Lifestyle : Weightloss Journey

By Rocky Roark

Last year after our big office party, I came to the realization that I wasn’t happy with myself and how I had let my weight get out of control again in my life.

I remember saying to myself, “Hey! You’ve got your dream job, but what about the life you have always wanted?” At that moment I decided that I wanted to make some real life changes.

To set the stage, here’s a little back story. I have struggled with my weight since elementary school and even started dieting that far back. I remember other kids teasing me and calling me horrible names. Fat Ass. Wide Load. At the age of 11 I was already wearing a Mens XL and by 14 I was wearing a 3XL. I remember taking gym class in high school and having to run timed miles. My best time when we started? Over 16 minutes.

Every day was a struggle to get up and go to school. As my mom would attest, I never wanted to go. From ages 10 to 18, I missed the maximum number of days each year of school. I hated the way people looked at and treated me, which only fueled me to eat and drink more soda. At my heaviest, which was when I was 18, I weighed 365 lbs. I was drinking a 12-pack of sugary soda each day, and a whole pizza every other day for dinner. I never went to a doctor because I was afraid he would say I was diabetic, which I probably could have been.

I could barely live with myself. I was full to the brim with self loathing and I was completely and utterly depressed. I couldn’t even get excited about the fact I was about to graduate high school and go to college. Those were probably some of my darkest days.

The summer before college I lost 20 lbs by exercising like crazy. Ultimately, though, my weight fluctuated and stayed stagnant throughout my first semester. One of my biggest breakthroughs came when I quit ingesting all soda, coffee, energy drinks, etc. for my 2010 New Year’s resolution. It was a long time coming. The first few months were murder and no one wanted to be around me at all. I was angry, irritable, and always has a pounding migraine. But I did it and I haven’t had any addictive drinks in over four years now.

My weight yoyo’d through the remainder of college, eventually getting down to 268 lbs my junior year. It was the first time I had been that weight since middle school. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long and the stress of my senior year slowly brought my weight back up to the 290s again by the time I graduated.

After starting here at Focus Lab, almost a year ago, I got too comfortable where I was with my weight. I was eating out every day for lunch; on weekends my mom and I would go out for dinner. I even tried taking natural diet supplements to help curb my appetite to help me lose weight. I lost weight but being off for just a couple of weeks brought all the weight back with a vengeance. By the time of the office party I was back up to 301lbs (it could have been more, because I didn’t weigh myself for a while). I hated that I had let myself go once again. Unlike the previous gazillion times that I had let it slide, I decided I was going to do something about it.

And I did.

I did a lot of research and watched countless documentaries on eating healthy and exercising. I must have watched Hungry for Change and Food Matters over 100 times each just to learn and get inspired. I learned so much about what I was putting into my body and what was good or bad.

Around this same time, I also started going running every other day. When I was little, before I gained so much weight, I used to love running and was even one of the fastest kids in my 1st grade class. Now, I was actually able to run for the first time in years. I worked my way up to running a half a mile without stopping, then a mile, then two miles, then a full 5K without stopping. Eventually I was able to run seven miles without stopping. Remember that 16+ minute mile I talked about earlier? In March of this year, the Focus Lab family ran it’s first 5K together and I ran my fastest mile in my life, 9:02. That’s a big difference from a 16 minute mile! I ran the total 5k in about 41 minutes.

Having read this, you are probably wondering where I am today. When I initially started in November of 2013, I weighed 301 lbs. By May 2014, I weigh 260 lbs. Which means that in the past six months I have lost 41 lbs and run a total of 150 miles (including two 5Ks). I am super proud of myself for all of this and I’m excited with what is to come in the future.

2010 vs 2014