Success Story: From 'Miserable' to a Full & Happy Life*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Brett Day (brett_day1981)
Weight Lost: 136 lbs
Hometown: Bridge Creek, OK
Occupation: Student

I completely destroyed two discs in my lower back after an accident at work. I had surgery to fix the problems and ended up having a spinal fusion at one level and an artificial disc at the level above the fusion. As a result of the surgery, I ended up with a condition called RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy), which is a rare type of nerve damage. RSD is progressive and is incredibly painful in the afflicted limbs.  I had a hard time moving around because of the pain in my back, and quickly became very unhappy. This led to comfort eating. I gained a lot of weight, and ended up weighing 334 pounds.  
My life then was quite miserable. I faced so many challenges, not only because of my injuries, but because of the extra weight as well.  I became incredibly self-conscious.  I hated the way I looked and did not like going out very much, and I certainly did not like having my picture taken. Because of this, I missed out on many family outings and trips. I could not play with my children like a good parent should be able to do, and even going out and about to do daily chores was a struggle because I would get so out of breath.

After I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted to help control the pain of RSD, I knew I had been given a second chance to become the husband and father I knew I could be. My family was my biggest motivation. I knew that I had to change so that I could be around for my wife and for my children. I knew that if I did not change my ways, then I would not be around to see my children grow up.  At the time I also suffered with alarmingly high blood pressure and was told that I was pre-diabetic. My dad passed away due to complications from diabetes, and I knew I did not want to go down that path.

My “A-Ha” moment came on October 23, 2011. I will never forget it. I woke up and sat on the edge of my bed. I wasn't really doing anything but sitting there, and then out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I could not believe what I was seeing, who I had become. I had a breakdown right there and then; I literally crawled back into bed and cried for hours, trying to figure out why I had let myself get so overweight. I vowed to change my lifestyle for myself--and for my family.

The next day I came across I signed up for an account and then started educating myself via the articles and videos on the site. Ever since then I have used SparkPeople every day.  I made a vow to myself that I would lose the weight and would become a role model for others. I completely changed my lifestyle. I started to eat healthy foods; I cut out all junk/fast food and only ate one-ingredient foods.

Just changing my diet yielded excellent results. Once the weight started coming off and moving around became easier, I added exercise in to my days. I started out by walking three days per week, then five days per week. I bought a recumbent exercise bike and started to work out in my home. After a couple of months (in January 2012) I started jogging and told myself that I would run in a 5K. I then ran my first 5K in April 2012.  Since then I have taken part in numerous running events throughout Oklahoma. I absolutely love to run. Before I lost my weight I could barely walk, but now running has become a true passion of mine. Since joining SparkPeople, I have lost 136 pounds (and counting) and my BMI has decreased to 27 (down from 44.1). I am in the best shape of my life.

SparkPeople has played a major role in my weight loss journey. I honestly think that if I did not stumble across this website when I did, I would still weigh 334 pounds.  Being able to track my food intake and my exercise has completely changed my life. The amazing community at SparkPeople has helped me in ways I never thought possible.
My life is amazing right now. While RSD still plays a large part, I have learned how to manage the pain. I exercise every day with my family. I look forward to getting outside and enjoying nature and I am now not afraid to have my picture taken. I am so much more active now than I have ever been during any point in my life. I have taken a keen interest in mind-body exercise. I have a 5K coming up in May where I hope to post a new personal best, and I would love to run in a half marathon by the end of the year. I am also attending college to become a certified personal trainer so that I can help others live happy, healthy lives.  I live a very full and active life, and I could not be happier.

Way to go, Brett!

*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.
Have you lost weight and kept it off using We'd love to share your story. Email us: sparkpeoplesuccess (at) gmail (dot) com

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Congrats! Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring us! Report
Way to go! Report
Awesome. Thanks for the motivation I needed today.
Very motivational...thanks so much for sharing! Report
Thank you for sharing your inspiring story! Good luck with school and all the future holds for you! Report
Thank you for being such an inspiration for all of us!


It really is a choice you have to make--and often you did to "hit bottom" to realize that you MUST make this choice. Good for you--you'll be a fantastic trainer. Report
Very inspirational - thanks for sharing your journey with us and congratulations for all you have accomplished and all you will accomplish. Looking forward to hearing about the half marathon at the end of the year! :-) Report
Such an inspiration! Report
Congratulations on your new life! Your story gives me hope :) Report
Congratulations and thanks for sharing the inspiration! Report
Great job congrats! Report
Thanks for the inspiration! Report
Awesome! Report
Thanks for writing down your story.
Keep up the good work! Report
This is a fabulous story - I bet you're whole family is having fun with the new you! Congratulations Report
Way to go Brett! You are definitely an inspiration! Thanks so much for sharing your story. Report
Fantastic! I'm quite lost for words.
I wish you all the very for your very bright and healthy future! Report
What a great story Brett, you are truly an inspiration to so many, especially those that feel there is no hope. Congratulations on your success! Report
Way to go!!! Thank you for sharing your story!! Report
Great job, very inspiring! Report
!!!! WayToGo Awesome Congrats !!!!

VERY Inspiring

THANKS for Sharing Report
Your article was very encouraging- amazing what a good "AHA!" can do :o) Report
Thank you for sharing this. It gives me great hope and motivation. I was about 335 pounds in Jan, started considering to loose weight, made another haphazard attempt, then in Mar I made a goal and plan. In a short while I found sparks and then found the guidance and support I needed. It is May 13th and I am down to 302. So, again, thank you for sharing your story.
Amazing! Congrats! Report
That is really awesome! Thats a really big lifestyle change! Thank you for sharing your journey! Report
I went to your SparkPage and looked at all your photos.

Amazing journey!

I had never thought about the concept of "one ingredient" foods. What a good idea! That's mostly how I eat, and if there is more than one ingredient, it is because I put together the recipe at home out of very healthy stuff.

YOU ROCK! Report
Yea! Good for you and the determination it took to stick to your plan once you decided on it. Yes, finding SparkPeople when you did was a stroke of luck. It is an amazing site. Also I know you and your family are so proud of you for the accomplishments you have made. Continued success. Report
That is awesome story about your success thank you for sharing and keep up the good work. Report
So inspiring Report
Wow. Way to go. Report
Hello Brett, thanks for sharing your inspiring story. I will be running my 1st half marathon int two weeks and am very excited about it. I can relate to your love for running. Running brings great joy and comfort to my life. Enjoy! Report
That is really fantastic! You can feel your motivation and dedication to your healthier lifestyle in every word you wrote. I think you will make a great personal trainer with your enthusiasm and personal success. Way to make a life-changing decision and seeing it thru with such success! Report
Great story. Report
What an inspirational story! Thanks for sharing! Report
Now that's what I call a success story. Congrats Report
Way to Go Brett!!!! Thanks for sharing your story. Report
Your journey sounds so much like the one I've just embarked upon. Thanks for inspiring me to keep at it because success is possible. Report
Thanks for sharing your very inspiring story Brett! Report
Thank you all so much for all of the wonderful words you have shared with me. I absolutely love my spark family and could not have done it without the love and support and each and every one of you. Report
You are a great inspiration, especially to those of us living with pain. Thank you for sharing! Report
It's easy to say "inspirational," but your story really is...
Thanks for sharing it. I think I'll go for a walk. Report
Congratulations on all of your hard work and effort!! Report
That is such and awesome, inspirational story. Thank you for sharing. Report
Thank you for sharing! Great job! Wishing you continued success.

Muriel Report
Way to go. good luck Report
Way to go! God has a way of knowing when we're low enough to pay attention and brings something to our attention that we would have ignored before, as with the finding of SP. May you continue to be blessed with improved health! Report
Terrific - what an inspiring story. Good luck with the rest of your journey! Report
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