Name: Robbie Siron
Before Weight: 350 pounds
How I Gained It: It started when I was 9. Before that, I was thin and active in youth baseball, soccer and martial arts, but at 9 I was diagnosed with asthma. From then on, I seemed to be in the hospital every other week in an oxygen tent or going through a nebulizer treatment. It seemed that my active life was over, and I switched to video games and indoor activities. I quickly began gaining weight. My family life revolved around food. We talked about what was for dinner during lunch, and all events were food-focused. As I got bigger, I got more and more depressed. It became a vicious cycle. I used food to make myself feel better, but I felt worse when I ate, and then I would eat again to feel good again. Food was my drug, and I was a hardcore addict. With the freedom of college (and turning 21) came the alcohol and the ability to make my own choices for food. If you looked at my bank statement, fast food restaurants showed up daily, and beer pong was a nightly activity. I always figured that since I was 6'3" I could weigh more and not really think anything of it.
Breaking Point: The moment that I realized that I was doing serious damage to my body came on suddenly. I was leaving a class and as I stood up, something pulled in my back and I was unable to walk. I sat back down. The pain was so intense, tears were in my eyes and breathing was hard. I had to call my father to come and get me, and I was barely able to walk from the building to the sidewalk. The doctor informed me that I had a pinched nerve and a bulging disc, brought on by my weight. I was 350 pounds, morbidly obese, my body fat percentage around 50 percent, and, at 22, I had thrown out my back. Oddly enough, I was on painkillers and muscle relaxers when total clarity came to me on the matter.
How I Lost It: I would love to give people my three magic tricks for losing 150 pounds super fast, but they simply don't exist. There's no secret formula, no magic pill, and it definitely shouldn't be done super fast. It's taken me four years to lose the 150 pounds, and over that time I have cut out most fast food, soda, processed foods and sugars. At first I felt deprived of all of the things that I loved, like burgers, fries, chocolate, cake, cookie dough and beer, but nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.
As time progressed and I learned to experiment with different food styles and vegetables, healthy food started tasting amazing, and processed foods started tasting disgusting. In the beginning, I only changed what I ate, and it was successful, but I wasn't feeling good. My body still felt sluggish and weak, so I knew I had to add in exercise. My trainer has changed my life. No one can push you like a trainer can, and they can teach you the form to keep you from injuring yourself. We had to start from scratch, with basic body movements to get me used to working out. I was doing cardio at least five times a week. Now that I've been working out for a while, I do more explosive moves. I still do cardio five times a week, and I seek out more physical activities in my day-to-day life.
While I love my weight loss and now my work to build muscle, I'm struggling with having the "I've never been happier" mentality. I am happier, but I'm still stuck with a constant reminder of my past. For anyone who has been fat, you know that it never goes away. It takes years to understand that you're not that person, and after years of enduring bullying and loneliness, you are left with some serious mental scar tissue. For me personally, I am also left with excess skin. I'm frustrated that my insurance company would pay for me to have a triple bypass, but not to remove my excess skin. I love the positive stories about people finally feeling happy, and I do, but there is always more to be done. Here's to the next stage of my journey.
After Weight: 195 pounds
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As told to Sarah Klein