Lifestyle

‘I was so overweight people couldn’t tell if I was a man or a woman – now I've shed 16st'


When it comes to losing weight it is easier said than done. For many of us, our weight goes up and down like a yo-yo, and it is no wonder people find it hard to go on a diet and shed the pounds. 

One man shed nearly half his body mass after struggling with his weight his whole life, and he has even gone on to achieve his dream of becoming a nurse. 

Rodney has suffered unwanted stares for years and even suffered “humiliating” comments including when strangers tried to decide if he was a “man with boobs or a woman with a beard”.

When Rodney, 57, got to 36 stone he decided enough was enough.

During that time, he was living with his father but in the basement and his confidence was at a low. 

He wanted to take control of his health and his career where he was working in corporate sales to healthcare.

Rodney from Iowa, US, said: “No one expects much from an obese man, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

“I was eating too much and moving too little.  Food was not just a source of nutrition but a comforter, healer, therapist and in a lot of ways, an addiction.

“Other people’s comments about my body were difficult to deal with.

“While visiting hot springs, I overheard a conversation where a group of people were trying to figure out if I was a woman with a beard or a guy with man boobs and no visible penis.

“It is the most humiliating thing I have ever experienced. That gave me a lot of motivation, even though it took several more years to get started losing weight.

“I desperately wanted to quit my job in sales and become an ambulance worker, and I knew I had to choose between my dream or being grossly overweight.

“It came down to a very simple decision made thousands of times. Did I want to be an EMT and eventually a nurse or sit around and eat potato chips?”

From WeightWatchers to calorie counting, Rodney has tried it all. He even went to the lengths of hiring a therapist. However, none of them seemed to work and he struggled to maintain keeping the weight off. 

A pinnacle point during his weight loss journey was when he bought a stationary bike at a garage sale for $25 and signed up for naked yoga.

Rodney continued: “I used the bike so much, I quite literally rode the pedals off it. Then I started doing yoga at around 365lbs. 

“I knew I could never keep up with a group class at that size, so I found an instructor to take private classes from. But I always thought yoga would be better done naked – both for practical reasons and to continue the fight against horrible body image issues.

“My instructor didn’t offer this type of class so I started looking online, and stumbled upon True Naked Yoga, which offers videos online for you to follow yourself. 

“I wanted to feel secure in my own skin and this felt like a good way to rip the bandaid off quickly.

“The first time was five minutes of sheer terror, followed by discovering that it was not nearly as bad as I expected. In fact, I loved it!”

Before Rodney’s food overhaul, he would eat pasta, pizza, and bread and go back for seconds.  He added: “I was never a big sweets fan, so cookies and ice cream were never a big deal for me. 

“It was the carbs that did me in, like pizza, pasta and fried foods – everything would be in excess. I would use drive-thrus a lot – always ordering extra large meals or extras.

“In between meals, I would snack constantly on things like chips with dips.”

Nevertheless, his diet has changed drastically where he will fast until lunch, eating things like turkey slices, tuna or other ‘healthier’ meats.

Meanwhile, in 2014 Rodney achieved his career change dreams and became a nurse. Now, he weighs around 20st – having dropped 16st since 2010 and is on track to shed another 100lbs.

Rodney said: “Everything is easier; from walking, showering, sitting in a theatre or restaurant to being intimate. The best way to explain it would be to imagine walking around for a day with three to five-gallon water bottles tied around the middle of your body, and then taking them off and feeling the freedom of movement. 

“My body works better, I enjoy everything more and the sense of accomplishment is huge, even though I am far from done.  My weight loss was just the start – naked yoga has given me a greater appreciation for my own body.

“Self-confidence is a huge part of the lasting effects. I still have 100 pounds to go and can’t wait to feel what it will be like with that off, too.”

Diet – Before

Breakfast: biscuits and gravy and/or breakfast sandwich

Lunch: Fast food drive-thru mostly double cheeseburger extra-large fries and soda

Dinner: Hamburger Helper (usually the whole box)

Snacks: salami/cheese, chips with dip

Diet – Now

Breakfast: fast on most days

Lunch: Tuna/chicken salad without bread, or wrap meat, cheese, lettuce

Dinner: beef, chicken or turkey with salad or cottage cheese

Snacks: low carb snacks such as beef sticks/sliced turkey/cheese



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