I was always a big guy. I was a big kid and I became a big adult. I was always very proud of being big. I never had any confidence issues or wished I looked a certain way. That being said in the back of my mind I thought a better lifestyle, routine fitness, and a slimmer body were not within my reach, which meant I didn’t care and I was happy to indulge in the things that packed weight on my body.
It wasn’t until June of this year when I realized how completely unaware I was about anything health related or fitness related. At 33 years old, 6’3″ and weighing a tad over 290 pounds I decided to get a check up. I haven’t been to the doctor in ages (ages means about eight years) and I figured what’s the harm? I’m healthy! I know my body! (and a slew of things that later on I would come to know as excuses) I got a call about a week later to come in and get my blood test results. How bad could it be? I was a rockin’ dude with a rockin’ attitude! Clearly I was delusional as my doctor rattled off cold facts about my body. I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, was obese (what an ugly word) , and the nail in the coffin was when he sat me down and told me I had Type 2 Diabetes. That last part took me for a loop and rocked me out of my brain a bit. Type 2 Diabetes? I’m not THAT fat I thought. I took a minute to process the news and collected myself as opposed to yelling, getting mad, or killing the messenger so to speak. He did his job and told me that I had a disease. He gave me the option to either take a pill that would help with the condition (more of a band aid) or try and reverse it by losing at least 30 pounds. At that moment I sucked it up and opted for the latter. I asked him what could have caused it. Was it drinking? I didn’t really have a sweet tooth for cakes and pies. I was confused. I told my doctor I drink juice and eat fruit like they are going out of style and he pretty much said “No wonder you have diabetes.” He t old me to come back in three months for a followup and to try and lose as much weight as possible.
You can do this, Rich. I told myself. You can fuckin’ get off your ass and do this. Put in the work and get the results. After having a cry to my wife in the parking lot of Rite Aid over the phone while telling her the news (I felt awful in part about the state my body was in but the fact that I felt like I betrayed my wife by not being healthy made me pretty upset) She was my rock in that moment and assured me that together we can fix the diagnosis even though at that moment I wanted nothing more than to hit Burger King and get a double whopper (to be comforted and to go along with the attitude that got me there in the first place – fuck it – who cares – just eat it) I didn’t end up getting Burger King. Instead I went home, did my research, and came up with a game plan. For the next two weeks I started a diet and exercise program adhering to what were foods that diabetics can eat and should avoid. I cut out sugar and carbs completely along with fruit, juice, candy, chocolate bars, fast food, or anything processed. I became a calorie counter and label reader. I cut out coffee, vitamin waters, gatorade, or anything unnatural. My goal after three months was not only to lose 30 pounds but to walk into my doctor’s office with a 40 pound weight loss. I took up running pretty hardcore and would run by his office every single day (still do) and mentally say “I’ll show you!” (I cleaned up the language there) even though I knew it wasn’t his fault. I just needed something else to direct my emotions to. I would run every day and currently do between 3 and 4 miles a day. 5 Miles on a good day. I’m addicted to running and run around my neighborhood like a maniac every morning. My playlist is epic. It’s a combination of rockin’ metal tunes and more rockin’ metal tunes that are extremely positive and motivating (ask me about it)
Three months later I walked into my Doctor’s office 40 pounds lighter (fuck yea) and a whole lot peppier. He congratulated me on the weight loss and said the blood test will hopefully reflect the physical change. I knew I wasn’t out of the woods yet and had another week to go before the results were in. My blood pressure was perfect, which was a good sign. A week later I got the call that my levels looked good and that I was no longer in the diabetic realm. I had overcome my diagnosis from three months prior, lost a ton of weight, and had a better outlook on life. Suck it diabetes.
Now just imagine if I didn’t go to the doctor.
Through this process of getting healthy and staying healthy (the hardest part) I became an extremely positive guy. I was always positive and energetic but this experience took it to the next level. I have become irritating in my positivity and want everyone I know to become that version of themselves that they never knew existed. If I could do it so could anyone. All it took was will power and determination. Those are two things that are free and inside us all. We can do anything we set our minds to. We can beat diseases. We can become better. Even if you feel fine I encourage you to go to your doctor, get a check up, get a blood test. You could be living obliviously drinking lemonade by the gallon and not realize what you’re doing to yourself. Health matters. It matters to you and to the people around you. Be big. Be little. As long as you’re healthy and positive that’s really all that matters. I discovered things about myself, my psychology, and my physiology that I never knew about and that’s huge. This whole process gave me peace of mind and I will continue down a healthy path and help and support anyone who needs it. I’m not a certified personal trainer but I’m a good listener and motivator.
Unfortunately Type 2 Diabetes is the most common disease facing this country. The good news is that it’s reversible. Take the news of a diagnosis and turn it into a positive by creating a new life for yourself. Take the opportunity to unlock that healthy being inside you. You can do it! Realize your self worth and get out there for the better.
I’m still losing weight and wanted to write this post after losing 50 pounds (I’m about a pound shy but who cares?) Here is a before and after. The before is taken earlier this year (shot by Michael Benabib) where I was about 295 and a photo I took in my home studio at 241 (11/18). Help me spread love and positivity and encourage anyone you know to turn their life around and get healthy. Be body positive and health positive.