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Calorie Count Blog

Losing 144 Pounds without Surgery


By Sheila on Apr 09, 2012 10:00 AM in Success Stories

This is an incredible Success Story for a man who was so reluctant to lose weight.  After a Doctor’s visit and being suggested to have Bariatric surgery, Bigsquid went to his consultation.  However, there he teamed up with a Nutritionist; he’s successfully lost 144 lbs, without the surgery!

He contacted us through our Share Your Story feature and provided the following answers to our questionnaire.

1. What prompted you to begin this weight loss journey? Did you have an "Aha!" moment?

My whole life I've been obese. My doctor always urged me to do something about it. I was always the type of person that thought "one day I will do something". Then one day I went to my doctor for a back injury, and the topic changed to my weight.

The doctor suggested that I go for bariatric surgery (stomach staples or banding). I never liked the idea, but I am not a closed minded person, so I figured I would go to the consultations to see what it was all about. As part of that program, I saw a nutritionist.

I started changing what I ate at the advice of my nutritionist. I saw that I lost 20 pounds in 2 months doing just that. I was amazed and I thought to myself, if I could lose 20 pounds in 2 months just changing what I ate, without even doing exercise, then I don't need any surgery and I can do this on my own. I added exercise into the mix, and stepped up my diet and exercise every week and made amazing progress.

2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?

Do all you can eat sushi, donairs, and fast food count? I had never tried anything in the past. I wasn't very educated about nutrition before I started seeing a nutritionist.

3. Please describe how you reached your weight loss goal. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude?  Did you implement any other strategies besides Calorie Count?  What was the most important change?

I started off slowly. I changed what I ate for the first two months and did not exercise. I lost 20 pounds.

I slowly started adding exercise into the mix. 15 minutes on the bike every other day. I started upping it to 30 mins after a couple weeks. 45 mins after another couple weeks. Then I started mixing up my cardio doing elliptical and stairmaster, increasing intensity and duration as I went along. I reached the point where I now do 90-120 minutes cardio a day, and about 20 sets of weights a day. The key was to slowly increase intensity and duration, and to start off SLOW. Like I said, I was only doing 15 minutes of cardio every other day.

4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss.

Unless I am having a cheat meal, one of my rules that I live by is, "never eat anything unless you know what is exactly in it". Calorie Count is a KEY TOOL for living by this rule. In order to track and count calories, I use Calorie Count to quantify everything I eat and track all my calories.

5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?

One of the things I always told myself is, never qualify things by difficulty. This shouldn't be hard or easy. It shouldn't be something that I rank in terms of difficulty. It is all about making choices, and different decisions. Making different decisions doesn't have to be "hard", it's just different. Having said that, of course, I do miss fast food.

6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success?

After I lost 100 pounds in about 6 months, which was a huge milestone. At that point I realized I was a success. 3 digit weight loss in such a short time was an amazing milestone.

7. How do you prevent relapse?

I realize that there is no such thing as a "diet"; this has to be a permanent change in my life. Otherwise I will lead a life of poor health and suffering.

Having cheat days, and a cheat meal help, and live by the mentality NOT to place restrictions on yourself. For example, I can eat anything I want, but I choose not to. There is no restriction, just make the right choices.

8. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?

Wow, where do I start? I'll do this in point form:

- I no longer suffer diabetes, liver, blood pressure, heart disease risks!!!!

- For the first time ever, my doctor has said I'm in "perfect health"

- I can actually feel/see my bones for the first time ever.

- I get cold easier.  LOL

- I can buy any clothes that I want, NOT based on size restrictions.

- I can fit comfortably into any seats.

- I can make educated nutritional choices.

- I'm never out of breath easily.

- I feel like I have unlimited cardio ability.

- I don't sweat as easily.

- The list goes on!

9. How long have you maintained your current weight?

About 2 months. I have added intense weight lifting, and have changed my diet towards maintaining weight, losing fat and building muscle. These three things have caused a balance in my weight. My BMI is currently 25.7. Given some loose skin I have, and my large frame, I am not too concerned that I am technically still overweight. I would like to reach 175 pounds (I am 188) just so I can be at a "healthy" BMI.

10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?

  • Don't consider your journey difficult. Just think of it this way; life is about choices, they don't have to be hard or easy, just different.
  • Be persistent and don't give up. Persistence and finding a pattern that works for you is key.
  • Have a cheat meal once in a while.
  • Count your calories!!!
  • Always step it up. Don't be satisfied; always try to improve yourself whether that means stepping up your diet, or increasing exercise to get even FITTER!

 

 

If you would like us to feature your success story, you can submit it here. The most insightful stories will be featured on this blog and in the weekly "Success Stories" newsletter.



Comments


What an absolute INSPIRATION!! Way to go!!! :)



What an amazing story! You are an inspiration. I hope I have half your success.

 



Fantastic! Well done! don't ever stop! BE happy & enjoy life to the fullest!!

LaughingLaughing



Fantastic! Well done! don't ever stop! BE happy & enjoy life to the fullest!!

LaughingLaughing



Great attitude! You are right on the money when you talk about making choices. And I am so glad you didn't chooses the surgery: it's not the easy fix many people think it is. It is a major insult to the body, and I am glad you discovered the power was wihin YOU all along. Wish I could wrap you in a hug :-)



Congratulations! What an inspiration! Cool



Original Post by: hobbbs

Great attitude! You are right on the money when you talk about making choices. And I am so glad you didn't chooses the surgery: it's not the easy fix many people think it is. It is a major insult to the body, and I am glad you discovered the power was wihin YOU all along. Wish I could wrap you in a hug :-)


"And I am so glad you didn't chooses (choose?) the surgery: it's not the easy fix many people think it is. It is a major insult to the body" - I find this quite offensive.. many people have had bariatric surgery with very successful results - myself included. It was used as a tool to assist with weightloss, and I have successfully kept ALL of the weight I lost off for years now.



Wow, I love your tips, very inspirational and congrats on the weightloss and finally being "in perfect health", really, well done!


Amazing work!!  



Original Post by: sarahmowery

Original Post by: hobbbs

Great attitude! You are right on the money when you talk about making choices. And I am so glad you didn't chooses the surgery: it's not the easy fix many people think it is. It is a major insult to the body, and I am glad you discovered the power was wihin YOU all along. Wish I could wrap you in a hug :-)


"And I am so glad you didn't chooses (choose?) the surgery: it's not the easy fix many people think it is. It is a major insult to the body" - I find this quite offensive.. many people have had bariatric surgery with very successful results - myself included. It was used as a tool to assist with weightloss, and I have successfully kept ALL of the weight I lost off for years now.


I think that even though the surgery can be very successful, at the end of the day it is surgery, which carry loads of risks, so in all honesty, if you can lose the weight without the surgery, that is always going to be the healthier choice, IMO. It is a tool as you point out, but there are many many other tools and each individual should go with what works for them, but for me personally surgery would be the very last resort after I have exhausted all other tools and it wouldn't be the automatic go to that some treat it as.


Great accomplishment! Outstanding!!!



Wow, I really loved your story. I especially love your philosophies of this not being a diet and about making choices. Truer words are rarely spoken. You are SUCH an inspiration. Since you're definitely into fitness, have you tried Fitocracy? (I promise this isn't a commercial.) I'm kind of addicted. Such a fun way to encourage workouts. Congrats on your success!



Like Bigsquid's story, when I read about how members of the CC family triumph over their trials and tribulations it makes me proud. Kudos and hugs!

I am also glad you chose to seriously try lifestyle and nutritional changes before undergoing the knife. It is much more empowering to realize you are in control of your body and health. Although bariatric surgery has its place, major abdominal surgery should always be considered a last ditch effort and not the quick fix it's touted to be.

Congratulations Bigsquid (BTW you are now officially Skinnysquid) you are truly an inspiration to us all.



I agree w/ maky & hobbbs- the only people I know to have had surgery either gained the weight back or had to get the surgery done again. having the surgery takes away a lot of learning to control yourself and make decisions for yourself like Bigsquid did. He's a lot healthier for it and should be proud to have found the strength to do what he did. that's something that comes from within that he can carry with him for the rest of his life now. weight loss is a learning process and what you end up learning about the most is you!!  Laughing

I always beat myself up about the bmi too. I wonder bout the accuracy, esp if you don't get it done professionally and just use that simple equation. I've finally stopped stressing bout that number cuz all my other numbers are good ;)



Amazing and inspiration and common sense.  thank you so much!



@heyha, what do you mean about your bmi done professionally? Is there more than 1 equation? I am asking because a while back, in order to use my work gym I had to do a fitness test and one of the things he did was calculate my bmi and he told me it was 29 while when I do it it's 35, which is a pretty big difference. I asked him to do it again and he came up with the same number. I am not sure how he did it, but I kind of assumed that he either made a mistake or else it was vanity testing.....


well done m8 bet u feel better as i know i do after losing same as you :)



yeah, I'm not too sure- I've done the equation that's on here (both longhand & when u just punch ur numbers in and it calculates for ya) and I've done the one where u hold the machine out in front of you with both hands at my work's health fair. I know my gym has one that looks like a floor scale (have to step on it barefoot for a reading). but what I was thinking bout was what I'd seen on tv (celebrity fit club maybe?) where u have to submerse yourself in a tub of water and they measure the amount of water dispersed. think that's suppose to be more accurate. I'm not sure if there's one where someone uses those calipers to pinch your skin (maybe that's for % body fat, but along the same lines, right?). just curious what calculation the guy at the gym used for ya? wish I was doing mine wrong! lol

oh, and Bigsquid- looked at ur pics- quite impressive- esp the work out ones- they were great! (again, the one person I know who had the surgery done twice stopped going to the gym like she was suppose to- still lost the weight but didn't ever make the correlation between working out and her health- yeah she's skinnier than me, but def less muscle & tightness and I know I could beat her in any physical endurance test lol).



@heyha, I wish I knew, he just insisted it was right, but didn't explain, maybe I should email the gym to try and find out. Maybe I'm wrong (as I haven't seen the show), but the water dispersement (or is it dispersant?) thing, the thing at the fair, at your gym and the calliper test all measure body fat %, which is different from your bmi. It's all related of course, but you could have a low body fat % and lots of muscle and be in the overweight or even obese category according to your bmi.


yeah, that's why I've given up on the bmi- the one guy at work had a high bmi for his health screening but he is seriously all muscle and no body fat (dude is a freaking ripped, gym rat!). he is obsessed w/ working out but meanwhile as he gets bigger, his bmi goes up. read enuf complaints bout the bmi to stop worrying about it- it's a suggestion or guideline but it's not written in stone. I go by my weight and measurements. the handheld one at my work health fair did have bmi on it (looked kinda like a small, white steering wheel). u put ur hands on the two side handles and the readout was in the middle. I remember it had bmi but forget how it compared to mine at the time. that and the floor scale that u get on barefoot somehow factor in % water in you. all I know is I'm done obsessing bout it ;)



Comment Removed

Fantastic story, I will be 60 years old this coming September, and I would like to loose at least 40lbs.  I have been eating right, at least I tried to, or I thought I am.  I exercise almost everyday, but still the weight is not coming off.

I dont know what I am doing wrong, can someone help me, I am desperate



@heyha - Yeah, probably wise! At the moment I am still definitely overweight, once I get nearer my goal weight, dresssize and nearer a healthy bmi, I will look at the overall picture (body fat, body composition, muscle mass, etc). At the end of the day though, feeling healthy, being able to wear what I want and not getting out of breath and overly sweaty at the least bit of exertion are far more important indicators to me.


Original Post by: heyha

I agree w/ maky & hobbbs- the only people I know to have had surgery either gained the weight back or had to get the surgery done again. having the surgery takes away a lot of learning to control yourself and make decisions for yourself like Bigsquid did. He's a lot healthier for it and should be proud to have found the strength to do what he did. that's something that comes from within that he can carry with him for the rest of his life now. weight loss is a learning process and what you end up learning about the most is you!!  Laughing

I always beat myself up about the bmi too. I wonder bout the accuracy, esp if you don't get it done professionally and just use that simple equation. I've finally stopped stressing bout that number cuz all my other numbers are good ;)


"gnōthi seauton": means to know thyself...

I agree, those who need surgery or extreme diets are those that are in medical danger or those that don't dare to see who's looking in the mirror because the mirror is exposing a body and not a person.  When you see the person, than you can have whatever body you want.  Here is a short clip dedicated to Bigsquid and everyone else who have seen themselves, set a goal, overcame the odds and had enough love in their heart to suffer pain tears and sweat to meet their goals...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X38PCf7kao&feature=playe r_embedded

BMI can be done professionally if you can find the right doctor or nutritionist with the right equipment.  Done mathmatically is just an estimate.  Mine is 34 but I have muscle mass that is not taken in consideration.  In order to be healthy I need to weigh 175, this is my high school weight and a thirty two inch waist.  I'm at a 36 right now.  I have learned to ignore the BMI.

Great Job!  This is another CC great inspiration..



@LadyEPG - keep at it. Calculate how many calories you should be eating (see tools, calorie target) and keep logging all those meals and exercises, no cheating when logging food and be as exact as you can.


100lbs in 6 months is epic.  The only correlation to your name now being Big Squid is your Big Accomplishment, Big Character, Big Fortitude, Big Endurance, Big Determination, Big Courage, Big sense of Service (to share), Big Wisdom, Big ability to Transcend, Big Positive Attitude, Big sense of Being On Your Own Side:  Self Definition. 

If this is how you associate your name now.  Keep it.  Thanks for sharing. 



Congrats to Bigsquid for choosing to loose the weight without surgery!!!  On July, 2006 I weighed 285 and on July, 2009 I weighed 150!  I did it by learning to eat right and moving right.  I had/have a wonderful dietitian who works with me and it is wonderful.  In the last couple of years I have had some health issues, a few pounds came back (48 to be exact) but since the first of the year I have lost 23 of it!!!  It is all about eating right and moving right!!!  Sometimes we really think we are making the right choices but we really are not.  It is a surprise every now and then when I talk to my dietitian and she educates me on a subject that is not as health as I thought it was. This will be a learning situation for the rest of my life!!!  As for gastric bypass, I have a really hard time with that.  My aunt, several years ago, had the surgery and over several years after the surgery she went down hill, was very ill, and when they finally did exploratory surgery to figure out what was wrong they found an issue with the original surgery and she passed away 4 days after surgery.  The surgeon told us she would have still been with us if she would have never had the surgery - she only was 101 pounds from her lowest goal weight when she had the surgery!  She passed away 20 pounds over weight.   Ugh!  Also, I have several friends, family and co-workers who have had the surgery.  No one is at their goal weight, some never did reach their goal weight after surgery, some have had the surgery twice, some weigh more than when they started their weight loss journey, and some of the most recent co-workers who had the surgery never have reached their goal weight and I see what they eat at work and it is not very health and they say they don't exercise.  I guess I just don't get the point.  There are no surgery people I know that live their lives as healthy active people who have kept the weight off and practice good skills to do it.  On the other hand, I know several people who have lost weight, like myself, and even when we do gain a few pounds don't revert back to the lifestyle prior to the weight loss and just have to step it up to get the weight back down.  I know no one who have chosen to loose their weight with a healthy lifestyle who has gained back all of their weight, if not more.  Practice a good lifestyle and you can do it!!!  



Great job! I agree with you totally, I did the same thing bypassed the surgery and just went for healthy eating and exercise. I have 3 friends who did the surgery and at this point they are right back to where they were. Congrats and keep up the great work!



Way To Go!!! You have inspired me to continue with my quest to be thinner naturally. At 55 I do find it to be a challenge but you offered good suggestions on how to make it work. My second month, minus 13 pounds and 125 lbs to go. Thanks for inspiring all and keep up the good work.



losersarewinners: you can do it! at 54 I am smaller than I've ever been in my life and enjoying every minute of it! To date I've lost 110 pounds and like Bigsquid I can now do alot more stuff without being winded and uncomfortable. So keep it up!



Wow. That is really good. U make me wanna do so much better on my dite. I can do this. Congrats on ur weight loss !!!!!!!!!! Way to go !!!!!!!!!!!



Thank you all for the wonderful comments!

@vcwalden , congrats on your success and I am sorry to hear about your aunt, that is an eye opening situation.

@ladyepg , have you tried tracking all your calories to the exact value? If not, you should start. Also put into play your BMR and exercise, and create a calorie deficit of 500 calories or so. Calorie Count has the tools to do all of this.

@heyha , yeah, I've also stopped tracking actual pounds and have moved towards using a tape measure. Apparently, Waist / hip, and waist / height (and some other ratios) are a better indicator of overall health compared to BMI. A tape measure will also tell the truth, you can be losing stomach fat and gaining muscle elsewhere, a scale may say youre gaining weight, but a tape measure will tell the whole story.

@kdub10s , I have not tried that. Unfortunately, I'm kinda stuck with what I'm familiar with, mostly stairmaster and elliptical for cardio. I am looking to branch out and try other things though like Yoga and I'll keep your suggestion in mind :)

@kb55 , It is insane how empowering it is! In the last year I learned that I am in control of my body, and my body is not in control of me. If I want to lose weight, then you have to control your body to do that, if you want to gain muscle, same thing! Everything (most of the time) regarding our bodies is in our control! The only exception are health conditions that may prevent being in control.

 

 

I've noticed there is a lot of discussion going on about bariatric surgery. I just wanted to say that it does not make anybody weak or lazy or anything like that. Let's face it, obesity is a serious HEALTH problem that needs addressing and help. I didn't need it (but I might have?), but the people who get it are in serious danger of having health problems and they need to address that issue, the same way that a cancer patient would need chemotherapy. It is simply a tool to help, and doesn't mean it's a free pass to lose weight. Like others have mentioned, you can still gain weight even with the surgery. It should be considered a last resort, but a necessary last resort. Obesity is a health problem that needs to be addressed, and many people's lives are affected by it. To say that they shouldn't get the surgery and shouldn't have that medical help, is unfair. Not everyone is made the same, and some people will find success with the surgery (and some won't), and if that is the case, so be it, and we should encourage the successful path. You still have to be in control of your diet and lifestyle even with the surgery. It should be considered a last resort and you should try everything else before considering the surgery. That's one thing that disappointed me with the doctors, they were ready and willing to perform the surgery, but I had never tried anything else. They really should have made me try other things first. But I guess their focus is surgery only so maybe they are just too used to being a revolving door of surgeries.

@casedesigns , congrats bro, you look amazing!!



First of all, what an inspiration for us all!  Can you give any specifics about what your diet was after talking with the nutritionist?  Low carbs, no red meat, etc.  Was it specific to your body type?  I'm one that tends to go "All or nothing", but I'm starting to question the concept that you need to keep away from all calories to lose weight.  I'm just curious what the advice was..  Keep it up!

 



The advice was actually quite generic, she advised me to follow the Canada food guide an to have a balanced diet:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.ph p

I started following this, but fine tuned it towards the types of foods I enjoyed most. I also cut the portions and made them smaller than what was recommended.

Eventually, I cut out a lot of the high calorie foods and just went with what worked for me. For instance, I hardly ever eat meat and mostly veggies and protein shakes for protein. I don't eat rice or many grains, but I do eat a lot of fibre based cereal. I used the Canada food guide as a starting point and just went from there.



Original Post by: bigsquid

The advice was actually quite generic, she advised me to follow the Canada food guide an to have a balanced diet:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.ph p

I started following this, but fine tuned it towards the types of foods I enjoyed most. I also cut the portions and made them smaller than what was recommended.

Eventually, I cut out a lot of the high calorie foods and just went with what worked for me. For instance, I hardly ever eat meat and mostly veggies and protein shakes for protein. I don't eat rice or many grains, but I do eat a lot of fibre based cereal. I used the Canada food guide as a starting point and just went from there.


What a great link!!!!!!!!

I have never seen it made any easier or simple and very personalized.  By far this is the most simply informative and inspiring thread.  I have made my PDF and its not far from what I'm doing now, just upping the carb intake a bit with some whole grains.  Those Canadians, makes me wonder if that free health care creates that nutritionally motivated ideals vs. our economically motivated.

I really appreciate your character too bigsquid, thanks for sharing.



Hi, I am just start 2 nd week, your story was such an inspiration thank you


Congratulations!!  I woke up motivated today, but after reading your post I feel like I could conquer the world. Thank you for being a wonderful inspiration to all of us =) 



A final word on bariatric surgery:

When I say the surgery is an "insult" to the body, I mean it puts the body under a good amount of stress.  It requires invading the abdominal cavity, altering the contour of the stomach and rerouting the digestive tract.  That, my friends, is a serious surgery. 

I am happy for bigsquid because he was able to make the transition from obesity to a healthy weight without having to go through this procedure, and I do not apologize for that. 

It is hard for me to believe that anyone could find this "offensive".

 



Thank you so much for sharing your story! Congratulations on your weight loss!



Thank you so much for sharing your story you are soooooo inspiring. I love your tips I'm going to print them out and keep them where I can see them every day.



Thanks for sharing your story!  I think your story & experiences have to be my favorite success story that I've read on here.  I really appreciate your advice of looking at making healthier choices as being different rather than hard/easy or good/bad.   You also seem like you have a great attitude, which shows in the comments you have made in response to the blog posting!  Thanks for giving me more inspiration & motivation to keep going on my own personal journey!



Any questions?  No, I have none.  Your before and after photos say it all.  You were focused and perservered.  Awesome Job!!



These principles are what I try to teach my clients! Moderation, permenantly change your eating, exercise, you don't have to be miserable to be healthy! What an awesome story! I am so very happy to hear when others make this discovery and achieve success. THere is no magic cure and health is attainable with awareness, education and commitment! You have one body: you have one choice!

Denise Cazes, www.onebodyonechoice.com



Congratulations, Bigsquid! What an amazing and inspiring story. I wish you continued good health and much happiness.



congratulations! i think one of the keys are to cheat once in a while. very inspiring. :)



Bigsquid - you are amazing!  Your advice is right on point, and I love your sense of humor.  You will truly be able to achieve anything you want.Cool



Your tips and points, the time you spent writing about specific details, and your inclusion of humor tell me something about your intention in submitting this: rather than just writing to tell us that you did it, you're writing because you care very deeply about helping the rest of us succeed too.  Thank you so much for this.  I sincerely believe you can do anything.  With stories like this one, I have hope that I can, too.



Super job.  Congratulations!



omg, the outpouring of positive words and support on here are amazing! Thank you all so much for the kind words, it's almost bringing tears to my eyes LOL..

Please support each other! So many people here are trying to lose weight, and there is SO MUCH support on this website and community. Please don't put it to waste and help each other :) :) I will also do whatever I can to help anyone on here. If you want moral support, advice, diet advice, exercise advice, ANYTHING, please message me!

I am a STRONG STRONG believer that obesity is a disease and should be treated as such. You wouldn't turn a diabetic, cardiac patient, or other sick people down, and obesity should be treated the same way! Everyone on here is so amazing and from what I can tell, has a good heart! Let's help each other!!

 

Also, one thing, DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE GYM! MAKE THE GYM AFRAID OF YOU! HAHA! MAKE THE GYM BEG FOR MERCY AT YOUR STRENGTH! IT IS TIME TO GET EXCITED AND MOTIVATED. If you are trying to lose weight, then treat this is like an amazing moment in your life, an awakening! Get excited at what you WILL accomplish! Don't feel sad, don't feel weak or tired. Get excited, get ready for the ride of your life, and get a natural high at what you will accomplish! Unless you are Hercules, you WILL suffer setbacks, we are all human after all. Learn from them, ALWAYS IMPROVE YOURSELF (in life in general, not just health/fitness), and life a healthy happy life!

You are all amazing people, follow your heart, follow your goals, be persistent, and keep at it!



Loved reading your story!!! 

Just think of it this way; life is about choices, they don't have to be hard or easy, just different.

 

That line stuck with me!! I also have lost a significant amount of weight without weight loss surgery as was recommended to me. I have often griped about how "hard" it is to get your brain wired into healthier choices, but that just gave me a different perspective! Thank you!



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