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    Posted April 29, 2014 by
    Deptford, New Jersey
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments

    The trainer made my 106 pound Weight Loss story possible.


    I have read a lot of the body transformation stories you guys have published and thought I would share mine in the hopes it can also serve to inspire more people.


    In 2013 I went through a major transformation losing 106 pounds in 10 months working together with Kyle Stay, my trainer at LA Fitness in Woodbury, NJ. How I got there is the story I would like to share with you…


    Back in 2011 my father passed away after fighting lung cancer and alcoholism, the combination of the two turned out to be too much for even his strong heart and ultimately there was nothing could be done. Prior to this event I invested 16 years of my life trying to help him overcome his addictions all while letting go of my own health, my hopes were he would see reason and understand why I was so adamant to change his behavior. Having to keep up with my school work while addressing such delicate matter often times meant I would have to have very late nights studying and working on projects after I was certain he had fallen asleep and would not sneak around to drink and smoke. Eating became a horrible habit often resulted in me having “dinner” in my room while watching TV stressing on how to find a solution for my father and, at the same time, start my own life as a college student. The result was petrifying when I got to the point I weighed 290 pounds and now facing the funeral arrangements for someone I tried my hardest to help become a better person.


    The following year I spent going through the motions and attempting my best to look happy to other people when in fact I was devastated by the loss, the course my life had taken and the fact I was very lonely and invisible to people. My own health started to go down south when I began showing symptoms of gout on both my feet that would, at times, render me unable to move for 5 days. I had to drop out of college on a leave of absence in light of these gout flares in order to be able to address them without causing trouble to my family, who were facing their own life challenges at the time.


    Christmas of 2012 found me sleeping in an unlit room where weeks’ worth of trash piled on top of more trash. I was certain my loneliness was a permanent reality and was contemplating suicide to ease not only my inner pain but to put an end to the disappointment I thought I was to my family.


    On New Year’s Eve, I took a very precious ornament from my tree, went outside to make a promise to myself while smashing the ornament on the floor as part of a very old family tradition attempting to have my plea heard by some cosmic power. That night along with the ornament breaking into tiny pieces, so did my depression and I snapped…


    On January 3rd, 2013 I visited LA Fitness in Woodbury, NJ with my mother and signed up for personal training, went to get new workout clothes, a gym bag, towel and hoped for the best. The next day I met Kyle Stay, a young trainer who was eagerly awaiting my arrival to go over the first assessment and discuss what my goals were going to be.


    Those first 30 seconds meeting him ignited a spark deep inside of my being as I saw a great person could help me overcome what I thought would be impossible simply by listening to his plans on what we were going to do and how we were going to work together as a TEAM. He put his hand on my back and confidently said I was going to be fine, all I needed to do is give him the opportunity to show me my potential.


    We began working together every Tuesday and Thursday very early in the morning through programs he would write for me to build the basic concepts of weight training and progression, while addressing the glaring weaknesses I had, like my gout. I would end these workouts drenched in sweat, my legs so weak that I would fall on the way to the locker room and soreness became a sensation I learned to love. Even then I did not stop giving it my all and showed Kyle how much it meant to me that he wasn’t treating me like another invisible fat guy with nobody to believe in him, instead he was slowly empowering me to see all the potential I had inside.


    He would encourage me during all exercises, when I fell he would helped me get up and when I could not lift myself up any further he was there to assist me and complete the set. More importantly, he would workout side by side with me through the same exercises so people around us wouldn’t look at me and make, as per usual, comments on the “amateur who will quit in 2 months”. We would both be working out at the gym in the hottest day of that summer with our dumbbells slipping off from all the sweat and he still kept the best attitude telling me I was improving greatly.


    I was greatly motivated by how much Kyle believed in me, this in turn made me fall in love with this new lifestyle I did not know anything about and started to read a lot on fitness and diet. My intention was to meet him on a 1:1 ratio with anything I could do, outside of the gym, to be the same level as the dedication and faith he was putting in me. This is when the major change took place…


    I cut off, cold turkey, all type of drinks and switched to water and got rid of all junk food in my house including candy, chocolates and cookies that were in the pantry. The withdrawals of detoxing away from all these foods was brutal and at times during our workouts I found myself light-headed and almost about to pass out, but I held tough and kept doing what he was asking me to complete. We extended my workout days to four times a week where I would train by myself two of those days to prove I still had the discipline and motivation to pursue this change in my life.


    If you have never had weight problems, let me be the first to share what a liberating and completely overwhelming experience is to realize, after stepping on the balance, you have lost 35 pounds. It was exhilarating and I had no words to describe to Kyle how I felt looking at that immense progress we had made together. I was motivated more than ever to keep working hard, sometimes to the point my hands bled to overcome the monster that had taken hold of my life for so long, obesity. I drove to the gym through snow, rain, wind, thunderstorms and hail determined to show Kyle I had it in me to grab the opportunity he had given me to do something great. Slowly but surely little pieces of me started to come back and life became a little more colorful with each passing month and progress made with a challenging exercise or pound shed.


    I went from a size 48 pants down to 34 and from XXL shirts down to M. One milestone I still cannot believe I was able to attain was that when I go shopping and can browse with confidence through any store’s selection. I decided to donate all my clothes to Goodwill while saving a bundle for a “time capsule” to keep for myself to remind me how far I have come and that nothing in life is impossible.


    Today I’m happy to report I’m pursuing weight lifting as a lifestyle and still training with my coach Kyle in New Jersey. I’m capable of doing body weight push-ups and squat 145 pounds as though it was a feather. The gym is not the only thing that has changed in my life, I have also opened my own design consulting company working on projects for different clients.


    Being obese made me a walking problem and as such I was invisible to all people, the struggle of needing help and not having anyone responding is one I do not wish for anyone to go through. My trainer Kyle saved my life by pulling me away from the destructive downward spiral that many people find themselves in.


    My trainer showed me, in the least expected places, there are angels willing to devote every ounce of their energy to help others realize life-long dreams.


    I'm happy to report since the last time I wrote the original story LA Fitness feature my weight loss journey in a nationwide campaign to inspire people to pursue a healthier lifestyle embracing fitness in their lives. This has been truly an honor and privilege to let my voice reach as many in this country as possible!

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