Name: Dave Douglas
Before Weight: 400 pounds
How I Gained It: I’m a third-generation obese American who grew up fat. I was 250 pounds by age 16, and I didn’t stop there. While I had tried to lose weight with diet and exercise growing up, it never resulted in much. Being obese was a family affair, and I chose the love and security of my family over my personal health and fitness.
In college and my early adult life, I typically skipped breakfast. Lunch was optional and usually consisted of a small snack. I would then come home after a long day and eat a large dinner with dessert. I rarely ate fruit or vegetables. I loved eating hot dogs and macaroni and cheese.
Breaking Point: My wife and I were pregnant with our first child. I knew I owed it to my son to try to break the family tree of obesity. There are so many compromises to being an obese parent: I was simply forfeiting the ability to participate in so many wonderful moments. I used to sweat so much before. I couldn’t fit in some amusement park rides. It is a tragedy to work so hard, only to find yourself too exhausted to enjoy your life.
How I Lost It: My weight-loss journey took more than eight years. I found wonderful success with the low-carb system. The biggest change was actually thinking about what I should eat. It was a big deal for me to be conscious about my health. I dropped from 400 pounds down to 225. Our second son came, and I soon found myself back at 250. I then spent two years working out with a personal trainer, but I never found a trainer I connected with. Despite the exercise, my weight continued to climb. I eventually realized that in order to lose weight, I needed to focus on my food choices first. Adding exercise to my life wouldn’t work if I was still unable to come to terms with my obesity and its relation to my food choices.
Finally, my doctor offered me the choice between gastric bypass or Weight Watchers. As a parent of two and a committed husband, I was unwilling to take the risk of the surgery, so I chose Weight Watchers online. While doing Weight Watchers, I abstained from all exercise. It was a really big shift to measure and document my food choices, but building that discipline has given me the freedom to eat anything I want. My favorite foods now are fresh fruits like apples, oranges and bananas, and carrots. Thanks to my incredible wife, the iPhone app and my relentless focus, I was able to finally achieve a healthy BMI on March 10, 2010.
I am full of energy now. At my all-time lowest weight of 165 pounds, I began to bring exercise back into my life. I quickly fell in love with running. I’ve now completed five marathons, reaching my goal of completing the 2014 L.A. Marathon in under four hours. I’m a totally different person now, and I love who I am. Running has given me additional confidence to be the man I want to be. I have reinvented who I am and no longer live under the shadows of being “the fat kid.” I am now committed to helping others during their weight-loss journey. I have begun a blog at thingineering.com and my mission is to help lose 1,000,000 pounds. I’ve already helped coworkers and friends lose over 500.
After Weight: 180 pounds
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As told to Sarah Klein.