A big thank you to Shawn for sharing the first success story for theoncefatman.com
My name is Shawn Davis and I am 44 years old. I have struggled with my weight my entire life, having been overweight most of it. I have tried every diet and diet pill out there over the years! One of the worst things that I have done to my body is yo yo dieting; cause my weight to go up and down.
I am 5’10” and reached my highest weight of 324 in the summer of 2005. It was during that time I learned of a new procedure called the “Lap Band” and this was to be the new answer to all my problems. It was finally going to fix everything for me! Within the first six months of the surgery I was down to 214 and thought finally the new me. I never even had what they call a fill for my band. That is where they make the band tighter around your stomach. Needless to say this fix did not last long.
Fast forward another six months and my weight was now 250. To add insult to injury, over the next few years I has a few surgeries to repair a foot and bicep injury. This helped my weight get back to the 280’s. I was able to yo yo diet my weight back to 260 in the fall of 2009. That also did not last long, add in another foot and shoulder surgery also being placed on high blood pressure medication and I entered 2012 once again over 300 weighing 308. From January thru September I was very good at yo yo dieting my weight between that number and 299. The band was now useless as I had stretched out the smaller stomach to eat whatever I wanted to eat.
This September through the persistence of my wife; I agreed to go to the Lose to Win class at SOMC. As you can see from my past I was very skeptical about this, I mean I am the guy who has tried everything out there. I had come to the conclusion that it must have just been meant for me to be fat. Boy was I wrong! This class has taught me that there was a whole lot that I did not know, like why I make the choices that I make and why I overeat. This class has taught me so much that I did not know from what healthy food is, how to deal with stress, why water is so important, why exercise is important. I could just go on and on. But the most important thing that I have been taught is that I am not on a diet anymore! I have made the choice to change my life for me!
Since starting this class I have suffered two gout attacks but the difference now is that I have been provided the tools that I need to succeed. I am now off my blood pressure medication that I have taken for three years. I have a goal to run the US Air Force Marathon this coming September! When I first started my program in September I could hardly walk for 30 minutes on the treadmill. I can now run for 30 minutes at a speed of 5.6 on treadmill. I have logged 115 miles since I started. I am now 12 weeks in and have lost 45 pounds and love to run!
Side note from The Once Fat Man: Since writing to me at the beginning of December, Shawn has dropped another 9 pounds!
I had tried everything to make the apartment we shared into a home again. I got different furniture and rearranged it, I turned the bedroom into the office and the office into the bedroom. I put different art up on the walls to fill in the spaces where the pictures of us once hung–but it was no use. Every day when I got home I was reminded of the nightmare of coming home to a half full apartment. I had to get out of there…and now.
Photo from brokeassstuart.com
I did not want to live anywhere close to where we had made our home so I decided to head north to Los Angeles. I drove up one weekend to apartment hunt in a nice little neighborhood known as the Pico Robertson where I thought I would fit in. I had a successful day and found a lot of one-bedroom apartments. The only problem was I could barely afford any of them. I was slightly discouraged while I drove home so I called my buddy Foodie who I had not spoken with a while.
Foodie and I had met in high school in a youth group for young leaders and had been great friends ever since. I told him that I was just coming from apartment hunting in LA. It turns out that he had just gotten out of a very toxic relationship and was crashing with his parents temporarily. He was was ready to start over, too. He asked if I would be interested in getting a place with him. He had lived in LA before and loved it.
The next weekend we headed back up to the city and within a couple of hours found an amazing place that we would call home for the next year. We realized that we could be an incredible support system for each other. A new home, with new people, and new things to do. New routes to run and places to explore. It was exactly what I needed. Far away from a life I once lived, the move provided a clean slate to begin the next chapter of mine. It was the best decision I could have made.
If you find yourself stuck in a house that no longer feels like a home, get out as soon as possible. You can not imagine how good it will feel, and how far it helps you down to path to picking yourself back up. If you’re fortunate enough to have a friend like Foodie, consider getting a roommate. Foodie was always able to cheer me up when things got me down and was great with tough love, which I also needed. I’m not telling you to pick up and move across the country– but I won’t tell you not to. I only moved 30 miles away from my old place. You, and only you, get to write the new chapters in your new life.
When positive change is first taking place and people begin to take notice, they automatically assume you’re doing great. And why wouldn’t you be? You made the extremely hard choice to start over and slowly you start to develop into a new person…physically and emotionally. People begin to envy you and wish they had what you had. Those people don’t know one very important thing…you wouldn’t wish this on your worst enemy.
In the beginning, all the changes people see in you are external. They see you losing weight, becoming fit, trying new things, or having a more positive attitude. People see those things and assume you have already reached the top. In most cases, in the early stages of change, they couldn’t be farther from the truth. Dig a little deeper, just below the surface, and you will find an entirely different story.
I experienced this few months into my own transformation. Acquaintances and co-workers would give me props for all the changes and strides I was making. The truth was is that I wasn’t doing well at all. I was lonely and I missed my wife. I missed the feeling of coming home to someone who loved me and all the things married life encompassed. Instead, I came home to a half empty apartment every night, walking through my front door wishing she had come back. Sleep never came easy in the bed we had shared. This was probably the greatest struggle and change I had ever dealt with.
Therapy proved very beneficial during this time. Also, journaling my thoughts was an incredible outlet (something about taking your feelings and transferring them onto paper just worked). Close friends just provided an ear and listened–listening is a forgotten art. Things did get better after a while and I began to find my way out of the fog. But there was another change that needed to happen and (besides running) provided a vital piece of the starting over puzzle.
Feeling bloated after a big meal? Juice one whole lemon into two cups of water in a pot along with the rind and bring to a boil. Drink it like tea before bed and it will flush all the sodium out of your system while you sleep and you’ll wake up feeling great!
During the journey of change you will hopefully be fortunate to have a great support team who has your back and if you do not, you have yourself, which is just as good. Mine was incredible and was there to encourage me in my goals. There’s no doubt that love and support feel great—but some of us require something different.
Enter the Angry Fu!
The Angry Fu was a co-worker of mine and, I’ll just say it…the dude was ripped. Despite his short stature, the guy could bench more than I could ever imagine and had knowledge about weight lifting that surpassed anyone I knew. He was quite vocal, the say the least, when it came to my weight. My favorite was when he would describe me as a chicken stuffed in a crock-pot when he would see my driving my tiny car. Before I paint the Angry Fu as an asshole, I must stress that he was and is a good friend of mine.
After a couple of months of running, the pounds began to slowly drop off and I wanted to expedite the process, so I approached the Fu for help. He put together and amazing lifting plan for me which I immediately put to work. When you combine lifting and running you give your body the full package of fitness. I can’t tell you how many lifters I’ve met with no endurance and how many runners I’ve met who can’t lift much of anything. To be successful with overall fitness you must combine the two. I still to this day run three days a week and lift three days a week. I would not have it any other way.
The results within the first few weeks were incredible. I was doing full-body workouts and my muscles, for the first time in my life, began to tone. This was when people began to notice my weight loss the most. Even the Angry Fu saw the results—but his stance didn’t change. I was still fat according to him. I was not being supported…I was being challenged! The more he humbled me, the harder I trained. I became determined to prove him wrong and, little did I know, that was exactly what his plan. I now had all pistons firing and was always looking forward to my next training session.
Thank you Fu for everything! You will always and continue to be a true motivator for me!