Photos Courtesy of Matthew S. Brown
At 501 pounds, Matthew S. Brown dreaded going out in public and eating in front of other people.
So the 47-year-old set out on a weight loss journey at Hilton Head Health Wellness Retreat and Weight Loss Spa — and has since shed an impressive 176 pounds!
"Not a week goes by [without] someone seeing me [and exclaiming], 'Oh my have you lost weight. You look great!'" the Woodridge, NY native exclusively told 'Closer.'
Read on to find out how Matthew successfully lost the weight and turned his life around!
Matthew before his weight loss. (Photo Courtesy of Matthew S. Brown)
- What was your life like before the weight loss?
My life had become one of simple existence day to day. Most of the enjoyment and excitement was gone. I dreaded having to go anywhere in public because I didn’t fit in most bathroom stalls. I once heard someone say that I had eaten [a] double quarter pounder with cheese like it was my job. These things hurt and in turn I would stay home and eat more. I really believed I was going to be housebound soon and not live much longer.
- Was there a specific event or moment that triggered your weight loss?
During 2011, my weight took on new highs, my health sunk to new lows and my doctors had me go through the preliminary classes and tests for bariatric bypass surgery. Without a radical turnaround in my lifestyle, my diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, venous insufficiency and edema caused by morbid obesity had me facing an early grave. My wife and I had accepted the surgery as my only option, and we began planning a nice getaway to the Caribbean before starting the final pre-op stage. Then out of the blue, my wife, Donna, informed me that she had changed our vacation plans and we were going to a place called Hilton Head Health, a weight loss spa.
Matthew after his weight loss. (Photo Courtesy of Matthew S. Brown)
- How did you get started with your weight loss journey?
We arrived at Hilton Head Health and were greeted by our personal concierge, Keila. She was a constant support throughout our stay. We [I arrived], I was 501 pounds! We went through the Hilton Head Health schedule and decided [to] split up for the lectures to make sure we took advantage of everything we could during our ten-day stay. All the classes were informative, the exercise classes were amazing — I didn’t think it was possible for someone my size to do this stuff, but I was willing to try, and here it is one year later and I’m still trying and succeeding. We set up personal consultations [and received the] additional knowledge and motivation we needed to take home with us to make the Hilton Head Health Healthy Lifestyle work in our lives. Leaving was not easy, but thanks to the staff of Hilton Head Health we had the tools we needed to succeed.
- How does it feel now that you've lost the weight?
I’ve gone from the largest person in a crowd to an average size. My wardrobe has shrunk from a special order 7XL to an off-the-rack XL! Not a week goes by [without] someone seeing me [and exclaiming], 'Oh my have you lost weight. You look great!' I want to live a life without boundaries, not one where I am always worrying whether there will be enough food to satisfy me [or] how far I will have to walk. On my return trip to [Hilton Head Health] in December I will only need one seat on the plane, and I won’t even need a seat belt extender!
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