Got a success story of your own? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be featured on the site!
Name: Kelvin Burnett
Before Weight: 485 pounds
How I Gained It: I was very introverted and inactive while I was growing up. By the time I was 10 years old, I weighed 200 pounds. I was unlike a lot of other kids, so socializing wasn't very easy for me. And when I transferred into a deaf school while I was young, I continued to steadily gain weight.
I gained more weight throughout grade school, and my self-esteem continued to dip as a result. By the time I graduated from high school, I had ballooned to over 350 pounds. I was at a point where I couldn't ride on roller coasters. I was at a point where I couldn't shop regularly at any clothing stores. I was at a point where I couldn't be more physically able. Overall, I was at a point where I couldn't have a typical experience as others because of my weight.
Through my first two years of college, I didn't really have my parents watching over my bad habits. The issues of fitting in from grade school were exactly the same in college. I had a vast array of junk foods available to me -- pizza, cheeseburgers, soda.
I steadily gained weight until I hit my heaviest of 485 pounds. I couldn't be weighed on a scale in a doctor's office.
I pretty much ignored all the warning signs of obesity when I was growing up. I didn't want to face reality and trigger shame and guilt. And so in a lot of ways, I became disconnected from who I should've been.
Absolutely nothing could discontinue my bad habits. Food for me was like a drug; the sensation of being really bloated and full was a high for me.
Breaking Point: My grandmother visited our house one day in the summer for an annual visit while I was in college. She noticed that I had a problem; she sternly addressed me out of frustration but with love and deep concern that I ought to lose the weight or else.
I learned from my grandmother that my father, grandfather and other relatives had a history of heart attacks, hypertension and other genetic ailments.
My grandmother being the one person that I truly didn't want to disappoint, I decided to act accordingly upon arrival at college.
After a first workout at the gym, I stepped onto a scale and it read 485 pounds. Seeing that number was a slap in the face. I needed to do something really drastic with my life. Ultimately, it was also the moment when I faced reality. Quickly, I felt ashamed of what I'd become as a person at that time.
How I Lost It: I logged onto the Internet and I researched left and right and all over on fitness and nutrition. I discovered various websites, articles, blogs and more. I also investigated diet journals and forum threads to observe how other people lost weight from their own personal experiences. I would immediately construct my own weight loss formula to follow.
However, as much as I actively researched for knowledge, I had to act, or else I wasn't going to obtain results. Going into the gym, I became really active by lifting weights. I did some cardio with stationery bikes and elliptical trainers. As my weight dropped, I also conquered the StairMaster and treadmill.
I would aim at heavily burning calories by going through long and intense cardio sessions. Regardless, my weight loss was inconsistent. Puzzled, I logged onto the Internet yet again for more answers. Through research, I found the real and very simple premise of weight loss: calories in versus calories out. This meant I had to really emphasize on diet. As a result, my weight started to fall at a more consistent basis.
Each and every week, I would notice results on the scale. Each and every month, I would notice results with my physical body as far as appearance and waist measurement goes. Going forward, this was the strategy that I would be sticking with.
I have more control over my life because I have chosen myself first. Choosing myself first gave me a new perspective on what truly matters in life. Choosing myself first gave me the focus, power and will to do things worth doing. Choosing myself first meant that I had to fully take responsibility for my own decisions.
I am no longer ashamed of who I am as a person. I fully embrace myself now. Overall, I feel more confident that I'm heading in the right direction. I feel completely connected to myself. I found comfort from within instead of in food. In order to have achieved weight loss, I felt that I needed to internally change. As a whole, I feel a lot healthier and I am no longer at risk.
I realize that my transformation wasn't instantaneous; it was a process. This journey has made me realize how much potential that I have as a person. No longer will I take life for granted. If I were to die today, I would rather die knowing that I lived life fully but not regretfully.
After Weight: 216 pounds
The Huffington Post publishes photographs as they are submitted to us by our readers.
Check out more of our inspiring weight loss stories below:
For more on weight loss, click here.