I Had to Lose 15 Pounds for My Job—and Then I Lost 74

Nick Kobylensky Melissa Matthews
Photo credit: Nick Kobylensky
Photo credit: Nick Kobylensky

From Men's Health

I have to admit that before I lost the weight, I thought I was happy. I really thought I was normal. When I turned down friends’ invitations to hikes, camping, flag football, or any other physical activity I always had a reason that I couldn’t go. It wasn’t until after I lost weight that I realized I was turning them down because I was embarrassed. I couldn’t keep up with their hikes. I couldn’t run to save my life. I actively sought activities that involved sitting like meals, movies, and drinking.

Looking back, my weight affected my life in so many ways. Professionally, I would get winded carrying our gear up even just small staircases. It was embarrassing when I, the paramedic, looked worse in the ambulance than the patient did. Being a paramedic is a physically demanding job. Personally, I was tired all of the time as I had started snoring and was waking up constantly at night. I developed high blood pressure and had to start medication. I was kind of a mess.

The decision to try and "lose a few pounds” was based on the fact that my job had a weight limit, and I was close to reaching it. I had no intention of losing a significant amount of weight as I didn’t think I needed to. The dose of reality came when I lost the first 15 pounds and didn’t see any change. That was the “wake up call.” That’s when I had a true moment of clarity and, for the first time, realized how big I had gotten and how much denial I had been in.

When I started WW, I had gotten to 245 pounds but was still a size 42 pants. My first goal was to get back to the 30s. When that happened, I had the realization that maybe, just maybe, I could actually accomplish some real change. I then set my sights on the magic 200-pound mark. Once I hit that mark, I realized something that has stuck with me to this day; I realized I was capable of so much more than I knew. Now, I weigh 171 pounds.

When I started this iIf meal wasn’t one of the four food groups of dine-in, carry-out, delivery, or microwave, I couldn’t do it. WW is a true Godsend in this regard. By following the program and reading about all of the different types of foods out there I gradually began expanding my food horizons. Who knew there was a vegetable called Jicama?

My introduction to the gym was less than auspicious. I was in the middle of my introductory lesson at the gym when I passed right out. That’s when I learned that weight loss did not equate to physical fitness. Of course I was embarrassed, but I decided to change the embarrassment into desire. I think the biggest impediment to working out for many guys is the fear of looking inadequate in front of others. The only way to get past that is to not compare yourself to others. The only person you have to beat at the gym is the you from the week prior.

I am now able to be the paramedic I want to be. I can be the paramedic that the people I serve expect me to be. If you’re hurt, I’ll run to you. If you're stuck somewhere, I’ll climb to you. I can do CPR for extended periods without tiring. I was a decent paramedic before. Decent isn’t good enough.

But let’s be honest: Motivation is fleeting. It will fail. When motivation fails that’s when determination, desire, and hard work take over. Your mind will tell you that you can’t do this. Logic will say that you don’t have time to dedicate to this. I guarantee, though, if you listen hard enough, you’ll hear a still small voice saying that you can do this, push through the hard time. With each milestone achieved, that voice will get louder and more confident. That is the voice to listen to. That is the voice of truth.

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