When he steps into the gym, 41-year-old Carlos Orosco knows people are watching him.
He once weighed 650 pounds and was scarcely able to function in his day-to-day life.
But today, Orosco runs races, lifts weights, and weighs in at 185 pounds, a stunning weight loss transformation that has inspired his family, friends and community.
Orosco remembers finding out that he was going to be an uncle. He was 38 at the time, and his doctor told him that unless he lost weight, his health was certainly going to deteriorate.
Orosco, from Zilwaukee, Michigan, wanted to be an uncle who was present and able to really live life, and made the decision to make some major lifestyle changes.
“I personally gave myself the timeline of turning my life around before I reached 42 years old, to do what needed to be done,” Orosco told MLive. “I cut out all fast food, all fried foods, all breads, alcohol.”
With those diet changes, Orosco lost 100 pounds. At the end of 2016, he had bariatric surgery at Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw.
The surgery was successful, and Orosco’s weight plummeted from 550 pounds to 300.
But Orosco knew surgery was only one step on his weight loss journey — he needed to exercise, maintain a healthy diet and fight the tough mental battles happening in his mind.
“I had to start putting forth the effort,” he said.
He joined a gym and found a friend and mentor in Roy Bates, owner of Pure-NRGY Fitness where Orosco works out several times each week.
“Inspirational would be a small word,” Roy Bates said of Orosco’s incredible determination and success. “When he walks through that door, I remind him, ‘Carlos, people are watching you, but in a good way. You might be changing someone’s life and you don’t even know it.”
Orosco is a finalist in the Conquering Obesity category of the 2019 Governor’s Fitness Awards, MLive reported. The award is presented by the Michigan Fitness Foundation and the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports.
Orosco says the best part of it all is getting to live his life.
“I got my life back is what really happened,” he said. “A second chance, more or less.”
He admitted that the last few years have been difficult, especially mentally.
“I think the hardest part of the journey was immediately afterwards. It’s been more of a mental process than a physical process for me,” he said. “The procedure, the journey, it breaks you.”
But weight loss is possible for anybody, Orosco says, especially when you surround yourself with people who will cheer you on and support you.
“I wore these size 78 jeans, when I was 38 years old, and weighed 650 pounds,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “Today I turned 41 years old, weigh 185 pounds, and now wear a size 34. Anything (and I mean anything) is possible with faith, focus, family, and friends.”
“Stay as optimistic about the process as possible,” he advised. “Realize that where you’re at isn’t where you finish up at.”
“If you have the willpower — if you have that group of people that support you, anything is really possible.”
Orosco is about to turn 42, an age he might not have lived to see had he not changed the trajectory of his life.
“I honestly believe that I’m truly living the way that was intended for me now,” he said.
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