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Matthew DeKler

This JYM Army member continues to fight hard – and win – against a history of obesity and health issues.

Matthew DeKler

Written by Matthew DeKler

I'm 43 years old and have struggled with my weight and diet my entire life. At my heaviest, I weighed 425 pounds.

When I was 28 years old, my doctor diagnosed me with type 2 diabetes and told me I had to lose weight. I think I was just so scared about having diabetes that I went ahead and lost 180 pounds – but not the right way. I was smoking cigarettes, and nicotine is a great appetite suppressant. But soon after I lost the weight, I started gaining it all back and was back up to 400 pounds. 

In my 30s, I started making life changes like getting involved in my church, quitting smoking, and I started losing weight again, this time 150 pounds. Everything was going well until I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Over the past eight years, I've had six procedures, the most recent in 2013, to help correct this issue. My heart specialist believes it's linked to my constant weight fluctuations.

In 2008, I met my wife, Trish. Over the next year and a half, as we planned the wedding, I let stress get the best of me and gained back all the weight I lost. I was so ashamed I let this happen again that I just shut down and stopped taking care of myself. My diabetes and eating were out of control. I stopped at Burger King on my way home from work almost every day and got enough food to feed three or four people. I would eat it all before Trish got home and take the empty bags to the dumpster so she wouldn’t know what I had done.

By 2014, my marriage was failing, mostly due to me. I wasn't taking care of myself, and I had no motivation to do anything but lie on the couch. I weighed more than 400 pounds yet again. I felt if I kept traveling the road I was on, my body would just give out and I would be dead.  The weight was choking the life out of me and I had enough.

I started looking for a diet and came across bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Stoppani, PhD, Chris Tuttle, Evan Centopani, CT Fletcher and Kai Greene.

I learned from these bodybuilders and started eating clean, weighing and measuring my food, and...

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