How this former Marine lost 214 pounds: 'It's like I'm starting a new life at 53'

Andie Mitchell

Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.

Craig Musci is 53 years old, 5’9” tall, and currently weighs 219 pounds. In 2015, after gaining a significant amount of weight and suffering serious health problems, he committed to a healthier lifestyle for the sake of his future. This is the story of his weight-loss journey.

The Turning Point

I was very active when I was younger, participating in competitive swimming all the way to college and then joining the United States Marine Corps (USMC). I started to gain the weight after I got out of the USMC. I was managing a hotel for about 15 years, and with the long hours and lack of sleep, I slowly began to gain all of my weight.

In November 2015, I was 433 pounds. I had high blood pressure, was battling type 2 diabetes and had daily pains in my legs and back. In January 2016, I decided I needed help. I went to the Veterans Administration dietitian, who helped me understand what I was eating and how it affected me.

“In November 2015, I was 433 pounds.” (Photo: Courtesy of Craig Musci)
“In November 2015, I was 433 pounds.” (Photo: Courtesy of Craig Musci)

The Changes

My VA dietician suggested the Lose It! app to log my food intake, daily exercise and weight. I ended up becoming a Lose It! premium member, and used the graphs and charts to help me visualize my results each day. My diet consisted of no junk food, no fast food and no soda. I ate six small meals a day, which kept me satisfied. The app made losing the weight seem easy and fun, and it helped me to lose 100 pounds.

After losing 100 pounds, I was approved for stomach bypass surgery by the VA. After the surgery, the app and Fitbit were crucial to helping me stay on track with my goals. I saw my dietitian on a weekly basis, and we both went over my diet and discussed the good and bad based on the foods I tracked and logged.

I was amazed at how fast the weight was coming off. This made me mad at myself for not doing this a lot earlier. I was mad at how I let myself go. I was mad at the excuses I made to get the way I was. I started out doubtful, then hopeful, then determined.

“It’s like I’m starting a new life at 53 years of age.” (Photo: Courtesy of Craig Musci)
“It’s like I’m starting a new life at 53 years of age.” (Photo: Courtesy of Craig Musci)

The After

Overall, I am doing so much better. It’s like I’m starting a new life at 53 years of age. I’ve lost so much weight that I no longer need to take the high blood pressure and diabetic medications, and I can move around without pain or shortness of breath. I also fit into clothes that are half the size I used to wear. I’m a completely new person, and I feel so much better.

What surprised me the most was how easy it was after I’d decided that enough was enough and after I stopped making excuses. I wish I’d done this a long time ago. I had a great support system, but it didn’t matter until I was ready to fight. I’m a new person and I’m loving life again.

The Maintenance

My diet is the same as it was while losing the weight. I exercise when I can but make a point to find time every day to do something. For example, before I go to bed, I’ll do leg lifts, scissor kicks and crunches, or at work I’ll do stomach crunches while sitting at the desk.

The Struggles

Staying on track while at work can be difficult. I bring food to work so I’m not tempted to buy something fast and unhealthy. I’ve talked to my fellow employees and shared my story, and they help keep me in check. It’s important to not be afraid to ask for help or to let people know what you are doing.

Advice

Stop the fast food and soda, even the diet soda. Get up and move. Get away from the TV. Record your shows and watch them after you’ve done your daily exercise, even if that’s just a simple 30-minute walk around the neighborhood. Track all that you do. It will become second nature after a while, and once you see the results it will be even more rewarding.

I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I’ve motivated them to lose weight. I have fellow veterans say that they are telling their friends about how I lost the weight and also how I no longer need to take the high blood pressure and diabetes medications. The VA has a program called the Move Time, and it works. They’ve helped me and supported me throughout the entire program and still to this day check up on me. I want everyone to know that it is possible. All you have to do is decide it’s time and then do it. If my story can help just one person, then I’m all for it. If I can do it, anyone can.

Need more inspiration? Read about our other weight-loss winners!

Weight-Loss Win is authored by Andie Mitchell, who underwent a transformative, 135-pound weight loss of her own.

Have a weight-loss win to share? We want to hear it! Tell us at YStyleBeauty@yahoo.com.

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