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    Posted August 9, 2014 by
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments

    110 Pounds Later - Winning The Battle of the Bulge


    My Yo-Yo Battle of the Bulge, and how I am winning.


    For one to first understand a problem, one must first admit to having a problem. My name is Roy Baldwin and I battle the bulge every day of my life.


    There are two types of people in this world. The ones that battle the bulge every day and those who just don't. I guess what I am trying to say is that unless you have really been fat, then you really can’t understand.


    Let’s start from the beginning. I was always an athletic child and always played sports. I never really had a weight problem since no matter how much I ate all through high school I would end up burning the calories off through sports. It wasn't until I graduated high school and started spending my paychecks on food that I started to gain weight. Just for a point of reference when I graduated I weighed 220 and stood 6'3 with an athletic build. I love food and I really mean LOVE. Italian, Indian, Chinese or American bring it on as this guy’s taste buds don't discriminate. From 18 years old till around 25 years old, I packed on about 15 lbs a year bringing me up to around the 300 pound mark.


    I joined the police academy in 2003 a tad over 300 pounds. After five grueling months of physical fitness I graduated around 280 pounds. This weight loss was short lived however as what most people don't understand about being a police officer is that you spend about 10 hours a day sitting in your car. This leads to becoming sedentary and eating fast food. Unless you have developed good physical fitness habits outside of work, the weight comes back with a vengeance.


    When I left full time law enforcement in 2005 and joined my current job, I was tipping in at 300 pounds again. I decided that this weight was unhealthy and that it was time for a diet. So dieting I did. You know the type, grilled chicken salads, fruit, slim fast, gym memberships etc. It worked pretty well as over the course of a year I was down to around 260 pounds. However, what I would find out is that diet eating habits are temporary and as soon as the exercise begins to slow down those poor eating habits begin to creep back.


    In August of 2008, I was getting dangerously close to 300 pounds again. While boarding a plane in Salt Lake City, I received the second worse phone call I believe a parent could receive. My four year old son was involved in a tragic accident that amputated his right leg and he was fighting for his life. The details of how this all happened are for another day (www.matthewbaldwin.org) but just know this led me to a deep dark place internally. The people in my inner circle were wonderful and did all they could to help us through the situation. I became super dad doing everything I could to make sure he had everything he needed to recover and to build his self-esteem. The truth was however on the inside I was dying no matter how many smiles I faked during each day. This depression led me down the weight gain road again. Late night stress eating and just plain eating to cope had become an everyday thing. Stress and depression wreak havoc on the body like no other force can.


    Around the four year anniversary of my son’s accident, August of 2012, I stepped on a freight scale, yes a freight scale and weighed in at 364 pounds. I mean I knew I was getting huge but 364 pounds, how could I have gotten this big? Every year I went up a size in clothes until I was wearing a 4x shirt and had a 52 inch waist. My entire inner circle was trying to get me to stop the weight gain but I perceived their intentions as just prying into my business. It wasn't until I saw that daunting number read across that digital scale did I have a real soul searching moment. I didn't want to be the guys who was obese and died of heart attack in his 30's. Furthermore I didn't want to leave those around me high and dry especially my kids.


    How was I going to correct the problem I thought to myself? Another diet, weight loss pills or some passing gym fad? No, I knew what it would take, hard work and a serious lifestyle change. Like with any habit or addiction the person has to want to change. I had reached this mental crossroad and I was ready to make the change.


    Here was the game plan, no tricks or gimmicks. Just simple math in the form of eating less portions, eating healthier food and an exercise program that I could maintain every day. The first walk I took was literally a half of a mile. My feet hurt and I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. With that being said, it felt good that night when I laid my head down to sleep. You see my own personal victory had begun. The next week I literally shook every time I drove past my favorite fast food restaurants. I actually remember very early on in the battle, pulling into a Bojangles parking lot and just staring at the pictures of biscuits on the glass window. This is what I mean when I say I battle the bulge. Over the next few months I walked a little further every time and ate less. I was still eating plenty of food, just healthier food. My coach more commonly known as my wife helped motivate me and helped me learn how to make better food choices. Before I knew it I was down 10lbs, 20lbs and then 30 lbs. As crazy as this sounds the thought of just getting to 300 pounds was my long term goal. I reached that goal in January of 2013 and actually ran my first 5k the following month. (I walked a 5k in November of 2012 which was also a huge confidence builder) Always remember that big things have small beginnings. That first half mile walk was now me walking/jogging two to three miles every day. I was pretty much keeping New Balance shoes in business myself. A year in, I was down a solid 80 pounds and man people could tell. I actually inspired two of my coworkers’ one who has shed 60 plus pounds and the other 25lbs. Every day is a battle but now my body wants to exercise and with good eating habits instilled, (18 months as a strict vegetarian) I seem to be winning the war. It will be two years this month since I made a lifestyle change, one that now has me down to 255 pounds. Sure 255 pounds sounds heavy but considering where I have been and where I am heading, my future seems less heavy. My advice to anyone reading this is that you have to draw the line in the sand mentally to make the change. Next make sure you set short term goals as well as long term goals. Don't look at it as a diet but instead as a lifestyle change. Build a strong support group around yourself and find someone or something that makes you desire to be healthier. Remember that for an action to become a habit you have to do it something like 50 times or so. This means you have to retrain your mind to want to do healthier foods and exercise. If I can do it, anyone can do it as you see I am not special just your every day run of the mill human being.

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