Lost 99 Pounds
I am a self-proclaimed expert at losing weight. Having been overweight since I was a child, I learned early how to harden myself against the handicaps of obesity.
I was eventually motivated to lose weight to join the Air Force, and stayed somewhat fit for a few years. I gained weight again after getting married and starting a family, then was motivated to lose weight to become a firefighter.
Having a career that emphasizes health and physical fitness, you would think I would naturally be motivated to stay in shape. I have always been physically active, playing sports, working out at the gym, etc. So it was easy for me to eat what I wanted and gain weight, then lose it when I needed to. I lost weight going from one diet to another, always gaining more weight after losing weight because I never made permanent lifestyle changes.
My string of luck ended after turning 40. I had to have back surgery for two blown discs, and it took a long time to get back to normal activities. I eventually transferred to an office assignment, then promoted to battalion chief, which greatly reduced the chances of me having to work physically demanding assignments and staying more behind the desk. During these several years, my weight really ballooned. Becoming a Type-2 diabetic really didn’t motivate me to keep in shape, because I knew I had always been able to lose weight at any time I wanted to.
But now in my late 40’s, I couldn’t motivate myself to stay with any diet long enough to get back into shape. I was going through a stressful time at work, and I used food to ease the stress. At age 51, I was up to almost 300 pounds, had sleep apnea, snored to the point my wife would sleep downstairs, and I could not even sleep on my back due to the heavy snoring. And I was still not motivated to lose the weight.
At age 51, I took a hard look at my life. I had some acquaintances pass away early, my children were adults and becoming successful, I was starting to set my sights on retiring in a few years, and my wife never hesitated to tell me that she did not want to be a widow anytime soon. My sister and my daughter both had gastric bypass surgery from The N.E.W. Program, and I knew I didn’t have any more excuses to take some hard permanent steps to get control of my health. I did not want to die early due to health complications. I wanted to enjoy retirement, enjoy travel with my wife, and enjoy grandchildren. I knew if I didn’t do something soon, I had a good chance not fulfilling any of these dreams. I felt gastric bypass would give me the best chance to get control of my health once and for all.
And it has. I lost 100 pounds. Diabetes, gone. Sleep apnea, gone. I’ve learned to make healthy choices while eating, and I’m back to the workouts I used to do when I was in my 20’s. My last fire department physical came back with great results. I no longer have to shop in the Big & Tall clothing section. I feel so much better about myself, my job, and my family life. And I find myself wanting to eat healthy and stay healthy.
I am still a private person (a lifetime of being obese will do that to you) and do not talk too much about losing weight in general. I’m not one of those people to go out and shout “hey look at the new me.” I prefer to act as normal as possible.
But I am grateful for this second chance at life that I have been given. So I do accept responsibility to talk to people who are going through where I just came from.When I see a need and the opportunity to tell my story to someone who is looking for that second chance at life, I am very honest with telling my story to them and encouraging them to take steps to get control of their lives again.
I’ve probably lost over 500 pounds in my life. I know everything there is to be healthy. Yet I was never motivated to make permanent changes in my lifestyle until I took that gut-check if my life at age 51. I don’t see myself as a poster boy of success, but if I can help someone else to take positive steps in his or her life, then I guess I’m a success.