Ray Hunting went from 350 pounds down to 175 over two years
I never get tired of hearing about people making the necessary changes in their life to get fit and healthy (check out this list of low-carb weight loss success stories!). So I was absolutely thrilled and inspired after reading this Nashua (NH) Telegraph story about a man named Ray Hunting who lost an unbelievable 175 pounds--chopping himself in two!
"I lost half myself," he exclaimed.
Hunting, 28, had allowed his weight to creep up to 350 pounds and was wearing size 60 inch pants, 3XL shirts, and was absolutely miserable with the life he had been given. The more I read his story, I couldn't help but see myself in it time and time again which I will illustrate in a moment.
As happens to most of us who get fed up with our weight and decide to do something about it for good, Hunting had a change in his work life that sorta forced his hand into eating better. As a security officer at the Manchester, New Hampshire airport working ruthless hours, he felt compelled to eat whatever he could find in the food court--usually fast food and the junk food served by airport vendors. Not exactly healthy living!
But when his hours shifted to the overnight shift when the food stands were closed, something happened to Hunting for the first time maybe ever in his entire life--he had to start bringing his own food to eat from home. With this seemingly small change in his life, he decided the time was right to start eating better. And oh what a difference it was about to make!
However, because of the many failures at weight loss he had in the past with other "diets" he had been on, Hunting did NOT want anyone to know he was losing weight. He kept his clothes as baggy as he could get away with so nobody would see the changes he was making.
I can totally understand that mentality. While I certainly wasn't hiding my weight loss by any stretch of the imagination, I sure wasn't advertising it either. How arrogant would it be to say, "Hey, look at me weighing 410 pounds! I'm losing weight now!" Yaaaawwwwn. Really, Jimmy...AGAIN! Yep, I'd been down that road before and all the weight had come pouring back on that it was a bit embarrassing to tell ANYONE what I was doing.
Yet, even though I somehow knew this time would be different, it was better to just keep my big mouth shut about it and wait until others noticed. When someone brings it up, then I can explain what I am doing then and only then. But I didn't know it was going to take until I lost about 100 pounds lost before ANYONE noticed (EEEK!). Nevertheless, I was so encouraged by the floodgate of praise that came my way from that point forward (even STILL to this day I get people complimenting me on how well I've kept my weight off...it's soooo encouraging!).
For Ray Hunting, he realizes his life hasn't just changed--it's been RADICALLY TRANFORMED forever in so many ways that again remind me of what I have experienced following my 180+ pound low-carb weight loss success in 2004.
Here are a few of the similarities between Ray and me:
- Ray says losing the weight was "the easy part." YEP!
- Ray lost over 20 inches in his waist. ME TOO!
- Ray felt "invisible" when he was obese. DON'T REMIND ME!
- Ray says people approach him now who never did before. YES!
- Ray can't stand being idle now. HOO BOY, YOU CAN SAY THAT AGAIN!
- Ray can shop for clothes anywhere he wants. B-BYE BIG & TALL!
- Ray asks "is that really me" when he looks in the mirror. I STILL DO!
- Ray avoided diet pills and surgery entirely. ALL-NATURAL, BABY!
- Ray was bound and determined to do this. A MUST-HAVE TRAIT!
- Ray joined a gym and committed himself to exercise. DAILY DOSES!
- Ray didn't set a specific weight loss goal. NOT THAT IMPORTANT!
- Ray worried about failing...AGAIN! BUT THIS TIME WAS DIFFERENT!
- Ray couldn't believe the changes. THEY HAPPEN SO FAST TO YOU!
- Ray started influencing others. IT'S AMAZING WHO IS WATCHING YOU!
- Ray credits "self-motivation" for his success. ONLY YOU CAN DO IT!
- Ray's family is "extremely proud" of him. MINE COULDN'T BE PROUDER!
- Ray deals with the psychological fallout. A DAY-BY-DAY STRUGGLE!
While this story didn't say HOW Hunting lost his weight other than working out with a personal trainer at his local Best Fitness gym in Nashua, NH, reading several different unnamed diet books, and "trying to control what I was eating," it's still incredibly motivating to hear what this man has done for himself by making some fairly simple changes to his lifestyle.
Best of all, he knows the biggest test starts now--the neverending quest to keep the weight off permanently.
"Living afterwards in the new you you've created is the interesting part, the hard part," Hunting revealed.
He encourages people who want to lose weight to remember this is a long journey that doesn't need to start off with a bang to be effective. In fact, he "only" lost a few pounds over the first couple of months of his weight loss plan, but he didn't let that deter him from continuing on.
"The problem I had before, and I see it in other people is, you set a lofty goal, and when you're not seeing results, you give up very easily," Hunting said.
WOW, what wisdom that is! And he is exactly right. While attempting to reach a certain goal is a good guide, I wouldn't get too hung up on it. If I set my goal at 230 pounds when I started the Atkins diet on January 1, 2004, then I don't know if I would have necessarily made it there.
The main thing is to get the scale moving downward when you weigh that much and get out of the "danger zone" with your health. I have done that now just as Ray Hunting has. When you get healthier than you've ever been before, then you can start to look at setting more structured goals for YOU that are within your reach without discouraging yourself.
For example, I'd like to get down to 199 pounds and I have been working towards this goal for a couple of months now. Currently I weigh 223 pounds and am not fretting over getting to that weight as soon as possible. I'm beyond the need to lose weight that fast since I'm healthier and thinner than I have ever been as an adult.
But that little goal I have set helps keep me accountable to continue the progress I have made over the past few years whether I ever lose another pound again! I'm not about to let myself get down or discouraged if I don't make it there, though. What I keep explaining to people who laugh at me for struggling with these last few pounds (yep, there really are insensitive idiotic jerks out there who relish in doing just that!) is that I'm already a winner at losing and I don't need another 20 pounds to validate that fact. Have you met many people who have lost 190 pounds and maintained that weight loss for more than a year? Not likely!
I won't be surprised if Hunting has to deal with some of these issues, too, the longer he goes on post-weight loss experience which hopefully will last forever and ever amen. You just do what you gotta do to keep it going no matter how evil and cruel this world may get.
"It's mixed [the emotions] as you go through the process and become the new you," Hunting explained. "Your whole life is completely changed."
COMPLETELY changed is RIGHT! People who are overweight or obese can feel like they are stuck that way forever. I used to feel that way and never thought it would be humanly possible for me to be "normal" like everybody else around me. You feel like such an outcast when you're fat and losing weight brings you into the fold--FINALLY! Yet it's still difficult to shake off the mental feeling of rejection that you had before even when you've overcome.
In the end, it all comes down to YOU and your own internal mechanism to MAKE IT HAPPEN, Hunting believes. I concur 100 percent and have said it here at my blog until I'm blue in the face. If you want to succeed at weight loss, then you must make up your mind RIGHT NOW that you want to do this seriously. Anything other than an enthusiastic and unequivical YES means you are destined for failure before you even start. Don't do that to yourself!
Do you want to succeed at weight loss like Ray and I did so you never have to worry about what you look like, feel like, or be like ever again? It's not an easy road by any stretch of the imagination, but it IS possible. DO IT with every fiber of being within you and don't let up for even a second. The payoff is so worth it!
Let today be the first day of the rest of your long and healthy life totally committed to the lifestyle change of your choice (that was livin' la vida low-carb for me!), read as much as you can about your chosen way of eating, follow that plan as closely as possible, and then keep following the principles of that plan forever.
I don't know why so many people make weight loss such a mysterious and difficult thing. It's not as hard as you think it is (not nearly as taxing as KEEPING the weight off, let me tell you!), but it does take a concerted and purposeful effort on your part. Forget the supposedly easy ways out and embrace the healthy all-natural choices available to you. You will NEVER regret making that choice.
Unfortunately, I do not have an e-mail address for Ray Hunting in Nashua, New Hampshire. I couldn't find him listed in any of the online directories, but I would LOVE to publicly tell him THANK YOU for being willing to share his story of triumph over morbid obesity. Anyone who has gone through what he has these past couple of years deserves a HUGE platform for sharing with others to give them hope.
If you know Ray personally and can touch base with him, then please let him know about this post I wrote about his weight loss success story. I'd LOVE to interview him about some questions I have regarding his weight loss journey, including how did he do it, does he have loose skin to contend with, what is he eating like now compared to during his weight loss, among MANY other questions. My e-mail address is email@example.com.
Maybe Ray could start a blog or something--possibly "Hunting For Weight Loss" or "Finding Your Way With Ray." We NEED voices like Ray Hunting out there speaking the TRUTH about what it means to lose weight and keep it off forever. I certainly hope he considers doing that if it is something that drives him like it does me. He has a lot more crediblity in my eyes than any of the so-called health "experts" who have never experienced what it's like as a fat person.
Sometimes I feel like a lonely voice in the wilderness blogging about weight loss from the perspective that I do. I know I'm not the ONLY one out there since there are MANY AWESOME SITES doing the same thing that I am doing from the individualized perspective of their authors. That doesn't mean we can't use a few more, though.
Have you lost a ton of weight and want to inspire the tens of thousands of people who read the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog each month? Then feel free to share your story with me by e-mailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I HIGHLY encourage you to create a blog and make your voice heard loud and clear to all those government and health leaders who keep promoting the low-fat, low-calorie lie. The more we counter that with real people, then they can't help but start to take heed to our message. :)