Sal Paradiso had been overweight since he was a teenager, but he really started ballooning out of control during his senior year, after his father died of a heart attack.
He couldn’t even hazard a guess as to how much weight he’d gained until more than a decade later, when he finally stepped on a scale and was astonished to find he weighed 688 lbs.
“I realized that if I didn’t change, I was headed down a road towards a certain death,” he said.
In late 2013, he finally mustered the strength and willpower to take control of his life, and has since dedicated himself to regaining his health. After changing his eating habits, embarking on an exercise regimen, then undergoing weight-loss surgery last year, he’s been able to shed more than 400 lbs.
But during his heavier years, his skin had to expand to accommodate his girth. He estimates between 65 and 80 lbs. of his weight is excess skin, which causes not only rashes and other irritations, but also throws him off balance while he’s trying to exercise.
He explains everything he has endured in the post below.
Early on, exercise was extremely difficult since I was going from living a sedentary lifestyle. I was able to use my family swimming pool to start moving more and getting some form of exercise. Little by little, I increased the time I was able to spend in the pool. As things progressed, I added some free-weight exercises to my routine. I also now enjoy riding a bike to help continue building up my leg strength.
Making these changes was hard.
There was a lot of pain physically and mentally. My body was moving more than it had in years, and that brought about a lot of soreness and joint pain. Obesity is very isolating. That made working out with friends more or less impossible. All of my close friends live out of my local area.
Mentally, my body was craving my old habits. Foods that I had enjoyed for years were no longer available for me. I tried my hardest to not cave into the cravings, because I was afraid of reverting back into old habits.
For motivation, I turned to my family and friends. They pushed me week after week as I posted my weight-loss results online. Lots of them chimed in with motivational comments, and that helped lift my spirits.
I had made a promise to my family and myself that this time would be different for my weight loss. I promised them I would not give up and fail like I had so many times before. This was most likely my final shot at survival.
I promised my deceased father that I would work as hard as I could to change my life and make him proud of me. He’s been my driving force in conquering my weight. While he will always be the reason I’ve continued to succeed, I now have an additional motivation: my 3-month-old nephew, Phillip. Another reason for not giving up: I want a family of my own and being 700 pounds made that impossible for me.
I’ve become more self-conscious than I’ve ever been. There’s so much loose skin to deal with, and with that I’m afraid of dating and how people will perceive me without a shirt on.
Emotionally, the excess skin can be a drain. It’s hard at times to look in the mirror and see this deflated balloon looking back at you.
But even through all these trials he still has not lost his can-do attitude and is trying to inspire others to make the leap.
Surround yourself with people who truly care about you and want to see you succeed. Remember that this journey is about YOU! Remember that you didn’t get that way overnight, and that it will take time to lose. I’ve been at this for 39-plus months.
Look deep within you to see what ignites that fire inside you, and use that as your daily motivation. Look to people on social media and Facebook groups going through what you’re going through.
For me it was my deceased father that got me started; now that smile my nephew gives me every day also keeps me going. Make small changes at first, remove sodas, juice, etc., and drink more water. I eat foods now that years ago I would’ve laughed at, but I’ve come to enjoy them now.
You have it within you to succeed!
Share to spread the inspiration those who need the encouragement.