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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You look great, I appreciate your story. very encouraging to me. Report
Way to Go! You look fabulous! Great job!! You are a true inspiration! :D Report
You look so HAPPY! Transforming yourself despite a painful physical obstacle is truly amazing. Thank you! I needed to read this today. Report
I LOVE reading success stories like this one, and often post them on Facebook for my friends to read and be inspired. Amazing transformation - congratulations! Report
Congrats !

You look GREAT

THANKS for sharing and
encouraging us

Keep up the good work

Peace, Love and Blessings !
At a point where I was really struggling - physically and psychologically - with chronic, limiting pain, I met a trainer who had overcome severe injuries. It made all the difference in the world to me. After about 7 doctors failed to help, it was a personal trainer who saved me from feeling like a prisoner in my own body.

I just want you to know how much good you can do, Brett, as a personal trainer and how your journey has given you some priceless gifts to offer your future clients.

Thank you for sharing your story! Report
Good job! You are an inspiration! Report
Great story. Thanks for sharing. Report
Thank you for sharing your journey. I look forward to seeing your posts, when you run your half marathon!!! You've done an amazing thing, by losing all that weight and getting yourself healthy. If I were in your area, I would definitely hire you as my trainer!!! God bless you, and keep up the good work!!! Report
Congratulations, thanks for sharing. Also in my process, was an essential part. Although it was not by chance, it was after a selection process, I evaluated several websites and apps, and settled down on It was a good choice, I'm still here! Report
This is amazing. Thank you for sharing your story! Report
What an awesome story!!! As the wife of someone who lives with RSD, I truly appreciate what an amazing transformation you've made. I wish you all the best in the future! Report
Awesome!! Congrats Report
thanks for posting, my story is similar. Report
Thanks for sharing. What an inspiration. Report
Congratulations Brett! Thanks for sharing your story:) Report
Inspirational! Report
Way to go! You've made awesome progress. It's great to hear others' successes and help us realize that we can do it, despite obstacles. Report
Wow! Congrats! Enjoy every moment, you earned it!!! Report
Wow, what a great story! Such an inspiration and so motivational to others! Report
You're an inspiration! Thanks for sharing.
You inspire me! Your story is amazing and I am encouraged by the challenges you have overcome! Thank you for sharing your story! Report
Well done and you truly are an inspiration. To be able to manage so many things after your spinal injuries and surgeries is awesome!! Report
I just joined this site and am just getting into some of the articles and stories. I think you're right, the more I read in here (and especially the success stories) the more motivated I am to keep trying and not give up. Thanks for sharing, it is a brave thing to do! Report
What an inspirational story, Brett! Thanks for sharing!!! You are a true role model and inspiration! Report
What a story! So inspirational and uplifting. Thanks for sharing! Report
Well done!! I'm glad you are so much happier and healthier. Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
I am so inspired by your story. Keep up the good work. Thank you so much for sharing. Report
Awesome and very inspirational! Way to go!!!! Report
Great job, keep up the good work Report
You should be soooo proud of yourself and your family must be thrilled. God Bless keep up the good work. Report
Brett, you are a true inspiration! Sorry, no picture ;) Report
Way to go! Great blog you're a real inspiration - Thanks! Report
You are awesome! Report
Great job Brett!!!! Report
Great story. You should be very proud. Report
You are a true inspiration.
Awesome story and such a lot to be proud of!!
Keep up the great work and here's to future success in all you do.
:-) Report
Way To Go !! Report
Had to come by to say CONGRATULATIONS on your amazing and well deserved accomplishment!
Mary Report
Thanks for sharing Brett. Congratulations!!!! I want to be one of the success letters. Got Spark Solutions for Mother's Day. Thanks for the inspiration Brett Way To Go!!! Report
way to go creating your life Report
Thanks for the inspiration! Report
Your success is simply phenomenal !! Report
This is what I love the most about this site, reading stories from people like you who have changed their lives just because of SparkPeople. I am so happy for you and you are doing amazing. Thank you for sharing your wonderful blog. Report
I'm happy for you and your family! WTG! Report
Great job! You're very motivating! Report
A big WOO HOO for overcoming your weight loss struggles while living with health struggles. You have become a roll model to your family & our Spark community now.
I bet the man in the mirror is smiling now. WAY TO GO ! Thanks for sharing Report
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