From a vacation that resulted in too many rest breaks and breaking the restaurant chair to completing the Chicago Marathon. This is just one way to sum up the journey Chris Deacon has been on since he’s dropped nearly 200 pounds with proper diet and exercise.
At his heaviest Chris weighed in at 393 pounds. He admits to always being overweight and always struggling with diets. He’d try one, lose 50 pounds, then gain 70 back. Chris explained how the demands of adulthood made things even harder for his growing weight issue.
“…as I approached my 30s, there was a perfect storm that led me from overweight to obese. I moved from a retail job where I was always on my feet to a desk job. At the same time, I got married and, because we were both in school, began to eat fast food a lot more.”
Obesity caused many struggles in every aspect of Chris’ life, but especially in the physical sense as it begun to drain his energy. “This influenced my life professionally as well as socially. I also had trouble getting around,” he said. “I would get winded going up a single flight of stairs. Anytime friends would want to do something remotely active, I would bow out.”
Chris’ rock bottom moment came when he and his wife vacationed in Savannah, Georgia.
“We spent a lot of time walking around historic Savannah and I would have to sit down every block or two. I was in constant pain and discomfort. Then we decided to take a horse drawn buggy tour. Climbing out of the buggy, I split my pants for everybody to see. We had to drive for some time to find the ‘big and tall’ store, because nothing else would fit.”
Then, on the way home from vacation, the couple stopped in Atlanta to have dinner with friends. When Chris sat down in his plastic chair on the restaurant patio, it shattered. “I spilled to the ground in front of everyone in a busy restaurant on a Friday night,” he said. “It was humiliating. After that trip, I knew, without a doubt that my size was impacting the quality of my life and I had to make a change.”
Chris was advised to seek weight loss surgery. In order to do so he had to be under a doctor’s care for six months prior. He met with the doctor and was prescribed an appetite suppressant. He was surprised to hear the doctor’s assumption that Chris wouldn’t need surgery in six months, but the doctor was right.
Chris was able to rethink food, learn to see it as fuel. Chris had a pretty strong emotional attachment to food. He even referred to it as a friend. His next step was to get moving, which took took some time but was well worth the effort.
“This was difficult due to my size. After I lost my first 20 pounds, I found a work-out video. I began doing just the warm-up because that was all I could do,” he said. “Each day, I would push myself and do a little bit more. Soon, I was adding to my work-out.”
Chris bought “EA sports active” for the wii and started using that regularly. When he first started, the sensor wouldn’t fit around his leg, so he had to sew the straps onto his shorts. And after six months, he decided to try running. “I started in a nearby park and would run a quarter of a block and then walk a quarter of the block, increasing how far I ran each day. I set a goal of running a 5K by the fall. I ended up running a couple that summer and a 10K in the fall. The next year I ran a couple of half marathons and then ran the Chicago marathon!”
It’s been three years since Chris began his journey. He started at 393 pounds and was down to 210 before last year’s Chicago Marathon. His weight bounces up just a pinch when he’s not in training, just like all runners. But overall, he’s a new man with a new life in front of him.
“My life has changed in so many ways. I have more energy and more confidence. I don’t feel like my body keeps me away from anything. I don’t feel like I have any limits on me. I ran the Chicago marathon – I can do anything!”
Chris even became a firefighter for his town’s volunteer fire/rescue department. Other small changes he’s seen include finally enjoying shopping for clothes and having friends come to him for advice on how to start running or lose weight.
“There is not a single aspect of my life, social, professional, emotional, spiritual, physical, mental, that has not improved with my weight loss.”
Chris maintains his new shape mostly with running. He hopes to run another marathon soon. Until then he’s running several half marathons and even considering getting into triathlons. Since Chris has gained so much from running, he’s trying to use it to help others and has become a charity runner for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. “I feel that running, literally, saved my life and now I want to run to help save others.”
Congratulations Chris! Keep putting one foot in front of the other!
September 18th, 2012