I am a 53-year-old male who has been employed in ministry at a local church for 15 years. I have been married to my wife for 25.5 years, and I’m a father to a terrific 10-year-old son we adopted eight years ago in Ukraine. I am also currently having a love affair with SHAPE ReClaimed.

I’m going to be very transparent in hopes of encouraging others. My life has taken a dramatic turn over the past few months. I have been a “full-figured guy” since college. I really enjoy being the cook of the house, at extended family gatherings or for others. I enjoyed tasty food, and I was comfortable there.

However, as my (then 9-year-old) son Donny got more active in different activities last summer, I was having trouble keeping up. This past summer I hit a record weight: 283 lbs. My knees were requiring more ibuprofen each day. I became content at Little League season in taking a bench coach role so I didn’t have to stand on the field for 90 minutes and keep up with 9-year-olds. But as fall rolled in, my mind started to examine my health. Obviously, I wasn’t taking care of the “temple” God had entrusted to me, nor was I taking the best care for my family.

During the summer and fall of 2016, I began talking to some local friends who were getting healthy and releasing their excess weight. There was a common thread to their stories. They were working with an RN who doubles as a nutritionist and cheerleader (in my opinion). After researching the program and talking to my general practitioner, the only thing to lose seemed to be my weight. I discussed it with my wife, Barb, and invited her to also begin this journey. It was going to work so much better together.

On October 15, our transformation began. No shakes, no chemicals, no yoga but lots of dietary knowledge and changes with some sacrifices and prayers for results. What occurred in the first few months amazed me and a lot of people when they saw me. I do get the stares and the questions concerning my health. Praise God, I’m healthy! I understand the questions and appreciate their concerns. Most people have never seen me this thin. I don’t remember it either, really. I always had a reason for being heavy: It was inherited, I loved to cook, I loved to eat, my jaw wasn’t wired shut, etc. I realized the excuses had to stop, and I needed to take control.

A few months in, I had shed 40 pounds. The lifestyle change, the eating habits, the menu items all were changed. The results were evident. For a person who is not used to seeing results, this gets pretty exciting! And I still love to cook. In December, we purchased an Instant Pot and an air fryer. I have discovered that stores carry organic items and that you don’t have to cook with sugar at every meal. I laugh and say I can prep cauliflower 14 different ways. I can still eat chicken/beef/fish every day and believe that healthy can taste good. We still enjoy taco salads, pot roast, cod, shepherd’s pie and so much more. I lost four pounds while enjoying Hawaii for 10 days. It can be done.

In mid-December, it was time for the routine blood workup (some skinny folks don’t know that heavy people have to be monitored for bad, fatty stuff in the blood and also heart disease). I had been in contact with my family doctor, so he wasn’t shocked when he saw me and I stepped on the scale. After that blood draw, I went from six prescription medications per day down to two. Oh yes, that triglycerides number, those fatty little dudes were streaming out of my body. That number dropped by 60, and we dropped that drug! None of this was much of a surprise to my doctor. He had been telling me this for years, but who wants to listen to their doctor? Definitely a non-scale victory!

The first week of January, I went clothes shopping. I knew my pants were baggy, but I had no idea how sloppy. I went into the dressing room with jeans a size smaller. Shockingly, they slid off me too. I went back to the rack and got a waistline two sizes smaller. They were loose but stayed on. Something still didn’t feel right. I began to look through the rack again. I suddenly saw something different, the label said “regular fit.” I thought all jeans came as “relaxed fit” or carpenter-style. Well excuse me, I had lost some baggage from my trunk! I had dropped from a size 48 to a size 44. My shirt size had also dropped from 3XL to an XXL. What an exciting day!

As the new year rolled around, I also wondered if I could shed the number of pounds that equaled my age by my birthday. I DID IT! I turned 53 and had released 53 pounds!

Fast forward another month. For the first time, my BMI moved me from the “obese” class to the “overweight” class. WOW! I sold a great bunch of 2XL and 3XL shirts, I was now down to wearing an XL! The 48 waist jeans in the closet headed out as I had bought those 44s in January, then I hit 42 in February, and in July I was down to a size 40! Feels a lot different!

About my wife who joined me on this journey: She is doing very well, too. She is patient as I try new recipes, and as I adjust them, she tries them again. I don’t like bodily injury, and I enjoy sharing my marriage with her, therefore I won’t disclose any numbers of hers.

My son turned 10 in February 2017. He has always been a “taster” of new food. There are a few things he doesn’t like in our plan. However, I remind myself that he is a kid who is burning off a lot of energy.

I don’t know where my journey will end. Weight release slowed as summer became more hectic. I thank God daily for the health benefits I am enjoying. I also realize it may always be a struggle. My mind goes back to a man I saw lose weight several years ago. Whenever someone would ask how he was losing it, he would say (I paraphrase), “My mouth and my stomach are the culprits, they got me into this shape, now we are working together to get out of it.”

I now stand at about 72 pounds gone. The amazing part to me is measured when I look at our son. At his last doctor’s appointment, my son weighed 71 pounds! I have released the weight of an entire 10-year old child! I know that sounds a bit bizarre, but it certainly makes a visual! No wonder I feel so much better and have gotten off 70% of my prescriptions.

If you’re struggling, keep the course. Find your SHAPE! Make a difference for yourself and those around you. If you have specific questions, ask. I love to share this program, and I feel blessed that others shared with me.

Part of my DNA, both professionally and personally, is that I get excited about helping people! That’s why I volunteered to take a bigger public role for SHAPE. On the first Monday of the month, I head up a SHAPE Family Group. We are a SHAPE family. I hate the term “support group!” We have a common issue, but nothing to be ashamed of. Because we are a family, I call these meetings “Family Time.” I’m excited about our family. Together we can strengthen each other, support each other and discover our new SHAPE!

 

Practitioner: Patty Mathias, RN