Success Story: From 'Miserable' to a Full & Happy Life*


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
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Brett Day (brett_day1981)
Weight Lost: 136 lbs
Hometown: Bridge Creek, OK
Occupation: Student

I completely destroyed two discs in my lower back after an accident at work. I had surgery to fix the problems and ended up having a spinal fusion at one level and an artificial disc at the level above the fusion. As a result of the surgery, I ended up with a condition called RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy), which is a rare type of nerve damage. RSD is progressive and is incredibly painful in the afflicted limbs.  I had a hard time moving around because of the pain in my back, and quickly became very unhappy. This led to comfort eating. I gained a lot of weight, and ended up weighing 334 pounds.  
My life then was quite miserable. I faced so many challenges, not only because of my injuries, but because of the extra weight as well.  I became incredibly self-conscious.  I hated the way I looked and did not like going out very much, and I certainly did not like having my picture taken. Because of this, I missed out on many family outings and trips. I could not play with my children like a good parent should be able to do, and even going out and about to do daily chores was a struggle because I would get so out of breath.

After I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted to help control the pain of RSD, I knew I had been given a second chance to become the husband and father I knew I could be. My family was my biggest motivation. I knew that I had to change so that I could be around for my wife and for my children. I knew that if I did not change my ways, then I would not be around to see my children grow up.  At the time I also suffered with alarmingly high blood pressure and was told that I was pre-diabetic. My dad passed away due to complications from diabetes, and I knew I did not want to go down that path.

My “A-Ha” moment came on October 23, 2011. I will never forget it. I woke up and sat on the edge of my bed. I wasn't really doing anything but sitting there, and then out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I could not believe what I was seeing, who I had become. I had a breakdown right there and then; I literally crawled back into bed and cried for hours, trying to figure out why I had let myself get so overweight. I vowed to change my lifestyle for myself--and for my family.

The next day I came across I signed up for an account and then started educating myself via the articles and videos on the site. Ever since then I have used SparkPeople every day.  I made a vow to myself that I would lose the weight and would become a role model for others. I completely changed my lifestyle. I started to eat healthy foods; I cut out all junk/fast food and only ate one-ingredient foods.

Just changing my diet yielded excellent results. Once the weight started coming off and moving around became easier, I added exercise in to my days. I started out by walking three days per week, then five days per week. I bought a recumbent exercise bike and started to work out in my home. After a couple of months (in January 2012) I started jogging and told myself that I would run in a 5K. I then ran my first 5K in April 2012.  Since then I have taken part in numerous running events throughout Oklahoma. I absolutely love to run. Before I lost my weight I could barely walk, but now running has become a true passion of mine. Since joining SparkPeople, I have lost 136 pounds (and counting) and my BMI has decreased to 27 (down from 44.1). I am in the best shape of my life.

SparkPeople has played a major role in my weight loss journey. I honestly think that if I did not stumble across this website when I did, I would still weigh 334 pounds.  Being able to track my food intake and my exercise has completely changed my life. The amazing community at SparkPeople has helped me in ways I never thought possible.
My life is amazing right now. While RSD still plays a large part, I have learned how to manage the pain. I exercise every day with my family. I look forward to getting outside and enjoying nature and I am now not afraid to have my picture taken. I am so much more active now than I have ever been during any point in my life. I have taken a keen interest in mind-body exercise. I have a 5K coming up in May where I hope to post a new personal best, and I would love to run in a half marathon by the end of the year. I am also attending college to become a certified personal trainer so that I can help others live happy, healthy lives.  I live a very full and active life, and I could not be happier.

Way to go, Brett!

*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.
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