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Obese Recovery

Aspire Perspire Inspire


Starting Weight: 460 lbs
Current Weight: 250 lbs
Weight Loss: 210 lbs (so far)

My weight has been my worst demon throughout my life.
In April 2020 I got the call that would change my life.
It was from my family doctor.
He was calling to tell me the results of my blood test and…
that I had Type II Diabetes.
I always knew that eventually that call would come…it exists in my family line.
I still struggled with the new reality.


Taken at 460 lbs
I watched diabetes kill my father over the course of 30 years.  I watched it affect my mother who also had it. I watched then, and still watch some of my other relatives with their health problems…and now, I was one of them. 
My highest recorded weight was 460 lbs.
The only reason I know that number is that I was forced to weigh myself when I was at a doctors office having to prep for bariatric sleeve surgery in April 2020.
I had to get the meter machine and poke my finger to test my blood sugar. The Doctor would have also prescribed medication for me, but said that given I was going for the weight loss surgery, that he would see if I could skip the medication altogether if I lost 10% of my body weight (about 50 lbs)
So I began to work on my health.

It was a struggle! 

Coach Frank at over 450 lbs at a wedding reception with his son
I started that April. Now the pain of staying the same was WORSE than the pain associated with change. I lost a little weight leading up to November (very little; about 12 pounds).   12 pounds in 8 months.  I was not making the progress needed.

I also resolved that I would not let a lack of money push off the surgery. This time I was willing to go into debt, borrow money, make discount deals to make sure we had enough money to keep the family taken care of. And so, I did. 

In November 2020 I got the call that I would have my surgery in early December and began the pre-op diet.

Most patients are given a week of the pre-op diet to prep for surgery. The goal is to lose as much weight as possible in a short time span, not just to lose weight but to also shrink the liver. Large liver makes the surgery more complicated. And I was terrified of having any complications during this surgery. 

However, the surgeon told me that because of how obese I was, AND that I had diabetes, he wanted me to do the pre-op diet for an entire MONTH…4 weeks, to lose as much as I can and shrink my liver.

Lost a good chunk of weight with that (given how obese I am, the weight loss did not show. But I did not care. Too worried about the surgery.)

So I started at 460;
lost 12 lbs from April to November 2020;
and lost 30 lbs in the month of November on the pre op diet.

The pre-op diet was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do…

and I have re-invented myself a few times already..

but this one…oh boy…was painful.

Same pair of shorts, four years apart. Coach Frank's favourite weight loss photo
On the day of my surgery I was down to 418 lbs
It was as good as I was going to get it.
The surgeon was thrilled. He told me that most patients never lose more than 10-15 pounds…the fact I lost 30 was fantastic!
when I woke up from the surgery, the surgeon told me that it went well, there were no complications, but he did make it a point to tell me that even with the sudden weight loss, my liver was still larger than expected.
Not a good thing, but nonetheless, I had survived the surgery and now I just had to survive the recovery.
Had the surgery and have been trying to adjust to the new normal of tiny meals, and physical distress that comes with this sort of recovery.
My tight dress pants for loose!
April 2021: One year later…


A year later from that phone call from my doctor telling me I had diabetes.
From April 2020 to April 2021, I lost 100 lbs. AND, my doctor said that since I lost as much as I did, my diabetes is actually now in remission.
I still have a long way to go.
Another 160 lbs to lose, and it will likely take another 2 years to get there (if I ever get to that end goal). Even if I do not, I am in less over-all pain and able to move easier.
September 2021
I decided to do something drastic. I was stuck at 320 lbs (losing 140 lbs at this point). I was in a stall…I was not losing weight for some time.  I was “scheduled” to lose about 15-20 more pounds by the end of December 2021 (based on the stats of other bariatric patients who were a year out from the surgery). I was falling behind on my weight loss. 
I had to do something.

So I did.

Left: about 460 lbs struggling to stand or walk. On the right 260 lbs
I got a part time physical job working in a warehouse department store. It was the most physical job I have ever had. The pain of moving, lifting, being on my feet when a mere 18 months earlier, I was barely able to walk was absolute torture. 
My doctors all told me NOT to do this.  They encouraged me to focus on my diet and do exercises very lightly….I was trying that already, but it was not getting me the results I wanted. So in defiance of their advice, I took the job.
I was honest with my employer. I told them I lost 140 lbs, wanted this job to get exercise, and to bring in some stable income due in part to how covid was making it harder for me to earn a living from home as a coach. I was also honest about the fact that I did not know if I could handle it.  It was possible that I would try and fail.
I am not afraid of failing. I have failed at many things. 
I am more afraid of not trying…the not knowing what could have been.
My mental health punishes me with both, but the pain of not knowing
is often worse than the pain of my failures.
My goal with this job was to work my way from part time to eventually being a full time employee with benefits (my family needed the benefits for certain health concerns and it was my job to provide it, by any means necessary). ​

Oh the pain.

On my first day on the floor, I hurt myself. Torn a muscle where my right leg meets my waist while getting up from sitting on the floor to preform one of my work tasks. (I was still 320 lbs with no experience being this active in 20 plus years).   The pain from it was so bad, I was having stabbing attacks  that caused my vision to blackout and felt like throwing up.
I headed back to the doctor and was given a pain killer (a really strong one) to help me heal.  I was given the “I told you so” speech. Did not care.  I took the pills, took the pain, and got a prescription for a waste and back support to help with my rehabilitation. 
But I refused to quit. 
My managers checked in on me. They were very supportive actually.
They told me to take as many breaks as I needed.
They saw how much I was pushing myself, how hard I was trying.
I told them I was hurting, and it was hard, but that I refused to quit. 
I told them I would accept being fired, but that I was not giving up.
The good news is that I lost 15 lbs in my first 3 weeks and was down to 305 lbs by October. 
The bad news was that I was in SO MUCH PAIN…I was exhausted at the end of even the shortest shifts.  My wife would massage me every night after work…even the slightest tough of her hand just hurt me something awful.  
But I refused to quit.
To give you an idea of the hurt I experienced, listen to this:
-I had to wear steel-toed work boots. They did not have one in my size, so I had to take the one size down. I also need wide-sized boots, but they did not have it in stock. Ouch
-You know how your heal gets cut up from new footwear?  Yup, dealt with that too.
-I live a 10 min walk away from where I work. It took me 20 min to walk there at the start of my shift. At the end of my shift I would have to stay at work to sit down for at least 30 min (sometimes longer) to find the energy to walk home.  This was every single shift for the first 6 months.  In fact one day I stayed too late on a Sunday night and got locked in the building…had to trigger the alarm to get out through an emergency exit.  Another time I left the building and sat on a rock bench on the way home. I looked so out of it from pain and exhaustion, that a cop car pulled up and the officers checked on me.  They asked me if I knew my name, what day it was, etc…thinking I might be a street person on drugs. I had to explain that, no, I did not do drugs and that I had lost 140 lbs and took a physical job for the first time in my life and that I was just beat from a hard days work. 
-My dental health was not great either. During this time I had to get a tooth pulled (could not afford the root canal).  Once that tooth was gone and the pain from it was over, I noticed my mouth still hurt.  Turns out I had a second tooth that needed to be pulled because I again, could not afford the root canal.   
-I wore roller-blade knee pads that I purchased from the thrift store to help me get on my knees…my knees were in bad shape and started to make clicking noises (painful ones) from all the years they had to support my obese body.  Sometimes my body would go one way, and my knee would go another….that hurt. 
-The protective gear I wore did help with the pain, but the gear itself was bulky and uncomfortable. It is not fun to put on and wear.
-when I went in for a fitting of my back brace (that I got the referral for)  I told the clinic technician about the other pain and he said that was not normal.  He suggested that I consult their in house doctor so I can also get strong knee braces AND orthotics for my feet.  Most would be covered by insurance, but not all. I decided that making my health a priority, I need to be willing to pay whatever it costs, so I said yes.  It turns out I totally needed the knee braces on my legs (both) and when I started to wear the orthotics in my work boots, it took a few weeks but in time, my feet did not hurt as much… 
Work gear needed for physical job to cope with chronic pain. Weight was about 320 lbs at this point (140 lbs lost)
So, I had the new boot pain, lugging around a 320 lbs corps, heal cut pain, toe pain from the rubbing against steel, knee pain, back pain, the muscle tear pain, foot pain from never had orthotics, tooth pain, and as I got more knowledgeable about the pain I was in, I discovered that I need wrist braces and an elbow support as well.  I did not know what I didn’t know
…that my body wasn’t in pain just because I was obese.
I was obese because my body was trying to cope with the pain that I did not know was already there.
Obesity is NOT the problem…it is the SYMPTOM  
…see what I was dealing with now? 
Coach Frank from 460 lbs to 280 lbs after about 5 months doing the physical job
When a person lives with chronic pain, it becomes such a normal part of everyday life, that we forget that there is life outside that pain. I had been living with my chronic pain for so long, I could not remember a time in my life that did not have pain.
I discovered that a lot of my food related repeating behavior patterns was a result of how I used food to cope with the constant chronic pain. This helped me understand why losing weight and exercising were so difficult for me to maintain. 
All the while, having to wear a mask making it harder to breath…AND learning a new job, a new domain of information that I was not used too. Plus I needed to keep coaching on my time off because I was only making minimum wage at this physical job. 
I refused to quit.

My family needs those benefits.
My family needs those extra dollars (even if it was only minimum wage).
My body needs me to suffer through this so I can figure out this health thing
once and for all.
8 months into the physical job

I had lost enough weight in those 8 months (about another 50 lbs) that:
-my feet were smaller, so the boots did not hurt anymore. I learned to wear two pairs of socks and that solved a lot of the pain problems
-I lost enough weight to merit a new stomach and back brace, which was more comfortable to wear.
Coach Frank at 260 lbs (lost 200 lbs) and no longer needing the custom back and belly support belt
-my body got used to the orthotics and when I work a shorter shift, I actually feel the difference and now know the difference between my feet being “tired” (like a normal person experiences) and my feet being in pain.
-it took 6 months, but I transitioned from part time, to full time hours.  I am still shattered at the end of the day/week…but less shattered than when I first started. So my stamina is up. 
Two years later…
In April 2022, two years after the initial phone call that prompted this part of the journey I had lost 190 lbs. Was down to 270 lbs from 460 lbs.
August 2022 :
It is now official. The plateau stall that I have been in since April is over! As of August 2022, I am now at 200 lbs lost!
Was 460 lbs in April 2020, and I am now 260 lbs (more like 255 lbs actually, but who’s counting… ).
60 lbs left to lose.
In September 2002, I completed my Nutritionist Certification with ISSA
In October 2022, I completed my Fitness Coach Certification with ISSA
I am now a Certified Personal Trainer.
Now, I can work with you.
Contact Me so we can work together! 
Join me on THIS side of the canyon.