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Wellness

Mortified By Vacation Photos, Brian Noonan Lost 144 Pounds

Name: Brian Noonan
Age: 51
Height: 6'5"
Before Weight: 378.8 pounds (Yes, I'm that specific.)

How I Gained It: I have always been fat. I think it started the day I was born. I came out weighing 9 pounds 9 ounces, and I just kept growing. Since I was always taller than my classmates, the "he's a growing boy" justification helped me continue overeating.

As an adult, there was no one telling me to stop, so if I wanted to eat an entire pizza in one sitting, I did. Due to my job as a stand-up comic, I had a lot of time during the day and I would find myself grazing. Every time I passed the kitchen I would grab a little something, whether I was hungry or not. A meal wasn't over until I was physically uncomfortable. I would eat until I couldn't eat anymore. That desire to feel full was combined with a love of sweets, especially ice cream and cookies. One scoop or one cookie was never enough.

I also did a lot of overeating at night. After shows, I would have a few beers and lots of fast-food, convenience-store burritos, cookies and whatever else was handy, and then it was off to bed. I never was a big fruit or vegetable eater either, except for an occasional salad and the onions, lettuce and pickles on my burgers.

Breaking Point: My wife, daughter and I had returned from a vacation I had truly enjoyed. When I looked at the pictures, I was mortified and embarrassed. Who was that blob trying to use his daughter to cover him in the pictures?

Although I had told myself I had to lose weight on numerous occasions, this time was different. I looked into a few different diet plans and told my wife that this time I really needed to lose the weight. I had horrible back and knee pain, I wasn't enjoying my life, and I wasn't sure I'd live to see my daughter go to college and live her life.

How I Lost It: My wife told me she had bought a Weight Watchers program a few years before. She dug it out of the closet and literally blew the dust off the books. That was on Saturday, July 9, 2011. That weekend I made the preparations and on Monday morning, I took the first step on my journey.

I was very strict with myself and the program, because I knew that I needed to see results quickly in order to stay interested. I gave up pizza all together, saving it for a reward for losing 50 pounds. When I hit that milestone, I gave it up again until I reached 75 pounds. I documented everything I ate and how much weight I lost.

The hardest part was portion size. Realizing that a serving was not something that would fill an entire plate was a shock. Since I was weighing most of my food, I learned how much I should be eating compared with the huge amounts of the same food I had eaten in the past.

I used to drink three or more Pepsis a day. Since I began my journey I can count on one hand the number of Pepsis I've had. I drink water almost exclusively. I've really enjoyed adding more fruits, vegetables and fish to my diet. I can fill up on them and feel healthy instead of uncomfortable.

At first, I was only able to walk around my subdivision. I'd walk a couple blocks and be in so much pain in my back and knees. But as time went on, the pain decreased and my speed increased and then my distance. I found it a pleasure to take my two dogs with me. They seemed to enjoy it as well, since regular walks hadn't been possible before. Soon, 10- to 15-minute walks grew to one-hour walks.

When I was down 112 pounds, in March 2012, I joined a gym. I hadn't been to a gym regularly in over 10 years, so walking in the first morning was daunting. Part of my new membership included four sessions with a personal trainer, which both scared and excited me. I didn't want some super-fit person seeing what a doughy weakling I was. On the other hand, I knew they could provide me with a program that would not only improve the effects of my workouts, but help me learn my way around the machines.

I talked to a couple of the trainers, but didn't get the right vibe until my neighbor put me in touch with Denise, who took time to learn about my transformation, where I hoped to go and what type of program I was looking for. She understood that at that time, I was only expecting to come to the gym about three times a week for an hour, and that I wasn't looking for a full-time trainer. Denise designed a program that would work my entire body with a bit of cardio and weight training. She gave me great instructions for all the machines and a lot of encouragement. I have sessions with her every few months to change my program. I'm at the point now where I am at the gym six days a week, which is still hard for me to believe. There are still mornings when I want to hit the snooze button and skip my workout, but I remember how easy it is to make skipping the gym a habit, so I get out of bed and go.

Now that I've stabilized my weight and am working out a lot harder, I can bring some things back into my diet with moderation. I'll enjoy a nice craft beer rather than a light one. I'll have pizza once or twice a month, but limit how much I eat. On rare occasions, I'll have fries when I'm out to dinner. I'm more observant about everything I eat which is something I never was before.

After Weight: 234.5 pounds
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The Huffington Post publishes photographs as they are submitted to us by our readers. As told to Sarah Klein.

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