Lose weight, get healthy, find love? It worked for this man

I can safely say that each person that I come in contact with can name at least one individual who has positively impacted their lives. I personally can name several people; but honestly, not many can compare to a friend of mine whom I met through one of my past blog posts.

It was the 19th of December, 2007, when  Jon Stanton of Ovid, Michigan, made a comment which caused me to feel, well … there really are no words to describe my emotions that day I suppose. Let me start by saying that I really felt good about the choice I had made to share my innermost feelings with the world, allowing other morbidly obese individuals to realize that they, too, can change their lives for the better like I had.

Jon’s comment was simple yet so powerful: “Hi Jodi – I have found your columns so helpful as I’ve been changing my lifestyle since August. I’ve dropped 84 pounds since August 1, and yes, it’s been just healthier eating and walking.” Those words still cause me to tear up. It was then, at that moment, when I knew that I was helping someone. I had been given a purpose in life. You have no idea how much that meant to me. Jon allowed me to realize that it meant the world to him.

A few months passed and soon I realized that I was going to be attending a walking event in his area of Michigan. On a bitter cold day in March 2008, the Winter Warm-Up walk inside the Lansing Mall happened. Several participants showed up for this enjoyable walking experience including a few local mayors who were excitingly participating in the Mayors Challenge.

Jon Stanton showed up as well. It was a great honor to meet Jon, who at that time had walked off 135 pounds, and was extremely motived to lose all his excess weight. We talked during our entire walk throughout the mall that day, finding comfort in knowing that we were not alone in our feelings, that most morbidly obese individuals share the same emotions and daily challenges.

Jon later decided to share some of his feelings through numerous blog posts. I still have the very first post that he shared with the world. More simple yet powerful words that still cause me to tear up:

“My lifestyle change story begins in August, 2007. I have been heavy my entire life. I was always the ‘stocky’ kid in elementary school, and by the time I graduated high school, I was well on my way to 300 pounds. The weight kept increasing, and by August, 2007, I tipped the scales at nearly 430 pounds.

By that time, my weight had started to have a significant negative impact on my health. I was constantly tired, short of breath, would break into cold sweats. My whole body ached, especially my joints, and my lower legs were turning dark blue because of poor circulation. When my hair started falling out and I started feeling strange flutters in my chest, I decided I needed to pay the doctor a visit.” Ending with I never believed I had a problem, and I thought I was invincible. I also thought I would never be able to change my lifestyle. It is possible, and it doesn’t require expensive surgeries or diet plans. WALKING WORKS! I’m living proof!”

Jon  lost 230 total pounds! His inspiring story was featured in the Spring 2011 Issue of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s magazine “Living Healthy.” But the story wasn’t only about his amazing weight loss success – oh no. It was an article focused on how he lost weight, got healthy and FOUND LOVE! Which brings me to another individual who has positively impacted my life: Miss Janet Lewis.

Oh, wait, I stand corrected: as of May 20, 2012 … she is now Mrs. Janet Stanton! Woo hoo!

What an amazing wedding it was! Everyone in attendance could see the love that Janet and Jon have for each other. I couldn’t help but think back to the day when Jon first informed me that he had met a special gal, someone that he knew he could spend the rest of his life with. That was a very positive conversation, much different than the chats we used to have about how it feels to live the morbidly obese life.

I’m still tearing up when I think of it (okay, yes, I’ve gone through a few boxes of tissues over the years)! But it’s okay, they are good tears and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Do you know what else I wouldn’t trade for the world? My life and all the amazing people I’ve met because of “my purpose” to help and motivate others to live a healthier lifestyle.

It is truly what I strive to do … and I hope that it includes you.

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