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    Posted August 23, 2013 by
    Georgetown, Kentucky
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments

    More from KYGymRat

    iTook Control of My Health at 55 and Lost 160 Pounds in 20 Months!


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     KYGymRat says the hardest part about losing weight was being patient -- results don't come quick. "But going in I was committed for the long haul," he says.
    - JacqueCNN, CNN iReport producer

    In October of 2011 I turned 55 years old and weighed-in at 352 pounds. In June of 2013 I weighed-in at 190 pounds. I've lost 160 pounds and 22 inches off my waist in 20 months! Here's my story...


    I was miserable when I was large, but I would never admit it. I can remember looking at myself in the mirror thinking how wonderful it would be to just wake up one morning, healthy and physically fit. I avoided circumstances that would make me feel uncomfortable or that may cause me embarrassment.


    Now I'm able to do anything I want! I maintain a healthy diet and I do a variety of workouts which include Body Sculpting, Cycling, Kickboxing, Spinning, Swimming, Walking, and ZUMBA. Thanks to my diet and plenty of exercise, I’m in great physical condition and I’m finally healthy. On October 13th of 2011 I weighed in at 352 lbs. A year later, I had my annual cardiology follow-up appointment and I weighed in at 235 lbs. In one year, I’ve lost 117 pounds and 18 inches off my waist, I’ve completely stopped smoking, I’ve cut my blood sugar and cholesterol levels by more than half, and I no longer have sleep apnea.


    My road to better health began with a visit to my father in a nursing home September of 2011. Seeing his poor quality of life was a huge wake-up call for me, my 'Aha' moment. On the return trip home I decided to become healthy. That week I stopped smoking and started walking. But when I walked, I experienced unbearable arm pain, which brought tears to my eyes and forced me to stop, and shortness of breath would leave me gasping for air. I made an appointment at the VA Medical Center for a checkup, where I weighed in at 352 pounds. I never exercised and I was a heavy smoker for over 30 years. I was in terrible physical condition.


    I was informed that all of my levels were extremely high, and was diagnosed as being Super Morbidly Obese with Type II diabetes. My doctor thought my arm pain was due to nerve damage caused by high blood sugar. I was prescribed insulin and five oral medications for blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. I began a low-carbohydrate diet and I continued walking. My arm pain continued, and I still couldn’t get enough air. I posted about my experiences on Facebook, where friends commented that my symptoms might be cardio-related. I contacted my physician again and she scheduled me for a stress test, revealing an 80% blockage in my circumflex coronary artery and a stint was put in that afternoon. I was lucky in that I just fit inside the MRI tunnel, and on the table in the heart catheterization lab. I was released from the VA Medical Center on Thanksgiving Day.


    Getting a stint was extremely scary for me, but only fueled my determination to get healthy. I was now getting plenty of oxygenated blood to my heart. I attended a Cardiac Rehab Program, and gradually strengthened my heart with a variety of exercises. I began posting on Facebook for accountability and encouragement, and I started taking ZUMBA classes after I read an article about a man that lost 100 pounds due to ZUMBA. I decided that I needed to lose more, and I did just that.


    I no longer take medications for blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol and I woke up this morning, healthy and physically fit!

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