My name is Brett B. I am 31 years old. I started at North Ankeny Farrell’s several years ago along with my wife Katie. It was the fall session of 2012 when I started the 10-week program. I was about 275 lbs. at the time, and my doctor, being concerned about my weight, scheduled a consultation with a surgeon to discuss having the lap-band procedure performed. At the time, I was 27 years old, and somewhat active. In lieu of surgery and its potential complications, I wanted to give diet and exercise a try. Our eating habits at home were not great; my evening and weekend social life contained a fair amount of overeating and beer drinking. Exercising at Farrell’s had at least stopped my weight gain, but over the course of the 10 weeks I failed to lose any weight due to not following the nutrition program. My own health simply was not my primary concern at this point. My heart was not in it. I did not sign up for FIT following our 10-week session. I chose to ignore my struggle with obesity.
Life continued as I had been living previously for another year. Once my wife and I decided to start a family, I began to seriously consider improving my health. We rejoined Farrell’s, and this time, both Katie and I had some success. I hadn’t changed my unhealthy after work routine, but I was able to tone it down, which proved to be a step in the right direction. In December 2013, Katie and I discovered that we were expecting! This is the moment where things really started going well for us. As I prepared mentally to become a father, my desire and drive to improve physically also started to materialize.
Katie and I were becoming a regular at Farrell’s, and instead of attending one or two classes a week, we were going four to five times a week. At our 20 week pregnancy checkup, we found out we were having a boy! Our joy was short lived, as a few days after the checkup we received a phone call that brought our world crashing down. Our unborn son was diagnosed with a very serious heart defect. Our cares shifted from our own health to researching that of our son’s. We traveled to a variety of hospitals for other opinions and options. Each week we would go in for another round of ultrasounds. The news we received was never good. Finally, in June 2014, Stephen Michael B’s tiny heart had beat for the last time. Following the birth of our stillborn son, Katie and I took plenty of time to ourselves to heal from this tragedy, and unfortunately for me, the grieving process was comforted by eating. I had no desire to do anything active. My weight gain was rapid over the next year, which I ignored until the point that I was 310 lbs. This was the heaviest I had ever been.
The turning point for me started when I heard a radio advertisement for Unity Point Weight Loss in West Des Moines. attended one of their free informational sessions, which focused on bariatric surgery. I was once again considering the lap-band as the solution to my overeating problems. Following the informational session, I signed up for a consultation with a surgeon. In my mind, I was ready to take this step towards a healthier me. The consultation went well, but in lieu of the lap-band I was recommended as a good candidate for a sleeve gastrectomy procedure. The procedure itself is performed microscopically, and recovery time is minimal. However, the surgery is permanent, and I would forever have to live without a large portion of my stomach.
At this same time, I experienced another life changing event. My wife and I were pregnant once again! This pregnancy returned a large portion of joy and hope to our lives. I was tired of being exhausted after a flight of stairs. I was not the man that I wanted to be. I was not in any physical form to become the father that my unborn child deserved.
In April 2015 I signed up for a year of FIT classes, and started alongside a 10-week group so that I could ease into the workouts. I was eating better than I ever had, and attending about four sessions per week. During the first few months, I started shedding weight, and people started to take notice. This was the first of many memorable moments I would achieve through Farrell’s. Coworkers were asking me what I was doing to lose weight. I was proud to tell them. Several even signed up for the 10-week program. Katie’s pregnancy was also going well, and all indications pointed towards a healthy baby boy. I felt like everything in my life was starting to come together. I became a father on September 1st, 2015. My body was much stronger than it had once been, and I was also shedding some obvious inches.
As the pounds continued to fall off, I became more committed to Farrell’s. The gym was no longer just a gym. It had become my second family. Working out at Farrell’s was no longer work; I looked forward to attending each session. I started to interact with others in my class, who previously were just strangers to me. I got involved with some of the activities that Farrell’s hosts outside the gym, such as the 10 week final party and picnics. It’s unfortunate it took me so many years and failed attempts to realize the value of a happier, healthier lifestyle. It was only “work” for about a month of solid commitment, but soon Farrell’s became my after work social time. For anyone struggling with this or other programs, my advice is to simply make it happen. It doesn’t take long to become a normal routine, at which point, success in imminent. I had substituted an after work happy hour frequently consisting of pizza, appetizers, and beer for an hour of boxing gloves, sweat, and protein shakes. It was the equivalent to walking into the bar where everyone knows your name, except Farrell’s was wasn’t bringing me down, it was empowering me. Farrell’s has truly transformed me - mind and body.
Since committing to my health in April 2015, I have Lost 85 lbs., gone from 3XL shirts to Large, and from a 46” waist to 36”.* My son, Ben, is now a one-year-old. Thanks to my new healthy living lifestyle, I’m confident I’ll be alive long enough to see him grow up and start a family of his own. I don’t think the old me would be able to believe that with conviction.
The FXB program for me has been a life changing experience. The amount of encouragement that exists in this program and its members provides that extra bit of motivation that I need to succeed. Make a commitment to yourself, to your health, and most importantly, to those that love you. It’s never too late to start. Give Farrell’s an honest effort and you will succeed. This system simply works!
I’ll see you there!
Brett B. is a FIT member at our North Ankeny, IA Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping location.