There are many inspiring weight loss stories online and for good reason—whenever somebody turns their life and image around, it is a remarkable feat. Still, with so many similar tales out there, it takes a very special weight loss journey to stand out.
Abraham Roberts of Houston fits the bill and then some. When he was obese he wasn’t just being made fun of or having a hard time walking—he actually thought he was going to die!
How he made it through is stupendous!
After going through a rough patch emotionally, Abraham Roberts relied on stress-eating to cope.
Roberts has struggled with weight issues ever since he was a kid.
“I was chubby as a child, large as a teen and humongous in my adult years,” he wrote for Love What Matters.
Yet, up until he reached his 20s, he always felt like he carried his weight well. He didn’t have any trouble walking or sleeping, and he was fairly healthy all around.
During this “obese but healthy” phase, he got married. The marriage only last two years as his wife ended up leaving him for one of her exes.
Naturally, this broke Roberts’ heart.
“I thought I was too fat, too ugly, too poor and too much of a failure to deserve to be loved,” he wrote. “This caused me to spend lots of time alone and emotionally eat my way up to over 400 lbs.”
During this time, he relied on his mother for emotional support, but after eight years of battling breast cancer, she passed away. Roberts was left alone again; depressed, he went back to stress-eating.
He soon weighed 460 pounds.
Once his mother passed away, his weight problems became significantly worse.
At this point, Roberts no longer felt like he carried his weight well. He began to move slower than everybody else, feeling like a simple walk down the street was like a marathon. Some nights he would wake up unable to breathe.
“I didn’t say it was hard to breathe,” he wrote. “No, I couldn’t breathe at all! My lungs were not working.”
The only way he could bring himself out of this breathless state was to pound on his chest. The first time this happened was Roberts’ warning to turn his life around.
“I knew then that if I didn’t resolve my health issues, I would die very soon … I predicted that I would probably live to 30 or 35. I couldn’t see myself living much longer than that, and honestly didn’t really want to,” he wrote.
He started going to the doctor regularly just to stay alive. Things got worse before they got better.
Roberts developed acid reflex and sleep apnea. He had also experienced the symptoms of heart failure.
This prompted Roberts to take a good long look at himself in the mirror. He realized that if he wanted to make it into his 30s, he would need to swallow his pride and do whatever it took to get better.
Roberts lost 250 pounds through a combination of surgery and exercise.
Funny thing about life – you can be up this morning and down this afternoon. No one has any reason to ever look at me (or anyone) with jealousy. You see the public joy but not the private pain. It took a lot of praying, tears, hard-work, mistakes, tragedies and triumphs just to get where I am now – and I still have such a long way to go. I'm just one example-in-progress of how God can make what happen to you work for you if you refuse to give up.
After a bit of research, Roberts came across something called Duodenal Switch, a form of surgery which would get rid of some weight so that he could start exercising and burning off more weight naturally.
On November 1, 2012, Roberts had his surgery, losing 50 pounds in the first month. He was already well on his way to feeling happier and healthier.
Still, he had his work cut out for him.
Roberts said that despite what some people believe, weight loss surgery is not an easy solution and many times the person either doesn’t lose much weight or regains the weight they lost.
“It happens, and one of my biggest fears was that I wouldn’t lose much at all or end up regaining as in the past.”
Yet Roberts was wise enough to keep exercising and eating a balanced diet. He set an initial goal of losing 220 pounds within a year.
Within 10 months, he had already lost 215 pounds and was weighing less than he ever had in his adult life!
His exercise regiment was rigorous, running four to seven miles per day. Yet, in keeping up with it, Roberts lost 250 pounds in three years.
Posting a photo of his weight loss to Facebook resulted in thousands of likes, comments, and shares.
What better day to rise, shine and give God the glory! Three years ago today I took drastic steps to improve my health….
“I didn’t realize what an inspiration my photo could be,” he wrote. “I’ve had great feedback from many people about how my weight loss journey has encouraged them to overcome any obstacle in life.”
Since that photo has gone viral, Roberts has written a book called “Like Night and Day” about his weight loss journey which ended up selling very well. He’s currently 180 pounds but he doesn’t want to stop his weight loss any time soon.
“My plan is to continue doing what works and even taking things up a notch to build some muscle,” he said. “I’m going to take this same initiative of weight loss and apply it to every aspect of my life.”
“One thing this journey has taught me – if anything bad can happen, anything good can happen too!”