After Jason Granger graduated from Sickles High School in 2002, he headed for Tallahassee, the land of college students, keg parties and fast food.
"You've heard of Freshman 15?" he said, referring to the weight gain college students often experience the first year. "Well I had the Freshman 50."
Over the next three years, he partied and packed on pounds at the expense of his health and grades.
But when a friend asked him to be a groomsman, he vowed he'd lose 100 pounds before the wedding bells chimed.
This is his success story.
Were you weight-challenged as a child?
I wasn't skinny, that's for sure. Kids would call me names like "fatty" or "whale," but I really put on the weight as a student at Tallahassee Community College.
I was away from home and partied until the wee hours of the morning. I'd sleep in until noon and then I'd roll out of bed and be so tired I'd fall back asleep again. At my peak, I weighed 315. My blood pressure was skyrocketing. My waistline grew to 46 inches. Besides affecting my health, my partying got in the way of my dream to go to Florida State — at one point I had a 1.3 grade point average.
What was your turning point?
I was tired of looking in the mirror and seeing who was looking back at me. When my friend asked me to be in his wedding, I told him I'd lose 100 pounds. Ten months later, I dropped 112 pounds, my blood pressure was normal and I had 14 percent body fat. I went to that wedding and showed off my new self.
How did you do it?
I started with a medically supervised weight program that utilized appetite suppressants and B-12 injections. I quit drinking. I also became an employee (front desk associate) at Lifestyle Family Fitness. I wanted to surround myself with positive, motivated people. I worked out every day and had a personal trainer three or four times a week. She gave me a meal plan which included white fish, chicken, brown rice, vegetables and oatmeal.
Are you maintaining?
Two months ago I hurt my knee playing football, and I have gained back 20 pounds. But I returned to my fitness regime this week. My goal is to see how far I can take myself. I wouldn't mind having the physique of one of those good-looking male actors.
What's up with school?
I am back in college, working on a bachelor's degree in information technology at the University of Phoenix. I have a 3.2 grade point average.
What's the greatest thing about your weight loss?
I've added many years to my life.
You know you've lost a lot of weight when . . .
People don't recognize me. When I tell them it's me, they ask, "Where did your other half go?"