Over the last 20 years, my weight had steadily increased, reaching a morbidly obese level of 461 pounds in 2008. During that time I developed high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea. I was unable to do many things because of my physical size and shape. I couldn’t enjoy my passion for hunting or fishing. I could walk for any length of time because of the weight I carried around every day.

In January of 2008, I was hospitalized for two weeks with bilateral pulmonary embolism. This was my wake-up call. I had to change my lifestyle. I had tried many diets in the past, but with only short-term success. I needed to find the right help and surgery wasn’t the solution.

When I started the 20/20 LifeStyles program, I had to lose weight so I wouldn’t exceed the maximum weight allowed on many of the cardio machines. I had to lose weight just to exercise. But I was ready to make the commitment to get healthy. I keep that in mind every day.

I learned about nutrition and set monthly milestones for myself. My goals included losing 25 pounds in a month…breaking the 400 pound barrier…going down to 350 pounds to use the Stairmill…continuing my workouts with my 20/20 personal trainer to stay motivated…attaining strength, core, and cardiovascular improvements. Achieving these milestones, in addition to the support from my family and friends, inspired me to be successful.

Today, I’m no longer on medication for high blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes. When I first started 20/20 LifeStyles, I had to take the elevator just to get to the workout areas. I can now easily climb the stairs. I did my first 5K run, which I never thought I’d do.

Clothing has become a fun event again as well. At first I began wearing clothes that hadn’t fit me for a long time. Not long after that, even these were too big for me. I remember the day when I could shop in the regular clothing section of a department store, buying off the rack for the first time in so many years.

I’m also motivating others around me. My daughter has lost 40 pounds and my best friend has lost 50. I’m currently putting together a Wellness Challenge at work, with each person setting goals against a timeline.

Now if I feel stressed, I go and exercise, even for just 5-10 minutes. Instead of walking to the fridge, I do pushups or leg lifts. Or, if I’m on the phone, I do some quick squats. I start my day at the club at 5a.m. That’s the time of day that no one can interrupt. I find that it’s too easy to let the day get away from you if you do the workout at the end of the day. I eat six meals a day, take a packed lunch to work, and get enough sleep. It’s all the things 20/20 LifeStyles has instilled while I was in the program.

My family and I make wise decisions about eating, both at home and when dining out. We also participate in more outdoor activities as a family, like biking and walking. We’re choosing to live an active and healthy lifestyle.

Weighing over 400 pounds, David was unable to physically do many things due to his weight. Today, working out and eating healthy is now part of his everyday life.

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