350,000-499,999 SparkPoints 404,237
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A Long Way To Go... 2009 - 300+ Pounds

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Getting There... 2011 -190 Pounds

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Pretty Much There! 2012 - 170 Pounds

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EDIT: As of 2/15/2017 I'm six years older than when I wrote this so precision would require doing a little math as you read. :)


My name is Vinny Colombo and I'm a "happy camper".
I'm dedicating this page to the people and groups who helped me get to be one.

I am a 58 year old man, married for 37 years, with a 34 year old son, and a 4 year old granddaughter. I am 5 foot seven and weigh just over 170 pounds.

I don't suppose that any of this would be particularly interesting except that two years ago I weighed about 300 pounds, had been taking blood pressure medication for about 20 years, and was generally feeling quite mortal. I was really worried that I might not be around to watch my granddaughter grow up and enjoy aging with my wife. The last time I weighed as little as I do now, I was 17 years old.

Now, I'm a person who has struggled with being overweight since childhood in a series of weight losses and regains. When I retired from a 20 year career in the New York City Police Department weighing 327 pounds in 2000 I was determined to get rid of the extra tonnage that I'd carried for so long. But over the next eight years, I only managed to drop thirty pounds and I was still yoyoing.

I finally decided that I couldn't do it on my own and joined a free weight loss self-help group at the Southern Tier Surgical Clinic (near Binghamton, NY) on April Fool's Day in 2010 at 294 pounds. I'd like to mention all the wonderful people in that group who helped me get a handle on my sugar addiction. But anonymity is a sacred rule in that model of program. I can give a shout-out to Mickey McCabe, the group moderator and overall STSC Bariatric Program coordinator. In addition to her work at the clinic, she was at every meeting I participated in insuring that the sessions were meaningful and productive.

By the end of six months of psychological and nutritional counseling, and participating in these bi-weekly self-help group sessions, I lost another fifty pounds. But I had been able to lose weight temporarily many times in the past and I always gained back more than I lost.

This time, I was determined to lock in my success. Because I was morbidly obese and had very high blood pressure, I was eligible for bariatric surgery covered by my health insurance plan. This route is not the right one for most people, but it was the correct one for me. I chose to have a gastric lap-band placement.

Aside from proposing to my wife, this was probably the best decision I ever made. Having that tool enabled me to lose another 70 pounds, take up a fitness oriented life-style and permanently overcome my compulsion to eat massive quantities of the least healthful foods.

I called the lap-band a tool, and that is all it is. It enabled me to begin living a healthful life. I knew that the surgeon could place the lap-band, but after that, the success of the procedure would depend on my ability to stick with a program that incorporated a fitness lifestyle. I had to make proper nutrition a priority and take up physical activities that would help me reduce fat and preserve and rebuild muscle. I discovered Spark People and the site became my go-to source for health information. I soon realized that it provided much much more and registered for the emails.

Long story short, SparkPeople led me to another fantastic site, I was researching kettlebells because I heard that using them combined both strength and cardio training. It was in one of the SparkPeople forums that I learned of Alysia Gadson and LiveFitRevolution. One look at the site convinced me that this was the real deal. is a registered non-profit organization that provides live streaming Kettlebell classes geared toward significant weight loss. In addition, they provide direct personal motivation and nutritional guidance. All the workouts are archived on the site so members can choose to use the site in the way that works best for them. Alysia and her business partner and site manager, Jason Lilly do not ask for anything in return but a commitment to self improvement. To date they do not carry advertising.

I joined LiveFit in February of 2011 and credit the program with a sea change in my health and self-image. I'm no Jack LaLane, but I will be entering my seniority in the best physical condition I have ever experienced.

The changes in my life since I got control of my physical condition have been wonderful. My friends who used to call me Big Vin now refer to me as Skinny Vinny. Going for a long walk with my wife is now something I look forward to rather than something I do just to make her happy. I can find inexpensive clothes that fit and look good. I no longer need blood pressure medication as my readings are optimum without any. My food bill is much lower and I enjoy the food I eat much more. I interact more comfortably with acquaintances and strangers, because I don't feel self conscious about my size. I exercise consistently and fuel my body appropriately.

So what's the takeaway? I only wish that I had been able to make these changes 25 or even 35 years ago. If you are someone in a similar struggle with with severe obesity, NOW is always the time to act. Find out what you need to do, and get it done.

Once you are on your way to where you want to be, don't take any detours. You will only regret them when you reach your goal and realize what you have been missing.

Member Since: 4/17/2010

Fitness Minutes: 285,251

My Goals:

When I joined Spark People, I set a goal of weighing 175 pounds.

When I reached it, I set a new goal of weighing 155 pounds.

But now I know that my ultimate goal is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep both my mind and my body in the best condition possible.

My Program:

I am treating food as building material and fuel and not as entertainment and stress reliever.

I engage in varied physical activities. every day including kettlebell, resistance band, Nordic Track, and body weight exercise in addition to outdoor manual labor and recreation.

Personal Information:

I'm from Central NY, near Binghamton, where winter lasts six months and the rest of the time it's raining.

Other Information:

Since I am retired and am able to live frugally, I have the luxury of being able to concentrate on my personal goals without having to juggle them with a work schedule.

Hats off to all the Spark People who are still raising families and working to feed them in this economy.

Read More About STRIVERONE - Profile Information moved here. (Updated March 16)

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    Vinny, I am touched by your kind comment on my blog about knee surgery and stroke. It is so wonderful to hear from people who've been through this or who've had loved ones experience the same thing. It really inspires me when people tell me that they or their loved ones went on to lead a full and healthy life even after such incidents. It's hard not to feel a little fear of what might happen, but knowing that others have faced the same thing and done very well and taken good care of themselves really gives me hope for the future! Thank you! I wish you and Judith all the best as you go forward with your very active life!

    88 days ago
    Thank you for reading my blog “Rest and Come Back Stronger.
    We were back paddling our canoe 3 days later. As you said, the temporary discomfort was well worth it for increased peace of mind.

    124 days ago
    Thank you for reading my blog about “Book Smugglers”
    My Lithuanian course was so valuable beyond just studying the language.

    174 days ago
    Thank you for reading my blog “Later Never Comes”
    I was in a place where “later” was threatening to turn into “why bother” or even “never.” Yes, even after 11 years of maintenance, advice, encouragement and support are necessary and much appreciated.

    203 days ago
    Thank you for reading my blog – Celebrations this year have really changed
    Let us all have hope that 2021 will mark a return to normalcy.

    227 days ago
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