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May 6 / Dollar Sophia

Over 120 Pounds Lost…

We like to share successes. Today’s guest writer is here to share his story. We especially like Kameron because he’s opening up and being honest with himself (and us!). 100% of these words are his, we simply copy and pasted. Meet Kameron, brother to Wayne State employee and Wellness Warrior participant, Troy Eller. Kameron’s story is amazing…

My name is Kameron, I am a 20-year-old male, and a year ago today I weighed 297 pounds. As of this writing, I weigh 174 pounds…

Comparison Photo

When I was six years old I broke my arm from a simple fall; I weighed 140 pounds. After that experience falling became a constant threat. I could never participate with the other kids in play for fear of another incident, and a second broken bone when I was ten only rationalized this fear further. Being heavy throughout my childhood was constantly on my mind, but I was lucky. I was never viciously bullied and I quickly gained a sense of humor to help deflect what did come my way. But I also developed a tendency to avoid situations entirely because of my weight. I never had a real childhood filled with play and carelessness, I didn’t play sports even though I loved them and still do, and I didn’t go to prom – all because I was overweight.

The genesis of my weight loss goes all the way back to my junior year of high school. I was having a rough time mentally and emotionally, and instead of falling into the trap of self-medication or descending deeper into dysfunction, I referred myself (through my parents) to a therapist. The discussions that took place are largely irrelevant, but the prevalent train of thought on why I found myself in such a rut was my weight problem. After talking to the therapist for a few weeks they decided to send me across the hall to the psychiatrist in order to get me on some medication to help level me out. She prescribed me some, but the emphasis was always on my weight (as it should have been) and she insisted that I diet and told me the medication should help me to lose weight as well. She asked me to weigh myself on a scale she had in the room, and I obliged. I cannot remember what the exact number was, but it is safe to say it informed me that I was around 280 pounds. I was to see her about once every two weeks, which meant weighing in just as often. I cannot remember the exact numbers but I do remember how she would sit in her chair and wait for me to report my weight to her. Each time I saw her I weighed more, and each time I saw her I lied about what the scale was saying. Eventually I hit a point at which I knew I needed to make a change: 308 pounds. I resolved to never weigh 300, or over 300, pounds again. It was time to get serious about weight loss.

After that I quit lying about my weight and started shedding pounds, but I was far from well. I went on a diet which, reflecting back on it now, was more dangerous than my being obese. I started starving myself. My typical day was to not eat breakfast, go to school and not eat lunch, come home and take a nap to stop myself from eating, and then have a small, portioned dinner. I am not here to condone this behavior; far from it. I lost around 40 pounds doing this, stopped seeing my therapist, and put it all back on. It was a slow process, but on May 4, 2012 (one year and 2 days ago to be exact) I weighed in after not having done so in quite a while and saw 297. My borderline anorexic behavior hadn’t worked – it never does – and if it had I may not even be alive today. I stuck to my resolution to never weigh 300 pounds again, though, and I decided to refocus on not just changing my diet, but my lifestyle.

I did and currently do still live at home, so I knew the first step was to get my parents on board. I can’t credit my parents enough for what they’ve done for me over the last year. They have been infinitely supportive emotionally and physically. My mother helped me plan my new lifestyle and, being a nurse, she was capable of doing so. The game plan was to cut out bread, and focus on high protein foods. My diet for the last year has been a protein bar in the morning, chicken/fish/pork/steak for lunch, and the same for dinner (although recently I have tried to cut out the red meat), and various vegetables. If I went out to eat with friends or family I typically settled for a chicken salad. It has been boring and I cannot stress enough that this was an extreme diet as far as how strict I was on myself. My friends have jokingly referred to it as the “willpower diet.”

The second step I took – and this was probably a much more important step than the first – was that I let people know what I was trying to do. This seems so small but it’s something I had been scared to do every other time I attempted to lose weight. Once you put it out there in the world that you plan to lose weight, and what your goal is, it becomes much more concrete and is a constant motivator. I went to Facebook and Twitter with my intent and updates on my progress throughout my journey, and it did wonders for my ability to stick to it. As I reflect on it, this was easily the most integral part of my progress the last year. I always thought it would be embarrassing to admit I had a problem and that I was trying to fix it, but the response from my friends on social networks and in real life was overwhelming. Not only was I holding myself accountable to just me, but to everyone supporting me. Just as much as I couldn’t let myself down, I couldn’t let them down either.

Here are my Twitter/Facebook updates I posted throughout the past year:

20 pounds  30 pounds40 Pounds50 Pounds100 Pounds

The benefits, both physical and mental, are readily apparent. The biggest difference is that I no longer say “No” to things because of my weight. I am much more social because I am more confident in my appearance as well as my abilities. I enjoy life more and I feel like I am more of an active participant in it. Physically, it feels great to walk up a flight or two of stairs and not be winded. It feels great to not feel my heartbeat in my extremities when I am lying down at night. It strikes me most when I fall; the other day I fell while playing basketball with a friend – and immediately got back up. It felt so good to fall and not get hurt at all, when during my entire life up to that point a fall put me at risk for a broken bone or other injury.

Both getting my parents on board and putting pressure on myself by telling others what I was doing have been instrumental in my success over the last year, but I believe that my failed crash diet was just as important. Not to say everyone should try a crash diet and then get more realistic. Please, learn from my mistake and skip that step all together; it was not a fun time. But doing it the wrong way showed me how important it is to do it the right way. I do tend to be stubborn so it isn’t a surprise that I had to hit a wall before gaining an understanding, but that stubbornness has served me just as well once I made up my mind to make serious changes in my life.

Written by: Kameron Eller, brother of WSU employee Troy Eller

(We’re proud to post Kameron’s story. However, every individual has different needs at different ages. Be sure to follow a healthy and varied diet based on your needs)

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