow. I could now go out late at night to feed my hunger anything and everything it desired. Fast food from McDonald’s, Burger King or Taco Bell was not uncommon, and a battle to finish an extra-large pizza by myself was soon easy. By the start of college, I am guessing I was around 320 pounds — my weight was off my scale, which only went to 300 at the time. When I moved to Ohio for college to live with my mom my weight got even higher. I hit a bout of depression because I didn’t know anyone at my new school, and I fell back into a routine of playing video games and eating fast food once more. I would estimate I spent about sixteen hours a day in my room eating and video gaming and wasting my life away.
Breaking Point: My parents had always warned me about diabetes and other weight complications, like knee and back pain, but I blew it off like they had no idea what they were talking about. In July 2010, my grandfather (a bigger guy just like me, where I got most of my height from) passed away from complications of diabetes. The fact that I was heading down the same road really hit home. It was like a slap across the face that I needed to get my life and weight under control. Most of all, I wanted to be happy again. I bought a new scale and weighed myself; it read 375 pounds.
How I Lost It: My mom bought me a gym membership as a way to motivate me to lose weight in August 2010. The gym was open 24 hours a day, which was great for me. I was so big that I was embarrassed to work out. My first day in the gym, my T-shirt looked like it was dipped in water from all the sweat. I would start on the treadmill and move to the weights and finish with the bike. I would go from about 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. and go home and sleep before my classes later in the day. It became a nice little routine.
Another big change I made was my diet. I never actually counted calories, but I took all the knowledge about food I could find from school, from TV and from websites to find meals that were deemed “healthy” and suited my tastes. I threw soda out the window from the start. I ate six meals a day with healthy snacks and lots of water. I carried a gallon jug of water with me everywhere I went. My lunch every day consisted of a grilled chicken salad, and I started eating dinner with my mom at home rather than ordering fast food or pizza.
The weight started to come off slowly. I saw it first in my face and then in the rest of my body. Every week I took a progress picture. It just gave me more and more encouragement to keep going. Clothes were starting to fit again, and every new piece of clothing I bought was one step closer to better health. I went from a size 56 waist all the way down to a 36. I couldn’t even believe they made 36×36 jeans!
Accountability was a great motivator to keep me at the gym. My mom was there to make sure I kept on track, and even my online gamer friends knew about it. I would post updates on a forum or blog and reap in the encouragement they gave me. I also started my own blog, and my family, friends and other weight-loss bloggers keep up with me daily. It keeps my mind focused on my goals knowing that people read about what I do on a daily basis.
Then I found a new love in my life that I never thought would happen: running! Running is my favorite workout; I could go out and hit the pavement and leave all worries at home. I joined the Kent State Running Club at school. I ran a 5K and then a 10K, and then a sprint triathlon, two half-marathons and — just this January — the Walt Disney World Marathon.
Today, I am training for 2012 Ironman Arizona. I keep the weight off by running, biking or swimming at least an hour a day and cutting back on fatty foods. I eat a lot of vegetables and organic foods, along with grilled meats. I am part of two running clubs and a triathlon club, all of which give me great advice on how to keep excelling at the sports I love. I surround myself with active people, who in turn keep me on track for keeping my weight off for good. Now, I am happy.
Source: Huffington Post