Goodbye Limits: Meet Robbie

Posted by on Monday, September 3, 2012 @ 7:13 am | Leave a reply

Over the course of 60 Days of Better, we’ll be following two people who decided to seek Better in their own lives. Their journeys are very different and very inspiring and along the way, Newton became a part of helping them find Better. 

My name is Robbie Leffel. I am a 35 year old husband and father of 2. In a nutshell, I’m a food addict that lost 100 pounds. Here’s my story.

When I was a kid, I was the skinny one. When I hit my teens I fell in love with the snack machine (Honey Buns!) and gained a little weight. Once I arrived at college and realized that I could eat whatever I wanted I really started to get big. It was also around that time that I began to suffer from severe migraine headaches. By the time I was 21, my headaches had increased in severity and frequency, so much so I began missing a lot of school and work. I was also becoming less and less active spending a lot of time in bed trying to get over the headaches. This led me to gain even more weight and over the next decade I ballooned to a seriously unhealthy 336lbs.

All the way through my 20’s and the beginning of my 30’s I was committed to getting healthy, but there were a few road blocks to deal with. Obviously, the headaches were killing me, but what was really adding insult to injury was that I had become a food addict. I was and still am an emotional eater. When I eat foods that are high in sugar, fat, or salt I just feel good, at least temporarily. If I was having a bad day I would turn to food. If I had a headache (which was always) I would eat hoping it would help the headache somehow (crazy, I know). If my wife made me mad I would eat. If my team lost I would eat (which wasn’t very often! Go Duke!). I’m an emotional guy, so all I did was eat.

So I would find a new diet to try and I would buy all the food and start going to the gym, doing all the things I knew I was supposed to do. However, every time I would find a way to sabotage the diet. I would lose a few pounds, so I would get cocky and careless and gradually add more food to my diet, or I would slack off going to the gym. The weight loss would stop and I would say, “See, this diet doesn’t really work either.” I would repeat this cycle over and over again. I always wanted to lose weight, but it was just too hard fighting with my addiction and the headaches.

Then one day I was looking for another diet to “try” (I tried them all). I purchased a book by the Biggest Loser trainer, Jillian Michaels. I could not tell you anything the book said other than this one thing…HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP IS POISON AND YOU SHOULD NEVER, EVER EAT IT. That little nugget forever changed my life. I don’t think I even finished the book. I ran to the kitchen to see if I could find any HFCS. To my shock, HFCS was in just about everything I was eating. I looked online at restaurants and it was there too. I was cautiously optimistic that this is what had been causing my headaches. I instantly became a food label Nazi and tracked everything that I ate, making sure that I wasn’t eating any HFCS. To my massive relief (understatement!) the headaches went away. Before, I was having 4-5 migraine headaches every week. Now, I will have one about 3 times a year, and that is probably because I ate something accidently that had HFCS in it. (As a side note, just because the FDA approves it and Coca-Cola and McDonald’s serves it does not mean that it is safe to consume!)

Armed with a new lease on life and one of my major obstacles out of the way, I committed myself to getting healthy for real. I began my own little program, of running and a super simple diet, which I came up with that I thought fit me and who I was and what I needed. After about a year I had lost 100lbs. I had become a new man. I’m happier than I have ever been and I have so much confidence. I am able to keep up with my kids and enjoy life the way you are supposed to.

I’ve certainly come a long way, but I’ve still got a long way to go. My initial goal was to see 299lbs on the scale, then get to that 100lb mark. I realize weight is just a number. My actual goal is to just be healthy and fit, tracking my weight is just a means to an end. My next goal is to get below 200, to see 199lbs on the scale. I have no doubt that I will get there. In fact, I am officially setting a goal for myself and you are my witness. By the end of Newton’s “60 Days of Better” I will reach my goal of 199lbs. I think I can do it. I’ve got on my Newtons and I am motivated to make a better me. Is anybody with me?!

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