Losing weight isn’t easy. I should know, I have struggled with my weight for years. I have been blessed with the will power to change my eating habits, and make the necessary changes to give myself the opportunity to live a healthier life. But losing weight isn’t something that just happened overnight. I struggled with my weight, my image, my confidence and my health for many years. I remember thinking about being overweight when I was in the 6th grade. I weighed 136 pounds. In 8th grade I had a gym membership to help in my battle to lose weight. Into my high school years I gained more weight, and by the time I graduated I weighed over 325 pounds! And I still thought about losing weight – all the time. I knew I needed to make a change. Somebody who has never had to deal with a signifi- cant weight problem can’t fully understand how someone can think about losing weight all the time, but never actually do it. I did exactly that for years. I thought about it after eating dinner at night or after consuming a tempting dessert. Like clockwork, I would tell myself I’m going to enjoy eating this weekend, but come Monday, I will make my lifestyle change. I must have made myself this promise hundreds of times – literally. I have been trying to lose weight for what feels like my entire life. Nothing ever worked. I would make an annual new resolution to lose weight, and start a diet only to fail. And I failed dozens of times. I was at my heaviest in 2010. At 6’2”, I weighed 380 pounds, had a 52-inch waist and my 3XXXL shirts were getting too tight. Eating unhealthy foods in unhealthy portions was like an addiction. For some people its cigarettes or alcohol. To me, food was like a best friend after a long day at work. This all changed with a little “brotherly love,” encouragement and a lot of determination. So when did it all change? I remember clearly. It was a Monday afternoon. I was eating one of my favorite meals – fried chicken, baked beans, and macaroni and cheese. My older brother walked in the room while I was eating, and proceeded to let me have it. This wasn’t the first time I had been lectured about the huge portions, unhealthy eating habits, or my weight, but it’s the last conversation I had before I began the biggest change in my life. I started a low carbohydrate diet on September 28, 2010. I set my goal at seven days, telling myself to make it just one week, and keep pushing. After seven days it was fourteen, twenty-one, and then one month. I began to feel a difference before I could actually see any physical results. When it got hard, I kept pushing. Then almost miraculously, after three months of being on the diet, it became the easiest thing I have ever done. I was comfortable with my new food groups, and now I was beginning to feel a difference and see one as well. More importantly, the support and encouragement I received from friends and family has been incredible. Every single day since 2011, someone has made a comment regarding my weight loss. That person had no way of knowing at the time, but it was this positive encouragement that kept me going. As I look back over the last two years, I can say it has definitely been worth it. My waist size is down to 38 inches. My shirt size is now down to L or XL depending on the brand. I still have about 25 or so pounds to lose, but I now weigh 235 pounds. I lost an entire person but I don’t miss him, and I vow to never make his acquaintance again. I will never know exactly why, on that particular September day in 2010 that everything finally came together for me. If I had to point to any one thing, I couldn’t. My journey from “Big Ben” to just plain old “Ben” began from an accumulation of years of weight loss failures, and a brother’s well intentioned dressing down combined with new found will power and a whole lot of encouragement
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