If you had to guess, what do you think he has in common with this kid?
The correct answer is EVERYTHING because they are the same person. I am going to share a very personal story with you today, one that makes me choke back tears of emotion. I am doing this with Tony's permission because it was a journey of discovery, perserverance and dedication. It is Tony's story of TRIUMPH and VICTORY!
This is Tony in March of 2009, on his 16th birthday.
As Tony's mom I was frustrated and a nag. I was constantly after him to stop eating, eat less, eat right, drink water, eat an apple, don't eat after 7 at night, eat a proper breakfast. Ugh. I tried everything to help him lose weight. He tried baseball and basketball, I made him exercise and go bike riding. But to tell you the truth, Tony was a grazer and every time he walked through the kitchen he was eating. And the more I bugged him about it, the more he would sneak food into his room and eat in solitude. It was a vicious and frustrating cycle. Tony would occasionally try a diet but after a week of starving himself he would step on the scale and see that he hadn't lost a pound for his efforts and it would send him reeling back to the kitchen and back to his bad eating habits.
This is Tony on his 17th birthday and this is the one picture that totally breaks my heart. Does this look like a happy kid to you?
About 2 months later Tony came to me and told me he wanted to go back on a diet. He said he wanted to do it HIS way with no interference from me and he said he was determined to lose some weight this time. Frankly, I was at the end of my rope and I was ready for him to try just about anything. Honestly, he had tried losing weight so many times that I wasn't holding out much hope for this attempt either. I told him to do what he had to do as long as he didn't starve himself. Silently I said a prayer to God to PLEASE just let this kid lose some damn weight this time.
Day 1 Middle of May 2010 Weight 215 lbs
When Tony started this diet he was close to wearing XXL shirts and size 40 pants. He was wearing larger clothes than his father. At this time he had about 2 weeks left of his Junior year in high school.
At first his diet consisted of cutting out ALL junk food like candy, cookies, chips, coke and fast food. He mainly ate fruit for breakfast, small lunch of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and dinner was pasta, steak, chicken or pork chops.
At the end of 2 weeks he had lost 11 pounds. He went to his Junior Prom with a girl "friend" but this was actually the girl he really wanted to date. Remember this because we'll come back to this later. This is Tony in his first tux. Nobody had noticed yet that he had lost any weight.
By the end of June 2010 he was starting to see some small results. His tee shirts were actually starting to sag on him a little. I also noticed that he was beginning to get out of the house more and doing things like fishing and going for long walks.
His meals by now were consisting of basically the same as before, no junk food at all, but he was doing a lot more exercise. Any time he wanted a snack he ate an apple. He ate a LOT of apples.
I think the real turning point for Tony came when he started his Senior year of high school. When school started back up at the end of August kids were coming up to him and asking him how much weight he had lost. One teacher actually asked him if he was sick. Tony started going to the gym every day after school and working out for an hour to an hour and a half. By this time he weighed 175 pounds and his old jeans no longer stayed up around his waist.
Around this time I started to notice a huge difference in Tony's outlook and attitude. He started researching nutritional values of the food he was eating, looking at protein powders and taking vitamins. He expanded his workout methods to include a punching bag and doing sit ups. And suddenly he started dating. Remember that girl I told you about? The one he took to the prom as a friend? The 2 of them were starting to spend more time together.
By Christmas Tony had lost 70 pounds and weighed 145 pounds.
Slowly, but surely, Tony was taking control of his life. And he was smiling a whole lot more. Kids at school were asking his advice in the gym and telling him how good he looked. By January 2011 he had lost a total of 80 pounds and weighed 135. By his 18th birthday in March 2011, he was wearing a size small shirt and size 32 pants. By then Tony and Alex had been dating 6 months.
By the beginning of April 2011, Tony had maintained his weight of 135 for over 3 months and had started building up some muscle mass. Here's Tony in a pair of his old jeans.... No shit - can you believe this kid????
Remember last year when Tony went to his Junior Prom? He weighed 215. This year, for his Senior Prom, he weighed 135 pounds and went with the girl he always wanted!
So here he is at his graduation, 80 pounds lighter and so much happier.
I can't begin to tell you how proud of him I am. He did it all himself. He is happier and healthier than he has ever been.