Living Larger By Downsizing: How Radio's Big Boy Dropped 300 Pounds
Big Boy never felt bad about his heavy weight. He wasn't teased as a child. He wasn't lambasted as an adult. On the contrary, Big Boy was rewarded for living large—literally. "I became comfortable with being that size," he said. "Being comfortable, I could accommodate 500 pounds. If I wanted to drive, I would drive a bigger car. If I wanted a suit, I would get a suit made." He didn't hide his weight; he coupled it with his funny, charismatic personality to create a radio persona. His weight became an integral part of his character.
Being obese wasn't always easy though. On airplanes, Big Boy would have to buy two seats and use the empty seat's
tray-table because he was too big
to use his own. He would also worry
obsessively about his luggage
because he knew that he wouldn't
be able to just go to the "local mall
and buy an 8X shirt."
Big Boy said he tried losing weight,
did yo-yo diets, and even lost 110
pounds during a promo with Will
Smith, who forked over $1,000 for
every lost pound. After seeing that
$110,000 check, Big Boy remembers
heading right for a restaurant for nachos. "At the final weigh-in I kind of threw it away because I thought I was done," he says. "Will Smith cut the check and the promo was over.
I was done."
Big Boy didn't eat regular portion sizes. "You can't smoke a little bit of heroin," he explained. "You can't smoke a little bit of crack. I couldn't have a little bit of nachos."
Waking Up From Fat
Big Boy gained all the weight back, plus more. After he re-packed the pounds, Big Boy noticed pain in his lower back, numbness in his leg, and shortness of breath. At 33, he started to question his lifestyle. "I started to ask myself, man, do you have more years behind you than you actually do in front of you? Because you don't see any 500-pound 65-year-old men walking around." The thought scared him.
Big's changing mindset made him recognize the danger he was putting himself in. "Everything that you do is like a credit card. If it's multiple sex partners, if it's drinking, if it's smoking, whatever you're going to do, you're going to keep charging that card—charging, charging, charging." For Big, fried chicken, his weight and his 8X shirts were taking over his credit balance. He knew he would at some point have to pay: "Was it going to be a heart attack? Was it going to be diabetes? Whatever it was going to be, I was going to have to pay for it," he said.
Although he had managed to avoid health problems—his blood pressure and cholesterol were normal—Big knew that something bad was probably on its way. Although he didn't speak about this with his family or friends, he said he "could really feel that death was coming."
He knew he had to make some serious and immediate changes to his lifestyle. Eating plates of nachos just wasn't going to cut it anymore. Given the enormity of both his body and his situation, Big decided to kick-start his weight loss with bariatric surgery. The decision to allow a doctor to cut, staple and reconfigure his stomach and intestines was not an easy one; but in his case, it turned out to be the right one.
Big decided to have a type of bariatric surgery called the "Duodenal Switch," in which a surgeon removes 70% of the stomach and reattaches the smaller stomach to the lower-third of the small intestine. This enables the body to absorb fat only for a limited amount of time, which usually amounts to a mere 20 percent of total fat intake. Less food and less fat coupled with a good diet and a healthy lifestyle generally leads to serious weight loss. That's what happened for Big.
The After Party
Eight years, and more than 300 pounds after his surgery, Big Boy says he still struggles with portion control. "I've still got portion distortion," he says. "I still sometimes order with my eyes and not with the size of my stomach."
Today, he focuses on a good diet and exercises regularly. Although he's not a gym freak, he does martial arts and runs around with his 5-year-old son, who he calls a "Speedy Gonzales."
His diet favors items like chicken, leafy greens, and juice. Although his body can handle pretty much any type of food, he makes sure that he eats as cleanly as possible. There are times, like when he's on vacation, that Big Boy will eat fried chicken, but it's rare.
Now what Big puts in his mouth is keeping him alive instead of slowly killing him. Because his stomach can't handle a large amount of food, he must acquire much of his nutrients from supplements like trace minerals, kidney extract, liquid vitamins, calcium and protein bars and shakes. Without these necessary nutrients, Big Boy risks vitamin deficiency and malnutrition.
For people who are in the same place as Big Boy was before the surgery, his advice is, "anything they do needs to be for them." Although he had a large support system, Big Boy declares, "I had to make sure I supported myself and loved myself as much as the people around me." When the switch turns on, and you want to change, Big says, "It starts with you first. You can't do it for anyone else."
Now Big Boy finds himself marveling at the things most of us take for granted. "Now, I can get a ticket to a concert, walk in and sit anywhere. I can fly with no assigned seating and sit anywhere. It's small things like that, the things people just don't think about, that blow me away."
Big Boy's victory against obesity was no easy feat. But, because of his determination to change, he can look forward to many years of life instead of many plates of nachos.
Big Talk Vlog
If you'd like to learn more about Big Boy and his weight loss, buy his book An XL Life: Staying Big at Half the Size.
Living Fit After Bariatric Surgery
At Bodybuilding.com, we emphasize the need to exercise and eat healthfully as the ideal means of losing weight. Some individuals, like Big Boy, go so far beyond their ideal weight that they feel compelled to undergo bariatric surgery. Even those individuals need to implement lifestyle change moving forward. Here are some tips:
- Exercise is crucial for maintaing weight loss. After a couple of months after your surgery (and after a doctor's permission), patients should begin to increase the duration and intensity of their workouts. If the body feels strong, and can tolerate moderate exercise, cycle, garden, play tennis, dance, walk, or join a gym. Re-learn how to live actively: turn off the television, computer, or gaming device.
- Healthy nutrition is key to a speedy recovery and necessary for maintaining healthy weight loss. Consume five or six small meals with lots of protein, vitamins, and healthy fats. Chew food slowly and wait two to three minutes between bites. Try not to snack. Avoid alcohol and foods high in sugar.
- Particularly for those who have undergone malabsorptive surgeries, supplementing your diet with multivitamins (including B12, A, B1 and D), protein powder and/or bars, iron, folate and calcium is absolutely necessary.
- Follow This Discussion by:
He didn't LOSE any weight. He got surgery and had it taken out of him. He didn't work that weight off. Anyone can go under a knife and say " I lost weight". Ohh well, just hope he lives better than before.
I think Big's immediate concern was staying alive, rather than earning respect. Obviously we emphasize weight loss and management through training and sound nutrition, but Big made a personal decision to kick-start his weight loss surgically. We neither condemn nor condone his chosen approach--but we do applaud his realization that something dramatic needs to happen when your weight passes the 500-lb mark.
To bad mouth him for getting surgery is just ignorant. The weight doesn't just go away automatically with the surgery. You still have to work for it. Everybody's situation is different, and his was in the extreme. I don't judge him for it, and give him credit for losing the weight & living a healthier lifestyle.
Well having surgery may seem like a quick easy fix and some believe that surgery is cheat for those unwilling to do the hard work that weight loss is. You should still be happy that maybe for the first time in hiss life he realized he needs to change and hopefully he doesn't turn back to the bad habits with food
I'm just surprised some people around here aren't living in caves, what with all that "hard work" philosophy that obviously doesn't apply to every facet of their lives... maybe your average cave can't fit so much self-righteousness.
What's surprising about that. Insecure people feeling inferior in many ways have a great urge to compensate for it. Usually by judging and lowering value of people around them, who most of the time buy into this comedy game as they actually give a **** about what others think about them. Totally missing the point that the other guy is not walking your shoes, so it doesn't make sense to care for what he thinks of you. It's the way the systems of each country, your friends, family and environment raises you up. Your given broken mentality which many apply in their lives without thinking about it. There's nothing to learn from the history of human race, because literally the same **** is being repeated on daily basis and this trend will continue for quite some time.
In this day and age how people can be ignorant still surprises me. Weigh loss surgery doesnt take off any weight. Rather it limits the amount of food you can take in, at any given time. You still have to exercise and workout to keep the weight off. I know tons of people who had weight loss surgery and gained the weight back plus more, because of bad nutrition and no exercise. I had weight loss surgery over two years ago and have maintain 100 lb weight loss, by kiiling it in the gym 4 to 5 times a week. Shout out to Kris Gethin for his nutritional and workout plan, really helped me out a lot.
You know what, let's as a healthy, fit living community applaud people's positive aspects of their transformations. It is narrow minded that to think everyone's journey is the same as the next broccoli and chicken maven. You should be careful with your words cause we don't know what his support situation is and it only takes one word from someone who doesn't stop to think to make someone who is doing great with their progress turn around and go the other way. Let's applaud his small achievements like still continuing to be active and find things that appeal to him because we all know that there are loads of people that get types of surgeries and then go through a horrible relapse. So, instead of bashing him and wondering why bb.com is even featuring him, maybe you should think about the audience it might appeal to or what motivations it might be stirring up in someone else's life. Granted, we shouldn't go under the knife and do it as naturally as possible and this site is testament to that fact, but I am proud he finally realized his life was in jeopardy and he needed to do something about it. He is trying to make changes in his eating habits as well and still does indulge just like we all do. Can't we even give him credit for that? There are people who can't even do the small things he's done and have eaten themselves into an early grave. Why go through the trouble of being snobby about it? We've all had our starting points in this lifestyle. Thank you Cassie for showing people who can relate to his lifestyle and procedure that it can be maintained after surgery and that the clean eating, healthy living lifestyle can be done!
Props to Big Boy for taking control of your life and doing something to stay around and entertain us longer. :) I too had gastric bypass and it is far from being the "easy way out". Most of the time it's people that have never had weight issues that can put us down for taking such drastic measures. I've fought for every pound I've lost and I'm still fighting my way to get to my goal weight. That's why I'm here, for support, not to be put down and feel bad about what I did to better myself. Props to all the positive people who posted here!