Following the death of his father when he was a child, Thomas began to overeat as a way of coping with his depression and anxiety. That weight gain continued into early adulthood. “That overeating and stress eating just kept getting worse over the years,” he says, sharing his story with Barcroft TV.
“When you’re a big guy you don’t have many friends,” he adds. This led to such low self-esteem that he hated how he looked so much that he avoided mirrors (and all “reflective surfaces in general”) and had to “teach himself” how to smile.
“When the doctor told me I was clinically obese, that was the point when it became real,” he says. “I wanted to lose the weight, and that was the very beginning of my transformation.”
Thomas started off slowly, “just walking and cutting out certain foods, sodas, processed foods,” and gradually began to increase his levels of activity. “Once I really started getting going, I actually started enjoying it,” he says. “I turned it into a game: every month I wanted to lose more weight.”
At his heaviest, Thomas weighed 360 pounds. He has since managed to drop 160 pounds, and in addition to feeling more energetic, he also feels more comfortable with himself. “Workout out gives me more confidence,” he says. “After a good workout I always feel a hundred times better, even if I was exhausted before. As I was losing the weight, I started to be able to talk to people better, I started to be able to look people in the eyes when I talked to them — before, eye contact was very difficult.”
He adds that about six months into his journey, he was able to start looking in the mirror and could stand to see himself in photos.
“I believe I’m in the best state I’ve ever been in,” he says, although he admits there are still down days. He deals with these by telling himself: “Best just to keep on moving and keep on doing what I’m doing, and eventually I’ll get to where I want to be… Whatever that looks like on the scale isn’t what I care about, being happy is really what’s most important.”