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Man's New Identity Leads to Extreme Weight Loss

At 800 pounds, Justin felt like he was in prison. He surrendered to God, and with his newfound identity came a new body. Read Transcript


- [Justin] You know whenpeople see pictures of me

when I was younger,

and they look back at those pictures,

they really can't believethat's who they're looking at,

that it's me.

- [Narrator] From an early age,

Justin Willoughby had a passion for food.

- [Justin] Food was like my best friend.

It would comfort me,

it would bring me pleasure,

and it took away the anxiety,

it took away all my emotions for a moment.

It numbed me if you will.

Hitting second grade Iwas around 200 pounds.

Going through middle school,

I probably hit around 350, 400, 450.

- [Narrator] As his weightclimbed the attacks from

classmates increased.

- [Justin] They would say things like,

you're fat,

you're ugly,

you waddle,

just a bunch of vulgar names.

And then,

that stuff would make me wanna go to food.

I got a lot of pleasure from it.

A lot of acceptance,

because it just made me feel good.

My panic attacks started at 14 years old.

The doctors put me on medication.

The medications helpedin a temporary sense,

to where they made me feel a little numb,

and kinda tired.

- [Narrator] Justin grew more sedentary,

and his weight increased,

but nothing freed him fromhis depression and fear.

Around this time,

a friend of his mom,

a woman named Marge,

started talking to Justin about Jesus.

- [Justin] She talked to me about,

how God can help me throughthe anxiety attacks and such,

and that he wouldn'tleave me or forsake me.

That he was with me always.

To know that somebodycan love you that much,

and to know that I canbe forgiven of the wrongs

that I've done,

of the things that I'm not okay with,

the things that wouldhaunt me day and night,

like why did I make this decision,

stuff like that,

it attracted me.

- [Narrator] But Justin wasn'twilling to surrender his

food addiction.

- [Justin] Food made me feel accepted.

Food made me feel good.

Food it made me feel like,

everything else didn't matter.

It felt like it loved me,

even though it didn't.

But it just made me feel satisfied,

fulfilled.

It was this condition I guess I had,

that I didn't wanna give up.

So yeah there was this battle going on.

- [Narrator] When he was 16,

Justin went to a doctorfor an insurance physical.

- [Justin] And the doctor looked at me,

and he was stunned.

He looked me over,

he checked me over,

and he was really anxious,

he was really unsure if I was healthy,

and if I was okay.

- [Narrator] He was sentby ambulance to a hospital

in Pittsburgh for more testing.

There the seriousness of hismorbid obesity became real.

- I remember my parentsbeing at the foot of the bed.

And they looked at the bed scale.

My mom walks up to me and she says,

honey, do you know how much you weigh?

And I said,

no, I don't.

And she goes,

you weigh 799 pounds.

And I was blown away andnumb at the same time.

I thought things like,

who could love me?

I'm so large,

who would love me?

I don't offer much,

I just sit here,

and I eat.

And those are real thoughtsthat entered my mind,

for sure.

And those thoughts plagued me.

I guess I felt like I wasin a prison at that moment.

Just not knowing where to turn next.

- [Narrator] Lying in his bed,

Justin remembered what hismom's friend Marge told him

about Jesus love,

and he cried out to God for help.

- [Justin] When I gave my heart to Jesus,

and surrendered over,

there's a peace.

I felt loved,

and I felt valuable.

I felt like,

even if I was that muchweight and wasn't confident

and happy about myself,

I felt like the lordsaw something different.

He saw my identity as his child,

and I allowed God to take

a messed up broken person that I was,

and I allowed him to changeme from the inside out.

I gave my heart to Jesus,

in August 2003.

And I realized that I was loved by him.

That he cared about me,

and I had value and identity.

- [Narrator] With a new identity,

Justin started functioning differently.

He was motivated to eat better,

and started moving.

- [Justin] I would have tostart walking a little bit.

So I remember taking a couple steps,

maybe 3, 4, 5, steps,

and then I would haveto go back to the bed,

and sit down.

But that was a milestone for me,

because I was able to actually move,

I was able to actually function.

- [Narrator] He wasdischarged after six days.

Once at home,

Justin started working witha therapist and a nurse,

to continue building his strength.

It took him 33 days towalk a total of one mile.

- [Justin] And then I startedwalking a little bit easier.

It took me less days,

20 something days the second time,

I did another mile.

And then less time to do my next mile,

and eventually I startedwalking around stores,

and going out,

and actually becomingpart of society again.

- [Narrator] The first year,

Justin dropped 200 poundsthrough dietary changes

and exercise.

The second year,

he dropped another 200.

He learned to rely on Godanytime he felt like giving in

to his food addiction.

- [Justin] The closer I got to God,

the closer I grew myrelationship with Jesus,

I do believe my body got healthier.

It's because I had a reverence,

a fear of the lord,

because he created my body.

He made it.

He created it in such a way,

to where it is a temple.

You know he lives in it.

If God comes to live in you,

if he dwells in your body,

if he dwells in a temple,

don't you think that templeshould be taken care of?

- [Narrator] Today,

over ten years later,

Justin remains addictionand panic attack free.

He is married,

and has shared his transformative story

on radio, TV, and church meetings.

As a weight loss coachand motivational speaker,

Justin enjoys pointing othersto the life changing power

of Jesus.

- God made you, you.

And he wants you to bethe best version of you.

And that only comes fromsurrendering your life over to him,

and allowing him to shape youin who he wants you to be.

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