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    Posted July 21, 2014 by
    ACCRA, Ghana
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments

    Gabriel Twum LOST 236LBS IN ONE YEAR!! JULY,2013(429lb)-July,2014(193.6lb)


    This is my story, my journey from despair, depression and hopelessness to finding in me, strength, courage and the will to overcome the physical barriers I had erected from myself in the past few years.
    Weighing 429 pounds was by no means easy to achieve. I over ate, ate for any and no reason, ate when I was happy and when I was sad, ate when I was stress and ate when I was bored. I hid behind food and I used food as a tool to deal with any negative emotions
    Growing up I was an average size kid and I didn’t begin to put on weight until I left Ghana to school in the United States. Over the next nine years my weight steadily rose until it climaxed at 429 pounds. At that point it felt I would never be a normal size guy and the prospect of losing weight seemed like a mountain that I would not be able to move.
    In May 2013, fate met destiny and it seemed like the whole universe had conspired to bring me enough motivation, a big dose of reality and enough fear to find in myself the strength I needed to do what had to be done. The motivation came in the form of my two brothers and host dad who covered me with their love and believed in me and in my ability to succeed so that I could come out of the darkness I found myself in. The big dose of reality came in the form of my family doctor who spoke to me in the language of heart disease, cardiac arrest, cancer and all the diseases that accompany obesity. Now the fear factor was my father who in the spirit of tough love told me “son, if you don’t wake up and do something about your weight you will die before 35yrs.
    Hence the wheels were put into motion, enter Sly the Trainer my worst enemy and my best friend. A man who succeeded where many many personal trainers had failed. He made me his cause and gave me a year time frame within which if I ate healthy and exercise consistently I would lose weight.
    Thus the journey began, it was like trying to climb up a downward rolling escalator and oh how my body protested, protested against the small food portions and the rigorous training regimen, I went cold turkey and went through carbohydrate and sugar withdrawals and headaches, my diet was mainly nuts, protein ,vegetables and fruits and I would exercise from between 2 – 6 hrs each day, mainly doing aerobic exercises, which included, walking, step aerobics, kickboxing, swimming, mountain climbing and dance. On average I lost about 1.5 - 2kg a week.
    The one thing that kept me motivated were the changes I could see in my body, clothes fit better, and I had more energy than I had had in many years. I had a very tight support system of friends and family who were rooting for me and whom I was accountable to.
    The battle of losing weight was one I fought with my body, but even more importantly in my mind, I spoke to myself, encouraged myself, forgave myself when I fell off the wagon, and as each pound of fat fell off, i learned to believe in myself again, to admire the strength and tenacity I had discovered, but most of all to love myself enough to stay healthy

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