Don (160 Pound Loss Maintained Since 2010)

Blog:  Half The Mass I Used to Be
Facebook: Half The Mass I Used to Be
Interview: CTV Ottawa Morning Live

I battled with my weight ever since I was a young child. However, once I graduated university and started eating out most nights, I really started gaining weight. I continued packing on pounds throughout my twenties and most of my 30s. By the age of 37 I hit my highest weight of about 350 pounds. At this time I was suffering horrible health effects from being so overweight. I had open leg ulcers, my blood pressure was 192/140 and I could barely make it up a flight of stairs.

Despite these health issues, I continued to ignore the weight issues. I hated who I was and what my life had become but thought I was doomed to be forever imprisoned by my weight.

My life had become very small. I woke up each morning, went to work, came home, ordered out for food, and then ate all evening while watching TV. But I had no hope of ever losing the weight; I had seen the bleak statistics on weight loss. I didn't have a single role model to show me that it was possible. So I did nothing. Except suffer through a life I hated. Until one day in 2009 when a friend invited me to join him in going to our workplace gym during lunch hours.

Just by exercising with my friend I was able to drop a few pounds which gave me a sliver of hope. That sliver became a wedge for me to kick the whole door open. A few weeks later I joined an organization called TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) which helped me improve my diet while giving me the support, encouragement and accountability I needed. The pounds started melting away. I continued to be able to do more exercises - walking, stationary bike, elliptical, but mostly swimming - and for longer durations. All the while refining my eating along the way. Little over a year after my friend asked me to the gym I had lost 170 pounds to my goal weight of 180. 

As I was nearing my goal weight I had attended the 2010 TOPS international conference in Halifax. The keynote speaker spoke about setting goals and how to achieve those goals. An example he used was a goal he set for himself to run a marathon. He spoke so passionately about running I felt like taking on the challenge. Never having run before in my life, I committed to myself that I would someday run a half marathon. So in the spring of 2011 I started training for a half marathon. To my incredible surprise I was actually a decent runner. I had no idea that underneath all that weight was a long distance runner! By July I was ready to give it a go. I had been crowned the TOPS Ontario weight loss king and also the International best loser for my weight class and was recognized for these achievements at the 2011 TOPS International conference in Milwaukee. The day after the conference I ran the Milwaukee "Rock 'n' Sole" half marathon. After completing the gruelling race and getting my medal, I was hooked. I didn't take my medal off for a week. I had gone from being 350 pounds in 2009 to running a half marathon in 2011. My love of running has grown ever since. I have run 8 more half marathons under my belt and did a full marathon in my hometown of Halifax in 2013. 

Renewed health (no more leg ulcers, blood pressure is normal, and I can now climb the CN Tower) and physical abilities aside, I have grown so much over the last few years. The zest for life, the desire for adventure has had me helicoptering over the Grand Canyon, climbing to the top of mountains in the Rockies, walking around the top of the CN tower.... and now running a Ragnar Relay Race through Cape Cod. I am making up for lost time and enjoying life to the fullest.