Thursday, June 20, 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday to my Lifestyle Change!

3 years ago today, my life changed forever. I will never forget June 20, 2010.

It started like any other day, except I had been experiencing shortness of breath for about 24 hours and had not gone to the hospital. That stupid decision would nearly cost me my life.

I went to work, and while walking through the parking happened.  The best way to describe what happened to me was I started to suffocate. I couldn't breathe. Or rather, I could breathe just fine, but absolutely no oxygen was making it into my bloodstream.

After I collapsed in the very hot South Carolina sun in the middle of a parking lot, I remember thinking I was having a heart attack. I was certain this was the end. I remember the feeling of disappointment at only getting to live for 37 years.

After 8 hours in the emergency room, they guessed that what almost killed me were several blood clots in my lungs. They had no way of knowing for sure because I didn't fit in any of the machines to find out.

Modern medicine couldn't even help me. I was too big.

No more.

Every few hours when they went to draw blood from me in the hospital for 6 long days, they couldn't find a vein.  Because I was so heavy.

No more.

Because of my size and condition, my mobility was severely reduced. While I was in the hospital, I had to have someone help me go to the bathroom.

No more.

Doctor after doctor treated me like I was a hopeless individual who was so far gone, I would need to either have weight loss surgery or sadly I would just eat myself to death.

No more.

Once I realized I was going to live (for the time being,)  I realized I was being given a gift.  A second chance.

The pulmonary embolism that almost took my life would keep coming back unless I changed my lifestyle.

No more.

When I was finally released a week later, I put on the same giant, almost 80-inch waist pants you see in my before picture and walked out of the hospital, head held high.

I am never coming back here, I told myself. No more.

One doctor I saw after I left the hospital told me weight loss surgery was my only option. "To do it on your own would be impossible. It would take 3 years just to lose 300 pounds."

Well doctor, I'm here today to say you were wrong. It only took 2 1/2 years to lose the first 300 pounds. It took 3 years to lose 371 pounds.

I've never really celebrated my weight loss, other than enjoying the benefits and the new life it provides me.  The reason is because I know that the only thing that matters is that I go back out and do the same thing every day.

I don't get to be this weight without earning it every day. Anything else is a lie.

Glad I made it to 3 years. Here's to many more!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Answers To Your Questions

Thanks to CNN, I have gotten deluged with e-mails and Facebook messages. I appreciate all of them and up to this point, I have answered every one. So for the benefit of everyone, here are some answers to your frequently asked questions:

1.) Why does the caption under your picture on say "He says he's lost 370 pounds," which makes it sound like you aren't telling the truth about your weight loss?

This is unintentional. I know the people at CNN that wrote the piece and they meant nothing by it. The writer likely was looking for a way to link to this blog and that is how they chose to do it.

2.) You must have had weight loss surgery. What you are claiming to have done is impossible. I don't believe you.

You can either choose to believe me or not.  However, there is not one single shred of evidence in existence on this planet that I have ever had any form of weight loss surgery.

3.) I had weight loss surgery, I must be a bad person for doing it.  I cheated.

Even though it wasn't the route I took, I do not judge anyone. You have as much right to have that surgery as I did not to have it. That decision should be made between you and your doctor. Still, in the end, we both have to do the same thing to keep the weight off. That's all that matters.

4.) What do you eat? Send me a meal plan. Tell me what to do. I want your success. 

I used to ask the same thing of people who lost a lot of weight. I can't do it for you, no one can. The journey is too long and the work is too hard. That said, I eat 6 times a day. 3 large, healthy meals and 3 snacks. Lots of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, rice, lowfat dairy, lean meats and a lot of water. I have said goodbye to fast food, restaurants, pizza delivery, vending machines, diet soda....forever. There is a price to be paid and a sacrifice to be made, but it is worth it.

5.) Have you had/will you have skin removal surgery?

Not at all. Because I have taken 3 years to lose this weight and because of the exercise I do, the loose skin is there, but it's not that bad. Besides, I want that skin to hang there, every minute of every day, to remind me of where I came from.  I am also not going to undertake life-threatening surgery for cosmetic reasons, when it is just not that bad.

6.) Have you read the reader comments at the bottom of the page?

No, and I never will. People who comment on news stories on the Internet are mostly good, well-meaning people.  However, there are a number of people like this who are the lowest form of life on Earth.  I don't have time to bother with reading that nonsense.

There were more questions and keep them coming, but that hits the most frequently asked ones. Thanks!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Welcome CNN readers and viewers!

CNN ran an update on my weight loss journey today. I really appreciate it, even if they did use a 7-month-old "after" picture. Here's what I actually look like now.