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Good-bye 600-pound gorilla

You know it was always cool to be considered the "big man on campus" when I actually was the big man on campus.

Those days have long since faded into the sunset, and there are other milestones left to achieve.

I've never been one to write about myself or the people around me, but let me take some time to share something personal with you.

I've battled with weight problems most of my adolescent life and up until my 32nd birthday.

When I was in high school, I was the big man on campus not just for my ability to lead. I was swaying to a healthy beat with a lot of weight on my shoulders, legs and tummy.

I was the fat kid in school, but I was the one not many picked on because I was taller than most.

Almost 25 years later, that fat kid is melting away.

On June 23, 2004, I had gastric bypass surgery. It was my last effort to take my life back. As I told my surgeon, if I didn't have the surgery I would be dead in 10 years.

It was something that I didn't want to happen to myself or my family, so this was it.

When I went in for surgery I was tipping the scales at nearly 500 pounds. I, nor anyone who knew me, thought that I weighed that much. But the weight was beginning to be unbearable.

Monday will be my 11-month anniversary since I've had surgery and I've lost 161 pounds.

My surgeon asked me on Thursday what it was like to get that gorilla off my back.

It feels great.

I can honestly say that I won't miss that gorilla that felt like 600 pounds some days anytime soon.

While I'm not at my goal weight yet, I can certainly tell a difference. That big man on campus has melted away.

I can't stay clothes anymore. I've tucked some of my "big" shirts so far down my trousers that you would think that the shirt tails are in my shoes.

As for pants, I've been keeping some of the retail shops here in Greenville and other places in business because I've had to buy a new pair just about every other week.

That's what happens when you lose 16 inches off your waist in a short amount of time.

As for eating, let's just say I'm a cheap date now. What you consider a healthy dinner, I consider that two meals.

I remember that most buffet owners would cringe when they saw me coming. There was no way they were going to make any money off of me.

Now, I can't go to a buffet enough because I eat so little.

You see that gorilla was pretty big and he could pack away the groceries.

But I certainly won't miss him.

Kevin Taylor is sports editor of The Greenville Advocate. You can e-mail kevin.taylor@greenvilleadvocate.com or call (334) 383-9302 ext. 122.