Bryan: I just never knew how great life could feel.

My hope in writing my weight loss story is that it may inspire even just one person to believe in themselves. January 9, 2009, I weighed 334lbs. With the support of my family, friends and a caring trainer I lost 145lbs in 9 months. For anyone out there who is thinking they can’t do it, they’re “stuck” or that it would not happen to them…believe me it can.

When I started this journey in my life I was a completely different person. Most of my childhood, and all of my adult life, I had been overweight and not physically active. For the most part, I thought I was happy. I accepted that I was overweight and would always be overweight. However, as the years went by the weight also piled on. I was no longer just an overweight guy. At 335 lbs, I was obese. I made several attempts to lose weight on my own but always failed. Each time I failed I would lose more of my confidence and self esteem. After several years of failing, I no longer had the confidence in myself and had given up.

I knew I needed to make drastic changes in my life

There wasn’t one particular event that made me want to change my life but I wanted to be a better example for my kids and live long enough to see them get married and have their own kids. I made the decision to seek out some professional help. After searching for doctors and looking into exercise camps all over the world, I decided to speak with a personal trainer. On January 9, 2009, I met with a personal trainer who helped me change my life. It was important for me to have someone I could trust and wouldn’t give up on me. I knew I needed to make drastic changes in my life in order for this to work. I set my goal weight at 190lbs, a weight I had not seen for over 22 years. The thought of losing over 140lbs sounded impossible to me. This was a last ditch effort on beating something that had controlled me my entire life. I needed to give this a chance and I was commited to give 100%. To be honest I knew I would lose some weight but I also thought I would end up finding an excuse to quit.

My first workout was the hardest, most uncomfortable thing I have ever done

My trainer set my workout schedule: 6 days a week, 3 days with her, and 3 days on my own. Before that day I had only been in a gym 6 times in my life and now I had to be there 6 days a week. Stepping foot in the gym for my first workout was the hardest, most uncomfortable thing I had ever done. I felt like I did not belong there. Everybody must have been looking at me wondering why I was there. They must have all been judging me and staring at “the fat guy”. Day after day they would see me, giving it 100%. At least once a week I had other members of the gym I attended coming up to me and offering encouraging words that motivated me. My fears were quickly gone. Working out was no longer an intimidating activity. I found myself looking forward to my workouts. I had a sense of belonging and exercise had become part of my new lifestyle.

I was very fortunate, that my trainer was very knowledgeable in nutrition. She knew my old eating habits were fast food and more fast food, so it was easy to see what I was doing wrong. Her approach was simple for me to learn and follow. There was no magic pill, or secret formula. Eat home cooked meals and eat clean. At no point did I ever count calories or grams of anything. It was common sense eating. Eat when you are hungry, and eat a balanced meal of protein, vegetables, grains, and fruits. This approach made it easy to stick too, and maintain my weight loss for the rest of my life.

I never said no to anyone, except to myself

When I look back at my life I realize I was not overweight because I was lazy. In fact it was the opposite. I am today and have always been a very dedicated hard-working person in everything I do. I started my own business at 24 and supported my family of five on my own. I never said no to anyone, except to myself. At some point in my journey a switch flipped. I started putting myself first for the first time. I literally put my current life on hold and focused all that hard work and energy on myself. After 9 hard months of being 110% dedicated and focused on myself I had lost 140lbs. A goal that I had thought was impossible to achieve. Working out and eating healthy gave me a drive I had never experienced before.

The physical results were so nice to see, however, the emotional results were even bigger. When I started this journey I was very depressed and did not think I was worth the time. I did not realize this about myself until I was a few months into my journey. The emotional battle for me was almost harder than the physical one. I can remember many 5:30 am mornings wanting to curl up in a ball and quit. Each workout I pushed through I changed inside and out. Each workout had given me more confidence in myself, and making healthy food choices were becoming easier. Food no longer controlled my life. I now look at food as fuel for my body. The foods I eat today are to survive and fuel my body for the next workout.

Make the impossible possible

I believe having a strong support system is why I was and still am successful today. It has helped me make the impossible possible. I was fortunate to have the finances and support from my family to help me achieve these goals. But at the end of the day, I was the one who made the commitment, made the healthy choices, and left the blood and sweat on the gym floor. To be successful you will need a support system. But the most important support system is yourself.

It has now been over six years since I started my journey and everyday I still have to balance my work, family, and my health. I am happy to say that today I am a completely different person and believe in myself. The confidence I lacked before, I now have. I have a new love for exercise and for myself. I realize now, I was not happy with my life before. I just never knew how great life could feel.