In a recent episode of the transformation series Brand New Me, David Roden from Grand Rapids, Michigan shares the story of his weight loss journey, and how he went from the "funny fat kid" with low self-esteem to somebody who participates in bodybuilding competitions.
"By the time I was 18, a senior in high school, I weighed over 410 pounds," he says. While he had plenty of friends, he admits he would make jokes and assume a persona in order to hide how he really felt from the rest of the world, not to mention the health problems that were caused by an unhealthy diet, which included drinking up to 20 cans of soda each day.
"I was pre-diabetic, I had super high blood pressure," he says. "Not even my best friend knew how dark my situation was."
While he wanted to make a change, David says the prospect was intimidating. "The biggest thing for me was, the idea of looking at losing 250 pounds seemed so astronomically impossible, so I never really tried. I never really looked at myself and said 'hey, you need to change who you are.'"
That changed when he was 22 years old, and at college: "I made the decision to really live an accountable life... I've never looked back." While changing his lifestyle and his relationship with food was hard at first, David's mindset began to change after he lost 50 pounds, and his goal seemed more achievable. He then went on to lose 150 pounds, by eating healthier and working out between 5 and 7 times a week.
Such drastic weight loss meant that David was left with an excessive amount of loose skin, which he opted to have removed via surgery. "For me, it felt like a chapter-ending decision," he explains.
To celebrate his new active lifestyle, he then started competing in physique shows. "I just wanted to do something different," he says. "400-pound David couldn't even fathom losing 15 pounds, and I did a bodybuilding show. It was a new challenge... When you push your limit, what you think you can do, and you push beyond what you think is failure, the brain just goes 'I'm a champion, I can do anything.'"
David's advice for anyone who might be at the start of their own fitness or weight loss journey is to not let the "big picture" put you off making changes. "Don't overcomplicate it," he says. "These things aren't astronomically big decisions, it's about committing to the small actions every day."
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