Wednesday, June 15, 2011

SPOTLIGHT: Mike Badger

Hi I'm Mike Badger,

When you have been overweight your entire life, you learn to love yourself no matter what. When I married Karlie, my wife, I was overweight but considered myself to be at one of my less-fat stages in life. Before we got married, Karlie and I talked a lot about our futures. What we wanted, how we would be. One of the things that Karlie made me promise to her is that we would work to keep out family healthy.

Soon after getting married, I took a job at a car dealership as a salesmen. Even though Karlie and I were downing bowls of ice cream on many occasions, I was always on my feet at work walking the long parking lot with customers all day. While I wasn't gaining weight, I wasn't getting any slimmer. At that point in my life, I was okay with that.

Jeffrey, our son came soon after and I got a great Job with a software company. I went from walking lots to an average daily step count of about 100 plus the 10 calories burned a day that you get from typing on a keyboard. Karlie was pregnant and I was a compulsive eater so we pretty much got way fat in that year. After that I gave up on ever loosing the weight and slowly crept up to an astonishing 524 Pounds. Then I started to have medical problems.

After not going to the doctor for a checkup for almost 2 years, I was forced to because my legs were swelling up like balloons and they started to turn black and blue. Karlie freaked and made me see a doctor. The doctor told me I was way fat, as I expected. He also told me a lot of things I was not expecting. I had lymphedema, sleep apnea, vitamin deficiencies and was boarder line diabetic. I knew I had to do something but didn't know where to start.

I tried out for Biggest-Loser (the real one) and didn't get a call back. Then I decided my only option was surgery. I hate the idea of surgery but I hated the idea of death more. I geared up, met with doctors, talked to my insurance and was ready to go under knife. I wanted to know EXACTLY what it would be like after surgery. I hunted down blogs of gastric bypass patients, articles ... anything I could get my hands on and was still left wanting. I decided I needed to chronicle my weight loss surgery so I started my blog Starting At 500 Pounds

I had never been more ready for anything in my entire life. I went into the doctors office for the surgery consultation. After meeting with the insurance "advocate" I found that my insurance would not cover the surgery without a "doctor approved" 6-month diet. I got angry. Angry that I was in this situation. Angry that I couldn't get the surgery. Angry that I felt like no one, not even my wife, could understand what I was going through. Angry enough to do something about it.

At first I started to exercise and eat right so I could be a good candidate for surgery. A strange thing happened. I started to lose weight. I found new friends online through my blog that encouraged me and pushed me to my limits. The most important thing was I found people who REALLY understood because they had been in my shoes.

6 months came and I had lost 100 pounds. People started to look to me for a source of inspiration. I felt great. There was no chance a doctor was ever going to cut me open at that point. I am still on my journey and have currently lost almost 150 pounds over the past 8 months. My blog has become my passion as people email me about how I have given them hope that they still have the power to change, even at 500 pounds.

Anything you want to know about me is out there for the world to see. You will be my best friend forever if you...
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Much love to all the competitors out there. I look forward to finding out more about you and meeting you lighter and leaner at our final weigh in party.

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