I'm so excited to share a most amazing Weight Loss Transformation Success Story with you today.
Damian demonstrates that anything is possible when you set your mind to it, regardless of how difficult your life has been.
Tell Us A Little Bit About Your Weight Struggle
I was born in Sacramento, California. When I was little I had to learn to care for myself. My mother had an addiction with drugs when I was a child. My brother and I had to watch over each other. He was the older one, I was the baby as you would say.
We had to learn at a young age to cook for ourselves. Mostly consisted of canned food from pork and beans to Spaghetti Os. When we got to the age of 10, we were flown to Omaha, Nebraska, to stay with my grandmother because my mother was in jail for 30 days.
Once my mother got out she picked us up and we immediately were sent to a foster home. My brother and I stuck together for this part in my life. We learned Taekwondo and received our black belts through ATA of Wahoo, NE.
Years went by, but we eventually ended back in our mother's custody. She tried her hardest to get us back and she did. During this time, from elementary school to middle school, we lived with her in a small apartment. She was on Medicare and we received food stamps to help out.
Our food mostly consisted of high sugar, junk food and soda pop. Nothing healthy at all.
Once I attended middle school is when the name calling began. Anything from Fatty, Lardass, to 4-Wheeler. I didn't try to let anyone know it bothered me but it did. That went on for the majority of middle school, but I still remained positive and kept my head up.
High School rolled around the corner. During this time of my freshman year I did the best I knew I could. Perfect attendance, perfect grades.
Sophomore year approached, my mother and I got into a big drama-filled life. I ended up getting involved with alcohol. I became an addict. Anytime I had the chance, I would drink with my friends or by myself.
Once I was intoxicated nothing really mattered. I would go out to eat fast food all the time. Numerous times. I would buy junk food time and time again. Nothing seemed to bother me. I ended up living with a friend during my sophomore to junior year. My life did a huge 180.
I ended up becoming a ward of the state because of the actions I made. I was put in a group home for 6 months. I ended up becoming sober and focusing back on my schooling.
My poor eating habits still remained. Not eating out as much because we would have dinners at the group home, but I would eat fast food if I got any money.
Once I graduated from Cedars, I lived with my good friend once again. I found a job at Russ Market grocery store here in Lincoln, NE. The addiction came back. I starting drinking again and let that take over the important things in my life like school. It was another wheel I would drink and eat whatever I could grab.
My senior year I was kicked out of school for not showing up numerous times. I tried to not let that bother me but it always did. I continued this lifestyle for a while.
I eventually ended up finding a girlfriend. I met her at a party and we hit it off. I was always the big clown. I made people laugh and was a good friend. Never had any chance with the girls, so when I met her I was excited.
We eventually moved in together and then got very comfortable. This part of my life went downhill fast. I eventually gained massive amounts of weight. I let myself go. I continued to work at Russ Market grocery store and then just went home.
It was the same routine every day. I was so comfortable I didn't wanna do anything else. I still continued to drink and eat bad.
When I was with her we would have fast food 2 times a day. I would always bring home junk food and 3 two liter bottles of soda daily and put it all down. This went on for 4 years.
On December 14, 2012, I didn't like what I became. I was 410 lbs.
I was no shape of form happy with myself. I started a diet and I really wanted to change my life. I didn't go out I barely saw anyone.
I started working out at our gym connected to our apartment complex. It was a daily thing. I used the app MyFitnessPal. I counted my calories daily and before my diet I averaged 4200 calories a day, if not more.
I slowly started trying to eat 2000 calories a day. I had a lot of motivation and it paid off tremendously.
By June I was down 70 lbs. I was at 330 lbs. By that time my confidence kicked in and I looked great at the time. I started going out and being more social, but still drank.
My relationship ended because of personal issues, then I bounced into another one. It was great at first, she was very supportive of my dieting and I kept to it for another 15 lbs.
I was at 325 and then the same thing happened - I got comfortable.
We would go out to dinners and also make home dinners and have drinks at night. I lost my dieting motivation because I knew she loved me unconditionally.
During the summer of 2015, I attended my good friend's wedding and that day I looked at myself again and didn't like what I had become. I stepped on the scale and weighed 370 lbs. I gained a majority of the weight back and it sucked.
Late June I started a diet once again. I portioned my foods and counted my calories. This time didn't last long at all. I continued to drink, if not more than before. I met a new girl over the summer. She was amazing. My actions hit hard though.
In July of 2015 I got my second aggravated DUI. Before I was sentenced, I tried to go out with a bang, so drank even more. We went out to buffets and ate terrible because in my head I didn't care.
I stopped drinking on September 9, 2015. I was sentenced on November 14, 2015. I was put on house arrest on November 19th for 30 days. Two days into my house arrest I got a phone call on November 21st that my mother has passed away. It was heartbreaking. I couldn't and didn't want to believe it and since I couldn't leave my house I didn't believe it.
They approved me to only go see my mother and then go straight home. I was devastated seeing my mother and then not able to mourn with my family as much as I would have liked.
Right then, all of my emotions hit me. My old self would have drank and said screw it, but I didn't. I was already a month into my treatment. Serving a 2 year probation order. I didn't want to fail. I didn't want to let my family or my friends and most of all myself down. I stayed sober. I finished the treatment and got off house arrest.
I liked the new me. Staying sober was helping change my mindset. My girlfriend and I talked to a guy named Cod from Anytime Fitness here in Lincoln, NE. We decided to join the gym.
I weighed myself on January 14, 2016, and weighed 360 lbs. Right then I knew my life would be different. I wasn't worried about anything but myself and making myself happy. I had been through a lot and it was my turn.
I went to the gym everyday. I really used MyFitnessPal and put in all my calories. I consumed 1800 calories a day, then lowered it each month. When I started, I barely could run one mile without gassing. After ¼ mile I had to walk. It was terrible.
I also quit smoking cigarettes cold turkey the day we joined the gym. It all hit me at once, but I kept pushing and never gave up.
I now work at Super Saver grocery store as the Assistant Meat Manager. I work 45 hours a week and go to the gym after work everyday. When I say everyday I mean it.
I have only missed the gym twice since I joined. My eating habits and my lifestyle changed and it was the best feeling in my life.
I kept pushing. I believe pain is temporary - it may last a minute an hour or year - but it will subside and then comes success. I let that run through my head continuously.
My old pictures of my bigger self. I weighed myself recently on June 6, 2016, and in those 5 months I lost 138 lbs. To this day I now weigh 185 lbs. I have lost over 180 lbs since January 14th and now I'm going to accomplish my next goal of 180.
I pushed myself everyday and I will continue to strive and continue to put in all the hard work. At the end of this journey I know how better I am physically and emotionally and I for once I can finally enjoy what I see in the mirror.
Never give up because anyone can accomplish what they set their minds too.
What Was Your Wake-Up Call Or "A-Ha Moment" That Caused You To Really Commit Yourself To Succeeding?
I got tired of being the bigger kid my whole life. I went through a lot at the end of 2015, my mom's passing my second dui. In January I didn't like what I looked like. Anytime Fitness had a sign-up promotion for $1 dollar and I couldn't pass on it. I started that same day and didn't look back. It changed my life when I signed that contract.
How Have Your Eating Habits Changed Since Beginning Your Journey? What Did You Eat Before And What Are You Eating Now?
Before I started the diet I had the app MyFitnessPal. I averaged 3800-4200 calories a day. I ate all sorts of fast food and junk food. I could drink liters of soda daily, every hour.
When I joined the gym I switched my calorie intake to 1500 calories. For the first three months I lost 70 lbs. Then I went to 1200 calories a day. The weight literally disappeared. It was so exciting. I added many many fruits. I started to carb cycle. My overall body felt amazing.
What Is The Difference In Your Fitness Before You Started And Now?
I can say I tried diets before. At my biggest in 2012 I weighed over 400 lbs. I attempted to diet and got down to 305 lbs. At that time in my life I thought that's the least I'll weigh based on my body type. Little did I know only a few years later I would be proven wrong.
I remember the first day I joined, I ran maybe 2 blocks without stopping and was gassed. Now I can run 10 miles without stopping with an average 8 minute mile. I'm currently training for the Lincoln half-marathon in 2017.
What Has Been The Biggest Change/Payoff For You So Far?
The biggest change for me is my overall health. I know now that I lowered my blood pressure and my overall life is amazing. I work retail. I work at a grocery store as an Assistant Meat Manager. I move fast and make sure the department is full and ready for customers. They say when the items are stocked, we'll sell more and since I weigh less I move faster.
More production is given. My overall attitude and perspective has changed dramatically too. I see things different now and look back and don't understand why I put my body through that. In 2017, I will be looking to get a tummy tuck surgery, but I know it's expensive, so I made a GoFundMe page to help.
My Favorite Recipe Is
I love chicken pesto and brown rice. It's simple. Brown rice cooked normally. With the chicken I always have baked chicken. Always season with salt and pepper, then bake. ¾ of the way done, I'll put pesto over the top of the chicken to give it the great flavor and add a tbsp of hot sauce since I like a little spice. And I'll serve it on the rice.
How Much Weight Have You Lost? How Long Did It Take You To Lose It?
January 14th when I walked into the gym I weighed 368 lbs. To this date September 21st I weigh 184 lbs.
Advice and/or Words of Wisdom to Others Who Are Struggling?
One of my Favorite quotes is "Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but EVENTUALLY it will subside and something else will take its place. If I QUIT, however, it lasts forever."
I've taken that very seriously. 2015 was a tough year for me. I went through a lot on a personal level, like getting in trouble with the law and losing my mother. I let myself go and I reached 368 lbs.
January 2016 I decided I didn't want to deal with it anymore. I didn't like who I become. I couldn't look at myself in the mirror without being disgusted. The 14th of January was the day that changed my life.
My girlfriend Chelsey and I contacted Anytime Fitness and met with a gentleman named Cody Hoffman. We signed up with a joint account. The very same day we worked out for a good hour. I remember running on the treadmill and I couldn't keep a pace to save my life. Couldn't run for more than a minute. I took everything in my past for motivation.
Like I mentioned earlier so many things were bringing me down, but now it was time to take control of my own life.
I went the next day, then the next day, and the next. It became routine to me. The pounds dropped off. The first month 20lbs down. Second month 25 pounds. Third, 30 pounds.
Within three months my weight went from 368 to 293. I was very happy. I could have stopped there because my first goal was 300 lbs. But I wanted more. I wanted to be smaller. I wanted to be able to run miles and miles. I didn't let anything stop me. I found motivation in all the old pics of myself, all the pain I went through, all the times where I was embarrassed to go out in public.
I knew deep down I was a good person in the inside, but I wanted to be great on the out. I keep going to the gym every day. The more I went, the easier it got and the more my lifestyle changed. I felt happy. I felt welcomed. All the staff noticed my dedication. It's great when you can walk into somewhere and feel at peace.
I can actually say I enjoy looking in the mirror, I love taking selfies and in general like my picture being taken. I've pushed myself each day to become who I am today and I want everyone to know that no matter how you feel, you can change. Anyone can change, you just have to want to, like I did.
Don't ever give up! I told myself that every time it hurt, every time I wanted to give up, but I never did. Pain didn't control me, I control myself. I'm currently pushing my body to limits it's never been through and I can't wait to see what more I can accomplish, what goals I can crush next.
I'm currently training for my first half-marathon because now I can run for 8-10 miles without stopping. I have so much to look forward to and I can say I can't wait to see what awaits me next in my future.
I owe it all to Anytime Fitness, my friends and families support, my girlfriend and most of all myself for wanting and knowing that I can accomplish anything and everything I set my mind to!!!
Follow Damian on his GoFundMe page: www.gofundme.com/2fd65h8
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