During the past few months, I have had countless people e-mail, call and approach me directly to discuss my recent weight loss. Some wanted to know what I was doing because they needed to shed a few pounds, while others simply wanted to congratulate me on the success I have had thus far.
I have talked about my weight loss briefly on the Morning Show with Harley Drew and Mary Liz Nolan on WGAC, and occasionally Austin Rhodes will ask about my progress during his afternoon show, which I produce.
More than a dozen readers have asked me to write a column regarding the topic, but I wanted to hold off until the end of the year. Many people set New Year's resolutions to get in shape. Hopefully, this column can inspire someone to get started on the path to a healthy lifestyle.
By no means am I claiming to be the most physically fit, the healthiest eater, or someone with the perfect physique. As a matter of fact, I still have a long way to go to reach the goals I set for myself back in May. But I have come a long way during the past seven months, so I figured I would share some of my journey.
I played college basketball in the 1990s and was in terrific shape. I weighed about 175 pounds and played hoops about 4 hours a day. After my career ended, I battled my weight occasionally, but it was always just trying to keep 15-20 pounds off here and there.
When I met my wife in 1997, I weighed 195 pounds. I was in great shape and was working out all the time. We married in 1999, and I was already at 215 pounds and on my way to becoming obese.
From 1999 to the spring of 2008, I put on nearly 150 pounds of flab. I needed to get a new driver's license sometime in late April, and that day helped change my life. When I saw the new picture of myself, I was ashamed of what I had done and ashamed of how I had let myself go.
The person in that picture was not "me." I started to think about how I had changed mentally as well. I went from being the life of the party to not wanting to go anywhere, because I did not want to see anyone and because I was simply uncomfortable all the time.
I thought about the times my son (who was 3 years old at the time) had asked me to do something with him and I said no because I was too tired and/or lazy to do it. I thought about the fact that my father died at age 47 of a heart attack, and I thought about my wife, who was always so supportive even though she had certainly not signed on to be married to a 363-pound man.
So in early May, I called Dr. L. Brooks Green at Medical Weight Loss of Augusta. That itself was a huge step. As a former athlete, I knew what I needed to do physically and I knew what to eat, but I really needed a game plan so I had no excuses at meal time. Also, I liked the fact that I would have to weigh in weekly, so I was held accountable for what I put in my body. I was finally determined to get the old "me" back.
My first visit was on May 13. I tipped the scales at 363.3 pounds. The average water percentage in a human body is 65-70 percent; mine was only 51 percent. I had acid reflux, I snored louder than a steam engine, and I got short of breath simply putting on my shoes.
But it all changed that day. I followed the program that my doctor set up for me, and I have not looked back. In Week 1, I dropped 17 pounds. It is amazing what switching from six or seven Mello Yellos a day to nothing but water will do. That let me know that, while tough, I could do this.
Dr. Green sets weight goals for you based on your individual situation, but I set some goals of my own, too. My ultimate goal was to be at 188 pounds by July 1, 2009. That would require me to lose 175.3 pounds in roughly 131 months. I do not recommend this for anyone. This is my goal, but everyone is different and should set a weight loss goal that suits that individual.
I have two things going for me: I'm male (males tend to lose weight faster than females), and I was so heavy that I was going to lose a lot of weight very quickly in the beginning, which I definitely did.
Also, I wanted to do this the old-fashioned way, with diet and exercise. I have not had any type of procedure or surgery of any kind. That might be the proper route for some, but I did not want to do it that way. Besides, I'm a big chicken, so the idea of surgery was not an option.
In my first week, I lost 17.7 pounds, bringing me down to 345.8. Then, in Week 2, I lost only 3.9 pounds, but I was still down a total of more than 21 pounds and now weighed 341.9. From there, I just stayed with my nutritional plan, which is not a diet. It is the way I will eat for the rest of my life.
I also was walking each night. I was simply too big to do much else. However, by July, I was ready to get back in the gym. The decision to call The Omni Club in Evans was as important on this journey as anything I have done. The general manager, Adam Bayles, welcomed me in, and I could tell he really wanted to see me be successful. He set me up with a trainer, Mike Montarbo, and I was off to the races.
By then, I was down to around 318 pounds, and the workouts with Montarbo really helped me stave off "hitting the wall," so to speak. The meal plan and workouts were effective, and I was getting the old "me" back mentally, too. I was doing yard work, and playing with my son did not require a defibrillator on standby.
As of Dec. 17, I weighed 257.7 and have lost a total of 105.6 pounds. I no longer snore, the acid reflux is gone, and I feel like a new man. I have gone from wearing size 52 pants to wearing a 40.
Now, keep in mind I still have a long way to go. I need to lose 69.7 pounds to reach my goal weight, but now I know that I will not be stopped on this quest. I'm hitting the gym six days a week, drinking about 100 ounces of water a day, and living life again. It just feels too good to revert back to my old unhealthy ways, and I wanted to share some of my journey.
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