By Christine Bryant - Times Correspondent | Posted: Sunday, May 2, 2010
Life was passing by Jonathan Moore.
He was happy, was surrounded by friends and family and had dreams of making it to Hollywood as a performer. But looking in the mirror, the Gary resident knew there was one obstacle that stood in his way -- his weight.
As an actor with the Westside Theatre Guild, simply standing during movie productions was an issue.
"Just standing for me was a big problem," he said. "A lot of times, I might have a chair off to the side on the set. I know the Westside Theatre Guild was a local thing, but in Hollywood they don't have time to accommodate your inadequacies."
To make matters worse, Moore's sleep apnea had begun to worsen, and he couldn't work.
"I had to file for disability," he said. "I hardly left the house because it was tough for me to stand up for more than 10 minutes at a time."
Moore's mother saw an advertisement for a weight-loss seminar and encouraged him to attend.
"The whole time Dr. (Paul) Stanish was presenting, he kept looking at me," Moore said. "Once he was done with his presentation, he walked over to me and said that unless I did something soon, I was going to die."
For years, Moore's weight steadily climbed. It wasn't until he weighed himself at the first doctor's visit two years ago that he found himself at rock bottom.
"When I saw 615 pounds on the scale, that's when I hit my wall and knew I had to do something," he said.
That's when Moore decided to look into gastric bypass surgery. It was an important decision, he says, but it in some ways, it also was an easy one.
"I'm an entertainer. To be able to get out and pursue that dream was almost impossible," he said. "And so I don't want to say it was depressing. It was upsetting that I felt held back."
Moore underwent surgery in July 2008 at Methodist Hospital's Southlake campus, and has since lost more than 400 pounds. Now, at age 33, he weighs 225 pounds.
"Resurrected -- that would be the word I would use," Moore said. "I felt like I was asleep for a good part of my life. Now, I'm out and about in the world. There's so many things I haven't done but wanted to do that I can do now with ease. I really feel focused and rejuvenated and destined."
The path to this destination didn't come without struggle, though. After the surgery, it took time for Moore to adjust not only to his diet, but to his new figure.
"It was a steady weight loss, but it was at a rapid rate," he said. "After surgery, you have to go on a strictly liquid diet. That right there, I still had the mass of a 600-pound person. I was still craving the food."
The surgery also left him sore and unsure of what to expect.
"It was a mystery of how everything was going to turn out," Moore said. "It was a real time in my life that tested my faith. I'm a firm believer in God, and I prayed a lot."
It was that faith, along with mind over matter, that helped him get away from what he says is a slippery slope of weight gain.
"You can control your stomach through your mind," he said. "I made bad decisions throughout my life with food. I'd say 20 percent is physical and 80 percent is mental."
Now, he says, his outer appearance reflects more of what he has always felt on the inside. He wants to use this opportunity to continue achieving his goals as an actor and rapper, but also to teach others about his experiences as both an obese man and a healthy man.
"I definitely plan on writing a book dealing with the weight loss and transformation," Moore said. "I want to do some motivational speaking as well, not only to motivate people to lose weight, but also to motivate people who don't have weight problems not to judge."
Weight: 225 pounds, down from 615
Pounds lost: 390
How long it took: 2 years
The Workout: Keeping active
The Diet: At first, a liquid, and then small healthy portions of food
Tip: Weight loss is about mind over matter. "You can control your stomach through your mind."