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I used to weigh 310 pounds. I was unhealthy, pre-diabetic (at least), and completely sedentary. I hated moving, being sweaty, working hard at anything, sports, and pretty much anything that didn’t involve being inside and staring at a screen.

Then, 6 months after I got married, I went on a delayed honeymoon to Disney World and was able to get into a soft-opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It was magical…until I could just barely fit into the Dueling Dragons harness, and the attendant sent me off to what I was sure to be my death.

That moment changed my life. I couldn’t go through life carefree anymore. Being fat was actually going to hold me back. So something had to change.

I began eating according to the low-glycemic index, which meant I avoided all sugar, starches, and had limited carbohydrates (complex over simple), tried phentermine (which is a miracle drug), and used the extra energy from those changes to begin cycling and running so that when I hit my goal weight, I would already be entrenched in a new lifestyle.

And when my dad died in 2012 after 12 years of heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues? I used that grief and stress to motivate myself into living as long a life as I could. I recognized that losing weight and health were not the same thing, and I made sure that not only wasn’t going to be limited in the life I was able to have, I was also going literally live the life I was able to have.

So I lost 155 pounds since that day in Orlando, and I learned more than a few things that keep me fit, active, healthy, and geeky.

The most important lesson, though, is this: Diets don’t work. Lifestyle changes do.

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