Guest Blog: James Keith

I have yet another inspirational guest blog, this time from my man over the pond in the good ol US of A. James (Yimmy) has done an amazing job with his weight loss and I’m proud to share his story (and photos!) with you all here!

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My names is James Keith.  I’m 24 and I reside in Toledo, Ohio, USA.  In the last 100 days I have dropped 80 pounds and a lot of bad habits.

I’ll never forget the day I stepped on the scale in the doctor’s office and the number 377(lbs/171kg) was read back to me.  Like a lot of overweight people I did not make a habit of stepping on the scale.  I went through high school without having my feet grace one.  I knew my habits were bad. Despite knowing the problem, I was unprepared to see the extent of it in numerical form.  I had avoided seeing myself weigh within the 200s.

My weight had blossomed to 377lbs(171kg) and I was only one year removed from high school.  I was eating fast food just about every day.  Meals were planned a day in advanced.  As soon as I would be filled to the gills with the take out of the day, I would immediately divert my attention to the next take out joint.  With depression being the cousin of obesity, I had little else to look forward to.

It was shortly after my discovery at the doctor’s office that my future wife convinced me to join her in losing weight.  We got a gym membership and for the first week I went.  I quickly decided I did not like any of the workout equipment (mostly because I was in such poor shape).  Being a stubborn individual who had little will power, I cut out exercise and opted for a 600 calorie a day diet.  Of course it wasn’t but 20 days into an unsustainable diet that I began sneaking pizza boxes into the trunk of my car to avoid hearing it from my wife.

Four years went by and I did not try again.  I resigned myself to believing that I did not even have the fortitude to lose a substantial amount of weight.  I descended to the lowest concept of myself and engaged in every bad habit I could think of.  I was on the heels of the worst summer I had ever experienced when I went on a life changing delivery at my pizza job.  Driving up to the house I noticed a jiu jitsu sticker on the back of the customer’s car.  I had considered joining jiu jitsu a few month prior, but due to my tremendous girth I was afraid.  The sticker sparked my interest and when the door opened the costumer was even wearing a jiu jitsu t-shirt.  It was at that point that I felt compelled to strike up a conversation.  “Do you do Jiu Jitsu,” I asked.  “I teach it,” he replied.  It was fate!  He introduced himself as Jason Bodi, encouraged me to consider doing Jiu Jitsu and gave me all the information I needed.

I stepped on the scale on July 27th 2013, I was 345lbs.  The 30 pounds I lost from the first diet remained off, but I was no more ready now than I was then.  That day I went to my first BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) class.  Little did I know, but it was truly the first day of my new life.  After mixing it up on the mat, I was reminded that I was extremely overweight.  Like the scale, I avoided exercise like the plague.  The migraines I went home with were reminders of that fact.  Despite all that, the pleasure far outweighed the pain.  I enjoyed it and if I was going to be able to keep doing this, I might as well start changing my eating habits.

Every week I was improving.  I signed up for a gym membership and began going every day.  The first week I could run for about 1 minute, so I spent the great deal of my time on the stationary bike.  Somehow I was going to the gym and eating a realistic amount of calories.  After about a month in I realized why this time was different than the last.  It was bjj.  I was learning things as a human being that I didn’t have before.  The qualities that I needed to accomplish the goals that had alluded me.  The most important thing I learned was patience.  In bjj if you are not patient you will be punished every time.  Weight loss is about patience.  You can’t muscle your way through substantial weight loss.  I was not going to be over 100 pounds less by eating 600 calories for 20 days.

100 days in and I am down 80 pounds.  Today I weigh in at 265.  There is no fear that I will not accomplish the rest of the goals I set out to.  Bjj has changed my life in more ways than one.  I’ve rediscovered myself.  It is impossible to be a happy person if you do not respect yourself.  If you’re not doing things you can be proud of, that’s not going to happen.  I am a better all-around person, because the values I learned on the mat in just 100 days.  It is far harder to be a fat depressed person, than it is to be a person who gets up every day and puts in the work to be better.  There is no desire to flirt with the notion of living my old life again.  I owe a lot to Jason and the rest of bjj brothers.  Quitting is less viable when you got a family of people who would be let down.  My weight loss may have just begun, but I determined to continue accomplishing the things that even I didn’t believe I was capable of.  Stay tuned!