Yes.Fam, I'm so pleased to introduce you to June's Yes.Fam Featured Member, Jason F.  Jason is an active member of our community, and he is reliably encouraging and kind to everyone.  I spoke with him about his Yes.Fit journey and the importance of mental health in addition to physical health.

We spoke via email, and he shared, "Soon after I left the US Army, I began some bad food habits. As life went on, I became self medicated and soon found myself addicted to alcohol and food. I went to get help with my issues, but found that I wasn’t really looking for help.

 

Jason's amazing transformation!

 In 2010, a great personal tragedy happened. Both of my parents were murdered. Having to deal with their loss as well as their personal matters lead me back to some of the addictions I had before. I had stopped smoking, and decided to keep sober. As time went on I found comfort in eating, it had become a crutch for me. As a result, I sought help, and I was diagnosed with severe PTSD and depression. Not wanting to depend on medication, knowing my personality type, I kept seeking help and my food addiction became out of control. Although we were addressing my issues, some reached as far back as 1989 while I was in the US Army, I wasn’t addressing the food addiction."

 Despite incredible personal tragedy, Jason continued to persevere, but struggled with his health.  He continues, "By April of 2016, I had gained so much weight, my doctor said I was in danger of having a heart attack. But I still kept eating.  Anytime I was feeling sad or upset, I turned to food. I’d eat 1500-3000 calories a meal, and then grabbing a big bag of chips between  meals and eating the whole bag. I just kept replacing my clothes and buying larger ones and putting the smaller ones away. It was a vicious cycle of depression and eating.

 In June of 2016, I was moved to a different group with a new counselor. My new counselor believed that PTSD was real, treatable and wanted to help me. Over the next three months, I began to understand my PTSD, the triggers and tools to learn how to cope with some of it. I realized the images in head were never going to leave, the scents/smells that trigger my condition were going to be around, I needed to learn to deal with these issues. So together, my counselor and I began to dismantle these issues and I was given the tools that I need to address them when they happen. I learned that my PTSD and depression were linked to my poor eating habits."

Having gotten a solid foundation and coping mechanisms for dealing with PTSD, Jason decided it was time to address his health concerns.  He shares, "By December of 2016, I weighted in at 363 pounds, and decided I needed to address my food addictions. The truth is, I was going to die if I didn’t do something. In January of 2017, I mustered enough courage to move forward. On the 16th of January I started my diet and exercise program. It was just a little at first, but inside I knew every step counted. I began a weight loss challenge at work, and my official weigh in was 358 pounds.

 After a month went by, trying to keep me motivated, my friend Josh asked me to check out a website called Yes.Fit. He wanted us to take a virtual race on together, a race where we could log our miles in and see the places on Route 66.  It was pretty neat, and soon I found myself staying with it everyday and soon I finished my first race. Days later, in the mail, a green package arrived. It was my first medal from Yes.Fit and I felt like I had accomplished something other than walking a few miles and losing some weight. Doing this race motivated me, and kept me motivated through some pretty tough days. Not everyday was going to be great, but every day the steps I took added up. I started to hang my medals at work to show those people I was in the weight loss challenge with that I was doing something.

 Using my Fitbit tracker, I have been able to log in all the miles I do. Not only am I losing weight, but I am also getting a reward. It is a keepsake and a reminder that I am doing something, even when I am having a hard week and feel like doing nothing at all. Hanging on my medal rack are 9 Yes.Fit medals I earned. Each one is uniquely design and all are very colorful. They are a reminder that what I have done has counted, what I am doing is counting and my goals are attainable.

 Now, each Friday we weigh in at work for our company sponsored weight loss challenge. Today I weighed in at 269 pounds which means I have lost a total of 89 pounds in 17 weeks. On July 14, 2017 we will have our last weigh in and the winner will be the person who has lost the greatest percentage of body weight. The prize of $200.00 will be used for new clothes that fit IF I win. If I don’t get the $200.00, I have still won and will keep winning."

Jason, we are so proud of you for taking control of your journey!  Thank you for speaking so candidly with me about your experiences, and thank you so much for shining a light on the importance of mental health.

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