Friday, November 12, 2010

Bodfather: Too-Big Daddy

Subject #3 in the "Bodfather"
Witness Reduction Program: Tom

Height: 5' 9"
Current weight: weight 437.5

Imagine: you’re over 500 lbs, you’ve lost your job as a direct result of your morbid obesity and you can’t watch your 2-year-old daughter play in the yard without falling asleep where you sit.

Being fat is one thing. Being a father, well… that’s a game changer. At least it is for Tom, my lone male “Bodfather” family member.

And before you start feeling all sorry for him, listen to this: although he’s been overweight practically his whole life, Tom’s already lost nearly 100 pounds on his current weight-loss journey. He’s already seen the positive changes that dropping major pounds can bring, and he’s committed to changing his ways, even though his progress has petered out, his success has stalled. He needed a “Bodfather” kick in the pants…

At 38, he’s well aware that time’s not necessarily on his side. Genetics did him no favors either; both of Tom’s parents are overweight, and so is his brother. But there’s good news on the family front: Tom’s sister has lost a lot of weight in the last couple years and has even run in a marathon. For Tom, she’s proof that bad genetic cards can be played into a winning hand.

There’re a couple of things that have lit a fire up under Tom these days, that have pushed him into that now-or-never territory where he currently resides.

The first came a year and a half ago when his wife and parents held their own intervention about the sleep apnea that had cost him his job and the obesity that threatened his health and future.

“They convinced me to talk to a doctor about gastric bypass or lap band surgery,” Tom told me. “I didn’t necessarily want to, but knew what my health situation was and didn’t really want to leave my daughter without a dad.”

At the initial consultation with the physician, Tom was told that he wasn’t eligible for surgery, at least not until he had lost at least 75+ pounds.

“I couldn’t believe it,” says Tom incredulously. “I was too fat for weight loss surgery.”

The doctor referred him to a medically supervised weight loss program, and Tom went into it with a newfound determination to change his life as well as a mission not to have to go back to the doctor for the weight loss surgery.

The second motivating factor for Tom is that daughter that he got yelled at by his wife for not watching in the yard. Falling asleep while keeping an eye on her was certainly unsafe, but Tom also understands the other danger he’s putting her in. He knows that the statistics say that a child with one overweight parent has a 50% chance of being overweight, and that’s a legacy he’s not comfortable handing down to his little girl.
Tom doesn’t want to go under the knife, but more than anything else, he wants to be around for his little girl. Wants to be able to run around at the park with her or ride bikes or do any of the things that daddies do with the little girls they love so very, very much.

I’m choking up a little as I type these words, because I simply can’t imagine not being able to be the kind of father I want to be to my own daughters. I can’t comprehend the fear and pain that must weigh on Tom every day of his life, the trepidation that runs through his mind when he holds that oh-so-little hand in his.

So we’re going to the mattresses, me, you and Tom. He’s pledged to make some big changes in his life, and nobody has any better reason to succeed.

This isn’t business, Tom. It’s personal.

Measurements (in inches):

Neck - 21

Bicep - 17

Chest - 66

Waist - 70

Thigh - 35

Calf - 24.5

Hips - 72


  1. Hey slim, send him over to the big guy section.. Let me take a crack at him, he will get healthy !!

  2. Welcome, Tom. I look forward to getting to know you on your road to success. It seems that we can do things for our kids that we are unable to do for ourselves. Good luck!

  3. GO TOM! With being a Dad and that tiny hand as motivation...YOU will be a huge success!

  4. Good for you Tom on making your health a top priority!! I'm looking forward to following your journey.

  5. Jack - and Tom: The reason they would have wanted you to lose 75 lbs before surgery is because of your liver. My surgeon explained to me that a quick loss has a big effect on the liver, and when they cut you open they need it to be manageable. What you and Jack are planning is wonderful, admirable, I'm with you all the way - but don't discount lapband surgery at some stage.

    The difficulty, as Jack knows well because I read this blog regularly, is to keep going, and when you get there, how to stay there - the biggest fight is overcoming the bad habits. The lapband takes the strain, and at the very least keeps you treading water until you can return to better food choices. The lapband + reasonably decent food choices + some form of exercise is an unbeatable combination. Read some bandit blogs, see for yourself.

    And if anyone can help you, Jack can.


  6. I love this series Jack. You're really helping people change. It's awesome. Tom, I got your back buddy! You CAN do this!

  7. Go Tom Go!!!! We Bodfather followers will be right beside you cheering you on, and looking forward to celebrating your success!!!

  8. Go, Tom! Go! We're all in this with ya!

  9. Oh gosh, this made me tear up too. I remember not being able to play with my daughter in the yard.

    You can do it Tom! We are all behind you!

  10. I want to thank each of you for your kind words and support. I read some of your blogs and am very inspired by many of you.

  11. Hey Tom!!! I wish you nothing but the best on your journey!
    I remember that feeling in the beginning. It seems like such a big task- almost insurmountable. But just ask us how we feel after seeing 6 months worth of results, and all of a sudden, you wonder why you waited so long! You are hanging with the right group of people, because the more you laugh, the better chance of success you have! (OK, I totally just made that up. But it FEELS true.)
    And this journey isn't only about the pounds either. Deal with the emotional stuff as it comes along. Cause it will. I am excited for you, my brother in flabby arms! I see good things in your future!!!
    Big HUGS!!!!

  12. I agree with incredible shrinking woman ... we have to not only control what goes in our mouths, but also the WHY behind our choices. That's the analysis I'm going through right now, and it's absolutely gonna be worth it. Digging up lots of stuff.

    You can do it! Look how many people have already commented. You have a great support group, but you already did... your daughter, wife and family. Don't be too proud to ask for help from them.

    Vee at

  13. Tom, way to go on all your progress so far I know you can do this it's about you believing it too. I know Jack will help you as long as you keep helping yourself, that's the key, YOU. We are all here for you rooting you on!

  14. Way to go, Tom! I am inspired and in awe of your story. The love a father has for his daughter is a wonderful place to start (actually, continue...) your journey. I can't wait to look in on your progress. You are going to to a fantastic job!

    Colleen at

  15. Go Tom! I admire you for not wanting to go under the knife... and the truth is, weight loss surgery is no guarantee of permanent weight loss. My sister-in-law had it and she lost. Then she gained. Now she's working on losing again, the regular way, diet & exercise.

    I figure if you can do it the regular way, you are a step ahead of the game! And this game, well, you gotta be in it to win it for life. You've made a great start, keep on going!

  16. Yay Tom!!!

    I look forward to following your progress. We can do it!



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