Inspiring Weight Loss
I would like to introduce you to my fellow Weight Watchers friend, Mike “Manoli”. He has an inspiring weight loss story that I asked him if I could share. My leader, Robin, would say she had a member at another meeting that weighs and measures everything. She would point out that this member had lost over 200 lbs cause the program works. I weigh in on Saturdays and according to my leader, he went to the Thursday meeting. I recall thinking to myself, I have to meet and hear his inspiring weight loss story. Then on Thursday August 23, 2012, I attended the Thursday meeting cause Robin was there. To my delight, Mike was at the meeting and celebrating a huge milestone, 200 lbs lost milestone. That meeting Robin said we had a celebrity at the meeting because the person was on the back of the Weight Watchers Weekly Newsletter. That person was me, Gwyn. I got to share how I had been a fast food addict and started cooking more for my family. I felt so blessed to hear Mike’s inspiring weight loss story that day. It really helped me pull through that month and on. This year Mike “Manoli” became a lifetime Weight Watchers member which means he is at goal according to this height and weight. He also switched meetings to Saturdays and I get to hear tid bits of his inspiration along the way. I feel truly blessed to have him in my network of weight loss journeys. I hope you are inspired by reading his weight loss story. Feel free to comment below and share the story with others. Join the extended conversation at www.facebook.com/gwynspiration or follow me on twitter @smileygwyn
*How did you live your life before WeightWatchers:
I lived my life with no regard to my health, well being, nor with no respect to what I was doing to the people in my life who love me. I ate whatever I wanted, when I wanted and how much I wanted. Overindulgence was a daily and normal routine for me.
*Did you struggle with weight all your life or was there a reason you gained weight:
I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I remember when I was 7 or 8 years old and shopping for “husky” sized pants at Sears with my parents. I was always a “big and healthy” kid. I wrestled in high school in the heavyweight division, 221 to 275 pound range. I started smoking in high school to take the weight off, which it did. I continued smoking until my wife presented me with an ultimatum: if I wanted children, I needed to quit smoking, the lesser of my two evils. I did quit, then the weight began to creep up until our daughter was born. I started smoking again two months later and by this time I had reached a “big and healthy weight” of 350 pounds.
*Were their medical concerns being overweight?
In 2008 I underwent open heart surgery to correct a congenitive heart defect. I had quit smoking in 2007 for the final time and my weight had gone up to 390 pounds. The surgery went exceptionally well. Recovery just skidded out of control to the point where there was a good chance of me not coming out of recovery. When I finally came to and was told delicately what I had experienced, I fell into depression and turned to food to help me cope. The heart surgery and recovery was estimated to take approximately eight weeks but it actually turned out to be a six month odyssey! Food became my intimate friend who helped me cope.
After the heart surgery, both my primary care physician and cardiologist were adamant that I lose weight. My wife and family had ceased asking me to take care of myself because I was not listening. My primary care physician would make small goals for me: He wanted me to see him in two months for a follow up visit and be five pounds lighter. I would return two months later and be three to five pounds heavier than I was two months prior. I was morbidly obese and it was taking a toll on my physical well being. I ignored the advice of the doctors and continued eating at will all the while my prescription meds were increasing in dosage to combat the excessive weight.
*What was your “a-ha” moment that pushed you to make a change?
I woke one morning in late 2010 and after taking my morning medications I decided that taking medication three times a day was too much. I needed to change my lifestyle to #1: become healthy and #2: eliminate the “unnecessary” medications! My wife and I joined Weight Watchers for the second time in late January 2011 and attended our first meeting February 10, 2011. It was time to get my weight down to a healthy range, a range it had never been to. Weight Watchers is the key. I dove into it head first without knowing if the water was shallow or not. Failure was not an option for me. I recalled previous life examples where I had set goals and achieved them and applied them to Weight Watchers.
*How has your life changed?
I feel great! I think I look good and my confidence in myself has soared through the roof! People ask me how I feel and I respond that I feel the same as I always have, even when I weighed 400+ pounds, though I have noticed a little more pep in my step! People ask me what was the secret and because I LOVE drama, I respond back to them that they already know the secret… It’s all about intake and output… what you eat and how you then convert that food to energy in order to make your body efficient at burning fat, in other words it’s diet and exercise and a weight management plan that works. I have lost 230 pounds since joining Weight Watchers and stepping out of my comfort zone.
*What would you tell people just starting the weight loss journey?
This is definitely a journey with no endpoint. Take it one day at a time and if you should stumble along the way, stop for a moment, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and continue moving forward. Make multiple small and attainable goals that way when you achieve a goal you already have another one that your are working towards. Finally, be honest with yourself and the only person you are misleading is yourself. Keep asking yourself why you have embarked on this journey, your own odyssey if you will, and does the end justify the means? I had to commit to myself and step out of my comfort zone. I always ask myself “Will this item I am about to consume get me closer to my goal?
*What are your goals now?
My main goal is to enjoy my second chance at life! Managing my weight and keeping it in the healthy range for the rest of my life. I do not want to be morbidly obese again for I have been there and done that. I weigh and track everything I consume to stay within the Weight Watchers maintenance plan. My family and I now lead a healthy and more active lifestyle. No more dinner table and then to the couch. Now it’s from the dinner table and then a walk or a quick 25 minutes on the elliptical. The day is not done until the ActiveLink registers 100%! (ActiveLink is the activity monitor that Weight Watchers has)
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