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    Posted March 31, 2014 by
    Morton Grove, Illinois
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments

    My journey from 589 pounds to 220 pounds


    My name is Jeff Stein. In 2007, I weighed 589 pounds.


    My life wasn't horrible. I had a job, friends, drove a car--I was your average guy just a lot bigger. I was always bigger. I even played a year of college basketball. New England Division B but still it was college basketball.


    I can’t remember a time he wasn’t referred to as fat.


    Even as a child, I was overweight. At 12 or 13, I remember being over 200 pounds, 300 or more in high school, and 400+ in college.


    Yes there were occasions where the weight hindered. Not getting into booths at restaurants. Having a chair or two break including once at work in my bosses office. Shirts at 6-7x size. Pants as large as a 74.


    Even missed out an incredible free trip to Las Vegas and a major speaking opportunity because I was worried I wouldn’t fit in a plane seat.


    Somewhere along the way, a kid who thought he could do anything grew older and disappeared becoming lonely and depressed. I knew I needed to do something but didn’t.


    I’d try only to look at the scale and give up. I knew I was in trouble but as it was a lifelong problem, but didn’t know what to do. So stress and depression just lead to less exercise, more eating, and hoping something would happen.


    On Good Friday 2011 something did indeed happen. A Cellulitus attack landed me in hospital for two weeks and a rehab center for four weeks. In that time and closed environment I was able to lose 30 pounds.


    I took my retirement fund and cashed it in. In November of 2011, I headed to Structure House and stayed until mid February 2012. I weighed in 561.8 pounds and left almost 80 pounds lighter. I worked out 2-3 times a day. They opened my eyes to what I'd been eating. They showed me healthy eating. Most important---they helped rebuild my confidence and my belief in myself.


    My stay wasn’t just about what happened on campus. As a member of Toastmasters International, on Saturday mornings, I would attend two different meetings then return to campus around lunch time. I’d walk the Duke Gardens or Chapel Hill on a sunny day. I would even go play role-playing games at a store not far every Thursday night.


    I returned to Chicago a different person. Armed with a plan and confidence, I pushed down to 476. And then bumps in the road began.


    I decided to use a food service to make things easier. I hated it and started using other worse choices. I'd planned on using water fitness classes for exercise. They were all at times I had trouble making it on time.  The gym I joined had a lot of pretty people in great shape. I looked very out of place. Kids would sometimes point and makes comments. It made me uncomfortable. I'd planned o staying with my grandmother as I knew it would make her happy. She died months after I came home.


    Nothing seemed to go right. Slowly I began to revert to old habits. Only this time I saw it.


    In July of 2012, my bosses talked of giving me a raise. I told them I was leaving. The plan I had wasn't working. I was gaining again. With the last bit of money I had,  I planned to go back to Structure House in North Carolina. Even though I lacked the funds, it was what I wanted and I'd figure it out somehow.


    My bosses talked me into staying including picking up 4 days of personal training. There was a caveat though: I need to lose 5 pounds a week or I owed him $200 until I hit 300 pounds.


    I started with Lifetime the week of Thanksgiving in 2012. By the time I got back on a scale I was at 543 pounds. 19 pounds from where I started the year before!


    My reaction—I lost it once, I can do it again. My time at Structure House made me realize that and what needed to be done to get back into fighting shape.


    That was almost 16 months ago.


    Today (3/31/14), I weigh 313 pounds.


    I've lost 230 pounds since I restarted, and 276 pounds from the 589 I once was.


    I now buy a 2XL t-shirt and size 50 pants. They used to be a 6-7XL and size 74 pants. I recently got on a plane for the first time in over 20 years. I was no longer worried if I'd fit in the seat any more.


    I workout 7 days a week at Lifetime Fitness. On top of the 4 training sessions, I do Pilates, WERQ, water fitness, and yoga. I wear a fitbit and average between 8,000 to 10,000 steps daily each week. I've done 20,000 steps 4 times. During my recent trip to Vegas, I walked 30,000 steps in one day! I rarely eat fast food now and keep to a 2000-2200 calorie diet.


    A member of Lifetime Fitness in Old Orchard, I've won the club’s 90 day weight loss challenge--TWICE. Many people in the club remember the day I walked in at 543. People I've never met ask me about it daily. My trainers tell me I'm asked and talked about even when not in the building.


    My goal weight is 220 pounds. When I reach it, I’ll have lost 369 pounds from the 589 I once weighed. I recently started a blog counting down to my goal called Countdown to 220.




    I hope to accomplish this goal by fall 2014.

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