In August 2016, I traveled home to celebrate my parent's 40th Wedding anniversary. I tend not to travel home too often, but I was really looking forward to catching up with my family again. Although I was looking forward to it, I was also filled with a sense of dread. I had an inkling that this would be the weekend that I would finally hit my lowest ebb.
At the beginning of 2014, I was in a similar predicament. Tipping the scales at 270 lbs, I was at my heaviest. A friend of mine encouraged me to start running with her in the evenings. After a torturous start, I came to enjoy it. The weight started falling off me, and I discovered a passion that I didn't know I had. On a trip to Berlin that summer I was knocked off a bike while cycling in the city. After flying home, my right leg had swollen quite badly. I continued trying to run, but the pain was starting to affect me. I was advised to stop activities with heavy impact. I used this as an excuse to get back on the couch. From July 2014 to August 2016, I gained nearly 90 lbs. As a result, I traveled home to my family weighing in at my heaviest ever, 322 lbs.
I finished up a one-year term as head of a Students Union here in Ireland. The job was enjoyable, but also came with a great deal of stress. I used this stress to justify a poor lifestyle. My eating got out of control. Lots of fast food, lots of processed crap. My biggest addictions were soft drinks and chocolate. These had always been my downfall. I developed a pain in my abdomen in May 2016. Just thinking it was a muscle strain, I ignored it. I went ahead with my job. Then I awoke in the middle of the night in the worst pain I had ever felt. After going to see a doctor, I was advised to go the hospital to make sure that I didn't have appendicitis. It turns out that I had a serious Gallbladder infection. This was brought on by the added weight as well as my poor diet.
This should have been the wake-up call that I needed. But it wasn't. I continued to put my body through hell for another 10 weeks. In that time I couldn't walk without getting pains in my back. I had stopped meeting friends in the evening time because I felt physically exhausted. I had watched WWE a lot when I was a kid. I had followed Chris Jericho on twitter. I was scrolling through my newsfeed and saw him talking about DDP Yoga. I found the Arthur video on Youtube, and decided that it was worth a shot. I ordered a set of DVDs at the start of August.
I made the trip home on August 6th. My knees were shot, my back was killing me and I was breathing heavily. I had recently bought some new T-shirts, in XXXL. This was a real shock to the system. I was tired, bloated and unhappy. While talking to my Mum that night, I made the decision to change my life around.
When I left that weekend, I bought a subscription to the DDP Yoga Now app. The next day I got down to start the Diamond Dozen. By the end of the week I had completed the Fat Burner and Energy workouts as well. I decided to get my first tattoo the same week. I can't put my finger on it, but I felt that this time I wouldn't slide back. I slowly built up the workouts throughout the next few weeks. I didn't lose much weight in the first month. This was mostly down to my diet. I slowly started to learn how to cook properly. I eliminated a great deal of my trigger foods immediately (Pizza, Bread, Chips, Chocolate etc.). As I got more confident with cooking, the pounds started to fall off.
By the time I went to a friends wedding in Berlin in October, I had shed 15 lbs. Aside from the weight loss, my body felt great. My knees and back stopped hurting, and I started to move in ways that I had not since my teen years. I spent Christmas at home with my family, 40 lbs lighter than when they had last seen me. December saw me doing DDP Yoga six days a week, which I have stuck to since. I have moved on to the more advanced workouts, and I am really enjoying the challenges that I am facing. As of typing this post, I have lost 80 lbs. I am enjoying wearing clothes that in some cases I have not fit into in 5 years.
This programme is a godsend. I have never stuck with anything this long before. I know that I will still be doing this long after I reach my target weight. The support that exists in the DDP Yoga community is something special. It is such a positive atmosphere, and has managed to convert a cynic like myself. Instead of shying away from things, I have become more outgoing. I would encourage anyone, no matter what your current situation is, to give this a go. Share your stories and watch complete strangers row in behind you to offer their support. I was shocked to receive a phone call from DDP himself just before Christmas. If you are willing to go for it, and put yourself out there, you will be pleasantly surprised by the change that will come over you.
My goal weight is to get below 200 lbs. I do not have a specific time frame in mind to achieve this. I am enjoying the journey. Ideally I'd like to be there by the end of 2017, but I am treating it as a marathon instead of a sprint.