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  5. I weighed 434 and my doctor said I could die. I lost 163 pounds by riding a stationary bike and focusing on portions and lean proteins.

I weighed 434 and my doctor said I could die. I lost 163 pounds by riding a stationary bike and focusing on portions and lean proteins.

Jane Ridley   

I weighed 434 and my doctor said I could die. I lost 163 pounds by riding a stationary bike and focusing on portions and lean proteins.
  • August Miller was told by his doctor that he was morbidly obese.
  • It was a wake-up call for the dad who'd already been diagnosed with pre-diabetes.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with August Miller. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I'm 6ft 2 tall and maintained a healthy weight growing up. I was pretty athletic and served in the military after high school.

Then, in my early 20s, I started getting heavier. My wife, Teresa, got pregnant with our daughter, Sarah, now 33, and I did the classic thing of gaining sympathy weight.

I became your typical fast foodie. I had a problem with portions, and it didn't help that I worked as a DJ. I'd finish work at 2 a.m. and stop at burger joints on the way home.

I was scared that I'd break a chair because of my size

It was the worst thing because I'd eat so much before bed. I also drank a lot of soda — at least two cans of Coke a day. Then, at weekends, I'd get through those 2-liter bottles in no time at all.

I did zero exercise. At that age, I didn't think about my health and longevity. You think you're unbeatable and going to live forever.

Still, I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I dreaded visiting a restaurant with booths because I couldn't fit in. I'd ask for a chair to be placed at the end of the table.

Social situations were difficult for me at the time. I'd look at the seating beforehand if I went to a wedding. I was always afraid I would break the chair.

Then, in December 2017, I had what I can only describe as a "bad doctor's visit." I hadn't seen a doctor in a long while because, like many guys, I kept putting it off.

I stepped on the scale, and it registered 434 pounds. I was shocked. As far as I knew, I hadn't developed any medical conditions. But I was wrong. I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes.

Teresa had expressed concern about my weight in the past — but always in a loving way. But it's a wake-up call when a doctor says your BMI is off the charts and you're morbidly obese.

I knew that I wanted to stay alive for my wife and daughter. I didn't want to leave them without a husband or dad.

I could choose the food that I liked — as long as I counted the points

Teresa had previously succeeded with Weight Watchers, so I agreed to attend a meeting in January 2018. The meeting was predominantly women, and I felt a bit out of place, but it was nothing to put me off.

They explained the plan, where certain foods have a certain number of points. You were held accountable. I'm now an engineer and like to work with figures and charts. I also downloaded the app, which made it so much easier to keep track of my progress.

It wasn't restricting and I could pick the foods that I liked. I just had to know their point value and the best portions. I used a kitchen scale and finally paid attention to what I put down my throat.

Teresa and I shopped together and planned our menus for the whole week. I'd have oatmeal almost every morning and some fruit with my coffee.

For lunch and dinner, I'd have a lean protein such as chicken or pork loin with a salad or vegetable and a serving of brown rice. I'm Mexican American and don't like anything bland. I used marinades and hot sauces.

As for exercise, I started incorporating movement into my day. I began with walking and then riding a bike. Then, I got into spin classes. Now, I'm an avid Peloton fan. I ride five to six days a week. I also take our two dogs on long walks.

My family has supported me all the way

The weight has come off slowly and surely. It's usual to lose more initially, then ebbs and flows. I now weigh 271 pounds and intend to lose another 20 to 25 pounds to reach my goal. I'm no longer pre-diabetic. I happily sit in a booth at a diner.

Meanwhile, Teresa has been my biggest cheerleader. Sarah said she is very proud of her dad. They're relieved to know that I'm here for them.

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