The 650 Pound Virgin is right, keeping weight off is easier said than done

My post today is one that brings tears to my eyes while I type.  Wondering whether or not to focus on an individual who has already endured the negative spotlight this week has been mind boggling for me.  My decision has been made in hopes that it allows others who struggle with obesity to realize that it is just that:  a lifelong struggle.

I first heard David Smith’s weight-loss story in 2009 on NBC’s Today show, in the same studio where I shared my story with the television viewing world.  His weight loss was completely staggering to me.  David lost more than twice the weight I lost … over 400 pounds and he looked fabulous!  Not only was he sharing his story with NBC, but he was also being featured in the upcoming  TLC documentary called “The 650 Pound Virgin.” In the documentary, David explains how he’d watch TV when he weighed 650 pounds and that was about all he did.  He had no dreams and he had no ambition.  He had nothing going for him and lived a lonely life.  The only thing that made him happy was food and soda.  He dropped out of school at 17.  He did not go out in public because people would stare and laugh at him. But then life changed for him.

David started working with personal trainer Chris Powell. Chris said that he studied David’s diet in the beginning, claiming “It was textbook as to why David gained his weight.”   He would starve himself in the morning, eat a relatively large lunch, stuff himself at dinner and then go to bed. Chris focused on changing David’s eating patterns and found exercises that David was capable of doing. The new patterns and exercise worked, as his weight plummeted to 240 pounds. David claims, “I went from dud to stud!”

Three years later, life has changed for David and not in a positive way.  He has gained over 300 pounds back.  David appeared this week on NBC’s Today show once again, but now his story is a different one.  He claims after he lost the weight, he actually was not doing too well.  He may have looked good on the outside, but inside he was a terrible mess. He had made many new friends, got a job as a personal trainer at a gym and met his first and current girlfriend, Megan. He assumed that he had turned his life around but the mirror showed him somebody he didn’t know.  He felt like there was a monster in his head.  He was good looking and it blew his mind away. He didn’t know how to deal with it.  He was unhappy with his excess skin, so he turned to drugs and alcohol at first.  Then he turned back to food.

He knew that people were counting on him to be inspiring. It was hard work and he didn’t want to let anybody down.  He just didn’t know how to cope.  He was regressing into the man he thought he had left behind.   His point:  It’s easier said than done to keep the weight off.   David is not alone. I have listened to stories like these more times than I can remember.  It’s something I have faced too.

What tugs at my heart is when David talks about his health.  He knows that it’s a wonder he is alive today with the weight he has gained back.  The way he is going, David feels he isn’t going to live too much longer.   He says, “you know when your body is making a turn for the worst.”  He felt it when he was 650 lbs. and now he is feeling the same thing again at 500 lbs.  Since gaining back his weight, he has lost his job as a personal trainer and his close friendship his trainer Chris, who had become his best friend and roommate after David’s weight loss.   The worst part of all, David considered taking his own life.

I’m happy to say that he has made some changes in his thinking. He realized he is not alone in gaining back lost weight and is ready to start anew!   He understands now that as much as you work on the outside, you have to work on the inside and he’s ready to do that.  I just want a life is a common thought that the morbidly obesity population seem to share, me included, (I understand how it feels and I want to help anyone out there who struggles like I did).

David ended his conversation with: “If your foundation isn’t built up, you’re just going to crumble down.  Unfortunately, I fell down, but I know I can climb back up.”

You WILL climb back up, David, I believe you can do it.

Are you in need of some assistance climbing back up also?

Please let me help – that’s why I’m here.

Photo credit derekb


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