Jeff’s Transformation Story

We love hearing people’s transformation stories. Reading their struggles, their set backs, their triumphs. Seeing where they started, the where they are now. Here is Jeff’s story. It’s hard not to be inspired!

When I was 23 I paid a plastic surgeon $7500 to liposuction my chest. My man-boobs were huge. I was starting to finally grow insecure with my obesity. Little did I realize that this surgery was one hell of an expensive Band-Aid.

As a child and in my youth I was active. I played every sport and always made time, even as a little tyke, to ride my bike. I loved my bikes. My mom was an avid runner and my family was on-the-go and healthy. Everything about how I was raised would lead you to assume I would never let go. Never become very fat.

I began to let go after high school. There was not a situation – a stressor – it was one bad choice that led to two, and three, and then suddenly a new lifestyle. A new series of habits. The weight piled on.

Yearning for the freedom that the bicycle gave me in my childhood I bought a new bike and thought I’d ride myself skinny and fit. Just like that. I figured now that my man-boobs were gone I would have just enough confidence to be seen exercising again.

When you are almost 300lbs there is nothing enjoyable about exercise. That bike ride lasted about 10km and it did nothing but fill me with despair. My emotional response to that bike ride was to let myself go even further. Let myself get even fatter.

The year following that defining bike ride was the darkest year of my life. I hated who I had become. I still do. You go to my house today and you will see nothing of who I was. No pictures. No old pairs of fat jeans. I can’t stand my wedding photos. I have deleted me from my own story. It’s sad really.

When I was 25 I had had enough of me. And it was at this time I realized it was my diet. That sounds absurd I am sure, but it was a light bulb moment for me. I decided I needed help and in more ways than just a meal plan. I needed someone to go through this with me because I was scared.

I knew I would have to eat less, and better. I knew I would lose weight, I knew that if I did what I was told I’d be a success story. The transactional part of losing weight was a simple proposition.

What I didn’t know then, and what I was afraid of but could not articulate at the time, was what this transition would actually mean. What would this emotional roller coast ride do to me, my relationships, and my body? What were the unintended consequences of any human being reinventing themselves? I didn’t know the answers but something inside me seemed to suggest what was going to unravel would be profound.

I found a nutritionist. I made appointments and canceled them. I rescheduled them. I would sit in my vehicle in her parking lot and look through her clinic window and cry. Then leave. I sat on that tipping point full of fear for quite some time. One day I worked up the courage to sit down with her and make the commitment.

I am a very forward guy, when I shook her hand it was as good as done. I met with her every single week for 18 months. I lost weight every week with diet alone. I went from 297lbs to 151lbs. I was an exceptional dieter. Everything I put in my mouth was accounted for.

At 151lbs I looked sick and when I realized I was going to be kicked to the curb to fend for myself I feared what I would do with this dietary freedom. I was scared again.

I did exactly what I feared I would do. I binged. I starved myself. I bought another bike and rode not for enjoyment or good sport, but to extremes as penance. My longest ride during this period was 22 hours, 583 km.
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I look back at the period after I had successfully lost the weight and I can tell you I developed an eating disorder. It was a destructive period. My life was nothing but extremes that I could not control.

You think I felt bad when I was fat? Nothing compares to the guilt the morning after gorging on a 10,000 calorie dinner. My biggest fear then and still today is becoming obese again.

I knew how to eat like a fat person. I knew how to diet. I did not know how to be normal. I had success hiring a nutritionist to lose the weight. I decided to hire a dietician to bring normalcy to my life.

My first meeting with her was absurd. She talked about the Canada Food Guide. I got up and left. I needed someone who understood what I had just been through. Someone who cared more about how I felt about myself than what the Canada Food Guide said.

I struggled with this eating disorder for much longer than I would have hoped. It was not until I met a lady at a wine and cheese party that things began to change for the better.

She was a holistic nutritionist. She changed my life. She saw my struggle in a primal way and worked with me to stabilize the extremes. It took six months but her human approach and willingness to not talk about only what I ate and how much I exercised assured me that she truly appreciated the emotional side of the weight loss journey. Without her I would still be mid-stride of a debilitating eating disorder. I need a counselor and she was it.

I have told you I had liposuction on my chest because my man-boobs disgusted me.

I have told you I could not lose weight by myself.

I have told you that I had an eating disorder as a skinny person that I needed help to control.

But there is more. Every relationship I had at the beginning of this story changed. I have different friends. I love different people. How I see my family and how they see me is not the same. I did not set out to create this sort of destruction, but it happened as a natural consequence of my reinvention. Some of this I am dealing with now, it’s hard. It’s very real. There are consequences.

It was not until late 2013 – nearly five years after I had lost the weight – that I decided I trusted myself enough to invest in my new body. I looked fit with clothing on; I looked gross with my shirt off. I needed that fixed. On December 3rd of 2013 I had a tummy tuck. It was $32,500.

As much as I wish my story ended with the 40-inches of scars around my torso and under my pectorals it doesn’t. It’s a conscious decision for me every day to maintain the new me.

But, the reality is that if I truly understood what losing all that weight meant, I don’t know if I’d do it again and that’s a humbling thought. But it’s one that needs to be shared so those with the resolve to reinvent themselves and lose the weight understand the end-game and don’t struggle as desperately I did.

I am very proud of what I accomplished but I don’t want to kid anyone. Losing the weight and becoming fit is the easy part.
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Today I eat properly because it feels good to. I ride my bike because the moment I turn those cranks I feel like a little kid again. I treasure my health and fitness more than most because I have felt what it’s like to have neither. I brought my body and my mind to hell and back and I never want to do that again.
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Comments

  1. Dear Jeff,

    Thank you so much for sharing this journey of yours. I have a past of Eating Disorders, and am a Holistic Nutritionist and avid lover of trail running.

    It’s damn important where you emphasized the importance of observing the emotional side of the imbalance, and I truly believe that the food and weight are only symptoms of a deep cause of disconnect from the soul.

    You are brilliant and an inspiration for others, myself included.

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