Georgia man loses 125 pounds by 'copying thin people'

- Dion Baynard says to get his story, you really need to see his old khakis.

"They're size 50,” Baynard says. “I used to wear these.  They were actually tight at the time."

The married Gwinnett County father of three teenage boys was in his early 40s, and big.  350-pounds big.

I guess what they call it is ‘big boned,’" Baynard laughs.

You name it, he says, he’d eat it. 

"I was not active at all,” Baynard says. “I had no control over my diet. I was eating a lot of fast food, processed food, sugar."

One of his addictions? Pringle’s potato chips.

"I used to eat about 3 cans of Pringles a day,” Baynard remembers. “A can going to work, a can at work and a can coming home and drinking a 2 liter soda with it.”

Then, 5 years ago, at 41, Baynard was lying on the couch, watching TV, when he felt a sharp pain shoot down his left arm.  He was having a heart attack.

"And I really didn't believe it,” he says.  “Because you think of having a heart attack, you clutch your chest, grab the table cloth and fall over and pull everything down."

But, this was the real deal. The next day, Dion had a triple bypass and doctors inserted a stent reopen one of his blocked arteries.  The cardiologist told him if he hadn’t sought help when he did, “I would have died,” he says.

Then, as Baynard recovered, his own doctor him down for a heart-to-heart.

One sentence changed his life.

 "He said, 'If you want to live, lose the weight,” Baynard says.

But how?  How do you turn things around when you have so much to lose?

"I started thinking to myself, if you want to be skinny, you've got to do what skinny people do,” Baynard says.

So, he started watching and mimicking healthy people.

"I noticed that most people riding bicycle were fit, so I went out and got a bicycle,” he says.

That first month, Baynard dropped 5 pounds, just by moving more, eating less.

He started realizing he was on to something.  And he started setting small goals for himself.

"A lot of times, a goal is, 'I want to lose 150 pounds,’” he says.  “But to me, that really seemed so farfetched.

So I started making goals, that were kind of more personal to me.  Like going outside with my shirt off.  Without the cops being called!”

Since he hates gyms, he started walking with his dog, who loves being outside.  And, on the weekends, he began hiking with friends.

"That's actually become one of my favorite things,” says Baynard.

He noticed fit people aren't perfect, but they eat pretty well most of the time.

So, he shot for eating "good-for-you" food 80% of the time.

"I love Key Lime pie, but instead of a whole pie, I just have a slice,” he says.

In two years, Dion Baynard has dropped 125 pounds.  He recently took a course at the Morehouse School of Medicine, to become a community health educator, helping people with chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease get healthier.

"Because I believe I can help some people,” he says.

He's now writing a book about his transformation, and his life now.

"It's a whole different world,” he says.  “I really feel more confident about myself. I feel better about myself. I like what I see in the mirror now.  There was a point where I pretty much became invisible."

No more hiding from the camera.  The new Dion is proud.

"Just now, I'm taking pictures every day, selfies all over the place,” he says.

 

 


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