All of my life I have battled morbid obesity; in fact, I reached a mind blowing 437 pounds by the age of thirty-two. I grew up in a family whose belief was, live to eat rather than eat to live. My grandmother fed me bread and butter; crumb cake with butter and buttered toast. It seems butter was a big staple. I recall her telling my mother, “A chubby kid is a healthy kid.” Growing up and attending school in New York was torture. The kids used to ridicule and tease me because I was the “fat kid.” In 1986, during my High School years, we moved to Orlando, FL. I thought I was moving away from the bullies, however, the plague of obesity moved with me and so did the bullies. The pain of constant harassment was more than I could bear and I dropped out of high school and enrolled in an adult program to finish classes for my school diploma. Finding employment as an overweight adult was equally as challenging. Do you ever recall being the last to get picked when teams were choosing sides? I certainly do; the “fat guy” was always the last one picked.

In 2005, I met my wife Cathy, who helped me reach the turning point of my weight loss. She gave me the encouragement and the drive to change my life. I started to eat healthier and become more active. I managed to drop some weight doing fad diets but it wasn’t enough. I started to see the effects of Yo-Yo dieting and the roller-coaster ride of weight loss and gain. Another eye opener was the death of my mother at the age of 58 due to diabetes and obesity. I thought to myself “I will not go through the same pain and suffering my mother did!” I managed to drop some more weight due to depression, but came to realize this was unhealthy.

In the summer of 2010, I came to my breaking point and resolved to shop around for a gym and personal trainer. I went to several gyms asking questions, taking notes and researching programs. I walked into Anytime Fitness-Great Neck; where I was greeted by CJ, the owner of “US Elite Trainers” and we sat down to discuss my weight loss goals and how a personal trainer and Anytime Fitness could help me achieve them. I remember pointing to the Body Challenge poster hanging on the wall and asking CJ, “who are those people and what is the Body Challenge?” CJ thoroughly explained the program and once again asked, “So Jody what is your goal?” Pointing to the poster, I replied, “I want to see 250lbs and my image on that poster.” I truly wanted to be the winner of something I strived for all my life…LOSING WEIGHT and BEING HEALTHY! CJ agreed that was a great goal and encouraged me to get started! In August 2010, I started training with Ryan, 3 days a week, for an hour each session, which lasted 6 months. The personal training program included a diet regimen, which I strictly followed. I started to see results with a few weeks, which was very motivating to me. I was finally starting to come out of my broken shell I carried for 39 years. I came to realize that proper diet and exercise was the key to success. Ryan taught me exercises and cardio routines that I never thought I could ever achieve! During my training I, mentioned to Ryan how I needed to be able to run a mile and a half to qualify for employment with the Sheriff’s Department, a career objective I have been pursuing all of my life. In January 2011, I did it! I ran a mile and a half in under 15 minutes, which would meet the departments qualifying time! I successfully ran my first marathon, the Falcon 5K. Feeling a bit more confident regarding my weight loss, I enrolled in the 2011 Body Challenge without hesitation, believing I was on the right road to reaching my ultimate goal and the winner of my personal lifelong war on obesity. I aggressively started the challenge motivated, focused and determined, and remained so throughout the 12 weeks. I allotted time for the gym every day and stayed true to the diet guidelines of the challenge. Words cannot accurately describe how I felt the day I stepped on the scale and weighed in at 196lbs…that’s 241 pounds for my total weight loss and 40 pounds just from the challenge alone! I couldn’t have done this without US Elite Trainers and Anytime Fitness. My special thanks go to my wife, Cathy and my personal trainer, Ryan whose motivation and encouragement gave me the strength to persevere and stay the course through difficult days. Now having the knowledge given to me by my trainers I can now continue to pursue a healthy lifestyle and maintain my fitness, to achieve further goals in life.