Mario Colao started sobbing finding himself covered in sweat, with his left arm completely numb and his heart pounding viciously, at 3 in the morning.
That night in January 2010 was the third time in two weeks his sleep had been broken up by symptoms alike that of heart attack, and he figured out why.
“It’s sad to say, but I felt like I deserved this because I never took care of myself,” Colao says.
At an age of 28, Colao, a Chicago localite weighed 460 pounds and has size 6X clothing, and was well known of the fact that his habits of binge drinking, smoking cigarettes all day and gorging junk food were gradually killing him from inside.
“I asked God to give me another chance,” Colao says, “and I passed out.”
Born in an Italian family where everything revolved around food, he had been overweight since childhood. Basically his grandfather raised as his parents had long shifts.
Colao were many times bullied because of his weight, in school, and his grandfather was his only friend. But at the age of 9 his grandfather died. This lead him to fight his loneliness with food which gave him comfort from the remorse that he felt. “Food became a total escape,” he says. “I always considered it my drug.”
The weight never stopped to pile on through adolescence phase and beyond. At 18, he took up smoking and began to drink heavily when he was 22. He continued to eat junk food whole time.
On his blog,” I’ve said It All Before”, Colao gives examples of some of his ordinary meals at one time. One included two burgers, a large soda, large French fries and chicken nuggets, totaling more than 2,400 calories.
By 2010, Colao was accustomed of drinking more than 10 drinks and have 2 packs of cigarettes in a day. Only the deadly symptoms keep bugging him, so he promised to improve himself.
“I quit smoking and stopped eating everything that was bad,” he stated.
Colao’s parents bought him a treadmill because he was not comfortable working out in a gym. “That’s what really helped me the most — being able to gain the physical and mental stability and work out on my own,” he recalls.
He initiated by walking and slowly moved his way up to running and weightlifting.
He changed his eating habits. He stopped eating fried, oily food and all kind of sodas. He resorted his craving in overindulging in food.
Over the initial months, Colao dropped 50 pounds. This was kind of victory for him and it motivated him to lose a high end target of 200 pounds.
As a reward, Colao booked a trip to Philadelphia to run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and re-create a famous scene from the movie “Rocky.” He was on his way to meet his goal when a foot fracture sidelined him for a few weeks.
Through his journey, Colao’s constant supports were his parents and girlfriend, Julia Gonzalez. He says he still struggles to see himself in his slimmer body, and Gonzalez pushes him to look on the bright side.
When he had lost down to 305 pounds, Colao went through a difficult breakup situation and relieved his calorie counting and exercising habits a little bit. Six months later, he had gained back 40 pounds due to the effect.
It was four years back when Colao could not even tie his shoes without losing his breath. He did the first push-up of his life, a few weeks ago. In two months, he expects to be a certified personal trainer and well on his way to serving others attain their weight-loss goals.