Resolve to be a Loser!

by Michael T
(Chicago, IL)

Before and After

Before and After

I ate fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner without a care whatsoever of the health consequences. I thought exercise was a joke; in fact I used to laugh about it. Rapidly approaching 250 pounds, I was falling further and further into a self- destructive mode and I still did not realize I was killing myself. I went for a physical exam and I was diagnosed with high blood pressure.

The doctor arranged for an overnight sleep study because I complained of having no energy, falling asleep during the day and not feeling rested upon awakening. The results of the sleep study indicated that I had severe obstructive sleep apnea. I was given two choices by the doctor; I could either have esophageal reconstructive surgery or sleep with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. The doctor said if I didn't do something immediately about the condition I could die in my sleep or have a stroke or heart attack. He also told me if I lost weight and exercised it would benefit with either choice I made.

I chose the lazy way and decided to sleep using a CPAP machine but continued the same nutritionally void diet and sedentary lifestyle. I did not want to put in any effort but I did not want surgery either. It was New Year's Eve 2001 and I was the most obese that I had ever been. At almost 245 pounds (I am 5'8") I made a resolution. I made a goal to start exercising and eating healthier. I did not want to be overweight, taking medication and on a breathing machine for the rest of my life.

January 1st I started working out and actually stuck with it for a whole month. I was pissed that I only lost around five pounds. My Dad gave me some words of encouragement to keep on. He bought me a vinyl sweat suit and a pair of boxing gloves. I punched the bag that he had in his exercise room every day for weeks straight. To make it fun, I made up a game and pretended I was going rounds in a boxing match. I really sweat my fat off! I also started researching, reading and educating myself on health, nutrition and exercise. I decided to eliminate soda from my diet, and let me tell you, when you drink three super-size servings of soda a day that is not very easy. By spring, my weight was down to 210 pounds and I was feeling great.

At this time I stopped eating fast food and anything fried. I started preparing my own meals and eating salads and sandwiches. I then took my work out to the outdoors. I went on forty mile bike rides through the North Branch bike trail (Devon Ave. and Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago, IL to the Botanic Gardens in Glencoe, IL) at least three times a week and also started hiking in the local forest preserve. I then started to decrease the CPAP machine usage to four times per week, then three, then two in a two month period. By August 2002 I weighed in at 180 pounds and I felt and looked like a new person. I kept up with the exercise while continuing to learn about nutrition and holistic health; I decided to give up sweets. By the beginning of Autumn I weighed 165 pounds (ideal weight for my body type and height.)

I decided to stop using the CPAP machine all together. When I went for a follow up exam in November of 2002, the doctor said not only was my blood pressure ok, but my sleep apnea condition seemed to have subsided as well.

This is the true story of how I transformed myself from being an obese, unhappy and unhealthy man into a fit, happy and healthy human being. My personal story is the reason I have developed a passion to share all that I have learned and experienced. It is my biggest inspiration and motivation to make holistic health and integrative nutrition my career path. I am living proof that obesity, unhappiness and disease can be reversed; please look at my photos on this article.

Pills, medications, surgery, fad diets, fasts, and cleanses are a temporary fix, however, none of these will bring permanent and positive changes like a complete lifestyle change will.

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