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TOPIC: I've hit Onederland!!! - with pics

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May 24, 2013 10:40 AM
The 1st of November 2012. The day I started my new life.

I have always struggled with my weight. Not that I was a fat child, I was always active enough to keep the extra pounds at bay but my problem since hitting my late teens and early twenties was that I just love food and learned to hate exercise. I picked up a 60 a day smoking habit along the way as well as sleep apnoea due to the excess weight I was carrying. In 2004, thinking it was a healthy decision, I quit smoking and quickly added over 40 pounds to my already 260 pound frame. In the intervening years another 30 pounds followed leaving me at 330 pounds by October 2012.

Me at 330 pounds:

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Let me go back a bit to 2007. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and as my focus quickly moved to dealing with this disease, more pounds soon followed. My wife lost her battle in May of 2012 and I spent the next 6 months coming to terms with my loss and helping my daughter deal with the loss of her Mother. In October we went on a trip to the States to visit family. How embarrassing it was to have to ask for a seatbelt extender as I couldn’t get the seatbelt to fit around my waist. What was more embarrassing was the fact the seat tray wouldn’t sit flat as my stomach got in the way. But, oh boy was I was happy in America...fast food heaven...and I partook in it all.

When we got back to the UK I was going through the photos we took and was horrified by what I saw. I couldn’t believe that I allowed myself to get to the size I did. Compared to some of my family I was enormous. I knew I had to do something. My daughter was too young to be an orphan. I took a long hard look at my life and realised the future looked very dark, lonely and not very long unless I sorted my life out. I heard an audible “click” in my head and I knew I needed to make a change and fast! I emailed my cousin in America and asked if he wanted to be part of a challenge, let’s see who could lose the most before I returned in June of 2013. He was game so we let battle commence.

My goals were 70 pounds by June 2013 with a further 30 by Christmas 2013 and a further 30 by my birthday in June 2014. Very optimistic I know but for the first time in my life I was determined to make this happen. I knew if I had the will power to quit smoking, I just needed to transfer that to stop eating so much.

On the 31 of October I counted my calories. Although every day was not like this, most were. Two double sausage and egg McMuffin’s, hash browns, orange juice and coffee for breakfast; two bags of crisps (chips) for a snack followed by a snickers as an appetizer before lunch. Lunch then consisted of a large Big Mac meal and a Big Mac on the side with an apple pie and a McFlurry ...oh, mustn’t forget the Coke. A further Snickers and another bag of crisps as a mid-afternoon snack. Dinner was a large Dominoes Meat Feast pizza (yes, the whole thing) and some potato skins along with some more coke. Did I forget to mention the double cheese on the Pizza. Evening snacks were cookies, more crisps and a ham sandwich with orange drink to wash it all down. The day ended at nearly 6000 calories (and that is probably an underestimate)

On the 1st of November I reduced my calorie intake to 2500 using pre-packaged, potion controlled food from Diet Chef. I started my diet using the Diet Chef food so I could understand portion sizes and what healthy eating is about. I scoured the internet for hours soaking up any and all information I could about healthy food, exercise, BMI, BF%, TDEE, Fat Loss Intake, etc.... By the 17th of November I had shed 22 pounds (most of which I assume was water) and this initial loss spurred me on to lose more. The challenge with my cousin quickly became a challenge with myself. I ate nothing but Diet Chef food for the first month while I learned more and more about being health conscious. I started going to the gym two days a week, ½ hour a day at first, 10 minutes on the Cross trainer at about 100 steps per minute and walking on the treadmill for another 15 -20 minutes at about 2 miles an hour. Couldn’t move for two days afterwards but I felt as if I had achievement something, albeit a small achievement.

I discovered MFP on 7 December and haven’t looked back. Over the next month I introduced more self-prepared food into my diet and increased my gym workouts to three a week and by Christmas I was doing 30 minutes on the Cross trainer moving up to about 140 steps a minute and walking 30 minutes on the treadmill. Out of breath and sweating like a pig still but happy with my achievements. I also started swimming once a week. However, Christmas was looming and I prepared myself for a weight gain...I just love the season too much and the food that comes with it but I told myself I would enjoy the same food but just have less of it and keep up the exercise. Rather than a gain, I lost nearly 5 pounds over the Christmas period. I could not have asked for a better present. By this time I had lost a total of 42 pounds

Following Christmas, I put more effort into shedding the weight and increasing my gym activity. I pretty much removed all the Diet Chef food from my diet with the exception of the odd meal at lunch as it is easier to just throw it in the microwave. I moved my Cross trainer to 60 minutes while remaining on the treadmill (still walking) for 30 minutes but upped it to 4.0 miles per hour. I had shed a total of 57 ¼ pounds by the end of January.

I hadn’t told my family in the States about how I was doing. They all knew I was trying to shed weight but not what I had achieved thus far. Not only had I shed weight, but I obtained a better understanding of how my body works and the different cycles it goes through during this weight shedding process. I understand what foods, although still healthy, may not be the best for me and what foods really help burn my fat. I have also discovered a new liking for foods that prior to November I would not have touched. New clothes were on the cards but I bought cheap as I knew I was still reducing my size. Some I even bought small so I had a reason to continue.

Over the months I had reduced my calorie intake, by increments, to 1700. After a two weeks I stalled. I went from 5 pounds a week to 1 pound. After more reading, I upped my intake to 2250 and “bam...” the weight started dropping off again.

I bought a bike in February and added 15 miles a week to my already expanding exercise regime. I also tried karate but that was a step too far as it just put too much pressure on my knees. On the 14th of February (of all days) I found I could no longer keep my wedding ring on my finger. This was a difficult day for me but I realised it was part of the cycle of my new life and my wife would have been happy that I had shed so much weight. On the 18th of Feb I discovered C25K and thought “no way will I get to that in 9 weeks” but gave it a go. 90 seconds of running, even with breaks, on day 1 nearly killed me (OK, I exaggerate) but I wondered how I would ever achieve it but I persevered and it got easier and more rewarding. This became part of my regular routine along with some basic weight lifting now. The pounds kept coming off. By the end of February I had shed 72 1/2 pounds (That was my June goal!) and was feeling better about myself. I always felt I had self-confidence, but now I actually liked myself. I had also reduced my calorie intake to 2100 a day.

March became a turning point in my life. Although the future looked longer now, it still looked lonely and bleak. With the encouragement of my daughter, I signed up to on-line dating and met a wonderful woman who not only encourages me in my desire to shed the weight, but has inspired me to be the person I always knew I was. I know that the former me would never have attracted this very special person and I now feel the hard work I have put in was leading me to her all along. We met after three weeks of emailing and texting (although almost didn’t meet at all) and after only a few hours knew this was something more that we had both expected it to be. She has now become the focus of my life and my desire to make her happy stands above all else. By the time we met in late March I had shed nearly 85 pounds although the weight has started to come off a lot slower as I neared my goal. I also completed C25K successfully in mid-April

I have now lost 100 pounds and my future looks bright. To put that into some sort of context, this equates roughly to the weight of a two month old horse. It takes a deficit of 3500 calories to lose one pound. Losing 100 pounds means I have accumulated a deficit of 350,000 calories since 1 November.

Me at 230 pounds:

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Because of my efforts, I am with a wonderful woman who has given me my life back and I am learning to enjoy life again. She encourages me to be proud of what I have achieved and to look at me through her eyes and not mine. With her eyes I see the difference, with mine I still sometimes see a fat 330 pound man. I have posted pictures of me on my Facebook page and my Family can now see my achievements. Their encouragement motivates me even more. I have given my daughter a father for more years than she would have had me previously. I feel better now than I did when I was 25. My exercise regime now consist of running 5K three times a week, I also do 3, 30 minute, 180 step pm, sessions on the cross trainer, I dance Modern Jive 2 hours twice a week, walk between 3-5 miles once a week and lift a few weights twice a week, as well as swim and bike ride. Not bad for a 50 year old man who less than 7 months ago was 130 pounds overweight and couldn’t walk up the stairs without puffing and panting.

The journey is far from over, and it will never be, as once the weight is gone the maintaining begins. But throughout my journey and from the encouragement of everyone I know; my family, friends, my MFP pals and my new relationship, I have dozens of reasons to keep the weight off. The rewards are fantastic. I can now walk and work without sweating and breathing hard and I no longer need my “anti-snoring machine” to sleep. We went to a local coffee shop in the village where we live that we hadn’t been to in a few months and my daughter was asked where her father was. She told them I was he and they couldn’t believe it. They said they didn’t even recognise me despite knowing me for the past 8 years. People I know but haven’t seen since November walk right past me now with a look of “don’t I know you” on their faces. The future is bright and I am excited about the direction my new life has taken. I will never forget my old life because to do so would mean I forgot why I am where I am today, but my new life beckons and I am grabbing it with both of my slimmer, trimmer hands.
  31722132
May 24, 2013 10:43 AM
Congratulations, you look 10x younger and a totally different person!
  10200422
May 24, 2013 10:45 AM
OMG I agree, you look like a different person. Well done!
  1540197
May 24, 2013 10:47 AM
You look like a totally different person. Your new lady is very lucky!
May 24, 2013 10:52 AM
Wow Congrats! You look like a different person!!! Amazing.. :)
  16007316
May 24, 2013 10:52 AM
awsome story! thank you for sharing
  5836188
May 24, 2013 10:55 AM
Wow!! Thank you for sharing!
  43905600
May 24, 2013 10:55 AM
Congratulations. Enjoy your new life.
May 24, 2013 10:56 AM
you look great, and younger. I bet your proud :)
  43357134
May 24, 2013 10:56 AM
WOWWW!! Congrats, thanks for sharing your story you look great!!!
May 24, 2013 10:56 AM
You look fantastic! So happy for you! You are an inspiration - thanks for sharing! Good luck on your continued journey!
  39035904
May 24, 2013 10:57 AM
Awesome and inspirational. Thanks!
May 24, 2013 11:00 AM
Your story is truly inspiring! You look amazing.
  26538912
May 24, 2013 11:00 AM
Wow. Just wow. Congratulations. I'm happy that you've found happiness and health. You are very inspiring!
  11388410
May 24, 2013 11:01 AM
That is the loveliest story! You look amazing and about 20 years younger to boot!
May 24, 2013 11:06 AM
The transformation is amazing! You look great. And thanks for sharing your story. I've been on this about as long as you have but not nearly with as much zeal. You're inspiring!
  30480611
May 24, 2013 11:13 AM
Wow! You look awesome! What an amazing story. I love it! Good for you!
May 24, 2013 11:15 AM
Wow you look super awesome! Congratulations that is really inspirational!
  43809287
May 24, 2013 11:18 AM
Way to go!!
May 24, 2013 11:20 AM
Awesome story and inspiration!!!

Congratulations on living a more fulfilled life!
  10436162
May 24, 2013 11:21 AM
WOW, you look great and so much younger. Sorry to hear about your wife, but I am sure she is looking down at you with pride!
May 24, 2013 11:22 AM
YOU are AMAZING!!! Congratulations! You certainly deserve every bit of happiness you have received!
May 24, 2013 11:22 AM
Congratulations on your weight loss and finding that special lady to enjoy the rest of your life with. You also sound like a great dad and role model for your daughter. Wishing you joy & continued success in all that you strive for.
  22824650
May 24, 2013 11:26 AM
This is one of the most inspiring stories I've ever read. Congratulations to you for taking your life back. You deserve all the happiness that is coming your way.

Your daughter sounds awesome, too. How wonderful that she had the wisdom to support you in making these changes during such a difficult time in your lives. Kudos to you both.
  34996010
May 24, 2013 11:30 AM
Oh my goodness! A new person completely!!!! WAY TO GO!

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