My name is Rob Cooper. In 1990, I tipped the scales at 475 pounds and my waist was 55 inches (at least). Over the next two and a half years, I lost 288 pounds, dropping to a low of 187 pounds, and I fit into a size 38 pair of jeans. But I wasn’t finished yet. In the years that followed, I took up the bodybuilding lifestyle and slowly but surely added over 50 pounds of lean muscle while dropping even more body fat. That brought my total fat loss to over 300 pounds. Today, I weigh 240 pounds of lean muscle and I’m in the best shape of my life
How did I do it?
It all began with a decision
When I realized that I had hit bottom, I decided I had to do something about my health – and fast! But I didn’t choose to lose nearly 300 pounds of fat – I chose to learn how my body worked, how it used foods, and then began to put the principles I learned into action on a daily basis.
I was working as a cab driver for about 2 years after leaving university. I set the land speed record for the greatest amount of weight gained in the shortest period of time. I went from 320 pounds when I left university to 475 pounds a short 2 years later.
My life consisted of driving a taxi, eating, smoking, drug and alcohol abuse and a lot of “Nintendo”. The only exercise I got was getting out of bed and the short walk from my taxi to the restaurant and back to the cab.
I challenged my skin to keep up with the weight gain, and it lost. I was covered in stretch marks which not only were beet red, but quite wide. Do I have them now? More about that later, but yes, there is hope and yes you can do something about it (I have a little secret weapon that has served me well).
In 1989 when I hit my highest weight or 475 pounds, my body let me know in no uncertain terms that enough was enough. I had what I refer to as “my episode” one night after a shift of driving taxi. My heart began to race and I was having a challenge with breathing. I got out of my chair and began to pace thinking about what was going on.
It scared me.
Did I do anything about it? Nope.
What did I know? Yes I was clinically obese, I was wearing the same clothes day in and day out as I hated shopping and once I found a set of clothes that I liked, I stuck with them for months at a time, washing them every other day.
I was young. I was at the tender age of 22 years. I was invincible.
2 days later it happened again. I was sitting in the same chair after a shift of driving taxi when it all happened again. My heart began to race, my breath was short and I was struggling to breathe. I began to sweat profusely and I got up out of my chair and clutched the wall. My life flashed in front of my eyes and I envisioned my parents finding me – dead at 22 – 475 pounds and nothing to show for my life. It scared the crap out of me.
I made a decision to do something about my health
You’d think that at 475 pounds, I’d have realized that I was fat and had to get rid of the weight, but that was not in my mind at all. I knew nothing about health and nutrition except for what I had read in newspapers or seen on TV, namely that salt was bad and fried foods were bad, so that’s where I began.
I made a new years resolution to quit using salt, to give up fried foods and to “lose weight by exercising”
I did not choose to drop 300 pounds….
I chose to learn about my health and what I could do to improve my health.
Health Education and Action
I became a glutton for information and then began to put the information into practice. My first introduction to my new lifestyle was to purchase foods that I knew were healthier and make sandwiches instead of eating out so much. In the beginning, what I began to do was create “fridge experiments” where everything I bought quickly turned green and melted away while being in the fridge for a week. I learned how to create penicillin!
It wasn’t all that bad. I did eat some of it, but at least the decision was set and it began to create a new mindset that I used.
I was out of the house more than I was in the house and ate at a lot of fast food joints. When I did, I reduced the intake. I’d eat one big mac and shake instead of two. I replaced fries at the restaurant with a baked potato and I quit putting salt on anything.
I still drank pop, but switched to diet pop. I still drank coffee but quit using sugar in it.
I believe that once you make a decision and fully commit to it, that the universe supports your decision and attracts into your life things that wouldn’t ordinarily be. Facts came my way, people with info came my way and I began to learn new lessons. Doors began to open as it were and those doors may have very well been there before, but I wasn’t open enough to see them. I wasn’t open enough to see the opportunity. I have found this to be the same with the rest of my life in the years since as well.
Implementing what I already knew
….which wasn’t a lot I might add
I had been dieting since I was in the 5th grade. I had been on a starvation diet when I was in my final year of high school and had lost 80 pounds from December until the summer when I graduated. I say I lost it because I surely found it again, and then more.
I had carried with me some of the product from that diet and began to use the last of it which lasted me about a week. I got very very ill. So ill in fact that my roommate were going to take me to the hospital if I didn’t do something for myself, or snap out of it. They joked that they’d get a forklift and cart me out of the house and to the hospital.
Being so sick, I essentially did a week long fast and dropped about 20 or 30 pounds. Not a healthy way to do it, but it was enough to support my initial decision and inspired me to continue to do more.
Fit For Life and My First Role Model
I had a friend that drove cab with me, who knew about some information contained in a book called Fit For Life by Harvey and Marilynn Diamond. The book outlined something called natural hygiene or put another way “food combining”.
The idea was that digestion is the most energy consuming thing the body does and that if we can eat foods in combinations that simplify the digestive process, that an enormous amount of energy is released and used to clean the body and thus burn fat and become healthy.
My friend had followed the principles before and introduced me to the subject because I had suddenly taken steps on my own to do something.
“when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”