I grew up in a poor family. We'd go shopping once a month and buy enough frozen foods and canned goods to get us to the next month. For me, vegetables came in cans and were microwaved with a half stick of butter or margarine.
At 9 years old, I weighed 164 pounds.
I still remember getting excited over food and knowing others didn't share the same excitement. I remember tortellini I had when I was 10 and I swear, I've still not had a pasta that good. I'm still chasing that tortellini, much like a drug addict is still chasing their first high.
At 13, I weighed 222 pounds.
Physical activity? Nope. Not after I turned 16. I was no longer interested in playing football and baseball. I'd rather watch them on TV with a snack and a bottle of soda.
At 19, I weighed 303 pounds.
Growing up, eating out was a luxury reserved for special occasions, even if it was just a fast food joint. I was now working and making money and able to eat out every night. I was a success - I'd made it! I could have McDonald's for lunch and Taco Bell for dinner, and still pay my rent. I thought I was rich! And before long, that became my routine. I'd leave work for lunch and get fast food. I'd leave work at the end of the day and pick up fast food on the way home. My weight would rise and fall, but usually hovered right around the 300 pound mark.
In 2007 I went to SeaWorld and was turned away from a roller coaster. Because I was too big. For the "fat guy" row. I left the park that day and went back to my hotel room and attempted to eat away the awful feelings caused by being too large for a roller coaster.
Fast forward to 2014 when my job sent my team to an amusement park. Remembering that trip to SeaWorld I spent the 2 months leading up to the trip trying to lose enough weight to be able to ride the rides. There was only 1 coaster I was too big for that day, and that was just enough of an excuse for me to stop eating better. I put back on the 30 pounds I lost, and then some.
I didn't pay much attention to my ballooning weight until the end of 2015, when I started a string of half-assed attempts to turn my life around. I didn't know where to start, I just knew I wanted to do better. I counted calories, I tried walking, I tried a stationary bike - all to mixed results.
I spent most of 2016 more depressed than I'd ever been. I had suicidal thoughts multiple times, daily. It wasn't uncommon during those days for me to picture myself hanging or shooting myself. I thought about Overeaters Anonymous and even made my way to two meetings, before losing the nerve to actually enter the buildings the meetings were held in.
I knew I needed help so on July 1, I went to see a therapist. That therapist told me I'd need to be gluten, dairy and sugar free in order for her to see me. I left that day thinking "I'm not even good enough for therapy" and continued to deal with the depression by eating and hating myself. Rinse, wash, repeat. I was waiting to die.
At 32, I weighed 336 pounds.
As the month of August rolled on, things started to clear up for me. I knew I had to do something. I knew my life was at stake. I knew I needed a change. I was still making excuses though. I'd talk about DDPYoga and show people videos of Arthur & Jared, like that would miraculously get me their results. Then one day, a friend asked me "Why haven't you ordered the program yet?" She was right, so I ordered the program.
I ordered the Max Pack with a DDPYoga Mat, but still thought "I'll never use these."
A few days later, I was complaining to another friend about how unhappy I was and how I felt like such a loser. That friend told me, "stop being a loser, then." I hated her for it, at first. I went home that night and ate my sorrows away with a pizza and ice cream, but before long I realized, my friend was right. I needed to stop being a loser.
Diet and nutrition had always been difficult for me, until a third friend introduced me to the Whole30 diet. Finally I found a diet that was clean cut. As an all or nothing guy, that was key.
This all happened within a week and was a clear sign that it was time to make some changes. I had some vacation time at work, so I took the first 10 days of September off to focus on making these changes, and nothing else.
I cleaned out my refrigerator and freezer and I started eating a Whole30 compliant diet on September 1. I did DDPYoga for the first time on September 3, with modifications of course. I spent the first 10 days of the month only focusing on myself. I followed the beginner schedule and stuck to meats, fruits, vegetables, eggs and water. Having the time off from work made it easy to set a foundation for change without having the "I had a tough day" excuse for ordering pizza/pasta for dinner.
After 10 days, it made it easier to incorporate these changes into my everyday life.
I've found the DDPYoga program helpful because it's people that look like me doing the workouts. Other programs employ models to do their workouts, which would have discouraged me before I started. With DDPYoga I see the people that have had results with the workouts doing them in the videos. It's much more inspiring than watching someone that's been in good shape their entire life half ass their way through knee lifts.
The change in my life since starting this journey in September has been amazing. I have filmed myself before nearly every workout and I've started posting those videos to YouTube(#SousisLoses!) I'm fired up about building out that channel and creating new content. My confidence is improved, I'm more outgoing and I've taken on a new position with my company which requires me to move to NYC, which is something I never would have considered before.
It's amazing what happens when you start to own your life. In 170 days I've lost 80 pounds and...
at 32, I weigh 256 pounds. For now...