On Saturday, Bobby Stevens went to Old Chicago for some pizza. That might not sound like anything unusual, but this trip was for a very special celebration.
Stevens, a life-long Guthrie resident, was surprised by numerous friends inside the pizza restaurant as they celebrated the first-year of his new life.
After a doctor’s visit in August 2011, Stevens was told he needed to lose 2-5 pounds a month and hopefully after a year he would have lost 70 pounds from his 442 pound figure.
The doctor can rest easy because the 70-pound goal was surpassed. In fact, Stevens dropped 85 pounds in the first six months. After losing 25 pounds in the first month alone, Stevens quickly set his own higher goals.
The 30-year-old wanted to lose 150 pounds in 12 months.
He checked that goal off the list.
At his last weigh-in, Stevens officially dropped 150 pounds with still a few days to spare.
The math is simple: 442 pounds minus 150 pounds equals 292 pounds.
“I guarantee you they (friends) they did not think I could do it and that’s understandable because I did not think I would either,” Stevens said in a sit down interview. “I turned from a little diet (change) to a life change now.”
The Guthrie Police Department dispatcher, who works many overnight shifts at a desk, is not done with personal goals. In the next 12 months he is aiming to lose another 70 to 90 pounds to mark a total loss of 200 pounds. His ultimate goal is bringing his weight down to 200 pounds.
I finally gave in and saw the doctor
Stevens said he has always been big, but said he did not know he was “that big.”
“I finally gave in to see the doctor for some blood work to see if I had any health issues,” Stevens said.
Stevens said “shockingly” he did not have diabetes or high cholesterol, but did have high blood pressure. With the good news, he quickly understood he may not be able to dodge it the next time and started to diet and exercise.
In the first month of dieting and walking, he dropped 25 pounds and credited that large loss with the subtraction of caffeine. That alone, gave Stevens more motivation to move forward.
“I could easily put a case a pop away a day,” said Stevens who now only drinks water and unsweet tea.
Stevens has attempted diets before and has lost 10 pounds at a time, but simply could not stick with the plan.
So, why the change now?
“I did it a lot for me. People and doctors have always said you should lose weight, but this time it was a choice for me. I made a decision for my health.”
Stevens said he flirted with the idea of having stomach stapling surgery to lose weight the easy way, but gave two reasons why he chose the harder path.
“I felt like that was cheating and if I never change my eating habits all that is going to do is going to get it right back eventually and maybe cause more health problems.”
It was death
Stevens, took on the daunting “task” of exercising by walking. The first mile he walked was tiring, but he kept with the plan and continued the pace up to 3-5 miles a day and suddenly he was ready to jump on a bike. Something he had not done since childhood.
“It was death. I was hurting, huffing and puffing and feeling dizzy,” Stevens said on the short bike ride. “It was not as easy as it was when I was a kid.”
In the process of exercising, Stevens was joined by good friend Don Channel, who himself was looking to shed some pounds. The walking and biking partners were more than just exercising – they were motivating factors.
“He has helped a lot me a lot because it’s harder to exercise by yourself because you can quit and lie on the couch every day,” Stevens said of his friend Channel. Channel showed up one day and said let’s g0 walking. Walking helped maintain the weight at first, but over time it never did shed the pounds to reach the 150 pound goal, so it was Channel who also suggested the bicycle.
What started as a mile at the high school with some small hills, that felt more like mountains, has now turned into an average of eight to 10 miles a day taking about an hour to complete. The duo has biked as many as 22 miles in one outing.
To add to the impressive list, Stevens competed in a bike event in Oklahoma City and completed the 12-mile event. After crossing the finish line, Stevens wished he had competed in the 24-mile race.
Along with walking and biking, Stevens has begun to jog his way toward his two-year goals in weight loss.
“Exercise was a chore (at the beginning) and now I enjoy it” said Stevens.
I gave up on fast food and pop, but I have not given up on Ranch dressing and cheese
Stevens now counts his calorie in-take after guessing in the beginning and now consumes anywhere between 1,200 to 1,500 a day.
“With $5 pizzas, I would buy two larges and eat them, but now I eat one or two slices and I’m done,” Stevens said.
Instead of the greasy fries and extra crunchy tacos on the overnight shift at the police department, Stevens now finds himself taking his own grilled chicken, lean meats, salads, and water. He has learned one thing for sure when it comes to eating healthy, the increase in price.
“Eating healthy is more expensive. I go buy fruits and vegetables and its $50 or $60 for a few days,” a laughing but serious Stevens explained.
However, there are a few things that Stevens simply cannot give up.
“Oh absolutely. I gave up on fast food and pop, but I have not given up on Ranch dressing and cheese. It’s definitely not good for you. If I had given all that up I think it would have been harder for me to do it because I would not have anything satisfying,” Stevens said with a big smile.
I was a size 54 and now I’m a loose 38 in pants
With the weight loss, Stevens has slowly seen the weight go away, but did not see it as much as others around him in the beginning.
“I would not notice it, but the officers and co-workers would comment about how much I had lost in my face, but I can notice myself now especially when I am next to some of my friends. They weigh what I have lost, so I have lost a person,” the proud Stevens said.
“I get about a compliment a day and it does feel good.”
Along with all the healthy changes in Steven’s life, he has also had to make a wardrobe change.
Gone are the size 54 pants and the 4xl and 5xl t-shirts. Bring on the 2x shirts and 38 size pants. Although the 38’s and 2x garments are becoming loose.
“That is the best thing I have gotten out of the year. The weight numbers going down and the compliments are really nice, but I can actually get into clothes that I can buy over the counter and I don’t have to go to Big and Tall (clothing store).”
With the size change, Stevens does not have to worry about restrictions on roller coaster rides, scales that do not measure over 300 pounds, seat belts in friend’s car not fitting, shirts that he wanted but were not made for his size and restaurant booths that were uncomfortable because of his size.
I want to help other people
Now with that mindset, Stevens again is thinking of other people.
“Ultimately, I want to help people learn from this. If I can go out there and lose weight, anybody can. I had no drive to exercise at all. I have never been that way and it’s just eating better, exercising and a little bit of walking,” Stevens said.
“I hope to motivate people.”
His message is being received with co-workers and friends now walking because of what “Bobbo” has been able to do in the past 12 months.
At the end of the day, it’s a win-win for Stevens, but in his words “the journey is not over”. With more work to do, it is apparent he is well on his way.