“Everybody just can’t believe it.”

“Everybody just can’t believe it.”
Jason Busby of Hannibal, Mo., has an inspiring tale to tell.
All on his own, he lost 170 pounds - half his weight - since last October and regained his health.
Now even his friends do not always recognize him. He enjoys seeing “the look on people’s faces” when they realize it is him.
“I went to my cousin’s wedding a couple months ago, and another cousin came to town and looked at me and started crying,” Busby reported. “My pants size has gone from 42 down to 30.”
Busby’s weight loss came after 27 years of being too heavy to do much except eat, watch television and play video games.
His top weight was 340 pounds. Now, as he maintains his 167 pounds by eating well and working out, he wants to encourage others to never give up.
He was never healthy enough to work, he said, and now is eager to find a job. “I figure I can handle anything,” he said, including physical labor, because he is working out at the YMCA of Hannibal three times a week to gain muscle strength.
His weight loss was done alone, he explained. And if he could do this without any advice from a doctor or physical trainer, he believes others could, too.
All his life Busby has been heavy, he said. “In second grade, I weighed 120 pounds.” In high school he tried football but was too short of breath.
His weight problem “was nobody’s fault but my own,” Busby is quick to say. He lives with his mother, Ina “Dodie” Busby, but it is not her fault he did nothing but eat and stay home most of the time.

was so terrible’

“My health was very, very bad,” Busby said. “I had sleep apnea very bad. I would wake up and couldn’t catch my breath. ... I could not lie on my back. And my breathing was so terrible.”
Also, “I could not move very well,” he said, when he weighed 330 pounds. “I couldn’t stay on my feet very long. I couldn’t sit in a chair very long, because my legs would cramp. My friends tell me now ‘I was worried about you.’”
Among his supporting family was his sister, Joelle Busby.
His determination to lose followed a physical scare, when he was taken to the hospital by his dad, Mike Busby, afraid he was suffering a heart attack. It was not a heart attack, but he knew he was heading for disaster. He also had to start using an inhaler to sleep at night.
Busby decided to begin by cutting out junk foods and fast food. “I cut all that out,” he said. “Soda was another big part. I just drink water now.” He also quit smoking.
Now he eats no sugar and cooks on a George Foreman grill, reporting “it cuts out the fat.” He gave up pizza and beef, now eating grilled chicken and fish, along with “a lot more vegetables, like carrots and broccoli.” And he eats turkey burgers instead of hamburgers.
What was most difficult about his new lifestyle? “The beginning,” he said. “I had been eating the bad stuff all my life. ... I had to adjust. Now it’s second nature to eat healthy food.”
His first daily exercise was on a treadmill at his home. “I started walking slowly and it would take 30 minutes to walk a mile,” he said. “Then I just gradually picked up and now am running a mile in about 10 minutes.”

Becoming healthy
motivates him

How did he stay motivated? “I saw the results and could breath better, and could do things physically I could not do before.” ... Busby did not set a goal, because “I didn’t think I would stick with it.”
He was surprised at how fast he lost weight. After changing his diet in October, he said, “At Thanksgiving, I was at 301, so that was about 30 pounds. At New Year’s Eve, I was at 260.” In April he was down to 200 pounds.
When he joined the YMCA, a friend who works there showed him the machines. “At first I would dread going out there,” Busby said. “Now I am excited when I go. I look forward to it and feel great afterward.
“I make up my own workout routine,” he said. “I do a lot of weights. At first it was all cardio, but now I just focus on building muscle.
“I am fully healthy and in the best shape in my life,” Busby said. “I can run and don’t get winded. I love the way I am now. It’s much better to be in good physical health.”
He hopes that by sharing his experience, he can inspire others. For anyone attempting to change their lifestyle, his advice is that “moderation is the key. You just got to cut out some of the bad stuff. If I can do it with the lifestyle I had, anybody can. I was as lazy as they come.
“I just want to help people, tell them it is possible,” Busby said. “I just want to tell people it can be done. I would encourage anybody that starts to please stick with it. It will be worth it.”
Do not expect overnight results, he said. “That’s not going to happen, but if you stick with your diet and workouts, you will get results.”