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

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    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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